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!

The most interesting Thursday of a Masters Tournament for a long time

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Yesterday I was—like so many others—watching the first day of the 2015 Masters Tournament on television, witnessing Ernie Els’ great round, Tiger’s weird shots, Jason Day’s great back nine and Jordan Spieth’ amazing performance.

It was really a pleasure to watch him; awesome approaches, great putts, fantastic recovery shots. All that seemed so easy and in the end he was one shot short of the Augusta National course record, as he carded a 64. Brilliant performance by the 21-year old! Can’t wait to see the rest of the tournament. When the weekend turns out to be as exciting as the Thursday, then I guess we are quite some lucky guys.

Click here or the image above to see a Thursday summary.

It’s Masters week

Folks, don’t try to disturb me during the next four days. But as I’m sure you’re spending the time exactly like me, I’m not expecting any trouble.

Kidding aside, the next couple of days will be probably the most important in golf in 2015: the first major of the year, the Masters, the holy grail of golf, bringing out legends, living traditions and catering for unlimited stories to be told.

I just can’t wait to see the first ball fly! Unfortunately I have to work Thursday/Friday but I hope to see lots of golf in the evening and night hours as I’m watching from Central Europe. On Saturday I’ll play a round on my own in the morning and then head back home in front of the telly. Sunday pretty much the same thing, spending time with the wifey in the morning, then later spending time with the Masters, the golf masters.

May the best man win! Frankly, I’ve put on some online wagers. As I couldn’t decide on one guy only, I’ve spread my money across four heads. We’ll see if that’s successful or not. Rory McIlroy being one of them, I just want to see him succeed winning the career slam at his age.

For all of you, enjoy the weekend, give your partner a big kiss and ask for absolute silence in order to purely concentrate on golf. And don’t forget to return the favour!

Tiger got his smile back

Not only are all his teeth where they used to be, Tiger seems to be pain-free, back in shape and willing to make a statement at the Masters this year.

Over the last years Tiger here and there dropped out of tournaments for various reasons; knee problems, back problems and sometimes most likely swing problems as well. For some people out there Tiger’s explanations afterwards sounded like nothing but excuses.

Undoubtedly he was in pain sometimes and wasn’t in the form he used to be and although we all wish him luck and a good game, it’s Tiger himself who most likely will hate the fact the most that he’s not good enough anymore currently to be in contention to win a tournament, a “normal” PGA Tour tournament that is.

Just recently Tiger fell out of the top 100 world ranking list and we all may believe that he’d like to have that changed again. This man is pure golf passion, he basically lived for nothing but this sport. He will give everything necessary to be part of the big guys club again. We will see in the following days whether that plan plays out or not.

One interesting quote from today’s the press conference: “My biggest motivation? Winning!… I like it!” with that huge smile on his face.

This week’s gonna be so interesting!