Tiger woods

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.

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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.

 

Jordan the 2nd

Where to start with this one…

America has already seen one of the best Jordan’s to grace the sporting world, so is it time for one more?

He might not be an NBA legend like Michael, however Jordan Spieth, who last year won the John Deere Classic to became the fourth youngest PGA Tour champion and also the first teenager in 82 years to win on the PGA Tour, is about to set the golfing world on fire!

Everybody watched Sunday right?

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Composed (most of the time), creative, mature (again at times) and with that instinct you just don’t see in every young kid? Yep and he’s only 20 years old! I am slightly envious being 2 years older than him and still hacking at my local club yes!

Now before we get started I hate to say I told you so.. however..I told you so, see our first blog on ones to watch for the year.

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Without a doubt Sunday was the start of something, something just a little bit special! I’m sure he won many fans over last week, and it’s not hard to see why!

He poses an excellent short game, and is just an incredibly talented young guy, however this isn’t what separates Spieth from the other young potential pool of talents out there. Spieth conducts himself in a completely different manner to the other youngsters out there, he’s calm, collected and could be… ‘could be’ mentioned in the same breath as Mcilroy. Not yet I admit, but he isn’t too far away!

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For me, Rory McIlroy represents the RAW talent in the game, so many youngsters progress to be a pro and so many fall short.

Rory for me, is the only player since Tiger to have capitalised on their raw talent, with two major wins in 2012. Rory knew he had this, he just had to unlock his true potential. Dustin Johnson is up there and has improved year upon year, and Jason Day too!

Oppositely you look towards Adam Scott, he has in my opinion the best swing in the game, and was labelled the next ‘Tiger’ and yet it took him an age to realise just how good he was, since winning the green jacket last year he just looks ruthless!

But Spieth? He’s here to stay, in my eyes a definite future major champion, this year or next? Maybe, maybe not he, consistency is key in my eyes, once he gets on that ladder he will definitely be up there for good!

Now Rory and Tiger showed promised potential, Jordan’s obviously got a long ladder to climb before being in the same ball park as Tiger or Rory but this could definitely become possible!

 

Augusta, Masters betting preview 2014

So the Masters gets under way tomorrow, don’t know about anybody else but I’ve cleared the schedule, the mum and dad are away and ive got a weekend with some food, the couch and the TV. In between all that I’ll be having a little bet or two.

So to cut it short, here are a few pics and ones to watch.

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DJ!! So, Dustin Johnson might have seven top 10’s in Majors since 2009 but he has never managed a win in four attempts at Augusta. Last year however saw DJ ‘T13 his best yet in his quest for the green jacket. This season Dustin Johnson though the big man is a different animal all together. So what has changed? Firstly he’s found form with the flat stick and a glance at his stats proves it; he’s gone from 117th in Strokes gained putting to 10th. And If you’re still not satisfied he’s also second in driving distance AND greens in regulation for good measure. He’s also never been in form like he is going into Augusta with second place finishes at Pebble Beach and Riviera and a fourth at Doral. Definitely one to watch!

I’ll be honest, I hate betting on majors and especially The Masters. Predicting a winner is pretty well impossible! Think we would have more chance sticking the lottery on, but that’s not as fun right?

Betting each way? Not a bad shout at all, Matt Kuchar is a solid and safe bet in my opinion. Kuuuuch started the season well with a T6 and T8 at the TOC and Sony Open before taking a month off then missing the Riviera cut. However since then he has silently been building momentum towards the Masters as evidenced by that excellent showing in Texas. He always seems to be up there these days, there or there abouts anyway.

Touch and go but still I have a feeling Keegan Bradley will have a much better Masters than last year. Anything has to be better than that Saturday 82 last year right? But credit to Keegan he went out Sunday and shot a 69 to leave with better memories. Already a major champion and his game suits Augusta, long driver, high ball flight and he’s not bad at scrambling either!

If you have been following us the past month or two you will know we are big Fowler fans! He’s seeing a good start to the season thanks to his new swing, I feel he’s maturing a lot more now too, a lot like Mcilroy did, something’s clicked and I think Rickie isn’t far away from showing his true potential. Still too early? Maybe, who knows, definitely one of my outside bets I think.

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Now Sergio, where to start with good old Sergio. Extremely good ball striker, perfect for Augusta, oozes class and definitely has the ability to tear Augusta apart. He also has the ability to implode which has happened to him far too often. He’s another one of my favourite golfers, and he has to win one someday doesn’t he? I bet on him every year in hope he does, so he best do anyway to recuperate some of the losses I’ve had on him haha!

Now this one is, well it’s a long shot, a huge long shot however I feel there is a case to be made for this guy.

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Trevor Immelman… no no stay with me, hear me out, I know what you are thinking. He’s struggled with injuries over the years and slipped drastically out of touch with the game I know, however four consecutive cuts from The Honda to the Texas Open has been a huge confidence boost for the South African heading back to the site of his most famous victory in 2008. Four other top 20 finishes at Augusta also add to his credentials.

A field without Tiger is anybody’s game and there’s so much talent right now it’s hard to choose from, there for, a typical disclaimer here… I can’t be held responsible for all of the above loosing you all and myself included a lot of money!

Don’t forget to share, also, if you have picked some winners we’d love to know! Comment below! 🙂

Masters Week, Augusta starts here!

IT’S MASTERS WEEK!!! The one we have all been waiting for, the first major of the year, and the major of all majors. Augusta National.

My dream came true this time last year, as I actually got to go to the Masters, we played some courses in South Carolina during the week and spent the weekend inside the gates of Augusta! Somehow I don’t think SkySports can recreate that this week, or ever in fact, however I am equally as excited!

Anyway let’s get to it, Masters week, nothing quite like it is there? The build-up, the par 3 contest, and then the first Tee! Oh Boy!

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Out of reach for Woods?

Tiger Woods’s run of featuring in every Masters since 1995 is over after confirmation that the world No1 will not play at this week.

Woods, has been plagued by back trouble since the latter half of last year, underwent surgery on a pinched nerve last on Monday. He has set his sights on a return to action this summer and insists his career is far from over.

Big Phil also had problems last week withdrawing from the Texas Open with strained oblique’s, this said people are writing him off, and that’s all well and good but let’s be honest, out of every player in that field, Phil can always find the momentum in the majors!

Check back on Wednesday for our betting previews, not to be missed!

The Fowler Spectrum

Rickie..Rickie, Rickie, Rickie…

You remember Rickie Fowler, the young gun from Oklahoma State, the kid with the long, floppy hair under hats with bills far too big, how can you forget, he wears bright orange!!!

We briefly spoke about Rickie towards the start of the season when He teamed up with Butch Harmon for 2014.

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All kinds of talent, a great amateur career, eccentric, unique, even a motor-cross fanatic, Rickie Fowler has it all. I was watching the golf the other day and there was a piece on him, and it mentioned even with all of that, he has just one win since he hit the PGA Tour, causing a considerable stir in the world of golf.

At the ripe old age of 25, the wonder kid has been to the winner’s circle just once. But guess what? That very same guy, the one with only one win on the PGA Tour has won over $11 million. And the truth is that 2012 season, in which he won the Wells Fargo Championship, could have been even better. He was in the next-to-last group in the final round of the Memorial Tournament but managed to shoot an 84 to fall out of contention quickly.

This very well could be the year he breaks through that glass ceiling. Why? Well for a couple of reasons, actually. First, he is 25. Fowler has managed to get through the growing years as a professional golfer rather nicely. He’s posted 24 top-10 finishes and 43 top-25 finishes. There’s no doubt this kid can play.

He started out this season with a T19 in the CIMB Classic in the fall part of the 2013-14 season, and after five less-than-sparkling outings, he finished third in the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship.

As previously mentioned he also has a new swing coach, and yup, the guy he hired has a glittering resume. You may recognize some of his students and former students. Do the names Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson ring any bells? Yes, Butch Harmon is the man, and he’s been working with Fowler since December 2013. Harmon has had a major stable of players over the years, led by Woods and Mickelson, and he knows talent. Look towards Dustin Johnson too.

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Fowler showed up at the Northern Trust Open with those long locks gone and the straight bill look on his golf hats. The new compact swing has taken a bit of time to yield results, but Fowler loves it.

“I’ve been swing well, the swing feels really comfortable. I know a lot of people question whether its swing changes (causing poor play) or if I’m not comfortable with it. But really I just need to get the putter warmed back up.” Look, this guy can play. He averages 298 yards off the tee, but his issues previously have been keeping those bombs in the short grass. He only does that about 57 percent of the time. That should be something that could be corrected by the instruction Harmon is providing along with that more compact swing.

Fowler is absolutely right when he talks about his putting. It’s been miserable thus far in 2014. He’s ranked 174th in the “strokes gained putting” category. Very few winners on the PGA Tour are lousy putters. He’s made a name for himself with his colourful clothing, but that’s not what he wants to be known for when he’s 40 years old. Right now, however, those clothes might be the only way golf fans will be able to recognize him because his short haircut gives him a totally different look. It all seems to be coming together for Fowler, and if it does, 2014 could be a spectacular breakout year for him.

There’s more to come from us, subscribe and share, and thanks again for reading!