Quality Field Assembling for Irish Open

By Thomas Rooney on 09-May-2012

 

The Irish Open is developing as a leading international golf tournament, and its pedigree is evident with the fact three that the current four Major champions are confirmed for June’s competition.   Current US Open Champion, Rory McIlroy, and reigning Open Champion, Darren Clarke, have long-been expected to play at Royal Portrush Golf Club in front of their home fans, but they have not been joined in the field by US PGA Championship winner, Keegan Bradley.   Have a bet with Bet Victor on the favourite to win the Irish Open, Rory McIlroy.    Add into the mix the likes of former Major winners, and home favourites, Graeme McDowell and Padraig Harrington, and Italian brothers, Edoardo and Francesco Molinari, it means that there is a top quality field assembling, and half of the victorious 2010 European Ryder Cup Team are already confirmed for County Antrim.   The presence of Bradley might be the most shocking to golf fans, as he has yet to play a professional tournament in Europe, but he is looking forward to competing in Ireland and breaking his trans-Atlantic duck.   “I’m very proud of my Irish heritage and I’ve wanted to represent them in the Irish national championship”, said Bradley.   “Also, Graeme and Darren both have told me what a fabulous layout Portrush is, so I’m doubly excited about the opportunity to compete there.”   The Irish Open takes place from June 28 to July 1 and is likely to be used as links practice by players involved in the British Open championship, which is scheduled from July 19th to July 22nd at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club.   McIlroy and Tiger Woods are expected to triumph in the Open, according to sports betting at Bet Victor.





Age no barrier in US Open

By Thomas Rooney on 02-May-2012

 

‘The older you are, the wiser you get’ is a popular saying, but not too many subscribe to the theory that your golf swing improves with each passing year. Like most other physical sports, strength is a key factor, especially when continuously driving off at each hole.   Visit the gym these days, and you are just as likely to see a Mcllroy or a Manassero pumping iron, in a bid to build up those biceps in preparation for a round of golf.   So, there will no doubt be some lean, mean, golfing machines on view at the Olympic Club, San Francisco, in June, but, back in the day, age was no bar to success in the big golf tournaments.   Step forward Hale Irwin, who in 1990, became the oldest player ever to win the US Open, when, aged 45 years and 15 days, he captured his third title, and with an eight under-par total as well.   There was also a certain Julius Boros, dual US Open winner in 1952 and 1963, who went on to land the 1968 PGA Championship at the ripe old age of 48. In fact, he still holds the record as the oldest PGA Tour winner; the nearest anyone came to equalling him was Jack Nicklaus at 46 years, 2 months, in 1986.   A look at the current world rankings reveals that most of the top 20 are in their 20’s and 30’s, but at number nine is one of the elder statesmen, Phil Mickelsen. ‘Lefty’ will celebrate his 42nd birthday on the Saturday of this year’s US Open, and after 20 attempts, is still looking for that elusive first win, having finished runner-up on a number of occasions.   He has a long way to go age-wise to enter the record books, but you never know, he might just be like a fine wine.   Oh, and just so we don’t get accused of reverse ageism, the youngest player ever to win the US Open was John McDermott, who, in 1911 achieved the feat just two months short of his 20th birthday.   The evergreen Tiger Woods is the current favourite to triumph, later this year, in the Open odds.





Donald admits Major concern

By Thomas Rooney on 25-Apr-2012

 

Luke Donald has admitted that his inability to win a Major is starting to trouble him, but he says he’s not ready to give up on his dream just yet. He has the support of the bookies; Donald is currently the fourth favourite in the betting odds to claim the title at the upcoming US Open.

The Englishman lost his status as world number one to Rory McIlroy, following a slack showing at last week’s RBC Heritage. He has struggled recently, most notably at the Masters at Augusta, where, despite heading into the week as one of the favourites, he finished in a tie for 32nd behind eventual champion, Bubba Watson.

Donald admits that his Masters disappointment has hit him hard. He accepts that he needs to learn to deal with a different pressure that comes with the Majors.

"It's about managing the pressure, and I need to do a bit better job of that at the majors," Donald told Sky Sports. "[The Masters] was disappointing, I felt so prepared, more prepared than I've ever felt, going into Augusta, and not playing up to my full potential was disappointing. But all these things you learn from, you get more and more experienced, and I think my time will come."

After dominating the sport last year, Donald has struggled this season. His famous short game appears to have deserted him at the most crucial of moments. The 34-year-old believes the decline in his play around the greens, most notably, his putting, just goes to show how important a sharp short game is at the highest level.

"My short game hasn't been quite as sharp as it was last year. That's something I'll be focusing on in the next few weeks," he said. "There's very fine lines between having a great year, like I had last year, and not being quite as consistent."





Improved Form Pleases Harrington

By Thomas Rooney on 12-Apr-2012

Padraig Harrington is confident that he can replicate his fine form at this month’s US Masters at the three remaining Majors this year.

The 40-year-old Dubliner already has three Majors to his name, although his best finishes at the US Open were in 2000 and 2006, when he came fifth.   Harrington won The Open Championship in 2007 and 2008, and the USPGA Championship in 2008, as he put together a superb 13 months of golf.   However, his form has dipped alarmingly since that golden period and he had failed to trouble the leaders in any of the recent Majors. The Irishman’s popularity with fans looking to bet on golf has also fallen.   Harrington had slipped from third in the world rankings to 96th but was still in contention at Augusta, last week, until the final holes. He is looking forward to building on that success.   After finishing eighth, - a disappointing result, as he posted a double-bogey six on the 72nd hole of the tournament - Harrington said: “I was very composed and relaxed.   “Doubling the last cost me money, but nothing else. Maybe one day, coming down 18, I will have to hole that putt that I three-putted and I will know it is quick.   “I was on an even keel all day - there were no highs or lows in my round at all. I’d be happy if I was like that every Sunday at a Major because you are going to win plenty playing golf like that.”   There were signs before the Masters that Harrington was returning to form as he was tied for seventh at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in February, and shot a brilliant 61 at last month’s Transitions Championship in Florida.   For those interested in placing a bet on US Open Golf, Padraig Harrington, is currently an outsider for the title, at 66/1.





Player Profile: Phil Mickelson

By Thomas Rooney on 10-Apr-2012

Phil Mickelson is highly regarded as one of the greatest players to have played the wonderful sport of golf.

The American international has won a range of prestigious titles including four major championships and 40 events on the PGA Tour. The 41-year-old currently holds the world number fourteen spot. Whilst playing at his best Mickelson was ranked number two. One of my predictions is that the four-time major championship titleholder will retain his world number two ranking by the end of this year.


The left-handed golfer turned professional after graduating from Arizona State University in 1992. But it wasn't until February 1993 that Mickelson won his first tournament on the PGA tour. His first competition victory was at the Buick Invitational of California. Mickelson won this particular tournament by a total of seven strokes, beating the likes of Jay Don Blake, Jay Haas, and Greg Twiggs.


Mickleson's greatest achievement has to be his four major title victories. The 41-year-old first won a Major in the Masters Tournament back in 2004. He managed to defeat South African international Ernie Els by one stroke. His second major title win was the PGA Championship in 2005. In this particular event Mickelson beat Danish international Thomas Bjorn and Australian Steve Elkington by one stroke.

The third time the left-hander claimed a major was in the 2006 Masters Tournament. In this competition Mickelson defeated South African Tim Clark by two strokes. The fourth and last time the American won a major title was two years ago in the 2010 US Masters Tournament. This was the year he beat the current world number three Lee Westwood by a total of three strokes.


In the ongoing Masters Tournament Mickelson is in the Third Round of the competition with a score of two under par. He is generally considered as the third favourite to win the competition with golf odds of around 10/1.



Last edit : Tue 10th Apr 2012 16:28


Golf Player Profile - Luke Donald

By Thomas Rooney on 10-Apr-2012

Luke Donald, the current world number one, has made a massive impact on the wonderful sport of golf. The 34-year-old first became the number one ranked player in May 2011.

He held pole position in the rankings for 40 weeks until he was briefly overtaken by Northern-Irish sensation Rory McIlroy on the 4th of March 2012. The Englishman regained first position in the world rankings  after a mere two weeks with Donald's victory at the Transitions Championship on the 18th of March 2012.

Donald made his professional debut back in 2001. The following year the prolific Englishman managed to collect his first professional accolade by winning the 2002 True South Classic on the PGA Tour.

On the 2004 European Tour the 34-year-old won the Omega European Masters and the Scandinavian Masters. In the same year he won the Ryder Cup with his European compatriots and the WGC-World Cup for England whilst partnering with fellow Englishman Paul Casey.

Donald was in the top twenty by 2005 and after winning the 2006 Honda Classic the 34-year-old became a top ten golfer in the world rankings.

Donald's achievements are quite astounding. In 2011 he managed to rightfully receive the PGA Player of the Year and the PGA Tour Player of the Year becoming the first Englishman to ever achieve this feet. He has won a total of five PGA Tours and seven European Tours with five of those wins being in 2011.   

Donald looks to be in inspired form this year and I am quite sure the Englishman would like to win a major tournament for the first time. At the moment the 34-year-old is playing in the 2012 Masters tournament. Donald finished the first day on three over par which must have disappointed the talented Brit. Luke Donald is currently the fifteenth favourite to win the 2012 Masters with golf odds of around 40/1 .
 





Rory McIlroy

By Thomas Rooney on 10-Apr-2012

The young Irish sensation Rory McIlroy has made a huge impact in the golf scene since his professional debut back in 2007. The former world number one, and current world number two, had a highly successful amateur career topping the World Amateur Golf Ranking for one week as a 17-year-old in 2007.

Later that year he turned professional and established himself on the European Tour. The 22-year-old, originally from County Down Northern Ireland, gathered his first European Tour win in the Dubai Desert Classic in January 2009. By the end of the tour McIlroy finished second in the final standings winning a total of £2,973,707.84.   

McIlroy managed to claim his first major in the 2011 US Open becoming the youngest golfer to win a major since Bobby Jones in 1923. This important victory brought McIlroy to number four in the world rankings.

In March 2012 the 22-year-old won the Honda Classic, which in turn made him the number one ranking in the world. He was knocked off the number one spot a mere two-weeks later after current number one Luke Donald claimed the Transitions Championship.

At the moment the 2012 Masters is well underway with McIlroy featuring in the prestigious competition. The 76th edition of the tournament is one of four major tournaments and is being held at the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, USA. Rory ended his first day of the competition one under par after scoring two birdies on the final two holes. The golf odds  for McIlroy to win this year's Masters tournament are set at odds of around 6/1 making him the second favourite to win the competition.

The Northern-Irishman is certainly one of the most exciting prospects in the beautiful game of golf and is destined to become one of the highest earners in the near future.
 



Last edit : Tue 24th Apr 2012 12:36


Englishmen dismiss ‘two-horse race'

By Thomas Rooney on 06-Apr-2012

 

 

Englishmen Luke Donald and Lee Westwood have played down talk that this weekend’s Masters will be a two-horse race between Rory McIlroy and the in-form Tiger Woods. The English duo are both looking to clinch their maiden major titles and believe this weekend’s field will be an open one and not simply just a case of waiting for the new ‘rivals’ Woods and McIlroy to lock horns on Sunday.

 

Westwood said: "Rory's never won here, Tiger's not won here since 2005 so I think everybody in this room would have to be naïve to think it was a two-horse race.”

 

World number one Donald was of a similar feeling to his fellow Englishman.

 

"It's a little naive to say that they are the only two that have a chance to win around here. Just in the last, what, three or four years of majors, I don't think there's been a multiple winner.

 

McIlroy’s implosion at last year’s tournament has ensured he will come under some intense pressure this weekend, with many eager to see whether the Northern Irishman can put those demons to bed. Success at the US Open did a lot to help McIlroy bounce back from his Masters’ heartbreak, however, there is still surely a little apprehension this time around.

 

Woods’ weekend will be sure to be the subject of the usual circus, although this one will have genuine belief that the four-time winner could go on win his first major since 2008, this weekend. The former world number one claimed victory at Bay Hill last month, proving he is back to something like his best and prompting everyone and his dog to back the American to now re-establish himself as the sport’s dominant force. and go in the face of online Masters golf odds. 





Poulter happy with his preparations

By Thomas Rooney on 05-Apr-2012

 

Ian Poulter has defended his decision not to ask six-time Major winner Nick Faldo for any advice as he looks to improve his record in the big tournaments.


Faldo, 54, won the Masters three times - in 1989, 1990 and 1996 - as well as The Open in 1987, 1990 and 1992 which made him one of the great golf betting tips of his day.


Faldo also finished second at the US Open in 1988 and was tied for second at the USPGA Championship four years later.


Former Ryder Cup captain Faldo recently expressed surprise that none of Europe’s leading players had come to him for advice in the build-up to this month’s US Masters, particularly as last year’s winner, Charl Schwartzel, had help from six-time champion Jack Nicklaus before the 2011 tournament began.


Poulter, who is "95 per cent" recovered from the pneumonia he suffered last month, said: "It is hard to take advice from someone with a very different game and a very different mindset to you.

“If you try to put yourself into the mindset of someone else you could potentially struggle. I'm not Jack, I'm not Nick Faldo, I'm not Seve, I'm me."


The 36-year-old's best Masters finish came two years ago when he was tied for tenth but 12 months ago in Augusta he could only finish equal 27th.


Poulter is currently ranked 24th in the world but did rise as high as eighth in 2010 after he won the WGC Match Play.


He was forced to pull out of last month’s Honda Classic after being diagnosed with pneumonia only to then finish third at the Arnold Palmer Invitational; a result closely monitored by those gambling at Betfair online.





Donald ready to break his duck

By Thomas Rooney on 05-Apr-2012

 

World number one Luke Donald is hoping that he can win the first Major of his career this year.

The 34-year-old briefly lost his number one ranking earlier in the year to Rory McIlroy but, as he prepares for his eighth US Masters at Augusta, he is back at the top of the listings again making him one of the better Betfair golf betting tips.

Donald thinks he is ready to break his Major duck but is only too aware that he has a poor record in the four top tournaments of the year.

Donald finished tied for fourth last year and was equal third in 2005 but does not have a particularly good record at Augusta.


He has an even worse record at the US Open, which takes place in June, having never finished in the top ten before. His best finish in the tournament came six years ago when he was 12th.

Donald said: "I think I have to play very solidly. If I play my best, hopefully that will be good enough.

"But I feel like what I've learnt, especially from the last year or two, is that I don’t need to play quite my best. I just need to play good golf."


Donald, who has won five tournaments in the last 14 months, will play the opening two rounds at Augusta alongside Ryder Cup team-mate Francesco Molinari and American Nick Watney.

However, he has decided not to defend his par-three title on Wednesday so that he can concentrate on winning the tournament.



Last edit : Thu 5th Apr 2012 12:00


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