Tag Archives: caddie

Masters 2013: Jamie Donaldson shoots hole-in-one on sixth hole

Xbox practice pays off as Welshman Donaldson hits hole-in-one on debut

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

17:50 GMT, 11 April 2013

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UPDATED:

23:07 GMT, 11 April 2013

MASTERS ESSENTIALS
Follow live action from day one hereHole-by-hole guide to Augusta National
Full list of tee timesFull preview: Tiger must wake up and smell the azaleas: he'll need his driver to win a fifth Green Jacket this weekVIDEO: greatest shots in Masters historyAll the latest news from Augusta

Welshman Jamie Donaldson made a flying start to his first Masters with a sensational hole-in-one on the sixth hole at Augusta.

The 37-year-old was one over par by the time he reached the 180-yard, par-three sixth before his amazing shot on the hole known as Juniper.

He became the fifth golfer record a hole-in-one on the sixth, the first since Chris DiMarco in 2004.

Donaldson's shot was the 24th ace in Masters history after Bo Van Pelt and Adam Scott made holes-in-one on No 16 last year.

Delight: Jamie Donaldson celebrates his hole-in-one as Martin Laird watches on

Delight: Jamie Donaldson celebrates his hole-in-one as Martin Laird watches on

High five: The Welshman celebrates with his caddie

High five: The Welshman celebrates with his caddie

All smiles: Donaldson waves to spectators after his hole-in-one on the sixth

All smiles: Donaldson waves to spectators after his hole-in-one on the sixth

Modest: Donaldson was one over through five

Modest: Donaldson was one over through five

Appreciation: Donaldson raises his cap

Appreciation: Donaldson raises his cap

The Welshman, who was priced at 300-1 before the tournament, prepared for his first trip down Magnolia Lane by playing on his Xbox.

Donaldson won the Abu Dhabi
Championship in January, his first victory on the European Tour.

Elsewhere, Englishman David Lynn was the early leader in the clubhouse thanks to an opening round of 68.

Playing only the third major of his career after securing his place by finishing second to Rory McIlroy at the US PGA Championship last year, Lynn carded a four-under-par 68 in the first round at Augusta National.

The 39-year-old from Stoke, who has just one win in almost 400 European Tour events, carded six birdies and two bogeys during his round on Thursday.

Follow Sportsmail's live coverage from day one at Augusta HERE.

Tiger Woods tops world rankings after Arnold Palmer Invitational win

Tiger back on top of the world after victory march at Arnold Palmer Invitational

: Returns to top 10 with victory in the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

June 3, 2012: Returns to top five with win in the Memorial Tournament

2013: Closes gap on leader Rory McIlroy with early-season wins at Farmers Insurance Open and WGC-Cadillac Championship.

March 25, 2013: Returns to number one spot by winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Woods has also won the Farmers Insurance Open and the Cadillac Championship this year as he prepares for next month's Masters.

The 37-year-old, who announced he was in a relationship with skier Lindsey Vonn last week, is the bookies' favourite for Augusta as he bids to win the Green Jacket for a fifth time.

Rickie Fowler was Tiger's playing partner for the final round but his challenge hit the buffers when he put two in the water at the 16th.

More to follow…

The one to watch: The 14-time major champion Woods had plenty of support in Orlando

The one to watch: The 14-time major champion Woods had plenty of support in Orlando

Taste for success: Tiger, with caddie Joe LaCava, has a quick bite to eat as he walks up the sixth fairway

Taste for success: Tiger, with caddie Joe LaCava, has a quick bite to eat as he walks up the sixth fairway

Keeping it interesting: Woods had the odd wobble on the tee but he was able to recover

Keeping it interesting: Woods had the odd wobble on the tee but he was able to recover

Gave it a go: Rickie Fowler was Woods' playing partner for the final round at Bay Hill

Gave it a go: Rickie Fowler was Woods' playing partner for the final round at Bay Hill

THE WORLD No 1s SINCE WOODS

Tiger Woods was world No 1 for 281 weeks in a row between June 12, 2005 and October 30, 2010.

Since then four different players have held top spot:

LEE WESTWOOD (17 weeks)
October 31, 2010 to February 26, 2011

MARTIN KAYMER (Eight weeks)
February 27 to April 23, 2011

WESTWOOD (Five weeks)
April 24, 2011 to May 28, 2011

LUKE DONALD (40 weeks)
May 29, 2011 to March 3, 2012

RORY McILROY (Two weeks)
March 4 to 17, 2012

DONALD (Four weeks)
March 18 to April 14, 2012

McILROY (Two weeks)
April 15 to 28, 2012

DONALD (One week)
April 29 to May 5, 2012

McILROY (Three weeks)
May 6 to 26, 2012

DONALD (11 weeks)
May 27 to August 11, 2012

McILROY (32 weeks)
Aug 12, 2012 to Mar 25 2013

Luke Donald two shots behind leaders at the halfway stage of the Northern Trust Open

Donald remains in the hunt in California after rising to fifth at halfway stage of Northern Trust Open

By
Steven Donaldson

PUBLISHED:

07:22 GMT, 16 February 2013

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UPDATED:

11:27 GMT, 16 February 2013

World No 3 Luke Donald put himself firmly in contention as Bae Sang-moon and Fredrik Jacobson shared the lead at the halfway stage of the Northern Trust Open in California.

England's Donald, playing his first tournament since November, produced a five-under 66 to sit seven under overall, two off the leading pair of South Korea's Bae and Sweden's Jacobson on nine under.

Donald, 18th overnight, carded seven birdies against two bogeys to end day two fifth – and he could have been in a share of third alongside Americans John Merrick and John Rollins but for a dropped shot on his penultimate hole, the par-four eighth.

Climbing the leaderboard: Luke Donald hit five under par to rise to seventh

Climbing the leaderboard: Luke Donald hit five under par to rise to seventh

NORTHERN TRUST OPEN

Click here for the latest leaderboard

Donald told www.pgatour.com: 'Happy with my score, obviously coming off a pretty good break, you never know with how you're going to deal with being back in competition again but certainly a big improvement today, ball striking wise and my short game has been very sharp.

'I've been excited about that. It's been a big key to my score so far, and, yeah, excited to be in the mix again.'

On the top of the pile though were Jacobson and Bae, both of whom were six under for the day to climb from sixth to joint first.

Surveying the scene: Donald and his caddie John McLaren walks up to the sixth green

Surveying the scene: Donald and his caddie John McLaren walks up to the sixth green

For Jacobson it was a continuation of the form which saw him finish seventh at Pebble Beach last week.

'Obviously I take a lot out of that, just being in contention again,' Jacobson said. 'I've had some good practice sessions before, but to bring it on the course and play under pressure, that's what it's about.'

There was no room to relax, though, with a number of notable names on the heels of the top five.

Leading the way: Fredrik Jacobson shares the lead at the halfway stage

Leading the way: Fredrik Jacobson shares the lead at the halfway stage

World No 8 Lee Westwood headed up a group of three players on six under, which also included major winners Charl Schwartzel and Webb Simpson.

Overnight leader Matt Kuchar was among the players on five under having carded a two-over 73, as was defending champion Bill Haas, while Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott, Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson were all four under.

Out in front: Sang-Moon Bae is going well in California

Out in front: Sang-Moon Bae is going well in California

Among the remainder of the British contingent, Brian Davis (three under), Greg Owen (two under), David Lynn (one under) and Ross Fisher (one over) all made the cut, but Martin Laird and Graeme McDowell missed out.

Other big names to miss the cut included Dustin Johnson, Padraig Harrington, Mike Weir, Zach Johnson, Geoff Ogilvy, Bubba Watson and Lucas Glover.

Martin Kaymer wins Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City

Former world No 1 Kaymer shines in Sun City to secure first title of the year

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UPDATED:

16:17 GMT, 2 December 2012

Martin Kaymer survived a late wobble to hold on for his first title of the year with victory at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City.

The overnight leader bogeyed the 15th hole to see his advantage at the top of the leaderboard cut to one stroke by South Africa's Charl Schwartzel but held his nerve the rest of the way to prevail by two strokes.

Kaymer finished on eight under par overall, with Schwartzel at six under and American Bill Haas alone in third, three strokes further back.

Long wait: Kaymer won his first title of the year in Sun City

Long wait: Kaymer won his first title of the year in Sun City

Long wait: Kaymer won his first title of the year in Sun City

South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen began the final round just one stroke behind Kaymer, but a 74 saw his challenge run out of steam and he ended in fourth place on two under, one stroke ahead of defending two-time champion Lee Westwood of England, who carded a 73.

Scotland's Paul Lawrie, the leader after the second round, went over par for the second day running as he managed 74 to finish in sixth place overall.

Kaymer famously sank the putt that ensured Europe retained the Ryder Cup earlier this year, but on a personal level this season has been a disappointment for the German.

And he admitted that as the opportunity to finally break his year-long victory drought edged closer, nerves began to tell.

Clinging on: Kaymer bogeyed the 15th hole

Clinging on: Kaymer bogeyed the 15th hole

Clinging on: Kaymer bogeyed the 15th hole

'It was always tight,' Kaymer told reporters.

'Charl played a great round of golf and I was telling (my caddie) that I need a win. I need a win in 2012.'

Rainy conditions on the final day at Gary Player Country Club were in keeping with the previous three, meaning yet again that scores were kept in check by the weather.

No-one shot better than 69 all week, and that mark was again achieved by Kaymer on Sunday having also managed a three-under total over the second round.

The German began in positive fashion on Sunday, hitting a brilliant eagle on the second only to see his hard work erased with a double-bogey at three.

Birdies at nine, 10 and 11 took him clear of the pack again, although Schwartzel's birdie on the 14th trimmed the lead to one.

Swinging in the rain: Schwartzel made a late bid for the title

Swinging in the rain: Schwartzel made a late bid for the title

Swinging in the rain: Schwartzel made a late bid for the title

Kaymer hacked his way out of the rough to make an unlikely birdie on 14 and take his lead back out to two, but a bogey at the next meant the pressure stayed on.

Schwartzel's victory bid finally stuttered as he committed his first bogey of the day at the 17th, as Kaymer made par the rest of the way to close out an overdue victory.

'I'm very happy to finally win this year, that was the most important thing for me, because I was practising very hard,' Kaymer added.

'I played very well the last few weeks and months, but it just did not happen for me on the golf course.

'I said to Craig, my caddy, we have to win one tournament every year and this is our last chance. Fortunately we could bring it home.'

Charlie Beljan has three stroke lead in Children"s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic

Beljan overcomes health scare to take three stroke lead in Florida

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UPDATED:

01:16 GMT, 10 November 2012

Charlie Beljan defied a health scare to take a halfway three-stroke lead in the the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic in Florida.

The American, who suffers from asthma, had to rest on several occasions during his round after battling shortness of breath and an elevated heart rate.

Out in front: Charlie Beljan leads the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals golf tournament in Lake Buena Vista

Out in front: Charlie Beljan leads the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals golf tournament in Lake Buena Vista

The 28-year-old was expected to be taken to hospital after recording a magnificent 64, which moved him to 12 under par overall.

'I think he's scared,' Beljan's caddie Rick Adcox told the Golf Channel. 'He kept saying he thought he was going to die.'

'I've got to give Charlie credit for what he did. I thought he was going to quit out there a few times. Unbelievable.'

'A couple of times I thought he might pass out,” Adcox added.

'He just said, 'I'm gonna keep going until I pass out or they take me off,' and I kept saying 'it doesn't matter to me, it's only a golf tournament'.'

Beljan was reportedly struggling throughout, with medical personnel keeping a close watch on him for much of his back nine.

He was eight under for his round after 11 holes, carding two eagles and four birdies.
He then bogeyed the par-four 12th before picking up back-to-back shots on his next two holes although he dropped back to eight under for his round at the 17th.

Despite clearly struggling, he courageously carried on and managed to hit a brilliant up-and-down for par on the final hole before bursting into tears.

'He was trying to keep upright,” playing partner Ed Loar said. 'Hopefully he'll be all right. It was pretty bizarre.'

Overnight leader Charlie Wi was among seven players three strokes behind Beljan.
The Korean, without a win on the PGA Tour, failed to build on yesterday's magnificent 64 after recording a one-under-par 71.

He enjoyed mixed fortunes on the Magnolia course with five birdies and four bogeys.
Australia's Matt Jones put himself into contention with an excellent round of 64 to join Wi, Ryuji Imada, Harris English, Charles Howell III, Mark Anderson and Henrik Stenson on nine under overall.

Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez head to golf course after Champions League hiccup

Golf-mad City stars Aguero and Tevez really putt it in after Champions League hiccup

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UPDATED:

23:55 GMT, 4 October 2012

When the going gets tough, the tough get going to the golf course.

Manchester City duo Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez headed to their local Cheshire club for a thrash after Wednesday's Champions League hiccup.

Line up: Sergio Aguero watches Carlos Tevez take a putt

Line up: Sergio Aguero watches Carlos Tevez take a putt

Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero

Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero

The Blues were far from their best at the Etihad Stadium against Borussia Dortmund and had a fortunate late penalty to thank for securing a 1-1 draw.

It was no surprise to see the golf-mad Argentineans back in the swing on Thursday.

Tevez, a 13-handicapper, has been seen as much on the course as he has on the pitch during the past 12 months.

Life's a pitch: Golf-mad Tevez and Aguero get in the swing

Life's a pitch: Golf-mad Tevez and Aguero get in the swing

Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero

Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero

He even surprised the sporting
world when he emerged on the green at The Open held at Royal Lytham
& St Annes.

The
28-year-old was for once not taking part as a sportsman but, was in
fact a caddie for his good friend and countryman Andres Romero, 31.

City midfielder Yaya Toure (below) gave golf a miss and headed to the training ground for treatment on a thigh injury he suffered against Dortmund.

Yaya Toure after Dortmund goal

Yaya Toure leaves the training ground with an ice pack

Melissa Reid wants to do late mum proud at British Open

EXCLUSIVE: I'm going out there to do mum proud! Brave Reid gears up for British Open

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 11 September 2012

Melissa Reid was playing in the Evian Masters in July amid the wondrous scenery of the French Alps when the overwhelming sense of loss finally struck home.

She was competing in one of her mum’s favourite tournaments when suddenly all the pent-up emotion could not be contained any longer.

‘I said to my caddie, “I’m going to have to pull out”. There was no way I could continue,’ said Reid.

Good things: Melissa Reid is hoping to impress at one of her mum's favourite events

Good things: Melissa Reid is hoping to impress at one of her mum's favourite events

What had happened to England’s No 1 woman golfer in the spring was one of those days so terrible it leaves everyone numb with shock and full of sympathy. Martin Kaymer and Luke Donald, just two of the game’s fraternity who know what it is like to lose a parent, sent Reid texts and goodwill messages.

Reid’s parents, Joy and Brian, had travelled to Munich to watch their daughter play, as they had so often in the past, their pride in her rise plainly evident.

Then the courtesy car in which they were passengers was involved in a head-on collision. Joy did not survive.

One month later, in a stunning act of stoicism, Reid returned at the Prague Masters and somehow managed to win.

‘Looking back I can see now that it hadn’t hit me, I was still just too numb,’ said the 24-year-old from Derby. ‘Evian changed all that, and the last month has been tough. But I am hoping for good things this week.’

Getting ready: Reid on the course at Hoylake

Getting ready: Reid on the course at Hoylake

TV COVERAGE

Live on BBC2 from 1pm

Reid is referring to her mum’s other favourite event, the Ricoh Women’s British Open, which begins at Royal Liverpool on Thursday. ‘If ever there were two events she wanted me to win, it would be the Evian and the British and so I am going to have a fighting attitude and try to do her and my dad proud,’ she said, poignantly.

If truth be told, her family are proud, regardless of how she performs; proud of the way she has coped with the tragedy and having to grieve in public.

It is impossible to know how Reid will feel when she is walking Hoylake’s unsheltered fairways but in a part of the world where they know what the phrase means, she can be sure she will not walk alone.

A multitude of family members, including her dad, brothers and sisters, plus friends and golf fans just keen for her do well will all come together in the hope of preventing a repeat of what happened in France.

‘This is the hardest it has been but I am going to try to use it as a strength and get out there and fight for my family,’ she said. ‘After mum died I moved back in with my dad and we have been each other’s greatest comfort.’

Hard times: Reid wants to turn the emotion into strength

Hard times: Reid wants to turn the emotion into strength

When it is over, Reid has plans for one or two more events before taking a month off.

‘I don’t know where I am going to go but I just feel I need to spend the time with friends and get away from everything,’ she said.

She has not lost the infectious sense of humour that makes her so popular on the circuit.

‘You’ll be able to hear my supporters from several fairways away,’ she said. ‘I’ve got some friends coming up and they are loud.’

It was at Hoylake that Tiger Woods, in his most public display of emotion, broke down in tears on the final green after winning The Open in 2006. It was his first major championship win since the death of his father, Earl.

Whatever lies in store for Reid this week, it is to be hoped it helps with the healing process, just as it did for Woods.

Rory McIlroy wins BMW Championship

Glory for Rory in BMW Championship as world No 1 McIlroy keeps up super form

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UPDATED:

22:25 GMT, 9 September 2012

World No 1 Rory McIlroy continued his red-hot form when he cruised to his third win in four starts with a two-shot victory at the BMW Championship on Sunday that locked in the elite 30-man field for the Tour Championship.

With a glittering leaderboard featuring six major winners and four players who have held the number one ranking packed into the top 10, McIlroy carded a five-under 67 at Crooked Stick to collect his fourth PGA Tour win of the season.

The mop-topped Northern Irishman finished 20 under par and will head to the Sept. 20-23 Tour Championship in Atlanta as the favourite to walk away with the $10 million bonus that will go to the FedEx Cup points leader.

That's the one: Rory McIlroy poses with his trophy

That's the one: Rory McIlroy poses with his trophy

Pleased: McIlroy walks off the green after winning

Pleased: McIlroy walks off the green after winning

LEADERBOARD

Click here for the BMW championship scores

Former world No 1 Lee Westwood of
Britain and four-times major champion Phil Mickelson of the United
States tied for second place on 18 under par.

McIlroy began the day a shot back of
overnight leaders Mickelson and Vijay Singh, but was on the move quickly
with birdies at the second and fifth before moving top of the
leaderboard to stay with back-to-back birdies at nine and 10.

The 23-year-old then pulled away from the field with birdies at 15 and 16 to open up a three-shot cushion with two to play.

Tip top: McIlroy is in superb form

Tip top: McIlroy is in superb form

Mickelson, who has discovered a rich
vein of form in recent weeks himself, tried to keep pace by trimming
McIlroy's advantage to two with birdies on 15 and 16.

But a bogey on 17 removed any
suspense, allowing McIlroy a leisurely victory stroll up the 18th where
he signed off with his only bogey of the day, a small fist pump and
winning total of 268.

Smiling rivals: Lee Westwood with McIlroy

Smiling rivals: Lee Westwood with McIlroy

Cheers: McIlroy celebrates his win with his caddie

Cheers: McIlroy celebrates his win with his caddie

Mickelson returned a two-under 70 to
finish joint second with Westwood who clinched his first ticket to the
Tour championship with a three-under 69.

Tiger Woods, chasing his fourth win of
the season, carded a four-under 68 to finish in a tie for fourth with
Robert Garrigus at 17 under.

Off the pace: Tiger Woods never looked like winning

Off the pace: Tiger Woods never looked like winning

Here we go: McIlroy hits his approach shot on the 18th

Here we go: McIlroy hits his approach shot on the 18th

More to follow.

Sergio Garcia earns place in Ryder Cup – Derek Lawrenson

Garcia's sprint for the line earns place in Jose's Ryder Cup plans

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 20 August 2012

Who would have thought that a second tier event in the deep south of America would have such a profound effect on the composition of Europe's Ryder Cup team

At the Wyndham Championship, which concluded on Monday following storms on Sunday, Sergio Garcia showed the timing of Usain Bolt to complete his first win in America for four years to make Europe's team and knock out Ian Poulter from the last automatic place.

Poulter had gone above Garcia after finishing in the top three at the US PGA Championship the previous week. With Garcia palpably out of sorts, another Ryder Cup on the sidelines appeared to be looming for the gifted Spaniard. What a response he delivered to such talk, winning by a two-stroke margin that was more comfortable than it sounds.

Chicago-bound: Sergio Garcia hugs his caddie after winning the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro

Chicago-bound: Sergio Garcia hugs his caddie after winning the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro

Holed it: Garcia on the way to his win

Holed it: Garcia on the way to his win

Now he has booked his place on the flight to Medinah, and what a poignant reunion that promises to be. It was there in 1999 as a 19-year-old that Garcia finished a stroke behind Tiger Woods at the US PGA. Who could ever have believed back then he would still be waiting for a major all these years later

At Medinah, expect him to be paired with his great friend Luke Donald, and now Garcia has found his mojo it should prove a potent combination.

Garcia's victory will have been greeted ecstatically by captain Jose Maria Olazabal, who will also have noted Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts's tied seventh finish. Colsaerts can still make the team by right at the final qualifying event, the Johnnie Walker Championship this week, but even if he succumbs to exhaustion, the Volvo Match Play champion will surely get a wild card pick alongside Poulter to become the first Belgian to play in the Ryder Cup. Like the Englishman, he thoroughly deserves one.

Nine of the 10 automatic qualifiers are now known: Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Graeme McDowell, Paul Lawrie, Francesco Molinari, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Garcia and Peter Hanson.

McGinley faces Clarke challenge

There's only one reason Darren Clarke is playing in the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles this week and it is not good news for Paul McGinley.

The latter had looked odds-on favourite to be Ryder Cup captain at Gleneagles in 2014 following his brilliant stewardship of the Britain and Ireland teams in the last two Seve Trophy matches, with Clarke doing the job in America in 2016.

But Clarke's entry into this week's tournament, held on a course he has not been shy of criticising in the past, is an intriguing indication that he has changed his mind and is throwing his hat into the ring two years early.

Clarke has fences to mend among the Gleneagles hierarchy, who weren't too amused by his questioning how so mediocre a course – his verdict – got the right to stage a Ryder Cup, so bolstering a weak field can only help.

Ambition: Former Open champion Darren Clarke is targeting the Ryder Cup captaincy

Ambition: Former Open champion Darren Clarke is targeting the Ryder Cup captaincy

Expect also a heavy slice of PR charm, with lavish praise for the changes to the Centenary Course instigated by Jack Nicklaus earlier this year and how they have made all the difference.

It is the Tournament Players' Committee who will ultimately decide between the pair in January next year and Clarke, by some distance, is the more popular and powerful figure. Where does that leave McGinley The sad fact is, if he gets overlooked on this occasion, he might not get another chance.

Quote of the week

'Rounds of golf are down five per cent in the US and one of the reasons for that is people think the game too complex and confusing. We need to simplify the rules book.'

More from Derek Lawrenson…

Derek Lawrenson: McIlroy wins by a mile after he remembers to smile
13/08/12

World of Golf: It's time to play follow the leader as the guessing game begins for the next Major winner
06/08/12

World of Golf: Let's hope Sergio can halt Ryder Spain drain
30/07/12

Derek Lawrenson: They said Els had lost it… they're not saying that any more
23/07/12

World of Golf: Remember wonder boy Welch At 16 he was better than Westwood
16/07/12

Derek Lawrenson: Crazy golf as journeyman Potter casts a magic spell
09/07/12

Derek Lawrenson: Stars on board as Turkey shoots for the Olympics
02/07/12

Derek Lawrenson: Portrush is the place to be for the party of the year
25/06/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Well, it only took about 100 years – no, seriously – but one of the game's governing bodies has finally admitted what the rest of us have known for ever: the rules of golf are way too labyrinthine. Will United States Golf Association president Glen Nager act on his words For the good of the game – the USGA's slogan – let us hope so.

Last chance for the FedEx Cup

Is this the year when we finally learn to love the FedEx Cup One thing's for sure: if not this year, then never.

The FedEx is the series of four play-off events on the US Tour worth 5.5million each and which begin this week in New York and end in Atlanta with someone winning a bonus of 7.5million on the Sunday before the Ryder Cup begins in Chicago.

The reason for the excitement is not just the close proximity of the best team event in golf. It is the close proximity at the top of the standings of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy. All season we have waited for a proper contest between the pair and we might get one with all that loot at stake.

Furthermore, all 12 Americans and three-quarters of the European Ryder Cup team will be taking part, so stay tuned for progress reports on how they're shaping up ahead of the match at Medinah.

OK, loving the FedEx is stretching it. But, at the very least, it will catch our interest.

Lee Westwood sacks coach and caddie

Ruthless Westwood axes coach and caddie in reaction to another major-free year

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UPDATED:

22:04 GMT, 12 August 2012

Lee Westwood has reacted swiftly to another winless year at the majors by dispensing with Pete Cowen, his coach for the past six years, and Mike Waite, his caddie since May.

He will also take on a new short game guru in another bid to sort out the bane of his life, his work around the greens.

‘You could say the USPGA Championship was the tipping point because he led the field in greens hit in regulation for 36 holes and yet missed the halfway cut,’ explained his manager, Chubby Chandler.

All change: Lee Westwood has taken decisive action

All change: Lee Westwood has taken decisive action

‘He’s frustrated with the way he has performed in the last two majors and lost a bit of focus and enthusiasm.’

Chandler wouldn’t name the short game coach but the pair will work together all this week in Florida with the intention of building for Westwood an entirely new technique.

Westwood is moving to a new home at Old Palm Country Club in the Sunshine State in December, where the short game practice facilities are second to none. ‘Lee has never been afraid of working hard on his short game but has never really had a technique that has worked well for him,’ explained Chandler.

‘He’s been very structured with his fitness over the last few years and that has done wonders for him. Now the intention is to introduce the same structure to improving his short game.’

Gone: Pete Cowen (left) with golfer Graeme McDowell

Gone: Pete Cowen (left) with golfer Graeme McDowell

Westwood missed a host a short putts to squander a glorious opportunity to win the Masters in April and another chance to win that elusive first major slipped by at the US Open, where he finished tenth. But the last two majors were a big disappointment.

‘Maybe the move has had something to do with it as well,’ said Chandler. ‘It’s a big change for Lee and his family at the age of 39 but it is also the right time to do it. I think we will see the benefits of the move next year.’

Zimbabwean Mike Kerr, taking time off from working with Spaniard Alvaro Quiros – he won’t play again for the next two months – will be his new short-term caddie when Westwood returns to the tournament scene at the first of the four FedEx Cup events in New York next week. The Ryder Cup follows immediately after that, so he has plenty to play for over the next two months.

Westwood’s regular is Billy Foster, who damaged cruciate knee ligaments in May and won’t be back until next year.