Archive for June, 2009

Teen sensation Ishikawa qualifies for Open

The 2009 Open Championship at Turnberry will welcome one of the youngest players in the history of the tournament in July.

Seventeen year old Ryo Ishikawa, from Japan, claimed a qualification spot with his thirteen under par victory at the Mizuno Open Yomiuri Classic and will take his place amongst a star-studded field in Scotland next month. He will be joined by another young qualifier, Italian Matteo Manassero, who at the age of sixteen recently became British Amateur champion.

Ishikawa is becoming somewhat a tour sensation, becoming the youngest competitor to play in the US Masters and also the youngest to break into the world’s top 100 players.

So does Ryo stand a stance of lifting the trophy?

It is certainly not out of the question. This year, two unlikely winners have emerged major champions, and young champions are not out of the ordinary. In the women’s game, eighteen year old Morgan Pressel lifted a major trophy and in 1868, Young Tom Morris claimed an Open title at seventeen. With this in mind, and the good form the teen professional takes into the Open, he should surely be in the running as a potential surprise winner.

Winner of Ryder Cup qualification should determine host nation

It was announced last week that the 2018 Ryder Cup will be played in mainland Europe, with six countries vying for the event.

Interest in staging the tournament comes from France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, The Netherlands and Sweden. Traditionally, the majority of European home matches have been played in the U.K or Ireland, due to the previous format of the Ryder Cup (USA vs. GB & I). One trip to mainland Europe took place in Valderrama, Spain, in 1997.

So, who should host the 2018 Ryder Cup?

The winner of the bid is likely to have been chosen for several factors, although namely commercial reasons, i.e. the highest bidder wins. Is this really in the true spirit of the Ryder Cup?

One way in which to decide the host nation is to look at the qualification system. In order to get into the European team, players must earn qualification points from their position in week to week tournaments, giving us a top ten list, plus a number of captain’s choice ‘wildcards.’

Perhaps the relative nationality of the winner of the qualification process should be awarded the right to host the tournament. For example, a triumph for Sergio Garcia would take the Ryder Cup to Spain. This would add an extra incentive for the players to top the qualification table, rather than just qualify, and perhaps, in turn, lead to better results across the board.

With this system, the commercial nature of picking the host venue would be greatly reduced and anticipation between the top few players’ and their respective countries towards the end of qualification would give the tournament added interest and media attention. Certainly a radical proposal, but one that should be given much consideration.

Minor major winners good for sport

It came somewhat as a surprise last week when Lucas Glover, a player ranked in the 70s, won the US Open. It was the second major of the year that a player outside the top ten had won the ultimate prize.

As ever, popular betting sites were tipping Tiger Woods for the defence of his crown, however, since returning from injury this season, the great man himself has struggled to find his old form. Some would liken his comeback to the likes of Ernie Els, who has under-performed since recovering from a knee injury a couple of years ago. Tiger has won recently though, and it is surely just a matter of time as to when he will grab another major and beat Nicklaus’ record of 18 wins.

In the meantime, golf fans can revel in the ever decreasing gap between the top players and the rest of the pack. Who was behind Glover? Ricky Barnes, Ross Fisher a Phil Mickelson; and only one of those has ever won a major.

So is this good for golf? No doubt, Tiger has given the game an uplift in popularity, however the increase in major competitiveness is a refreshing change. It just goes to show that anyone can win a major, giving those ‘majorless’ players the confidence boost they need. It has thrown the upcoming Open Championship wide open.

Who are you tipping for Open glory?

Callaway Big Bertha Diablo Draw 3 Wood – The Review

As a high handicap hacker, I never dabbled with the 3 wood. But as my game steadily improves and the will for extra distance off the fairway increases, I decided to take the plunge and give the latest sticks a hit.

A visit to the local golf shop and a great deal of launch monitor testing later, I’d plumped for the Callaway Big Bertha Diablo Draw (bit of a mouthful I know) with a regular stock graphite shaft and 15 degrees of loft.

Now, I’d done a great deal of research for reviews of my chosen clubs, and was hard pressed by Mr Phil Mickelson himself to buy the Diablo. ‘Lefty’ ‘amazed’ me with his stories on how the club was the ‘best club he’d ever hit.’ I wonder how much he got paid to say that…

Testing clubs on the launch monitor is never ideal, so I was unsure of the true performance of the club when hitting the range for the first time. Fortunately, after a few warm up topped shots, I found the Diablo to be extremely forgiving from both tee and fairway, with shots becoming airborne with ease. One problem of some 3 woods, with today’s golf ball technology, is that getting the ball in the air can be problematic (something to do with low spin rates). This was a problem that proved insignificant in terms of the Diablo’s performance.

As many of us will know, the proof in the pudding is in the club’s performance out on the course rather than the range. I used the Diablo mainly off of the fairway, and found it very forgiving, long and accurate on a consistent basis, allowing me to hit the ball to the front edge of the green in two on a par 5 I’ve never reached in two. An impressive start. The club, as promised, also helped to straighten out a sliced shot, with my shots flying on a high trajectory with a slight draw. It’s important to note that the club also comes in a non-draw version for the straighter hitters amongst us. With a little more practice, performance out of the rough and tee should become more consistent,  although the large head size does not necessarily lend itself to assured performance out of the thick stuff.

One of the only downsides to the club was the head cover, which appeared to be of a low quality; disappointing considering the high build quality of the club itself. The large, queer head shape may also deter the purists amongst us, however as a square head fan, I found it easy to get used to.

The Callaway Big Bertha Diablo Draw, although in its early stages of testing (the honeymoon period) has performed admirably thus far, and will ideally suit the mid to high handicapper looking for extra forgiveness, long distance and slice-busting. The club is available in a variety of lofts and in both draw and neutral versions, for around £140.

Ratings (1 to 5 scale; 1 being low and 5 being perfect)

Tee – 4

Fairway – 5

Rough – 3

Forgiveness – 5

Value for money – 4

Welcome

Welcome to my blog, where I will bring you news, reviews and, hopefully, interviews about all things golf. As a prospective University undergraduate, I will be studying journalism and will use this blog as a way of honing my skills, hopefully informing and entertaining the masses at the same time!

Enjoy,

Oli