Woods hopes to regain top spotBy Thomas Rooney on 27-Jan-2012
Tiger Woods can’t wait to get his new season underway when he takes part in his first tournament of 2012 this week, the Abu Dhabi Championship.
The 36-year-old 14-time Major winner has set himself the target of defying the golf betting odds and regaining the number one spot in the world, but accepts that it will be a difficult goal to achieve.
A mixture of injury and inconsistent form saw Woods’ world ranking plummet last season and at one point he slipped to 58th.
However, after finishing third at the Australian Open in November and winning the Chevron World Challenge last month, he is back up to 25th in the standings and confident of rising higher.
He said: "The young guys are practising harder and training harder than ever. The level of consistency I had a few years ago would see me climb back up the rankings quickly, but there are some pretty phenomenal golfers out there whom I really respect."
Woods will be making his first ever appearance in Abu Dhabi after organisers moved swiftly to secure his services for a reported $2.5million fee once his three-year contract at the Dubai Desert Classic expired.
However, Woods faces a tough task if he is to win the event as the world's top four golfers - Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy and defending champion Martin Kaymer - are also taking part and are rated above Woods in the latest golf odds.
The quartet have all chosen Abu Dhabi to begin their own seasons while the field will also include world number eight Jason Day, in what is the strongest line-up of 2012 so far.
|Last edit : Fri 27th Jan 2012 15:29|
USA finalise Curtis Cup line-upBy Thomas Rooney on 27-Jan-2012
The United States Golf Association has confirmed that Lisa McCloskey, Erica Popson and Emily Tubert will all represent the USA at this year’s Curtis Cup match against Great Britain and Ireland.
These three players join Amy Anderson, Lindy Duncan, Austin Ernst, Tiffany Lua and Brooke Pancake, who were all confirmed as being in the eight-woman team in late December.
The eight women will represent the USA in the biennial event that will be staged at The Nairn Golf Club in Scotland between 8th and 10th June.
"I am so pleased that Lisa, Erica and Emily have been named to the 2012 Curtis Cup Team," said USA Team Captain Patricia Cornett. "I could not have asked for amore talented and dedicated trio of players to have been selected. My congratulations go to each on this honor."
McCloskey, a senior at the University of Southern California, qualified for the 2010 and 2011 US Women's Open Championships while Popson, a junior at the University of Tennessee, won the 2011 Southeastern Conference Championship.
Tubert, a sophomore at the University of Arkansas, won the 2010 US Women's Amateur Public Links before winning three tournaments last year and earning first-team All-America honors.
The Curtis Cup was last held in 2010 at the Essex County Club in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts, when the USA defied the golf betting odds to emerge victorious by 12.5 points to 7.5 as they clinched their seventh successive victory.
They are understandably favourites in the latest golf odds for the upcoming tourament given the talent contained in the team.
The format of the event consists of six foursomes matches, six four-ball matches and eight singles matches over three days of competition.
Grace Aiming for Masters GloryBy Thomas Rooney on 27-Jan-2012
South African golf fans could be forgiven for thinking that Branden Grace is their country's answer to Rory McIlroy. The 23-year-old certainly has youth on his side, and, judging by his recent victory at the Volvo Golf Champions, in which he defeated Ernie Els and Padraig Harrington, he is something of a prodigy on the green.
Grace's story is a brief 'rags to riches' tale. He ended last week at no.258 on the Official World Golf Rankings. However, his 12-under-par victory at the Fancourt Golf Resort, on Monday, catapulted him 166 places up the leaderboard to no.92. Grace is now just 42 positions shy of entry to the Masters at Augusta, in April. Those following the pretournament US Masters betting online will be wondering if he can push on.
The South African has set his sights on breaking into the top 50. "I think that is every player's goal", Grace said. "To get into a Major would be an unbelievable year. If I could achieve that to get into the Masters, it would just be a highlight, indescribable." The golfer added that he would keep chasing his dream until he was "exhausted."
Grace, following a few days rest, will pick up his golf campaign at the HSBC Golf Championship in Abu Dhabi. He will be joined by Tiger Woods, who caused quite a stir recently by admitting that money was the main draw of the European Tour, Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, and defending champion, Martin Kaymer.
Having played three events in 2012 already, Grace has earned €570,000 (£474,481), the highest of all golfers in the 'Race to Dubai'. He is closely followed by his compatriot, Retief Goosen, the only other golfer in the top-ten to have entered three tournaments in 2012, with €264,510 (£220,181).
Rory raring to goBy Thomas Rooney on 26-Jan-2012
Rory McIlroy will go into this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship looking to improve on his impressive, yet so far unsuccessful, record at the year's first 'big' tournament. The Northern Irishman has recorded finishes of 11th, third and second in his last four visits to the event and will this year looking to go one better and claim the title, setting himself up perfectly for the new season.
The US Open champion has been named in the stand-out grouping for the opening two days of the tournament; with McIlroy teeing off alongside former world number one Tiger Woods and current world number one Luke Donald. People looking for Golf betting tips should bear this in mind.
While McIlroy insisted he feels good on the Abu Dhabi course – although, not as much as two-time champion Martin Kaymer - the Northern Irishman has admitted everything he does this year will be done in order for him to challenge for at the four majors. Fans of Online Betting need to remember this.
"It's a golf course that I feel suits me," McIlroy said. "Maybe doesn't suit me as well as it does Martin Kaymer, but I'm getting there."
"It's a great way to start the year and I'm excited to get the new season up and running. It's definitely not a quiet way to start the year."
"You want to try and get off to a good start, so you want to try and play well, but obviously the majors have that little bit extra."
McIlroy is many people's pick for this year's dominant force in the sport; although maybe not quite as comprehensively as Luke Donald did last season. Getting his season off to a winning start would put McIlroy in great shape heading into the year's opening major at Augusta. The Masters will hold special significance for McIlroy for year, where he will be looking to banish the memories from his heartbreaking final round last April.
Woods eyes return to top 10By Thomas Rooney on 24-Jan-2012
Former world number one Tiger Woods is hoping to break back into the world's top 10 with victory in the Abu Dhabi Championship this week.
The 14-time major champion, who had slipped out of the top 50 in 2011 following a poor 12 months, finally ended his long wait for a title when he won the Chevron World Challenge at the back end of last year.
That victory moved him up to 21st in the world rankings but he could improve upon that if he comes out on top in Abu Dhabi. Those looking at the best online US Open golf odds should remember this.
The American, who will hope to win his fourth US Open later this year at Torrey Pines, faces a tough field in the event this week with the current top four in the world, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy and Martin Kaymer, all also playing.
The 36-year-old appears to have finally come through a tough spell on and off the course in the past two years and admits he just looking forward to getting on the course and competing with the very best again.
"I'm very excited to get going," he said. "I'm looking forward to testing my game against a very strong field."
Woods says he was delighted to finally end his two-year wait for a title when he won the Chevron World Challenge last year and is now focused on picking up for prizes in 2012.
"It's hard to believe it was that long," he added. "It was a nice way to end the season and hopefully I'll win a few more in 2012."
Woods to team up with NFL star!By Thomas Rooney on 18-Jan-2012
Tiger Woods recently announced that he will be playing at the Pebble Beach National Pro Am for the first time in 10 years, and his round will receive a little more attention from sports fans as he is set to partner the NFL star Tony Romo, with the two been favourites in the stan james free bets.
The even tees off on February 9th and while all eyes will of course be on Tiger Woods on his first start of the season on the US Tour, it will also be interesting to see the talent of Dallas quarterback Romo, who is a keen amateur golfer and has tried to qualify for the US Open for the past two years.
It wont be the first time that the two have partnered up however. In the Bwin review, the star pair were on the same team at the AT&T National in Washington in 2009.
Pebble Beach holds fond memories for Woods who once rallied from a seven-shot deficit to win this event in 2000 before, later that year, going on to win the US Open at the famed Monterrey course by a staggering 15 shots.
The 14-time major winner hasn't won a US Tour event since the BMW Championship in September 2009. However, after drifting outside the world's top 50 he ended a two-year victory drought by capturing the Chevron World Challenge - an unofficial event - at the end of 2011.
It isn't the first time Romo will be playing at the even either as he as partnered two-time major winner John Daley for the last two years at Pebble Beach.
The winning pro-am team 12 months ago were D.A. Points, who won the tournament itself, and comedian Bill Murray.
This year will no doubt onec again be another spectacular four days of golf.
Westwood striving to break Major duck By Thomas Rooney on 17-Jan-2012
Lee Westwood will yet again go in search of breaking his Major hoodoo in 2012 and he has identified his putting as an area of a game which needs improving if he is to win one of the big ones.
The 38-year-old Englishman is a former world number one and is noted for his consistency, but Westwood has tended to flounder at the big four events.
Second-place finishes at the Masters and the Open, and third-place at the US Open (twice) and the PGA Championship, mean Westwood is often so close but so far away when it comes to the Majors.
He will be hoping that 2012 can finally be the year where he can change this, and he will be looking to start the year as he finished last year, by winning in both South Africa and Thailand to take his career haul on to 37 tournament wins. Those placing golf major bets should remember this.
Westwood admits he dreams of being able to "putt better, more often" and that is his main aim for the coming year. But he is confident of success in 2012 if this issue can be sorted. People looking to bet on golf need to bear this in mind.
"I'm very excited about 2012 not only with my form but with the way I'm playing. I've dropped from one to two in the space of the year in the world rankings, but if I was evaluating the way I'm playing now and a year ago, I'd say I'm a better player ," he added.
"I just want to putt better, more often really. That's what I'm working on at the moment and it seems to be improving."
Westwood's first chance to win a Major will come at the Masters at Augusta National from April 5th to 8th and he will be out to go one place better than his second-place in 2010.
Ernie excited about fresh startBy Thomas Rooney on 17-Jan-2012
Ernie Els will get his season under way this week with one clear target already set – to put last year's disappointments firmly behind him and rediscover the consistency that once made him one of the world's best. The South African rounded off a shocking 2011 by dropping out of the world's top-50 for the first time since 1993, following a year in which the three-time major winner failed to register a single tournament victory and struggled with nearly all aspects of his game.
After such a miserable 12 month, Els will start the new season knowing he still has to qualify for this year's Masters – meaning the two-time runner-up may have to undertake a tough qualification campaign for his place at Augusta in April. Those following the golf betting should bear this in mind.
With his current ranking of 70 - Els' main aim this year will be in securing a speedy return to that all-important world top-50, as well as once again challenging at the big tournaments. He may be the wrong side of 40, but there won't be many who believe Els will go throughout the rest of his career without winning again.
Getting back among the titles would quickly secure Els' place at the Masters, and that will be 'The Big Easy's' target when he gets his year under way on home-soil this week. The 42-year old will join a host of big names to battle it out for the Volvo Golf Champions title at Fancourt in South Africa, which holds not only some valuable ranking points, but also the small matter 350,000 Euro prize.
The popular South African has admitted he is delighted to be getting his season under way on home soil, insisting he still feels full of motivation ahead of the new year despite his advancing years. People placing a bet need to remember this.
"'Trust me I always look forward to getting back into the swing of tournament golf," he said.
"'I love it. And even after 20-plus years as a tournament professional I still get excited about the prospect of a year's competitive golf ahead of me."'
Schwartzel Sinking in South AfricaBy Thomas Rooney on 16-Jan-2012
Charl Schwartzel's bid to become one of the few golfers to have claimed three victories in a row at a European Tour event was dealt an unexpected blow, yesterday, when Damien McGrane and Jamie Elson ran away with the lead at the Johannesburg Open. The two largely unknown players finished on eight-under-par 63, compared to a first round 72 from Schwartzel.
Remarking on his success in the Southern Hemisphere, Ireland's McGrane said that he played “beautifully, from start to finish”.
Schwartzel, who won the Masters Tournament in 2011, had been hoping to join two-time US Open winner, Ernie Els, fellow Masters winners, Sir Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods, and Colin Montgomerie and Ian Woosnam, in winning a particular tournament on three consecutive occasions. People following the best Masters golf betting odds online should remember this.
Given that Schwartzel is currently tied for 56th at the Joburg, alongside his compatriot Dawie Van der Walt, and myriad others, his chances of securing a third Open victory appear slim, at best. The development means that Schwartzel makes an awkward start to 2012, and to his preparations for the Masters defence at Augusta, in April.
Robert Rock, of England, tops the leaderboard at the Joburg, as of 2:50p.m on Friday, with rounds of 65 and 67. James 'Jbe' Kruger and Branden Grace are tied for second place, while Michiel Bothma and George Coetzee fight it out in fourth. Notably, Rock is the only non-South African in the top six.
Schwartzel's countryman, and two-time US Open champion, Retief Goosen, is tied for ninth with a score of seven-under-par.
Unfortunately, golfers will have to be satisfied with their current positions for the immediate future. Play was stopped at the Joburg just before 2pm, today, due to poor weather conditions. The Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club has been besieged by thunderstorms since the outset of the Open, yesterday.
Casey injury blowBy Thomas Rooney on 11-Jan-2012
Paul Casey looks set to be out of action until March after dislocating his shoulder while snowboarding.
The injury means that the 34-year-old will not be able to defend his Volvo Golf Champions title later this month and also puts a major dent in his ability to return to the Ryder Cup squad.
The online bets suggest so far that he will almost certainly miss the Abu Dhabi Championship where he was chasing a third victory in six years.
Casey is particularly annoyed that he will be missing the Middle East section of the European Tour, saying: "I am very frustrated as I was really looking forward to getting off to a fast start in 2012.
"I've always played well in the desert and the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship is one of my favourite events of the year.
“The good news is that the experts I've seen say I don't need surgery and, having already started my rehabilitation exercises, I should be back hitting balls in a few weeks."
The world number 20 failed to make the last Ryder Cup due to a rib muscle injury before controversially missing out on a wildcard.
Casey lost his PGA Tour card in America after finishing outside the top 125 on the money list, but his world ranking means he is still eligible for golf's big live in-play betting events once he is fit.
His best-ever finish in a Major came at the 2010 Open when he was tied for third and he has also claimed four other top-ten finishes.
Casey came sixth in the 2004 US Masters and seventh in the Open Championship four years later. The Englishman finished tenth in the US Masters and the US Open in 2007.