the masters! tiger!! vousden!!!

Apr 04 2018

Thought for the Day
I’m not a pedant, I’m just excessively sesquipedalian

In golf this week there is really only one question – are you brave enough to bet against Tiger Woods in the Masters? Considering that he hasn’t even played in it for three years, and that 10 months ago he was found slumped over the wheel of his car, barely coherent and then found to be unable to pass a simple sobriety test, it seems a heck of a stretch to imagine him being clothed in a green jacket for the fifth time. The car incident, of course, was the result of the analgesia he was taking to suppress the continuous pain he felt from his back but the spinal fusion he underwent, and a spell in a rehab clinic, has left him drug and pain free, and generating more clubhead speed than any of his contemporaries.

Tiger

I still think that victory this week is unlikely though – partly because he is still at a relatively early stage of comeback, partly because he hasn’t been in position to win a major for nearly 10 years and also because the competition looks extraordinarily strong. Then again, this is Tiger, one of the most remarkable sporting athletes of his or any other generation. And superstars become such because they do astonishing things. If we have learnt anything from watching this man play golf in more than two decades, it is to expect the unexpected, and then some.

But it is not surprising that, although his fellow golf pros seem genuinely pleased to see him competing again, and remain aware of his ability, they are no longer intimidated. A big part of Tiger’s early career dominance was that he, and they, believed that he would find a way to score whatever was needed to win but that aura of invincibility has considerably diminished. The other factor he needs to contend with is that, like all great performers who raise the bar of what can be achieved, he (more…)

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A good masters warmup

Apr 04 2018

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Vousden on ****ing abusive fans

Mar 20 2018

Thought for the Day
If you continue working faithfully eight hours a day, you may eventually get to be a boss and work twelve hours a day

It’s time to stop pussyfooting around and recognise that golf has a problem, and that problem is American golf fans. Justin Thomas recently had one ejected from a tournament – the Honda Classic he went on to win. The ‘fan’ had yelled for Thomas’ ball to go into water, and then yelled again for it to find a bunker, after which the golfer asked the gallery: ‘Who said that? ‘When the man was identified, Thomas told him: ‘Enjoy your day buddy, you’re gone,’ and had the culprit evicted.

The only regrettable aspect of Justin Thomas’ behaviour is that the following day he tweeted an apology in a series of tweets, as follows:

rowdy_crowd

‘Getting a lot of comments on the fan incident yesterday… sorry to any and all offended by it. There was more said as we walked to the tee wishing bad things on the course for myself or Luke [List, with whom he was paired]. Then the get in the bunker comment over and over again I felt… (more…)

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It’s almost enough to make you want to high five someone. Almost

Feb 26 2018

Be honest; if you’re going to hole out from off the green, you want it to be like this…

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Faster Faster

Feb 12 2018

Thought for the Day
If someone tells you there are one billion stars in the universe you will believe them, but if they tell you a wall has wet paint, you will touch it to be sure

Pace of Play
JB Holmes took four minutes and ten seconds to take a shot at the last hole of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines last month. After considerable deliberation, he laid up. In fairness to Holmes, he had led the tournament at the start of the last day and needed to make eagle on the par five 18th to regain top position. He eventually concluded that he had a better chance of doing this by hitting a wedge from in close than trying to stop a fairway wood on a hard, fast green. And he was playing a tough course with hard fairways, clinging rough and a gusting 10-15mph wind into his face, making club selection uncertain for his 239-yard shot.

jb holmes

So he needed a birdie to probably go into a playoff and eagle to win. Unfortunately his playing partners included Jason Day, Ryan Palmer and Alex Noren, who shared the lead. Day and Palmer had already played but Noren was left fidgeting while waiting for Holmes to make up his mind. The wind was gusting and Holmes’ caddy was heard to say: ‘You’ve got to be patient.’ The crowd began barracking him and Nick Faldo and (more…)

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Martin’s Crystal Ball

Jan 08 2018

Thought for the Day
If you’d known you were going to live this long, wouldn’t you have taken better care of yourself?

This prediction business is a dangerous thing but nonetheless I’m going to stick my neck out and have a punt on what I think 2018 may bring to the world of golf. Incidentally, the reason why pundits like me continue to prognosticate is because we type with fingers crossed (never easy) in the hope that no-one who reads this now will remember to go back in 12 months’ time to check how accurate we were.

The Majors
Rory McIlroy will win the Masters. After the disaster of 2011 when he hoicked his drive miles left on the 10th en route to a disastrous last day 80 he understandably had a couple of so-so performances. In the last four years, however, he’s finished in the top-10 and clearly loves the Augusta National course. But my main reasons for optimism are that a) he is due another grand slam event, he’s just too good and b) this year he is changing his schedule and playing eight events leading into the first major, rather than two or three. If Rory doesn’t win, Dustin Johnson, who is already showing frighteningly good form, will.

rory masters 2011

Phil Mickelson will win the US Open. I know, this is heart writing, not head because the man has famously finished runner-up in his own national championship more often than anyone else (six times) without winning it. And he’s 46-years-old, and no longer with Bones, the man who caddied for his entire professional career. But because of this I believe Phil knows he’s running out of chances and needs to summon all his considerable talent for one last effort. I’m also a believer in omens (not really) and remember that (more…)

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