BBC BLOGS - Iain Carter

Archives for April 2010

Ochoa will be greatly missed

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Iain Carter | 10:24 UK time, Wednesday, 21 April 2010

In an age when so many highly paid golf stars are happy to hide behind their sponsored sunshades and under logo-covered caps, golf needs its personalities like never before.

That is especially the case in the women's game which has struggled to replace Annika Sorenstam as its iconic figurehead, so the news that Lorena Ochoa is to retire delivers a big blow to the sport.

The popular Mexican's reasons for walking away are thought to be a desire to spend more time on her family and charity work which she has always said are big priorities in her life.

But to her decision to retire from a game she has dominated at the tender age of 28 still comes as a major shock; never mind Ochoa's undoubted talent, she is also one of golf's most engaging characters.

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Davis and Davies inspire despite near misses

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Iain Carter | 20:45 UK time, Monday, 19 April 2010

Their surnames sound the same, indeed there is only one letter to differentiate them, and after near misses on separate tours they are the talk of golf.

Brian Davis and Rhys Davies both picked up runner-up cheques at the weekend. The former confirmed his status as one of the top blokes in the game while the latter further enhanced a growing reputation for excellence.

Let's start with Davis and his play-off defeat to Jim Furyk in the Verizon Heritage tournament on the PGA Tour.

The sudden death shoot-out effectively ended when the Englishman alerted a rules official to the possibility that he may be liable to a two-stroke penalty for moving a loose impediment in a hazard on the backswing of his third shot on the first extra hole.

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Westwood's time will come

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Iain Carter | 14:02 UK time, Monday, 12 April 2010

The knock is getting louder. Someone the other side has to hear it soon, turn the key and let Lee Westwood walk through the door to major glory.

Golfing greatness is measured by the majors you win and Westwood is edging ever closer to joining this elite. His runners-up finish at the Masters followed on the heels of two third places in the last two majors of 2009.

There is no doubt the man who went into Augusta ranked fourth in the world is punching his weight in the upper echelons of the game. He will feel deep frustration at another major being taken from him but there were plenty of positives to be gained from the first major of the year.

The biggest of those is that he almost won the Masters, which by his own admission is the one of the four majors he is likely to find most difficult to win. There is such a premium on the short game at Augusta and this is the relative weakness in the Westwood armoury.

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More questions than answers at Augusta

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Iain Carter | 12:00 UK time, Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Contrary to popular belief, the world did not stop for Tiger Woods at 1900 BST on the Monday of Masters week.

For reporters and fans, there was inevitable interest in what the world number one had to say when he faced his first public grilling from the world's media, but for most of the players it was business as usual. There's a major to be won here and there are more candidates than ever before harbouring hopes of victory.

"I didn't watch the press conference," said Padraig Harrington. "There's the small matter of a golf tournament going on this week and a bit of work to be done."

Trust the Irishman to put the week into its proper context. There was no shortage of questions thrown at Woods, but the key Q&A session is provided by the tournament itself. Ultimately, it's not what is said in the interview room, it is what is done on the golf course in the four days of competition.

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Woods set for Masters grilling

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Iain Carter | 21:04 UK time, Sunday, 4 April 2010

The ticker runs without interruption on the big screen in the media centre. Sandwiched between footage of past Masters glories a message to reporters slides across the screen and confirms the preoccupation of the first major of the year.

"If you are confirmed for Monday's 1400 (1900 BST) interview, please register at reception," reads the instruction to journalists nominated to attend.

No mention of who will be appearing at the news conference because there is no need to trail who will be showing up. Furthermore to do so would suggest the interview is something more than the Masters. The Tournament would never want to admit to that.

But Tiger Woods' first sustained public questioning since his scandal ridden fall from grace is the reason why the Augusta National has needed to take the unprecedented step of making his news conference an all-ticket affair.

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