Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Tiger, Wie and Gore

Tiger’s performance this past weekend was quite impressive mainly because of his ball striking. He did hit a few wide rights, but for the most part hit nearly every shot exactly how he intended. The scary thing is that he won going away, but he really didn’t make any putts all weekend. Lots and lots of two putts. Of course, several of those were two putt birdies. He clearly has gotten his swing to where he wants it. The only thing stopping him from going on another run is his putting. He would have won the US Open if he had made anything. Instead he finished 2nd despite being at the bottom of the field in putting. When he starts making putts, look out. He might again become unbeatable.

As most know, Michelle Wie was competing this past week in the US Amateur Public Links. That’s the Men’s USAPL. I was impressed that she qualified for match play especially after she was T84 after the first round. I was surprised that she made it to the quarterfinals. Getting three victories in match play was a total shock to me. I did notice that in her matches that she was shooting around even par and in the match she lost her appoint (and eventual champion) was 4 under. I think that is where she will struggle if she goes against the guys full time. She seems to be able to make par after par on very difficult courses but I have yet to see her go deep on a relatively easy course. The guys she is playing against have the capability of going on runs and making 4,5 or 6 birdies in a row. I’m just not sure she has that in her game right now. She may develop it, but until then she should concentrate on junior and womens events. She’s got a good 25 years to challenge the guys.

Lastly, Jason Gore who became a fan favorite at the US Open has continued his excellent play. In the last two weeks, he has passed on sponsor’s exemptions on the PGA Tour to focus on the Nationwide Tour and it has paid off. He has gotten back to back victories and secured his Tour Card for 2006. He will now focus on getting that third win and the battlefield promotion. He will probably also play a few PGA Tour events now that he knows he will be out there next year. Congrats to Jason, he is a good dude who hopefully in 2006 will find his permanent home on the PGA Tour.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The OPEN

The Open starts tomorrow at 1:30am ET and I barely have had a second to even think about who I think might win. Obviously, the Big Five is on the top of the list. Despite Goosen’s collapse at the US Open, I think he will play well this week. Tiger has to be considered the favorite given that it’s a major and it’s at the Old Course. I do not expect a no-name like Ben Curtis or Todd Hamilton (at least he had won on Tour first) will win this week. Tiger is my pick but a few other players I expect to be there are Mickelson, Lee Westwood and Sergio (he can hook it all the way around like Daly did). I would have included Paddy Harrington, but his father passed away and he has withdrawn from the tournament. My two dark horses for the week are Luke Donald and Tim Clark. I can’t give you a good reason other than they are two young players with a lot of international experience and games that I think should hold up well in majors.

The British Open might be my second favorite major behind the Master for the simple fact that I can roll over at 8am, turn on the TV and not get up for about 6 more hours. I look forward to a lazy Saturday and Sunday morning.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Sex Appeal

Not too long ago, Ty Votaw (LPGA Commish at the time) wanted to add some sex appeal to the LPGA in an attempt to draw more crowds and more TV viewers. He took a lot of heat for it because many felt that the quality play should carry the LPGA Tour. Well, the quality of play as increased but the dollars haven’t rolled in. Forbes recently published the top 5 woman with the highest income in sports. The top 4 were tennis players followed by Annika. The top earner was Maria Sharapova ($18M) who is not only a Wimbledon champion, but is very sexy. There are a few young players to join the tour in the last couple years who have started to add some sex appeal to the LPGA. Here are some of my favorites, unfortunately Ms. Paula Creamer does not have a website yet.

Natalie Gulbis
Erica Blasberg
Jill McGill
Paula Marti