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Winners like Bradley, Clarke and Schwartzel are good for golf

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Iain Carter | 16:51 UK time, Monday, 15 August 2011

Majors might not be consistently won by the best players in the world these days but they still throw up compelling story lines and provide the most exciting golfing Sundays.

Keegan Bradley's debut victory provided the game with another previously unsung hero and the manner of his success, fighting back from five shots behind with three holes to play, was astonishing sporting theatre.

The 25-year-old's triumph in the US PGA, his first grand slam event, meant that the average ranking of this year's four major victors is 67, and he was the second successive winner of one of the big four to be ranked outside the world's top 100.

Open Champion Darren Clarke was 111th and Masters winner Charl Schwartzel was 29th, while Rory McIlroy (7) became the game's only major winner from the top 10 when he romped away with the US Open.

Keegan Bradley with US PGA trophy

Like many young golfings pros, Bradley is eager, fit, well schooled and determined. Photo: Getty

Bradley, who is only the second most famous golfer in his family, is living proof that majors are no longer the sole preserve of the game's elite players. The nephew of LPGA great Pat Bradley reflects the strength in depth that prevails on the pro tours these days.

It is only two years ago that he was struggling to make a living on America's Hooter's Tour - the level below the Nationwide Tour which is spawning so many winners on the main schedule.

There is a production line of talent who are eager, fit, well schooled and determined to plunder the riches offered by the game's biggest events.

They also have access to made-to-measure equipment that affords generous sweet spots and forgiving ball contact and this serves to further level the playing field.

Hence we had a leaderboard at the Atlanta Athletic Club that was packed with names familiar only to the most die hard of golf fans. Bradley was the seventh successive first-time major winner and the 13th different champion in the last 13 grand slam tournaments.

So many players are potential major winners these days. Should this make it easier for players like Luke Donald and Lee Westwood to crack this Holy Grail, or does it make it harder?

There was a time when it would only be the very best challenging for such honours and as the top two in the world the two Britons are part of the current elite. But the number of people they have to beat is far greater nowadays and their frustration at another year passing without claiming a major is palpable.

Tiger Woods plays a shot from amongst the trees.

After hacking his way around Atlanta, Tiger Woods needs an Andre Agassi-style career rebuild. Photo: Getty

When you consider how many contenders exist in the modern game it makes Tiger Woods's achievement in winning 14 majors all the greater. Ironically, after missing the cut in such miserable fashion, the former number one (now 33 in the world) appears one of the least likely winners out there at the moment.

Woods needs to be playing golf and anywhere would do. He has completed just six-and-a-half competitive rounds since April and was a fool to suggest he could win in Atlanta. We were even greater idiots for giving credence to his comments.

It is time for Woods to admit that he is back to square one and he has to rebuild his career in the humble way that Andre Agassi did in the mid-90s. Agassi went right back to challenger level, picking up his own balls, before climbing back to the summit of tennis.

Ineligible for the PGA Tour play-offs, Woods should follow a similar path and go to tournaments that are good for his game, not just events that are willing to pay him inflated appearance fees.

Anyway, enough of Woods, he was just one of so many talking points at the final major of the year. Another was the fact that a long flat-stick - Bradley's belly putter - won one of the coveted big-four championships for the first time.

As a result, the debate over whether players should be allowed to use an anchor point to make a stroke will be re-ignited. The horse has bolted, though, because Bradley is one of several young stars using these implements and says it feels perfectly natural.

For the R&A and USGA, retrospective legislation to outlaw belly putters and broom handles would be even harder to impose now.

How the Atlanta course was set up was another huge talking point. The design with so much water, bunkers that were genuine hazards and challenging Bermuda rough was rather one dimensional and the closing stretch of holes were brutal - just ask poor Jason Dufner.

But no one could argue with the level of drama they produced as Dufner imploded and Bradley recovered with back-to-back birdies after seemingly blowing his chances with his triple-bogey six at the 15th.

It gave us a climax to the major season that for sporting drama was in keeping with the romance of Clarke's win at Royal St George's, the majesty of McIlroy at Congressional and the brilliance of Schwartzel's charge to glory that set the 2011 major ball rolling at Augusta.

Even though some of the champions were not those expected to lift the game's greatest trophies, the majors again delivered and the appetite for more will be as insatiable as ever when the Masters comes back into view next spring.

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    There is a conveyor belt of young US talent on the PGA tour at the moment who will dominate golf for years to come. Westwood and Donald just dont have the mentality. It wont happen for them, no amount of Ian Carter blogging will help them. Another cheap dig at Tiger and calling the course one dimensional is beyong laughable.

  • Comment number 2.

    This kid has made a big impact in his first season, like his swing but more importantly his fighting spirit, his putt on 17 in regulation play was just pure will. The question remains, what happens when those special youthful powers begin to diminish and you rely more on consistency. I don't think anyone will dominate golf for a long time like Tiger did, making his achievements all the more special. He probably is the only one capable of doing it over the next ten years, but his comeback is a long hard road.

    Great effort Keegan, does that count as another Irish major winner or maybe half?

  • Comment number 3.

    "For the R&A and USGA, retrospective legislation to outlaw belly putters and broom handles would be even harder to impose now."

    Nonsense. It would be the correct decision. They make the Rules; just get it done.

  • Comment number 4.

    "They also have access to made-to-measure equipment that affords generous sweet spots and forgiving ball contact and this serves to further level the playing field."

    Eh? You say golf is your first sporting love - have you ever tried to hit a tour standard/blade iron? Totally clueless comment. Tour irons have very small sweet spots and are extremely unforgiving.

    As for the course being one dimensional, you have just got to be kidding. It was a beautiful course, set up almost perfectly and provided far and away the best and most exciting Major in recent memory.

    As for the cheap digs at Tiger Woods, to suggest one of the two greatest players ever should go back to basics and small tournaments is such a naive comment to make. It's like suggesting Federer or Nadal should start playing challengers if their careers went into decline. The comparison to Agassi is way off the mark. Agassi in the mid-nineties was nowhere near to being one of the all time greats.

  • Comment number 5.

    Everyone is quick to jump on Iain as per usual... I think you make a couple of valid points, Tiger does need to go and play tournaments, he can hit as many practice balls as he likes but nothing compensates for tournament play especially as he is still unsure how is swing is reacting under pressure. It is blatantly obvious he only goes to tournaments (outside the big ones) that pay him a handsome fee or he has a sponsors interest, and those are both diminishing as he stock contnues to fall.
    As for equipment levelling the playing field I agree to a point. If a player has a fault they can make changes to their equipment (different ball characteristics, club lie, putter length, driver launch angles, fade/draw levels etc) far easier than they can make changes to their swing. Westwood is clearly one of the best ball strikers out there and if it was a bygone time with old style equipment I have no doubt he would have won majors. I know that's a pointless thing to say really but there we go.
    Peace.

  • Comment number 6.

    Not sure that the statement "majors are no longer the sole preserve of the game's elite players" is correct.

    There have always been non-big name winners over the years: think Rich Beem, Micheel, Todd Hamilton, Mark Brooks, Steve Jones, etc....

  • Comment number 7.

    Lee Westwood is a choker and always will be. Monty #2. He doesnt have the stones to go and win one.
    Keegan Bradley will now vanish off our screens like loads of the other fluke winners we get now. Too many Golfers now able to put in random good weeks once in a blue moon is making it harder for the elite players to win the Majors.
    i hope we get a situation in a few years when McIlroy and Jason Day are going head to head for Majors on the back 9 of the last day. Two proper good golfers those lads.

  • Comment number 8.

    Too many english golfers this day and age have hearts the size of what i can only describe as "garden peas", no backbone!! Gone are the days of Nick Faldo, Sandy lyle and Sam Torrence, great british golfers with a bit of steel. And as for the ongoing saga of everyone who wins a major is the next new Tiger Woods what a load of old coswallop! McIlroy will never be Tiger to much of a cry baby, Darren Clarke......... well i'm not going into that, Schwartzel..... isnt that a german sausage?? And Bradley? he was just lucky Tiger hit 30 bunkers and not 30 fairways!

  • Comment number 9.

    3. At 22:31 15th Aug 2011, navyblueshorts wrote:
    "For the R&A and USGA, retrospective legislation to outlaw belly putters and broom handles would be even harder to impose now."

    Nonsense. It would be the correct decision. They make the Rules; just get it done.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Why what is wrong with broomhandle putters? Can't you bear to see someone not gifted with a 33" shaft do well?

  • Comment number 10.

    Oh and mickysausage - ' McIlroy will never be Tiger to much of a cry baby, Darren Clarke......... well i'm not going into that, Schwartzel..... isnt that a german sausage??'

    I'm guessing your a bitter Englishman then? Catch a grip.

  • Comment number 11.

    Another good blog i think, Tiger does need to compete more, would be nice to see him in some smaller tournaments and not suggesting he can come back from not playing for months and win a major, also disrespectful to his peers, but im sure that he will work hard and challange again as all the greats do.

    Interesting view on the equipment, but I think this can be reflected in all sports, things shouldnt be difficult because they can be.

    All of the majors this year have been exciting in different ways and I just hope that we see as many Europeans coming through as we have done in recent years, as the Ryder Cup is what got me interested in golf a few years back i will always see it as Americans vs Europeans.

  • Comment number 12.

    Interesting to see that the reference to the belly putter links to a great discussion on the now defunct 606 message boards.

    Will BBC ever resurrect this? It was a great platform for fans of all sports to raise points, have some banter and get other peoples' perspective on events.

    Come on Beeb, forget the cutbacks, this was a valued and treasured service!

  • Comment number 13.

    mickysausage.....why is McIlroy too much of a cry baby? didnt he blitz the field at the US Open?!
    Belly Putters are a joke. i'd be embarressed to win something using one of those!

  • Comment number 14.

    Its interesting to read the majority of half-wited comments people leave on these message boards. Bradley has already won once this year, competed at Fire Stone (albeit capitulated on the final back 9 ala McIlroy at Augsta), and now captured his first major. Given his back 9 at Fire Stone, followed by his triple on the 15th, shows this lad not only has the game but also mental capacity to compete at the highest level. Only time will tell whether he is a flash in the pan, but my guess is he's here to stay, and it about time a quality young American rose to the challenge of the European counterparts.

  • Comment number 15.

    BiloMcT, McIlroy used to use a belly putter!

  • Comment number 16.

    If there really was such an advantage to using a belly putter, all pro's would be using them - not just the few who do at the moment. I am quite sure that most have tried them on the practise green, but only a few actually end up finding them to their liking, and taking them out and winning tournaments with them. Similarly, a hybrid / rescue club is also (in theory) easier to hit, more consistent, more accurate etc than a long iron - but like with the belly putter, that doesn't mean that all pro's have now discarded their 2 and 3 irons...

  • Comment number 17.

    Sumo82.....i'm not sure your on the right wavelength with that comment ' McIlroy used to use a belly putter!' . what are you basing that on?! One time when i was watching the Open Championship Vijah was using the full length chin putter and we heard Ian Baker Finch say to the crowd near by ' Thats the stupidest club in the world, shouldnt be allowed '

  • Comment number 18.

    Agree with Cookpass, alot of stupid comments here about Keegan Bradley.Anyone who watches golf on a regular basis will know that he has been one of the best players of the year so far. As i have often said before on forum and surely now it must be sinking in with people that Westwood will never win a major and Donald is highly questionable aswell however he still has time in front of him. Is Westwood now biggest bottler in world sport? Putter argument also silly if it was such an advantage why has it taken till now for someone to win with one of them?

  • Comment number 19.

    .....

  • Comment number 20.

    Gbell im not bitter because i know that our golfers are not good enough despite everyone’s hype about Westwood, Donald, Poulter and Casey and many others before majors that never transpire.

  • Comment number 21.

    BiloMct Mcilroy did blitz the field in the US open (for the 1st round anyway) and managed to follow it with 3 good rounds, K Campbell (whoever he is) he finished third but actually beat mcilroy over rounds 2,3 and 4 but had a mediocre 1st round, any thats irelevant Mcilroy did enough to win which is all that matters. But back to mcilroy being a cry baby, didnt he blitz the field at the masters before losing his head big time?? and after winning the us open didnt he go on to cry at the British open how his lacklustre display was down to playing on a links course once a year and would rather play in the sun(Sandy Lyle comes to mind with that excuse), and i wonder what his excuse was last week it wouldn’t be his sore wrist by any chance?? And wasnt it Mcilroy who refused to play Pebble beach because he didn’t like the course?? eeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrr spoilt brat comes to mind. There’s only ONE TIGER WOODS!!

  • Comment number 22.

    some of you guys need to get over yourselves, the broomhandle is LEGAL and can therefore be used anywhere,anytime....,if the USPGA & R&A did something with the ball (legal too,i know!)we could maybe have a more reasoned discussion about supposed advantages & obsolete courses due to the enourmous distances these guys hit it etc etc ,not some guy standing over a tiddler with a long putter..anyhoo,Donald & Westwood have little or no chance of winning a big one,Donald to short on these course set ups,Westwood hasnt got the short game to ice the big boys come sunday....oh ...and they both choke regularly,what was that on the 15th Luke??Never mind long putters,maybe a ban on how many you can use in a tournament?? that would rule out Westwood for sure!!

  • Comment number 23.

    yeah yeah,I know..it was the 16th he dumped it in the water....

  • Comment number 24.

    Key Question: What have we learned about our "GB & NI contingent" from this year's majors?
    1) Luke Donald: He may be leading the money lists on both sides of the Atlantic but, when it comes down to the real pressure situation (e.g. in the third and fourth round of the PGA), Luke always makes a fatal mistake. Without fail, he will miss a very makeable putt at a crucial time or pull his ball into a bunker/water hazard or even fluff a seemingly easy chip shot. Essentially that is why Luke hasn't won a major yet ... and never will .... until he eradicates these fatal flaws from his game.
    2) Lee Westwood: He can lift a "Chubby and a half" (385lbs) in the gym but how does this help him hole two 6-foot birdie putts in the opening holes of the final round in the PGA when he needs to get off to a good start? We all know he's going to put his ball on the green in regulation more often than most, but we also know that he's going to miss more 6 to 8 footers than the rest of the field put together. (Contrast Bradley and Dufner, who were holing putts from all over the greens on the final day!)
    3) Rory McIlroy: The "Wonder Boy" simply cannot putt. Yes, he can "put it out there" a mile and hit crisp iron shots which pepper the flag, but will then miss the short putt or even three-putt from nowhere. With regard to his course management, it seems that JT, an allegedly "failed golfer and commentator", got it just about right. Even just thinking about hitting that "tree root" shot at the third hole of a Major was just inexplicable. Where was J.P. Fitzgerald at that moment? (Would "Stevie" have allowed him to go for that shot?) Rory is just so immature, and even admitted the stupidity of the shot afterwards. At the Open, he said "his brain got scrambled" after his ball moved in the wind and was penalised a shot (... mummy's boy just lost it there and then!). Of course, we'd already seen how scrambled his brain can become during his Master's meltdown. Unfortunately, Caroline Woznacki will not sort out his "lack of mental fortitude" either; the world's number one (no Majors!) lost in straight sets to Roberta Vinci (who?) in Toronto last week, after leading 5-1 in the second set!
    4) Darren Clarke: Our new Open champion played 36 holes at the PGA without even recording a birdie. Enough said ... perhaps he needs the "weather lottery" on his side to win (as Rory, his good friend and fellow countryman, subtly implied!)
    5) Graeme McDowell: Unfortunately, "G-Mac" is not the real deal and will struggle to contend in future with his "rustic swing" (... the derogative term used by a certain LD in a national newspaper to describe Keegan Bradley's swing??!!)
    6) Ian Poulter, Paul Casey, Ross Fisher and Simon Dyson: All good for one good round but not consistent enough to get into or stay in contention when the heat is really on. Of course, it must be difficult to "find an edge" when you are already a multi-millionaire and live the jet-set life!
    As a lover of golf, I'm not really interested in this British/European versus American thing. Like Bubba said last week, they're all just golfers trying to climb the lists and beat the others on a given day at a given tournament. (For example, it was good for me to see one of my favourites, David Toms, shoot 65 and 67 in the final two rounds at the PGA.) All these guys can play golf ... that's why they're on their respective tours ..... but to win majors you need a cool, clear head when all those around you are losing theirs and hole your putts when they come along!!

  • Comment number 25.

    mickysausage....when did McIlroy say he didnt like Pebble Beach? Think you'll find it was Sawgrass he doesnt like. You sound like the type of guy who would use a belly putter!
    Also Sandy Lyle is a legend...leave him alone!

  • Comment number 26.

    Bradley and Dufner were in that play-off on the strength of super-low 2nd round scores. They were then able to manage their game through to 63 holes, but when the going got tough, Dufner certainly DIDN'T get going, and credit to Bradley for showing more grit after his triple bogey than Rory did at the Masters.

    You can hardly accuse Donald of bottling it with two 68s at the weekend. He just had too much to do by the end of round 2.

  • Comment number 27.

    BiloMcT Mcilroy as been hyped up by all the Guiness drinkers and press and will put my money on him not even contending a major next season!! And if these putters get any more ridiculous Ronnie O Sullivan will bringing one out were you can pot the ball, Adam Scots putter is longer than his entire body

  • Comment number 28.

    The wealth of upcoming talent on all the tours will make each and every tournament a spectacle of flag-hunting excitement. I for one, thoroughly enjoyed watching the elite in the game, struggle with obstacles in the same way that I do every weekend. I found this dynamic to be much more relative and enjoyed watching the emotional roller coaster that all us golfers know only too well. As for the belly-putters, what's the fuss? They are available to all golfers, if it were that much of an advantage, everyone would be using one.

  • Comment number 29.

    If belly putters were so useful and consequently unfair then surely every tournament for the last 10 years would have been won by those using them.
    Iain, I agree with what you say regarding Tiger Woods. His entire career has been built on him breeding confidence from winning tournaments. He needs to regain that feeling and if it means dropping down a level then so be it.
    As regards people not being worthy enough to win a major, simply ridiculous. Any golf competition, be it a club comp or a professional tournament, demands hard work, practice and mental stamina. Congratulations to anyone who can finish the job, regardless of whether they are a rookie or not.

  • Comment number 30.

    Some fair points Iain, but please don't leave your readers with the impression there's not plenty more great golf in store before next year's Masters because the calendar is full of it. With Keegs hailing from, almost literally, just down the road, I can assure you he will not disappear; this is just the start of a great career.

    Comment #12 from "john in sutton":
    Good point about 606 john. May I suggest that www.606v2.com is an excellent site to resume 606-type discussion on golf?
    And, unlike the BBC, 606v2 recognizes that tournament golf has a 50-week schedule, FedEx play-offs, Race to Dubai, Presidents Cup, Aussie and SA Opens, then all the promise of winter and spring golf around the world prior to seeing the Beeb again at Augusta National.

  • Comment number 31.

    Is BiloMcT related to Rory? he won't hear a word against him. The fact of the matter is that when he is winning and producing impressive 65's & 66's he is very modest and grounded, but when he has a bad round the dummy comes out and he shows his age and immaturity.

  • Comment number 32.

    Why do the English love to "trash" their golfers. Westwood is a superb player - but his putting is suspect. What on earth has that to do with courage? As for the belly putter - it seems to have rescued Adam Scott from ordinary "fine player" status and elevated him to superstar. Should it be allowed? I don't think so. It's not really a golf swing when one part of the club is anchored. I agree with those who think the things should be outlawed and the R&A/USGA should get on with it.
    I agree with Carter that the course was "one dimensional". Every hole was difficult. It also produced one of the great spectacles of recent years.

  • Comment number 33.

    They should ban the big headed metal woods and bring back the old small woods, it would make golf more about skill instead of brute force.

    Of course it will never happen, the golf club manufacturers would be furious.

  • Comment number 34.

    Regarding golf equipment, the whole "technology thing" (e.g. metal woods, hybrids, graphite shafts, belly putters, broom-handle putters, high, low and mid-spin golf balls etc.) has got totally out of control, meaning that all courses now used for Majors have either been lengthened, redesigned or "tricked up" to stop the professionals from reducing them all to a pitch 'n' putt. Despite the PGA's best efforts, however, Steve Stricker still shot a 63 in the first round.
    Wearing his golf designer hat, Jack Nicklaus was dead against this new technology as it rendered many traditional courses out of date. (I was at St Andrews in 1970 when the "Golden Bear" stripped off his pullover to "go for the green" at the last hole. Big hitter as he was in those days, Jack subsequently drove the green to tie with the ill-fated Doug Sanders ... and the "rest is history" as they say.) Nowadays, using their personally fitted equipment, nearly all professionals in the field are capable of driving the last at St Andrews.
    Unfortunately the genie is out of the bottle and, unlike square grooves which were deemed illegal quickly, it is unlikely that the R&A will reverse their decision on long putters. Golfers, no matter where they are, are always looking for ways to improve their game. We would all like to be "Bubba long", hit our irons like Jack Nicklaus (or indeed, Luke Donald) and putt like Ben Crenshaw (or Steve Stricker). However, with Adam Scott and Keegan Bradley wielding their long putters to great effect in the last two tournaments, it might just be time for us all (and Lee Westwood in particular) to investigate the advantages or disadvantages of the long-shafted flat stick!! (Remember Ernie Els, who as world #2 at the time wanted the belly putter banned, is now using one to try and recapture his former glory on the greens!)

  • Comment number 35.

    Sumo82...are you a Sumo Wrestler? you dont seem to have a clue about Golf! Anyone using a Belly Putter should be ashamed of themselves.

  • Comment number 36.

    BiloMcT....Don't take it out on me if your still playing off a 36 handicap

  • Comment number 37.

    BiloMct you seem to be obsessed with not using the belly putter, dont take this personal but is this because you may be hindered in some way from using the belly putter (eg overweight?) or is this because you dont seem to mention the chin putter that Bernard Langer made his own for so many years.

  • Comment number 38.

    #30 My point was to emphasise the great entertainment the majors have provided this year not to downplay the rest of the calendar. You give the impression that I don't care for the remainder of the season - which could not be further from the truth. This is why I'm looking forward to covering the Walker and Solheim Cups, PGA Tour play-offs, Dunhill Links, WGC Shanghai and Race to Dubai.

  • Comment number 39.

    Have to stick up for IC here by saying that for many years I have heard him on the airwaves reporting with enthusiasm from all parts of the world of golf,primarily the European tour and not just the majors.I think it is a fair point to say that this year has had it all with the majors and I doubt very much indeed many people would have tipped the winners pre tournament which makes it more exciting.
    I feel deeply sorry(you can sympathise with billionaires) for TW as it is now embarrassing the level he has dropped to but I will say something that as far as I am concerned is not debatable and that is...without the inspirationof TW,the enigma of him & also the money he has generated there would not be so many good young players in the present era!!!!I don't know but I am willing to bet the shirt off my back,they were inspired by TW & watchinh him.Commentary line of the year also - Butch Harmon - 'We have been calling him bradley keegan all week and getting his name wrong,but we certainly know his name now' - or similar after the play off.

  • Comment number 40.

    mickysausage my body is a temple. i have a similar build to a young Marlin Brando. no need for the belly putter here.
    i'd like to stick up for Iain Carter too. he always reports with great enthusiasm even on the minor events and his blogs are always spot on.
    keep up the good work Iain

  • Comment number 41.

    Don #24,

    Wow you really need to lighten up. Two great major wins this year following a great Ryder Cup win (in which all the above players you criticised performed incredibly well) for "GB & NI" and all you can do is come on here and whinge.. British golf is in great shape at the moment and how you can criticise McIlroy after playing incredibly well at the Masters before blowing it and coming back to break almost every US Open record is comical.

  • Comment number 42.

    All this ridiculous posturing about this player being a choker and that player never having the bottle to win a major by people who have never had the guts to try and excel at anything other than typing bile into a textbox is hilarious to read.

    Most of the guys complained about here are fantastic golfers who are facing the greatest fields in terms of strength of depth ever. The truth is that any tournament now is liable to throw up a purple-patch winner and it's becoming more and more apparent that the true judge of the best players is going to have to come from analysing form over multiple tournaments. The current world rankings really don't do a brilliant job but they are a better guide of quality right now than any major list.

  • Comment number 43.

    Hackerjack i think your the one who needs to calm down on here, when is the last time you felt the cold shaft of a seven iron on your thigh?

  • Comment number 44.

    Don #24

    you need to behave yourself.

    the truth is the best English Golfer we have and can put our hopes on is Brian Davis. Best ball striker on the tour - FACT.

    The world rankings are a joke. Number 1 & 2 in the world without a major between them is a disgrace. Westwood and Donald just dont have the stones to win one.

  • Comment number 45.

    Im not sure you can describe the World Rankings as a joke. They are a reflection of how the players perform over multiple events. Those who sting together one good tournament may not produce the same form week in week out. Luke Donald has without question been one of the worlds best players this year, you only have to look at his finishes to see that.

    One of the reasons both Donald and Westwood have not won a major is that they have not been capable in recent years to put together a second or third round -6/-7 to catapult them up the leaderboard. They are both steady players who perform consistently.

  • Comment number 46.

    Don #24 Taking nothing away from Mcilroys win he played well like i said for one round and did enough to see him through but there is too many bottlers and one hit wonders. Harrington probably the best out of the current batch but even he got lucky with two of his major wins the open should have been garcia's and i thought it was a global traversty he came away with nothing from that tournament, he played better golf by far! Mcdowell 1 x major win = never win a major again. Mcilroy 1 x major win = no more for the distant future (heads gone) and Donald & Westwood well how these two guys can even be classed as number 1's!! No chance of winning a major and can only win tin cup tournaments major bottlers!

  • Comment number 47.

    Hackerjack the world rankings are a farce!! There used to be a time when they used to tell the truth, hence Vijay, Ernie Els, Tiger all major winners and deservant of number one, now too many chokers are entering mediocre events and gettin ranking points and dont deserve the title number one!

  • Comment number 48.

    Cookpass... the rankings are a joke, everybody knows it. similar to the Tennis rankings being a joke.
    mickysausage, that might be the first sensible thing you've said so far about the #1 in world. Vijay is the 4th best player of all time. #1 - Jack #2 - Tiger #3 - Watson and #4 Vijay. he's a legend.

  • Comment number 49.

    BiloMcT.... what about Ian Woosnam?

  • Comment number 50.

    I certainly wouldn't say the rankings are a joke, they offer a guide certainly.Is donald the best player in world? No.Is he the most consistant and a workhorse? Probably. I also don't go with the ludicrous statement by someone that Brian Davis is the best ballstriker (when is he going to do something).This has clearly been posted by his buddy or wife.He wouldn't be in the top 10.FACT.Preposterous comment.The main claim to fame BD has is that he is the son-in-law of one of Englands finest goalkeepers in Ray Clemence,that is about it!

  • Comment number 51.

    Maybe Ray Clemence posted it??

  • Comment number 52.

    Exactly what we are saying he is being classed as the worlds best golfer and he isnt the best golfer in the world golf wise at the minute for me is K.J.Choi, very underestimated and doesnt need all these big hitting clubs like the others, plays a steady round everytime!

    I also dont fully agree on the Brian Davis comment as also stated by Mickyweir but the hole in one he hit on the 17th at Sawgrass in 2003 is one of the best ball strokes i have seen in a long time especially on one of the most notorious holes on the golfing circuit!!

  • Comment number 53.

    Mickysausage - Just trying to remember what major Torrance won ref comment #8? I think he maybe won once in the US and what world ranking did he reach? Donald and Westwood are great players and will win majors. Donald has the game to win as long as he continues hitting more fairways and Westwood needs to find some confidence on the greens. Nothing to do with "stones".

    Torrance also had to result to the long putter. It's legal so it has to be accepted, but to me there should be two lots of putting stats as they are two completely different strokes.

    Just to back up what Kwini (#30) says about 606v2. It's well run and stokes up some lively debates which is now sadly lacking from the BBC website.

  • Comment number 54.

    mickyweir....have you ever seen Brian Davis strike a ball? hits it sweeter than even Tiger.
    Sumo82...Woosie is a wee legend but your having a laugh surely?!
    faldono1fan.......Torrance might not have won a Major but he IS a Major champion!

  • Comment number 55.

    faldono1fan Sam was unlucky when it came to Major tournaments and you will probably find he spent more time on the European tour hence his lack of American Victories and his 21 on the European Tour. Westwoods won more on the Japanese tour than he as in America and Donald well 6 wins on the European and 3 on the Pga tour there wont be much more getting added to that.

    Torrence sank the winning put in the 1985 Ryder cup which gave Europe our first victory over the Americans in 28 years!! He also captained the team to victory in 2002, which is what i was referring to Sam, Faldo and Lyle had the backbone to achieve this success Westwood as tried for too long and failed and Donald will follow suit.

  • Comment number 56.

    People seem to be all talking about Westwood and Donald as the great hopes for our country and we seem to be forgetting about David Howell and Robert Rock who personally i think have a great future ahead!

  • Comment number 57.

    Mickeysausage.... the only claim to fame for Robert Rock is that he is the son-in-law of one of America's finest wrestlers, The Rock

  • Comment number 58.

    Sumo82.....he also has a jail named after him just off the coast of San Francisco. and Sean Connery made a movie about it.
    Seriously though mickysausage is right. Robert Rock is probably #2 best English golfer behind Brian Davis

  • Comment number 59.

    I think I would put Monty a wee bit above Torrance! Don't get me wrong Torrance was a good pro, but not in the league of Donald or Westwood who actually do challenge for majors which is more than Torrance did. Robert Rock has been on tour for how long? and has just won his first tournament. Howler is just showing a welcome return to form, but again not in the same league. There is plenty of good young players out there to look out for in a few years time. Watch out for the name Chris Lloyd.

  • Comment number 60.

    Isn't that Doc Brown from back to the future? well, i never knew he was into his golf, i'll look out for him on the next tour, thanks

  • Comment number 61.

    I will keep my eye out for him, Doc Brown was the first thing that came to my mind when i seen his name too.

    Going back to all round golfing performances by a Brit, Paul Lawries 1999 open win was a golfing masterclass and i could watch that sort of golf all day long!!

  • Comment number 62.

    Serious English up and coming talent to watch out for:-
    Chris Deverdie. you heard it here first.

  • Comment number 63.

    sounds foreign to me? isn't he italian?

  • Comment number 64.

    There's a top up and coming golfer in the Manchester area who is soon turn pro and is defo want to watch for.... Rob "the panda" Foulkes, you may have heard of him big guy (hence the panda nickname i think) apparantley as Quiros type drives and Mickleson short game, keep your eyes peeled boys.

  • Comment number 65.

    nope Sumo81, he's defo English. i watched him in the English Youths. quality.
    Young Ross Briggs will come through as well, seen him holing Putts from all over the place.
    i've heard of Foulkes but never seen him play, sound like a talent, i like his nickname as well

  • Comment number 66.

    are you guys for real, i have never heard of these guys, i have even googled them!!! wat are you guys on ????

  • Comment number 67.

    Westwood, Donald, Stricker etc are all wonderful golfers and they have as much chance of snaring a major as anyone else in the field. The pressure is all man/media generated and therefore the moniker of choker is to.

    As for the long putter the first time some imaginative chap pulled one from his bag in a professional tournament was the time to ban them like they did with Dennis Lilleys bat !

  • Comment number 68.

    rl and BiloMcT:
    I am behaving myself .... and not "whingeing", just stating my honest opinion in a friendly constructive manner according to the House Rules!
    Unfortunately, it's Rory who risks becoming a "whinger" .... if he's not careful and doesn't listen more to Chubby (Quote: "He never listens!"), J.P. Fitzgerald (Quote: "He's not my father!") or indeed his father Gerry, sooner rather than later.
    Of late, Rory has admitted in his very own words that:
    1) He doesn't like links golf because it's a lottery, too wet and windy ... which doesn't suit his high ball flight. (Hence he's going back to play on the PGA tour, although it was totally boring last year. This year, he suddenly loves everything American!)
    2) He has only played well on links courses when it was calm. (Contrast his first round 63 in last year year's Open at St Andrews with his second round 80, i.e. flat calm versus wet and windy conditions!)
    3) There was a lot of media attention and tremendous pressure on him to win in front of his "home crowd" at the Irish Open in Killarney. (David Howell shot a 64 while playing with Rory, so it certainly wasn't the course.)
    4) On reflection, the "tree root shot" was stupid. (Golf is a "stay-in-the-moment" game!)
    5) His putting wasn't very good at the PGA; he couldn't judge the pace of the greens (In the end, he had the most three-putts of anyone left in the field!)
    If Rory is to become the multiple-Major champion that all the journalists (... "the next Tiger Woods, the man to beat Jack's Majors' record"!!) and Padraig Harrington ("Oh, Paddy, Paddy, Paddy!") are predicting, he will have to adapt his game to suit the prevailing conditions. (Rickie Fowler ... who admittedly hasn't won a tournament or Major yet ... showed Rory up quite badly at this year's Open by "enjoying" the testing weather conditions far better. Hollywood, California, versus Holywood, NI??!!). Rory won't be able to just wait for good weather to come along to win the Open!!
    He will also have to get the job done "going down the stretch" under real pressure, not "blowing up" like he did at the Masters. (Keegan Bradley has done a lot of mental training, which showed in the way he put that triple bogey behind him at the PGA!) Rory has to work on his "mental game" (alongside Lee Westwood perhaps??) .... and, dare I mention, not be seduced away by blonde tennis players in Cincinnati!!
    As others have mentioned, there are some "seriously good" young players, like Jason Day and Matteo Manessero, already in the hunt for Majors! Rory will have plenty to think about in future Majors... that's why he has to develop a cool head!!
    mickysausage:
    I agree with you about Brian Davis. He has performed really well on the PGA Tour (e.g. three 69s and a 74 at the PGA) and is a very underrated player!
    Regarding Rory's head, it hasn't "gone" yet, but he has to be very careful (e.g. loads of money, new car to go with all the others in the garage, new girlfriend, new condo in Florida etc, etc..... all at the age of 22!) if he wants to stay on/the course!
    Additional comments:
    When players become a Major winner, I think we all expect them to play to that high(er) standard all the time. For example, Kaymer, McDowell, Oosthuizen have all been "disappointing" this year, while Charl Schwartzel seems to have kept his game together and lived up to his new status/reputation. That is why Darren Clarke's performance in the last two tournaments fell way below expectations! (He was there as the new Open champion .... and failed to qualify in either!!)
    Finally, it was good to see Trevor Immelman slowly making his way back on to the leaderboard after major wrist surgery!

  • Comment number 69.

    dry your eye Don247!
    i think the only proper debate going on here is about Belly Putters. what a stupid club in my opinion. nobody has really consistently used a Belly Putter to good effect apart from the Amatuer Paul Green who should turn pro soon.

  • Comment number 70.

    BiloMcT, the belly putter is the best club invented, Why dont you like it, are physically inclined to use it ????

  • Comment number 71.

    Chumbawummba12 these are up and coming amature golfers we are talking about here so they would probably not show on google although Rob Foulkes is in the top 100 amature golfers.

    TJAYWAY i think you'll find the first person to use a club of this type was the legendry Bernard Langer this didnt really propell him to any new heights, i agree that belly putters should be banned as some people may have more leaverage in that area to trap the shaft but i think chin putters are probably harder to use. And Westwood, Donald and Stricker are the biggest major chockers in the field today and if they cant handle pressuse should stick to tin cup tourneys

  • Comment number 72.

    BiloMcT... you won't be drawn into a debate on McIlroy because your blinded by his opening round at the masters and his US open win. Your going to have to accept that not everybody in this country loves his curly hair and charming accent, and i believe there are six or seven better players around at the moment with overall better all round games.

  • Comment number 73.

    Chumbawummba12.....like i said earlier my body is like a young Marlin Brando. i choose not to use a belly putter for fear of looking as stupid as those using one. they should be embarressed to call themselves Golfers!
    Sumo81.......why do you think i love McIlroy? i dont. i think he is over rated and not anywhere near the ball striking ability of Brian Davis or the Robert Rock's of this world.
    mickysausage is right, Langer used the full chin putter and it got him nowhere.
    i've heard Rugby League player Joel Monaghan is becoming a Golfer once he retires from Rugby. Apparantly he's a + 4 handicap and a serious talent.

  • Comment number 74.

    Whens the last time Westwood has actually gone and won a proper tournment Last
    4 a joke.

    1) st jude classic 2010-Garrigus throw away 3 shot lead on last hole then Karrlson missed putt from 4 feet in playoff- only reason he won was because the other choked worse ( unbelievably )
    2) end of seasonal 12 man invitational
    3) rubbish tournment in asia without any other players in top 50
    4) see 3!

    Well done Lee a deserving number 2.

    Now on to Donald

    This season hes been ultra consistant yes and even won a few tournments, however on closer reflection.

    1) won match play tournment where u can get away with a choke on any one hole.
    2) a playoff against Westwood ( need i say anything )
    3) a come from behind victory where he didnt have to feel end of tournment pressure- ok this last one is bit harsh as he played well however he did get lucky noone managed to put together even an average round.

    Well done Luke a deserving no1.

    Now on to Keegan Bradley whom many of you blinded brits have labled a flash in the pan.

    1st season and 2 wins on PGA Tour with one a major

    Both Donald and Westwood would swap in an instant there limited success as golfers for his record thats the facts.

    2 best golfers in the world thats funny!

  • Comment number 75.

    BiloMcT.... I have heard Joel Monaghan likes other things aswell as golf.....

  • Comment number 76.

    I think we could put a lot of debating to bed by just listing who we think should be the top 5 golfers in the rankings on current form at the minute?? and maybe for fun throw in our all time top 5 because this as also been debated, i think BiloMcT may have already listed his all time top 4.

    My current top 10 on form and performances in majors and ability alone:-

    1. K.J Choi
    2. Jason Day
    3. Sergio Garcia
    4. Ricky Fowler
    5. Matteo Mannassaro

    My all time world top 10 :-

    1. Tom Watson
    2. Tiger Woods
    3. Sandy Llye
    4. Fred Couples
    5. Nick Faldo

  • Comment number 77.

    1.Jason Day
    2.K J Choi
    3.Miguel A Jimenez
    4.Bubba Watson
    5.Bo Van Pelt

    all time is tough, but i'd probably go with...

    1.Jack Nicklaus
    2.Seve Ballasteros
    3.Tom Watson
    4.Nick Faldo
    5.Boo Weekley

  • Comment number 78.

    eh...nice top 5 mickysausage...pretty sure you wanted to do a top 10!

    whats the craic with Joel Monaghan?

    I'm not going to debate top 10's etc. all ill say is my favourite golfer of all time is John Hawksworth. Legend of the tour.

  • Comment number 79.

    Who is this Joel Monaghan? Is he a golfer? I'm going to google him in a minute i havent heard of him on them tour.

  • Comment number 80.

    1.Jason Day
    2.Steve Stricker
    3.Bo Van Pelt
    4.Paul Casey
    5.Charl Schwartzel


    All time is a toughy, but here goes.....

    1.Luke Donald
    2.Phil Mickleson
    3.John Daly
    4.Tiger Woods
    5.Greg Norman



    BiloMcT.... surely you have heard about joel monaghans' extra curriculum activities ??????

  • Comment number 81.

    @46 mickeysausage- are you aware the Padraig Harrington is from Dublin in the Republic of Ireland therefore why would you include him in a discussion on the current batch of GB&NI golfers!!??

  • Comment number 82.

    Sumo82 just reading your list and did you slip on your typing for your all time top 5 because i am sure it says Boo Weekley!! He is probably the worst golfer i have ever seen and would class him on a par with Shigeki Maruyama "the smiling assasin" and i am convinced the croud shout poooooo and not boooooooo

  • Comment number 83.

    Boo Weekley??!!!! he will never be forgiven for riding his driver as if was a Horse down the fairway in the Ryder Cup.
    How about this one....most underated Golfer of all time.....John Hawksworth

  • Comment number 84.

    @76 mickysausage

    No room for Jack Nicklaus in your all-time world top 5?

    I'll have a go:

    All-time:

    1. Jack Nicklaus
    2. Tiger Woods
    3. Seve Ballesteros
    4. Tom Watson
    5. Greg Norman/Nick Faldo (can't decide Faldo has more majors, but I still think Norman was the better player)

    I avoid the Hogans, Sneads, Jones, Hagens, etc. as that was just too different an era to compare IMO.

  • Comment number 85.

    mickeysausage, injury and a thyroid problem held Boo back, but if you look at his swing, its perfect !

  • Comment number 86.

    I get the joke now.

  • Comment number 87.

    also mickeysausage to call 2 of Harrington's major victories lucky is beyond preposterous- his first open at Carnoustie- a stunning final round charge to catch Garcia, then when he seemingly blew up on 18 he had the mental courage and ability to get up and down for the 6 which enabled him to get in the playoff, garcia made a bogey on an extremely tough finishing hole, hardly handing it to H on a plate. The following year at Birkdale he was the best player all week, managed his game well on the final day and again had the belief to strike the killer blow on the par 5 17th with one of the greatest shots of all time. Finally the USPGA where he holed every putt in sight under intense pressure and made an incredible par on the 72nd to clinch it. These were not luck, on all three occasions Harrington won through a mixture of courage, nerves of steel, self belief and ability which were a product of his immense dedication and work ethic down the years.

  • Comment number 88.

    This thread as decended into chaos. However...

    Top 5 current players:

    Stricker
    Watney
    Choi
    Toms
    Donald

    @ Swashbuckler not far off with all time. With the evolution of the clubs and balls, its difficult to judge the players from the past with todays.

  • Comment number 89.

    HAHA swashbuckler!

    whats the best shot you've ever seen people? mine was the Open Championship in 1995...John Hawksworth hit the best 220 Yard 3 iron into the wind i have ever seen. he had a stormer that year, could have won it. ended up tied 94th

  • Comment number 90.

    @mickysausage....Sergio top 5??? Hes a brilliant ball striker, but he cant putt. Similar to Rory, they rely on a big drive then sticking the ball withing 4 foot of the hole with their mid/short irons.

  • Comment number 91.

    @84 the swashbuckler- i think we should chip in together and buy mickeysausage a book on the history of golf

  • Comment number 92.

    @91 jeffkenna....your on the money there! i dont think mickysausage has a clue about Golf!

  • Comment number 93.

    @89 BiloMct.....what are you on about ? John Hawksworth!! He is clearly the worst player to enter the Open Chapmionship, I think you should stick to backing Rory up.

  • Comment number 94.

    Who the hell is John Hawksworth????

  • Comment number 95.

    BiloMcT:
    I think the debate here is more about who is "made of the right stuff", i.e. has the ability to go on and become a (multiple) winner at the Majors.
    The belly putter is legal so the debate is over before it even got started, I'm afraid. Keegan Bradley "got the job done" at the PGA using the 14 authorised clubs he had in his bag
    The questions to be answered, however, are:
    1) Why did Monty (even at the height of his career) not win the US Open when faced with a "simple" approach shot to the last green and needing "only" a par to win?
    2) Why do Lee Westwood and Luke Donald not have any Majors under their respective belts after all these years of trying?
    3) Can Rory live up to all the hype and win a record number of Majors?
    Physical ability as well as mental ability are involved. It's about getting/keeping the ball in play and also (more importantly in Westwood's case) holing putts at crucial times under pressure ..... whether the players are using a belly putter or not!
    mickeysausage:
    It's interesting you put Tom Watson at the top of your all-time list (... no mention of Jack Nicklaus??) because, before he started winning all his Majors, Tom was also written off by many golf journalists and commentators as being a "choker"! (Remember his putt at the 18th to win the Open at Turnberry in 2009? It still hurts Tom a lot to this day .... because even he admits it was a choke!!)

  • Comment number 96.

    COME ON LADS!!! Google John Hawksworth....he worked for Sky and BBC for a while as a golf commentator. Really knows his stuff and his after dinner speaking is amongst the worlds finest.

  • Comment number 97.

    Ha @jeffkenna your right Harrington isnt from the UK but i was including all of Ireland my mistake, how can you sit there and say that Garcia didnt deserve the 2007 open he shot 65, 71, 68 over the 1st 3 rounds against harringtons 69,73 & 68 that 65 1st round was some of the best golf i have ever witnessed on a par 71 too!! Harrington got lucky and it was nothing to do with courage. Again in 2008 he got lucky because the guy who run the show for the 1st 3 days in Greg Norman had some bad luck and carded a +7 on the final round Harrington didnt create these wins he was just the guy who was there when these two people hit a bad day i would hardly call them class wins at all. His Pga win however was deserved!

    Cookpass if you read my thread properley it says on current form! Garcia is playing the best golf he as played in a long time and is starting to hole some good putts.

    jeffkenna your knowledge on golf is probably about as good as you were at football........

  • Comment number 98.

    hopefully we can get Don247 on the right wavelength soon! the debate is about Belly Putters, its not a closed debate. they may be legal but what we are debating is how stupid they make people look and how embarressed they should feel using one! bet Don 247 is a Belly Putter Man!

  • Comment number 99.

    BiloMct the only people you have gone on about in this entire thread is has-beens and wanabees!! Mcilroy you dont say a bad word about even though everything about him isnt rosy, John Hawksworth is garbage and apart from his 94th at the pga as never carded any other score!! The only player you have mentioned with any class is Brian Davis and thats only because of the hole in one at the 17th at sawgrass!! Chumbawummba is right you know nothing and should stick to Rugby and Belly Putters!

  • Comment number 100.

    @98 BiloMct.... I was just about to say the same about the debate on belly putters..and i think Hawksworth should stick to after dinner speeches.

 

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