Spy on Golf: Tales of Redemption

September 8, 2011 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Entertaining News, Pro Insider, Spy Blog 

With the FedEx Cup playoffs on hiatus this week, we considered taking a breather, too. Hey, if there’s one thing more taxing than playing golf for a living, it’s writing about it.

Amateur David Law won the Northern Open

David Law

Yeah, not really. Besides, there’s still plenty of golf goings-on to discuss, such as:

Scottish amateur lays down the Law

How’s this for an in-your-face response: Snubbed for a spot on the Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup team, David Law went out and won last week’s Northern Open. A professional tournament.

Law, who must watch GB&I take on the United States from the sidelines of the very links where he won the 2009 Scottish boys championship, posted a four-round total of -14 to become the first amateur to win the event in 40 years.

For good measure, he took the high road afterward. “The timing of this is more important to other people,” he said, “than it is to me.”

Law is actually the first alternate for GB&I should one of its 10 players become incapacitated. Could make for a real Hollywood ending.

New Bjorn identity

From 1996-2006, Thomas Bjorn was a mainstay on the European golf scene. The burly Dane earned a pair of Ryder Cup berths, regularly contended in major championships, and never finished worse than 21st on the European Tour money list.

Over the next three years, Bjorn’s scores soared and his world ranking plummeted – all the way to 250th by the end of 2009. His swing and passion seemed to vanish overnight.

Bjorn began showing signs of renewal in 2010, when he won the Portuguese Open, then returned to genuine prominence by claiming the Qatar Masters in June of this year. His back-to-back victories at the Johnnie Walker Championship and Omega European Masters completed Bjorn’s rousing comeback story at age 40.

Yet more proof that golf is, despite appearances to the contrary, a forgiving game.

A couple more takes on golf’s hot topics:

  • Mickelson adds sports psychologist to team: Julie Elion joins Phil’s phalanx of on-call gurus, featuring Dave Pelz (short game), Dave Stockton (putting), Butch Harmon (full swing) and Sean Cochran (fitness). Next thing you know, Mickelson’s hair stylist will be joining him at Tour stops.
  • Faldo says Tiger won’t catch Nicklaus: Sir Nick claims Tiger is too distracted to win four more majors. And we thought his shredded knee, shattered ego, dozens of young challengers and re-re-reconstructed swing were the big obstacles.

Spy on Golf: A (Mildly) Controversial Week

September 1, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Entertaining News, Golf News, Pro Insider, Spy Blog 

First, let’s get this week’s Tiger-related headlines out of the way:

  • “Couples picks Woods for Presidents Cup squad”
  • “Tiger to tee it up at Frys.com Open”
  • “Mediate rips Woods’ former, current coaches”
  • “Haney hammers Mediate: ‘Absurd’”
  • “Woods may not qualify for own tournament”
  • “Tiger still searching for full-time caddie"

Whew! Did we miss anything?

Michelle Wie

Michelle Wie

No matter, that’s all the time were spending on El Tigre today. Other topics are top of mind, including an even more controversial pick for a U.S. team, eye-opening comments from women’s golf’s former queen about its would-be ruler, and Lefty’s flirtation with – you guessed it – the belly putter.

Onward!

Walker Cup choice a head-scratcher  

You may remember John Peterson as the over-enthusiastic collegian who, after finishing second to fellow amateur Harris English in a summer Nationwide Tour event, claimed that “the top guys in college, the top 20 or 30 guys, can beat the top 20, 30 guys on the PGA Tour.”

Now Peterson has a new claim to fame – he’s the golfer who was inexplicably stiffed by America’s Walker Cup selection committee. (FYI -- The Walker Cup pits 10 top U.S. ams against their counterparts from Great Britain and Ireland.)

The snub is simply shocking, given Peterson’s current ranking as the world’s No. 7 amateur. He also won the individual title at this year’s NCAA Championship and, yes, outplayed every pro in that Nationwide tourney.

No one is saying for sure why Peterson was passed over in favor of Blayne Barber, a fine but far less accomplished player. But the lesson may be that if you want to stay on the good side of golf’s high-and-mighty, it’s best to keep your mouth shut.

Sorenstam’s remarks a Wie bit off base

Speaking of, well, speaking out of turn, Annika Sorenstam recently chastised Michelle Wie for prioritizing her education – her Stanford education, at that. “I think her focus, in my opinion, should be more on golf,” Sorenstam said redundantly.

Our take: Let’s applaud Wie for pursuing not only her degree, but all the knowledge that comes with it. It’s refreshing to see a young person who treats college as something more than an inconvenient stepping stone to a professional career (athletic or otherwise).

By the way, Wie finished second last weekend at the Canadian Women’s Open. If only she’d studied a little less…

Our two cents on a few more topics:

  • Keegan Bradley tosses first pitch at Sox-Yankees game: His goal – throw it at least as far as his 71st-hole birdie putt at the PGA.
  • Rory McIlroy opens with 65 in Switzerland: The wrist is fine. Any questions?
  • Phil Mickelson tries belly putter in Deutsche Bank practice round: His set makeup – four drivers, six wedges, three putters and a rescue club.

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