Golf

The PGA Championship betting preview

So then, here we are for one last final hurrah. ‘Glory’s last shot’ (or now what they laboriously call ‘The Seasons Final Major’

The PGA Championship 2014 provides that final opportunity for all the worlds best to grab hold of a major, whilst this year it is the start of that final push for Ryder Cup qualifications, for those eligible 😉

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So then, this sets up to be a cracker, a few big names all playing seriously well, this has the potential to be a beaut of a final major for 2014! But who will win, Mcilroy is looking unmovable as the World number one whilst Sergio is ‘serging’ forward to a great year in 2014. Apologies for the pun!

Well, Valhalla. That name just sounds so cool doesnt it? Yeah, yeah anyway… The par 71 course will play at 7,458 yards – a remarkable 295 yards longer than Oak Hill last year and a couple of hundred more since Valhalla last hosted a major event – the 2011 Senior PGA Championship.

Valhalla is very much risk and reward, every winner since 2004 has averaged 290+ yards on Tour before their PGA victory (barring Jason Dufner last year!) But it’s not all about the length, ohhhh no! ther’s more to Valhalla than just smashing your tee ball– this war will require bravery yes, but a strategic battle-plan will, without doubt, provide us with the winner.

The tips you ask? Well, lets get to it.

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SERGIOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

The 1999 PGA Championship was the scene of Sergio Garcia’s arrival, a much more hot-headed character to the one we see today. It’s a tournament that has also seen him finish 2nd, back in 2008. With his newfound putting ability and love for the ‘claw grip’, Sergio has the perfect armory to attack Valhalla. Sergio has been is superb form lately, with a great display at the open and the wGC last week, he’s in touching distance of Mcilroy and it seems he’s got some good form at the right time.

Matt Kuchar, like Serge, he’s not far away, both of them are more than capable of winning a major, is it just a matter of time?

Rory. Enough said, he’s on flames at the moment and if he plays like he has been doing there is very little anybody else can do about it.

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Mahan, to me Hunter Mahan is one of the best American golfers on tour. His sweet ball striking, matched with consistency off the tee could help Hunter battle his way through Valhalla.

A bit of Aussie grit? Yeah Scotty should be up there as per, but we are talking Marc Leishman! 6 top 10s which include a 3rd last week at the WGC, T5 at The Open, T8 at the Quicken Loans National and T2 at Farmers Insurance Open, a few good ffinishes at tricky courses show he could be a contender for the final major!

Sooooooooooooooo the stage is set, the final major, lets see whatcha got Valhalla!

Thanks again!

The Open, Royal Liverpool Betting Preview

Hello! Sorry it’s been a while, the weather has been BEAUUUTIFUL up North, which if you are from England will know this doesn’t happen all too often. This weather only means one thing, evening rounds of golf after work YES!!!

Anyway, its Open week, actually there’s only a day to go so let’s get to it!

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I love the Open, I’ve been the past few years and we’ve made it a tradition ever since. We’re off to Hoylake on Sunday for the final round and I cannot wait! I think this year more than ever it is completely wide open.

Rose, Mcilroy, Mcdowell are all in with a shout along with half the field, annnnnnnnd Tigers back! Tiger coming back is always good for golf and of course adds a little more excitement to the competition. Whether you are a player or a spectator, you want Tiger there over the weekend!

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So my tips, take these with a pinch of salt as I really can’t call this one!

The actual course is a 7,312 yard par 72 with 4 par 5s that are so vital to finding a winner – The last time it was held at Hoylake in 2006, Tiger shot a remarkable -14 on those 16 trips to the longer holes and it was a big contribution to his -18 total that won him the trophy by 2 shots from Chris DiMarco.

His game plan? Tee to green master class.  With the weather in everyone’s favour he found 85.71% of fairways (1st in Driving Accuracy for the week) and 80.56% of GIR (1st for GIR.)

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You are going to need a solid and accurate game from tee to green in order to win any Open Championship.  If you do find the hay then it is just as important how you recover, therefore scramblers always seem to do well.

Justin Rose, coming off a win up in Scotland Rose’s game seems in fine form ready for Hoylake, is it his time to lift the claret jug?

G-Mac The French open saw Mcdowell as he ground his way to another European title. His all round game suits Hoylake, getting up and down is what he does best, he’s a grinder, this sets up for him very nicely.

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Rickie Fowler, we have been raving about Rickie all year, we can’t stop now, he has to win at some point right?

Webb Simpson, you will NOT win the Open without a good putting stroke. Actually you won’t win a lot without a good putting stroke, luckily this man has one of the best putters in the game! 2 top 3 finishes in his last 4 will also fill the American with confidence.

Zach Johnson, again another contender, 2nd last week at the John Deere, his short game is impeccable, I think he will contend for a top spot as he picks apart Royal Liverpool.

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There’s so many to pick from this week, it really is tough to call, outsiders for me are,

Shane Lowry, we saw enough of him at the Scottish Open to suggest he could be in for a career defining week, a game suited to the links courses with both of his wins coming from the coastal ranks. Shane is arguably playing some of the best golf of his career right now.

Danny Willet’s game is right there at the moment, being an Englishman he will feel right at home on Hoylake and with a decent showing at Scotland he could be a real outsider..Could be.

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Do you guys have any tips? Or have you been to Hoylake before and have any course tips, where to go, stand, which grandstands to go to etc, get in touch and let us know, otherwise enjoy the golf!

That’s all for now folks, thanks again!

I’ll have  couple of course reviews coming up soon and lots more to come, stay tuned. As always if you enjoy my Ramblings you can follow me on twitter @shaun_lloyd4.

Kaymer no one hit wonder!

A forgotten hero no more! Yes, welcome back Martin Kaymer!

The U.S. Open trophy Martin Kaymer won Sunday was all he needed to prove he was anything but a one-hit wonder in the majors, and that the two years he spent trying to build a complete game were worth all the doubt that followed him.

Now, golf is a lonely game at times, it’s mostly an individual sport and wherver you are, it can seem like you are on your own. Well, Martin Kaymer kind of took that to a whole new level this weekend, playing his own golf tournament at Pinehurt no.2 in North Carolina!

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Over the four days at Pinehurst No. 2, he dusted the field in a performance that ranks among the best.

Kaymer returned to the elite in golf by turning the toughest test in golf into a runaway at Pinehurst No. 2, becoming only the seventh player to go wire-to-wire in the 114 years of the U.S. Open. Only three players finished the championship under par

“You want to win majors in your career, but if you can win one more, it means so much more,”

Both his last two wins are the U.S. Open and The Players Championship, with the strongest and deepest field in golf. He has never trailed after any round in both of them! Oh the Germans are efficient arent they!

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Kaymer joined Seve Ballesteros, Ernie Els, Woods and McIlroy as the only players to win two majors and be No. 1 in the world before turning 30 since the world ranking began in 1986. He is the fourth European in the last five years to win the U.S. Open, after Europeans had gone 40 years without this title.

It’s a rebirth for Kaymer, who reached No. 1 in the world in February 2011, only to believe that he needed a more rounded game. His preferred shot was a fade. Kaymer spent two hard years and a lot of lonely hours on the range in Germany and his American home in Scottsdale, Arizona.

He was as low as No. 63 in the world six weeks ago. Now he goes to No. 11.

 

Pinehurst No.2, 114th US Open

Let’s get straight to it, the second of the majors gets underway this week with the 114th US Open, at Pinehurst No.2. Woooooooooooooooo!

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Did you know… ( I didn’t either)

Twelve of the 14 US Open winners this century have been aged between 26 and 37 – only Woods and McIlroy have won at an age younger than 26 and in the case of those two world class stars such players are always likely to buck trends. Reducing the age range of the last 14 winners further, exactly 50% of them have been aged between 29 and 33.

So what does it take to win the US Open?

Well, in 2010, Pinehurst underwent a massive renovation that completely changed the way it plays. The course cut 35-40 acres of area that was just fairways and rough.

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‘The course now consists of 50 acres of turf, all maintained at fairway mowing heights, essentially eliminating the higher rough. The rest of the marginal areas were transformed into irregular, sandy ground dotted with wispy, unpredictable wiregrass. Bunkers that had been grown over also were reclaimed, while some existing ones were tugged and extended into lines of play.’

So yes, now it has been cut back it does allow the longer hitters to have a little more room when they hit bombs but I think Pinehurst will still have enough bite to punish those wayward drives to make some think twice for their risk and reward.

However for me I still think it’s going to come down to strong approach play, tight recovery shots and a magical touch around the greens that will Unlock Pinehurst No.2 come weekend.

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Although Rors and the inform (never really out of form) Adam Scott are favourites I honestly think it’s somebody else’s day… Not Jason’s either (apologies for the pun!)

To me this favours players like Jim Furyk, Graeme McDowell and Zach Johnson. They aren’t the most intimidating off the tee, but they understand that putting the ball where it needs to be is more important come Sunday!

Other favourites for me are Matt Kuchar, steady eddy, a few hiccups here and there so far in 2014 but Matt’s always there, scrambles well too which will be key at Pinehurst!

Another one for me is Jason Duffner, another easy going guy, but hey what do I know, let’s wait and see, bring on Pinehurst!

Who’s your pick to win the US Open? Who will rule the weekend at North Carolina?

 

Major issues for Tiger

So Tiger announced last week that he will be missing the US Open in a couple of weeks…Noooooo! I don’t know about you but through his trials and tribulations, injuries and so on I just want to see Tiger back to his best, and at the top of that leaderboard.

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A question so many ask and I guess only time will tell, will he pass Nicklaus, will he get passed 18? Well not by missing majors he won’t!

There is nothing magical about the age of 38 for many professional athletes. Late thirties bring about certain changes in an athlete’s body, you start to slow, injuries keep popping up and the majority have sights set on their future after they fall in to retirement.

The minority who preserve themselves thanks to good genes, habits, luck, Ryan Giggs’ Yoga DVD, you name it know the clock is ticking. Okay golf is a little different, plus you get the senior tour too, however when you’re talking about beating records, age has everything to do with it!

Even for the great Jack Nicklaus. “My golf game can only go on so long,” he said……. at 38.

One might have been an unmarked intersection out in the country, the other a junction with bright, flashing lights in a big city, but Nicklaus was at a crossroads when he was 38 as Woods finds himself in the same situation. At that point of their careers, there are similarities and differences between the legend who set the standard and the one who is trying to eclipse it.

Nicklaus, who turned 38 on Jan. 21, 1978, had gone two years without winning a major championship after capturing the 1975 PGA at Firestone CC for his 14th professional major title (a number that wasn’t used nearly so much as 16, which included his two U.S. Amateur victories). In the 1977 Masters and British Open, Nicklaus had been beaten by a younger man, Tom Watson.

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“Sure you wonder if you’re going to win again,” Nicklaus said,

For Nicklaus, major No. 15 was indeed a drought-buster — although he had won eight regular tournaments since the ’75 PGA — but it wasn’t being plotted as an essential way point on a journey. When he won the 1973 PGA Championship, it was Nicklaus’ 12th pro major, surpassing Walter Hagen’s 11, and 14th overall, bettering Bobby Jones’ 13. Nicklaus would have plenty of opponents after August of ’73, but history wasn’t one of them.

He was so competitive, and so good, that a back stretch with a target number at the finish line might well have pushed Nicklaus to win more than 18 majors — converting at least a few of the 17 top-four major finishes he had after the ’73 PGA into victories.

That is speculation. The reality is that Woods’ hopes of surpassing the great Golden Bear are slowly fading, missing the Masters and now the US Open, you wonder if he can find that fire in his belly again to compete let alone win another 4 majors.jack-nicklaus-tiger-2009-vert-apjpg-2a840c9d9c356a31

Fourteen was just a number for Nicklaus. For Woods, it is a punctuation mark no one ever dreamed would be a period. Since then he’s hit trouble in some way or another, many thought last year could see his return, Tiger was on the prowl, however another set back meant he fell short of another major success.

“I know I’ve won with something besides the shots,” Nicklaus told Deford in 1978 after rediscovering his major touch, “but I don’t know for sure what that something is.”

Well the first thing Tiger needs is a new back, knee, hip, and elbow that all work, joking!! Once fit again he needs to find that ‘something’, that very same something that made him one of the most remarkable athletes of his era, that desire, that passion to win, that.. fear factor! Tiger, who once seemed to overflow with it, needs some magic!

What are your thoughts, reckon he will match or pass the great Jack Nicklaus or will he fall short on his mission to conquer the great game. Let me know.

 

Just tap it in.. Tap it in!

You may have seen from previous videos, I’m a big fan of ye olde Bubba! The 2014 Masters Champion is not only known for his long hitting but also for his life of the course, he’s become somewhat of a Youtube sensation.  (Apologies for my biased opinion ha!)

So as well as the fire suit, and the wakeboarding he also loves his trick shots and occasionaly the odd visit to Ping!

Well, check out his latest mini golf conquest, its AWESOME!

Get in the hole!

 

11 years old… Yep just 11

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Just WOW! Actually, yeah.. just Wow!

Golf has definitely bypassed the stereotypes of being ‘boring’ ‘fat’ and ‘Old’ in the last 10 years or so, we welcome the new era, athletic, exhilarating and full of youth!

This week has been another huge one in the world of golf. The growth of golf has been tremendous all over the world, especially in China, and a product of this huge trend is Lucy Li! Earlier this year, 11 year old Lucy Li won her age division at the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship at the Masters.

That’s not the biggest news for her this year though as this past Monday, she qualified for the US Women’s Open at PinehurstNo.2 this year by winning her sectional qualifier at Half Moon Bay by seven strokes! This breaks Lexi Thompson’s record of being the youngest ever to compete in the US Women’s Open at the age of 12 back in 2007. Definitely not bad for an 11 year old!