Tiger did it again!

One of the biggest comebacks in sports or just in golf? Whatever you go for, Tiger’s 2019 Masters win will end up in sports history books as the triumphant comeback of a man who suffered so much pain, lost so much, changed so much and was pretty much absent from the game for so long.

He now came back with a great major tournament, The Masters supposedly one of his favorites, great touch, good drives and the luck of the Irish.

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I take my hat and salute a great man, who went from idol and role model to pretty much the opposite—and back. Fingers crossed he’s feeling home again on the tournament circle and will spark some enthusiasm again, win again and will continue to write history and lead a new generation of golfers to take care of this beautiful sport and its future.

A big ask, I know… But the 2 million dollars he went home with may be a kind of compensation – not that he would need it…

Is match play the better golf to watch?

I haven’t had much time to watch the Dell Technologies Match Play on TV over the weekend. My parents visited for a couple of days and golf became 6th priority, if at all.

What I realized however in the small snippets I got to watch through social media, and that’s no real surprise, match play is pretty cool to watch. I followed the Ryder Cup extensively in the past years and the various match play variants they play there are truly fascinating to watch and much more exciting than the stuff we tend to see in normal tournaments every other week.

Don’t get me wrong, a Masters weekend with 5 guys in contention is pretty exciting too, but a whole weekend in mano-a-mano battles in order to get to the next stage is something refreshing in golf, at least in front of the television. And it must be for the players too! No fixed schedule, just need to beat the next guy in line, not playing against the own abilities but actually against another person. And it’s social media heaven, I’d reckon.

I’d be in favor to see more of these, even if that would mean that there are fewer players to see in total. I say there’s more strategy, more battle, more excitement and consequently a shame we don’t see it that much on regular tour.

What do you think?

The world laughed about Rory’s shoes

…in the end he’s the one laughing—with a $2.25 million smile.

I’m not good at betting and my money definitely wouldn’t be on Rory lately, but after quite a long period of time during which he wasn’t able to win or at least substantially satisfy, he came out with a win at the 2019 Players Championship, the unofficial 5th major tournament.

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Wear gold, win gold. ūüŹÜ

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This young bloke is in the hunt for the career slam and personally I keep my fingers crossed for him. I wish him well, wish he’s able to make a move on the PGA Tour and in particular in the majors (and in the Ryder Cup, but that’s a different story). He has the potential and, believe it or not, he matured and is able to get his head around things happening on the course.

What you saw over the weekend was a crystal clear Rory McIlroy, focussing on the next shot, on the win, on getting better and taking a lesson from every suboptimal shot. There were indeed some as putting is actually not his strong suit, but boy can he drive the ball off the tee! And I’m not sure if I would stand the pressure to take out driver on the 18th on Sunday that close to Jim Furyk, risking a play-off.

Rors did and he did win this prestigious tournament in fashion. Frankly I missed a big jubilance and thought he was a bit too cold, but that’s I guess the case when you won dozens of tournaments and your big aim is that huge career slam—with the rest being just practice under tougher conditions.

Congratulations, Rory!

Dustin Johnson wins US Open and causes discussions

Last night I fell asleep at around 1am and had no idea what happened at Oakmont a little later. I was watching the US Open coverage when I got too tired and went to bed. Dustin Johnson had just begun his round and Shane Lowry slowly but surely fell apart in his round and his plan to stay on top of the leaderboard. But the most interesting thing happened when I was snoozing away, which by the way is nothing too uncommon that things get exciting at the end of a golf tournament, but anyway…

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Photo: blick.ch

Long story short, Dustin won the US Open in the end, his maiden major title, but something else hit the news very quickly when I was waking up today:

On the 5th hole, Dustin’s ball moved a little and both he and his scorer, Lee Westwood, said he neither touched¬†the ball nor caused¬†it to move in any other way. Rules officials had been contacted and consulted and it took them until Dustin played the 12th to tell him there might be a rule violation and that he¬†should expect a stroke penalty.

Come on, guys! Tell him during the round?! How dare you putting Dustin under such mental pressure and uncertainty tell him and all his opponents that there will be an investigation and decision after the round!

Well, in the end it turned out that Dustin¬†won with a 3-shot lead, so the USGA’s decision luckily didn’t harm much, but imagine it had been closer… imagine what this would have meant for Dustin who was runner up in majors so often.

This is what Dustin’s colleagues had to say (i.e. tweet) during the round:

Continue reading Dustin Johnson wins US Open and causes discussions

Could this become the best major in 2015?

The world was told yesterday that world golfer no 1 Rory McIlroy will actually participate in this year’s PGA Championship. 

McIlroy has injured his ankle not that long ago and it seems to me that this tournament comes a bit early for a full recovery. But he’s a grown-up and he and his medical team will know best if the time is right for him to come back to tournament play. 

For Rory the PGA Championship event is somewhat important as he’s the current champion after his stellar win at Valhalla. So he will feel a bit under pressure and for sure pros in general tend to do everything possible to participate in big events. It’s not only big money, it’s also a place in the golf history books they are after, and their name engraved in a huge and famous trophy. Who would disagree this is really a cool thing. 

So next week we’ll be watching the next episode of PGA Championship history. The venue couldn’t be better if you’d ask me, beautiful and interesting Whitling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin. A superb course for a superb bunch of players, fingers crossed we’ll see great golf!

All the golf elite will be there, battling for the Wanamaker Trophy and when you have a look at the pairings, you realise how awesome next week will be!

So who is it you are routing for? No matter who’s your favourite player I’m sure we’ll see fantastic golf in one of the most fantastic locations imaginable. Rory’s group with Jordan Spieth and Zach Johnson, or Jason Day with Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler, and not to forget former winner Martin Kaymer with Tiger Woods and Keegan Bradley… if I were there I had no idea whom to follow around the course I have to admit. But that’s the tragic with majors, there are just too many good players out there – if that’s even possible!

I might put some money on my favourite… but this time I won’t say who it is.

The magic of The Open Championship at St Andrews

I’m not sure how you are currently keeping up with the news on golf, on The Open and on St Andrews. To be fair I don’t have much time lately to concentrate on professional golf so much but this week is special. Really special!

It’s Open Championship week. Tomorrow on Thursday, there is the 144th tournament being declared under way and with it the 29th time of that event in the picturesque village of St Andrews, the home of golf.

I’ve never been there, but the small town¬†must be amazing. Everybody, really everybody is praising the mood in town, the people and the atmosphere on and off the track. And then there is this course, probably the oldest place on earth where a (sort of) golf ball was kicked around. This is where it all started, 600 hundred odd years ago. This is true history.

Next year¬†most definitely I will check out this place, inhale the decades of golfing past, walk the famous walks, play the unique holes and picture¬†myself in history¬†as well. I really can’t wait for this to happen.

But before that there is the Open, this year’s 144th Open Championship; or the “British Open” how the Americans still tend to name it to avoid any confusion with their Open, the US Open. Whatever you call it, it’s a majestic tournament and this year the venue is the most majestic of all. This year will make history on it’s own and I can’t wait to see who’s gonna lift the claret jug into the breeze. It doesn’t matter really. In any case it will be special, be it a young gun or one of the veterans, a first timer or a “collector”. In either way this will again make history.

There have been some very nice video being released recently which sum up the glory, the fame and the specialty of the tournament. These are worth watching.

St Andrews

Claret Jug

Champion Golfer of the Year

Are you ready for history?

Countdown to the 144th Open Championship at St Andrews

Anybody who’s not getting goosebumps watching this short trailer is either blind, cold hearted or never picked up the game. In any case you might want to reconsider as I sense there is history in the making at this year’s 2015 The Open at St Andrews.

For more information check some other sites too:

Jordan Spieth wins the US Open and we can’t wait for The Open Championship

Two down. Two to go. #SpiethSlam

Huge congrats to Jordan Spieth who won the US Open in fashion yesterday. I have to admit that I fell asleep during the round at around 3am CET when the guys played their 9th hole (or so). But as I read it has been a fantastic finish with a happy end for Jordan and a much sadder result for Dustin Johnson…

DJ, we feel for you, this has been a great tournament for you and your time will come, most definitely!

Big shoutout to Jason Day who obviously struggled a ton during the round suffering from his vertigo attacks. Seemed like he had a horror round, no wonder he scored a +4 for the day. Hope he will get that sorted.

Much better on the other hand have been playing Charl Schwartzel, Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott who carded a fantastic -6 for the day. Pretty unbelievable when you ask me.

And good to see that golf is in very good hands nowadays, the young and athletic players are a very good flagship to this beautiful sport!

A new laser rangefinder to further improve the game

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Today I hit the range with a goal. The initial idea was to just go 18 holes today and then head back home. But I reconsidered and thought I do some very useful stuff for a change.

So I packed my clubs, left my trolley at home and made my way to the club in order to do some serious training. Usually I combine a quick range session and some chipping/putting with a common round of golf. No question I look forward to the round and need the range session just for a warm-up. I think it’s fair to say that I rarely just go practicing rather than playing.

Today was one of these days though!

Very recently I got a new golf toy in my hands. And to give you a quick background, usually I use a Garmin GPS watch on the course for my measurements. I’m playing a 15 handicap so the accuracy was absolutely fine for me. Goal is to get the ball on the green, 2 metres or 5 metres next to the pin, I didn’t care.

Well, I should! Putting is currently not my strength and every stroke that I can save is well played. More and more players these days use these golf lasers, or DMDs (Distance Measurement Devices) as you call them. Some of my golf mates use them for nearly every shot. I don’t think that’s necessary but I started to understand why DMDs can in some cases really be much better than GPS devices like my watch.

(1) is the accuracy: once the device tells you the flag is 148 metres away, you most likely use another club than if your GPS tells you the green centre is at 140.

(2) is the flexibility as you not only have the chance to measure the distance to the (front and back of the) green or a layup distance but also measure the distance to a bunker, a water hazard, a tree, a dogleg, etc. You just get so many more options to play save, because you can trust the yardage and then the only thing is to trust your swing too.

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Laser rangefinders are not new to the market, brands like Bushnell have sold their products for quite a while now but as I said I never saw any value in it as I was pretty happy with my GPS watch. What I learned today is that a laser rangefinder can really benefit the game.

On the range, I was able to precisely choose my targets, pins for example, and then practice on hitting clean shots to come up as close as possible. Usually I just focus on being straight but since earlier today I might change my range behaviour because I felt this really makes sense: you act the same being on the course, why should we practice different from what we need.

So, if you ask me, I’m sold. I’ll now carry my new toy with me on all rounds to come. And by the way, the device is super easy to use. It just needs two buttons and some minutes to get used to it. It features a pin seeker system which automatically detects that you’re trying to measure a pin and gives exact distances.

I have to admit that I have very little comparison but I can absolutely recommend the GolfLaser brand. Design is slick, it’s not super heavy, works correct and the price is much less than most of the big brands as you just order via their website. Give it a try.

By the way, just yesterday I saw an article on the internet that the pro tours might think about allowing DMDs during pro tournaments. Currently they are just allowed in private rounds, amateur tournaments or the practice days of pro tourneys. This might change soon and we potentially see Rory, Tiger and Bubba use their tool during whole of Thursday through Sunday. The Senior Tours will start making a move already this year.

More information:

Jordan Spieth: our new Masters champion

We have a new Masters champion!

Jordan Spieth, the 21-year old kid from Texas took the lead at the Masters and wouldn’t let go till the very end. In an interesting¬†Sunday battle he played like from another planet and managed to maintain his 5-shot lead till the 18th green.

While Spieth played so many birdies in this week than never before and at some point stood at 19-under which hasn’t been achieved yet it has been the other players who struggled and really failed to close the gap between them and Spieth.

Phil¬†Mickelson¬†had a great Sunday but even his brilliant short game didn’t help him out. Spieth’s was excellent as well. Dustin Jordan at least on Saturday seemed to be in a position to get closer to the top spot, but at some point it was obvious that he wouldn’t manage to stop the kid’s walk of fame. Tiger Woods’ game seemed to be completely out of control. On Sunday the first fairway he managed to hit was the 13th! Seriously: one—three! He was excellent in recovery shots though and he might even got his feeling back to get back into contention at a major. This was interrupted on the 9th when he injured himself hitting some hard ground under a tree (because he missed the fairways…). Justin Rose was very close but lost track on the second half. And Rory, yes Rory wasn’t in the best form either. He played well, had some fantastic shots but didn’t manage to bring down the numbers.

So it was Jordan Spieth who eventually dropped the last putt on the 18, hugged family and friends and was provided with the one and only piece of attire that every golfer is longing for: the green jacket at Augusta National.

Fun fact: watching the price giving ceremony later, you realised that Spieth so far very rarely put on proper jackets apparently. He had some troubles getting into the jacket with his arms all over the place and ended up not very gentleman-like saying “a little sweaty”, and smiled. What can you say… 21 years!

You have to really like this guy though. He played finest golf, tamed the beast Augusta National which seemed to be a bit easier this year but still is a¬†heck of a golf course. And I don’t know why but this year I somehow realised the huge elevation changes on TV for the first time. That absolutely impressed me, it doesn’t even seem easy to walk the course, not talking about placing balls one metre next to the hole.

Really a very interesting Masters tournament this year! I’m ready for the other majors this year and I’m sure Jordan Spieth won’t be a one hit wonder!