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'Awesome' Grace ready to step up

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Iain Carter | 14:03 UK time, Friday, 10 February 2012

First impressions stick and Branden Grace could not have made a better one at the start of the 2012 season.

While Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods are likely to be this year's dominant personalities it is also worth noting the less heralded figures, like Grace, who prove that professional golf is the ultimate sporting meritocracy.

The South African was rightly voted the European Tour's Golfer of the Month for January after his back-to-back victories in the Johannesburg Open and the Volvo Champions event on the Links at Fancourt.

Those wins now have the 23-year-old rubbing shoulders with McIlroy and co and after completing his first spell of golf in the Middle East, Grace is now preparing to head to America to explore yet more uncharted golfing territory.

Brandon Grace

South African-born Branden Grace, who took part in the Dubai Classic at the weekend, has had a brilliant start to 2012 by winning back-to-back titles: Photo: Getty

When we met to discuss his extraordinary start to the new season it quickly became apparent that Grace is no misnomer.

Polite, engaging and bubbling with enthusiasm, he positively relishes the attention he has generated for himself.

"Positive" is a recurring word in our conversation. So is "awesome", but there is no sign that he is awestruck at the prospect of mixing it with the game's big boys.

Grace feels now is the time for him to step up, especially with two Tour victories behind him.

Not bad for the man who claimed the 11th card available at Qualifying School at the end of last year. It was the second time he had made it through.

In 2008, he wasn't ready and finished a lowly 149th in the Order of Merit.

"If you told me at Q School that this is what would have happened so quickly I would have given you a smack and told you to wake up," Grace said.

"It's been awesome and still hasn't sunk in. There are no words to describe it."

The last time he was eligible to play on Tour he lacked the discipline and maturity to make the most of the opportunity.

"I've grown as a person and as a player a lot," he admitted. "Mentally and physically I'm a lot stronger."

Now there is a strategy in place. There are new routines on the course and repeated messages scribbled in his yardage books.

"They are there to keep myself refreshed and keep me motivated and going," he added.

The ploy certainly worked in Johannesburg where the 2006 South African Amateur Strokeplay Champion edged out Jamie Elson by a single stroke to claim his maiden Tour title.

"The win opened that door for Volvo," Grace said of the competition the following week which is essentially a tournament exclusive to European Tour champions.

"I was lucky enough it was at home and I felt really confident and positive going into the week."

Grace is a graduate of the Ernie Els Fancourt Foundation. How appropriate that it was at the same venue that he should come up against the organisation's founder in a play-off that included another home great in Retief Goosen.

"Ernie and Retief were South African golf when I was growing up," Grace acknowledged, but he also points to the heritage stretching further back.

"Gary Player's been a big inspiration. I read his book, Don't Choke, and that was really helpful. He sent me a tweet to say congratulations after my wins and that was awesome."

But it's the current crop of South African elite talent that most inspires Grace at the moment.

He is firm friends with 2010 Open winner Louis Oosthuizen and reigning Masters champion Charl Schwartzel.

"Louis is a good mate and we spend a lot of time together," he continued. 

"Knowing he has done it gives you a positive vibe and the feeling that you can do it. Now I have the feeling that I can be on the same level as they are.

"I can win and I can win on the big stage, which is a nice feeling to have."

Those two January victories have paved the way for him to play the WGC event at Doral next month and he will seek more PGA Tour starts. "I'm really excited to be playing in the States," he smiled.

But more importantly the exemptions earned with his victories enable Grace to plot his own course.

"I've never had a proper schedule, not even on the Challenge Tour," he said.

"It's nice to know the immediate future is settled and the pressure is off. Not that I want to ease off.

"It's been a great start to 2012, as good as anyone - a Luke or a Rory - could have asked for and I hope it doesn't stop there."

And with that, Grace thanked me for taking the time to talk to him. Usually it's the other way round with pro golfers.

Another fine first impression from a player we may hear of a lot more in the coming months and years.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Intersting article,but you fail to mention all the young european talent coming through. They were fairly good fields in africa but how will he perform week in and out when the more established players are playing regulary not just half a dozen of them, but half the field

  • Comment number 2.

    Seems a good prospect no doubt, but will have to turn it on in tournaments with better fields before we can start to take him too seriously.

    Hopefully his season won't peter out from here - I seem to remember a similar thing happening with Johnattan Vegas on the US tour last year, won twice early on and didn't do too much from then on.

  • Comment number 3.

    Well another good week of golf and the prediction league is now looking very tasty as quite a few people picked up points this weekend, special mentions go to THESORCERER and LORDVOLDERMOORT who both predicted Mickleson to win at pebble with TheSorcerer also picking 2nd place at Dubai, also SMO82 picked 2nd place at Dubai and 3rd place at Pebble landing him 8 points. Other than that no fewer than 12 people picked up 5 points for having faith in our Lee Westwood who finished join 2nd at Dubai, full league table below.......Looks like the Mysterious TheSorcerer is setting the early pace! And we still have 6 guys still to get off the mark!

  • Comment number 4.

    TheSorcerer - 25 POINTS
    daveyboyfletcher - 15 POINTS
    BiloMcT - 10 POINTS
    Lordvodermort – 10 POINTS
    mickysausage - 8 POINTS
    sumo82 - 8 POINTS
    cfcboy23 - 5 POINTS
    gbell - 5 POINTS
    Jimmy - 5 POINTS
    divotedgolfer - 5 POINTS
    Maninasuitcase – 5 POINTS
    Yorkshireblogster – 5 POINTS
    eight for six for one – 5 POINTS
    welshwizard5 – 5 POINTS
    Diamondvneck - 3 POINTS
    powerhitterLee - 0 POINTS
    Jeffkenna - 0 POINTS
    PeterTheHoss - 0 POINTS
    Golfnut99 - 0 POINTS
    mattefc - 0 POINTS
    Rich - 0 POINTS

  • Comment number 5.

    haha your doing well PeterTheHoss!!!!

    What did everyone think of Lee Westwood choking again?! Completely bottled it again.

  • Comment number 6.

    Great work on the league mickeysausage.
    Does the sorcerer have inside information ? Might be worth a flutter on his picks this week,if not he could give us the winning lottery numbers.

  • Comment number 7.

    Who else here could have written Bilo's second sentence? I looked up predictable in the dictionary...

    pre·dict·a·ble  [prih-dik-tuh-buhl]
    1. able to be foretold or declared in advance: New technology allows predictable weather forecasting.
    2. expected, especially on the basis of previous or known behavior: His complaints are so predictable.
    3. stuff BiloMcT writes about world's number 2 golfer

    Maybe, Bilo try what did everyone think about LWs putting and then we could say - average. For bottling it - again - see Rory on Sat/Sun!

  • Comment number 8.

    Interesting article, and also interesting that Iain decided to focus on Grace rather than Mickelson's resurgence.

    I just wonder if it's all a bit premature - there are dozens of examples of golfers having a purple patch of a couple of weeks before dropping off the radar. Since his 2 wins, he's missed the cut and finished 47th and 51st.

    And thanks from me to mickysausage for doing the prediction league!

    Interesting (my word of the day) interpretation that Westwood "bottled it" with a bogey-free back nine. 2nd place is still a lot better than McIlroy/Kaymer etc did.

  • Comment number 9.

    Thanks for the article Iain. Great to see another saffa making a name for himself, and certainly one to watch out for. In the post Els/ Goosen generation, Immelman, Schwartzel and Oosthuizen have all shown that there is always plenty of talent coming through the SA system and that they have only needed the breakthrough that a couple of tour victories have provided to take the step up to winning at the majors. Too early to predict that Grace will follow in their footsteps, but if not him, I wouldn't bet against another saffa stepping up to the major plate in the next few years

  • Comment number 10.

    I'm quite disapointed that Arch Tiger hater Iain Carter didnt decide to write another article tearing a strip off Woods for hit inability to put 4 good rounds together, or get it done under pressue :-)

    Struggling to find myself particularly interested in Brandon Grance, I wish him no ill but as he's not a homegrown/european player the thought of him climbing the rankings doesn't really fill my heart with glee.

    Also a little bit strange as 8for6for1 pointed out that Iain didnt focus on the DDC with world no's 2,3, and 4 all in contention at various stages. Or Phils resurgence and what the chances of it being permanent.

  • Comment number 11.

    First off great work mickysausage - really appreciate the time and effort you are putting in!

    Is anyone else sick and tired of the commentators slating golfers!!

    I watched the final day of teh Dubai and after striking the ball like a demon all week and missing out by 1 shot - all the snipes for Westwood came straight out again!!!

    Then watching the final day of Pebble - okay Tiger had a shocker but still finished top 10 - not a bad start to the season for him - and all the moronic idiots on SKy could do was make up ridiculous statements such as "all the things that have gone on in his life will be oging through his head in final day which is why he was rubbish"

    Utter tripe.

    Tiger putted like a plonker and Lee's putting remained average.

  • Comment number 12.

    As for the blog - regardless of the "lesser" fields of the two tournaments Grace won, to come out of Q school grabbing 11th place and win 2 tournaments is nothing short of exceptional. Hope he continues the form and invests in his long term future on the tour and perhaps can come alongside Louis to take over the mantle from Ernie and Retief.

    Also congrats to big Phil - who would have predicted that final round after his previous 2 tournaments leading up to it - flawless golf especially the 30 footer after tiger holed out of bunker - immense pressure golf.

    Rory disappointed again over last 2 rounds - where do people think he went wrong - his driving was certainly poor over last 2 days in my opinion

  • Comment number 13.

    Another ultimately disappointing week for my predictions. At one point my picks of McIlory, Kaymer and Woods were looking good.

    Even more disappointing is that Mickeysausage continues to put 'Lee' at the end of my name in every league table. I hope he sorts that out one day.

    I thought that Sunday's golf was a bit of a let down. Fair play to Cabrera-Bello, who I'm not sure if I'd ever heard of before, but the form of McIlory and Kaymer over the weekend meant that it was only really Westwood chasing him (as far as big names go), and he's not going to win too much more until he sorts out his putting. Similarly, Woods losing his form in the final round again was a let down. Well done to Mickelson though - good to see his back winning, and he's always seemed like a really decent, likeable bloke.

  • Comment number 14.

    Perhaps Tiger should focus on his own putting rather than worry about what others are doing on the green.

    Y_B i do tend to agree with you to an extent, we all know that sometimes you just play rubbish, and there isnt any rhyme or reason to it. That would make for very quick punditry though so they end up being forced to fill time trying to come up with reasons and theories, i dont think its necessarily sniping.

  • Comment number 15.

    With such a depth of talent in both Britain and South Africa, is a Ryder Cup-style GB vs SA event a possibility?

  • Comment number 16.

    # 14

    I agree they have to sit and talk about something - especially PGA tour coverage with all the adverts - but some of the stuff they were saying about TW was ridiculous - he had a smashing round on Saturday and okay he putted like a plonker Sunday - and yes that was his forte versus the rest of the field, but surely it will take time to get "match practise" so to speak

    Last 3 tournaments - 1, T3, T15* (apologies I thought he had come top 10)

    8 /12 rounds in the 60's

    Im not saying we shouldn't be a little disappointed with his Sunday form, and he is always going to be a victim of his monumental success, but I thought the Sky crew in the studio were bordering on innapropriate with some of their analysis

  • Comment number 17.


    It seems like a bit of a recurring flaw in Rory's game. He's maybe just not learned to make the best of his bad rounds yet - which always one of Tiger's great strengths, the ability to turn a 73/74 into a 70.

    Rory's not won nearly as often as you might think his talent would dictate. He'll blow the field away when he's really on his game, but he doesn't seem to win much otherwise. Don247 would have plenty to say on this matter if only he wasn't too busy blogging elsewhere.

    As for Tiger, he was poor on Sunday but I agree some of the punditry was OTT. They were talking about how he should be considering sacking his coach as things aren't working for him! A lot of his problems seemed to be in his short game, and he wasn't able to 'grind' the way he used to.

  • Comment number 18.

    Well done to big Phil, watched the later parts of his rounds and he was fantastic, and as a few have already mentioned he seems like a decent bloke.
    Agree with Jimmy reagarding Woods, looked like he was a bit distracted on a few occasions and was more interested in other people's than his own putting.

    Also a big thanks to Mr Sausage for his sterling efforts on the prediction league.

  • Comment number 19.


    Agree TW's short game wasn't his normal best, though he did hit some nice shots early on - the cut wedge from 100yds (can't remembe which hole) but then he belted his putt past the hole - and I think then it becomes cumultive to your game - you stop hitting the rest of your shots as well because you can't convert the good ones

    I think Rory is similar, when he drives well it sets the rest of his game up, at the weekend as his driving fell off so did the rest of his game.

    But I totally agree if he plays like he did 2nd round every time he would be getting near to where Tiger was in his hey dey - a la the US Open win - nobody could touch him

    Its a shame because thats also where Lee could be if he could putt!!

    now it LW RM and TW sorted it out at the masters how brilliant would it be to watch - with Phil Dustin and Sergio in the mix as well!

  • Comment number 20.

    Jimmy, YB, powerhitterLee, Sumo82 - Did you see Tiger's stats again after the first 3 days? He hit something in the region of 51 greens in regulation out of 54, that is pretty remarkable if you ask me, and once his putting comes together fully (because it aint all bad) and he plays a last round like he is doing the 1st 3, i think Tiger could once again dominate. If it wasnt for his last 2 rounds in the last 2 tournaments he could have won with ease, the pundits like to put people down especially whilst they have something to blame it on!

  • Comment number 21.


    I think it was on 13th hole or something of last round, stat popped up he was still leading the GIR stat! Finished T9 in the end on that. so for sky to claim he needs to get rid of his coach is absolutely ridiculous. He is striking the ball well again but as we all know drive for show putt for dough!!

  • Comment number 22.

    Micky - You can use coulds and ifs about lots of people, If Westwood/Sergio could putt, If Donald was straighter then they could have won majors already etc...

    Woods putting has been a problem for some considerable time now, I remember Steve Williams commenting on it being a problem for Woods during the 2010 Open. With some people the putting is the 1st thing that goes, and whilst it might be a little bit early for that at the age of 36/37 who knows.

    Also Mickleson provided another example of a player, playing with Woods and being totally unaffected, especially noteworthy as Mickleson has his fair share of Woods inflicted scar tissue. For these reasons i dont see Woods dominating. He'll get a proper win soon enough though i'd have thought.

  • Comment number 23.

    Jimmy using Westwood and Sergio as examples of Tiger is probably the biggest put down ever for Tiger Woods, Tiger at his worst could probably still give them two a run for there money, maybe Sergio has been unlucky not to win a major, especially at the open against Harrington, but Westwood? I dont think he as ever been unlucky were he as been there right to the end in a major.

  • Comment number 24.

    To be honest Micky, i wasnt comparing them to Tiger at all, i was using them as examples of how you can say If, or Could about plenty of people, but its pointless because its only what actually happens that counts.

    However when you mention it, the comparison between Sergio/Westwood is a good one in so far as they both went through a period in the doldrums where their game fell away totally and came back, in Westwoods case came back to being better than ever. Its possibly something the Woods can take heart and inspiration from.

    By the way comparing Woods to someone like John Hawkesworth would be a put down, not comparing Woods to two of the finest players of their generation.

  • Comment number 25.

    Comparing golfers is a hard thing to do. Westwood hits his driver better than Woods ever has, but his short game has never been anything near TW's whose powers of recovery were insane - same as seve

    I think a lot of golfers are groomed with the perfect swing and hit fairways and greens, but they don't know what to do when they get into trouble

    seve's greatest asset was that he could make a par from nowhere - and that was TW some years ago now - on a regular basis of course im not saying lee has never made a great par

    goes back to an above post of turning a potential 75 into a 70

  • Comment number 26.

    I have to say i was disappointed with the mcilroy fell away, another example of why he should have stayed in the states where the wind will never blow his tournaments off course :P

  • Comment number 27.

    I think compared to Tigers own achievements, although Westy and Sergio are fine golfers of there generation, i think being compared to them would be a bit of a massive fall back from the Tiger that everyone has witnessed over the last couple of decades. So would you compare Nicklaus, Faldo, Seve, palmer, Watson etc etc in the same bracket? I think we have a difference in class bracket here........

    Genius's of Golf masters of There trade multiple tournaments and majors - Woods, Nicklaus, Faldo, Seve, palmer, Watson etc etc

    Good all round golfers, lots of wins, great players - Westwood, Garcia, Donald, Monty, woosnam etc etc

    Journeymen, standard golfers, wont win much if anything - Hawksworth, Brian Davis, Oliver Wilson etc etc

    I havent classed Mcilroy in any of these as he is not been playin long enough.

  • Comment number 28.

    Phil Mickelson may come across as a decent bloke, and he does!! but i have read quite a few books and heard a lot of stuff that he is one of the most spoilt brats on the pga tour??

    micky...quite right about TW, it is just a matter of time before he strings all 4 together, i have a feeling it will be very soon...masters anyone???? One thing i have noticed with his swing is that he has lost that inevitable hook he always used to throw in. His driving/iron shots are looking spot on with that little soft fade.

    ps... I better get some good predictions in this week, relegation material!!!

  • Comment number 29.

    Can I join the golf winner predictor league thingamajig thingy please. ?

  • Comment number 30.

    @28 mattefc could you elaborate a bit on Mickelson's 'other side'? I'm not saying you're wrong, indeed I've heard the same, but I've never heard any specific examples or anecdotes, it would be interesting to know a few.

  • Comment number 31.

    I’ve visited a few of these blogs before, and post #5 epitomises the sort of tripe that certain posters insist on writing. Yes BiloMcT, I’m talking about you! You are either a WUM, or you know very little about golf, or both. I’m not sure if you play the game, but if you do then I’d wager it’s not to a very high standard. Actually maybe you can answer that for us? Either way, your comments are asinine.

    What I am talking about is this perpetually reference to golfers (usually Westwood) ‘bottling it’. Clearly you have no idea of the meaning of the word. Frankly, it is becoming boring. Every time Westwood fails to win a tournament (and even sometimes when he wins) you appear with the same claptrap.

    Failing to win a tournament when leading or in contention after round 3 is not bottling it. If you look at all the tournaments over the last year (or five or ten or whatever) and see how many 3rd round leaders don’t go on to win. Probably a very high percentage. What’s more, a 2 shot swing can happen in one hole very easily (birdie vs bogey), so a two or three (or more) shot lead can evaporate very quickly over 18 holes. Woods was outscored by Rock and failed to win recently. Is he now a bottler? Is Thomas Bjorn a bottler because he didn’t win last week? I could go on.

    If you are just a WUM then fair enough I’ve taken your bait, but otherwise do us all a favour and try to apply some grey matter to your comments before posting. Also (and apologies if this isn’t you) but the usual posts about Donald ‘not being a true number one’ (cos he hasn’t won a major) are equally fatuous. The number one golfer is the best player according to the system. End of story. If you don’t think he’s number one, then describe how the system can be made more representative, then watch everyone else pick holes in it and make you look like a fool.

  • Comment number 32.

    @mattefc - I've heard that before about Mickleson years back but apparently he's turned over a new leaf and is a joy to be around?

    P.S. - mattefc, you do know its noon and not midnight?
    Not used to seeing you on at this time of day bud!!!!

  • Comment number 33.

    If you look at TW when he does string 4 together he will win - its the same with all the top notch golfers - if Rory strung 4 together this week he would have won - but you can't expect them to do it every week.

    Tiger is only playing 20 tournaments this year - do people think that is enough, or about right?

  • Comment number 34.

    mattefc - if the 'efc' has anything to do with Everton then I can't possibly speak to you after Saturday...
    mickeysausage - I like your genius/good/journeyman bracketing... without wishing to complicate matters, did you like my idea of deducting points if a 'prediction' misses the cut?
    Didn't see any of the PGA golf so cannot comment other than I was extremely surprised to see Phil win... I think someone has already said, it's imperative he makes the Ryder Cup team - to ensure a European win!!

  • Comment number 35.

    cfcboy23 & The Boike-Meister General .... I'm sorry you are correct. Westwood did not Choke on Sunday. whats a WUM?!

    we need to hear from jeffkenna

  • Comment number 36.

    @30 lordvoldemort...I think the general consensus was he came across as someone who new everything and had little respect for his fellow competitors. I cant remember off hand the year (probably about 2007), but he was voted into GQ's magazine poll of the top ten most despised athletes by their peers. There was another poll on pga tour players with regards to their favourite playing partners, noboby put mickelson as their favourite playing partner!!!!
    I do remember a title his peers adopted for him though, FIGJAM!!!!! I cant say what it stands for though because it contains an explesive

  • Comment number 37.

    @ Micky - I would say i pretty much agree with those classifications but like i said, I wasnt comparing Westwood/Garcia in terms of acheivement or ability. I was simply pointing out how futile it is to say use phrased like "If" and "could have" after the event.

    Bet you anything that Woods isn't going "IF i'd putted better I COULD have won". I reckon he's working on his putting to try and find and cure a fault that is causing his problems, and working on grooving his swing so that he has the muscle memory required to hit good shots when the pressure is on in the final rounds.

    By the way i keep meaning to thank you for the sterling work on the predictions. Good job.

    On an unrelated matter anyone know when Casey is back from his injury, will he make the World Matchplay??

  • Comment number 38.

    Don't really see the relevance in this story so dont have much to say about it, apart from the kid can obviously play and ill be watching his progress, but it's far too early to be saying hes the next big thing.

    I would of loved an article about the mickleson final round on sunda, it was simply awesome!! a shame about tiger dropping off again but his game is so much more consistent and im sure it wont be long until he strings four good days together.

    I have to say welcome back to the boike-meister-general!!! the biggest "choke", if thats the word were using, on sunday was from mcilroy and kaymer, westwood played really well, some putting aside, for the majority and cabrero bello was outstanding, he was coolness personified and showed some real grit to end up the winner - probably deserved after his cracking first round.

  • Comment number 39.

    sumo...haha.. yeh dude off this week and should be painting, might start tomorrow!!! presumed correct!!
    yorkshireblogster....I personally think TW should play more but he always plays the same give or take, his divisory is always 40 events over the 2 year rankings so i cant see him ever changing in all honesty. It looks like it will be the 2 WGC's, masters, tpc, arnold palmer, quail, us open etc etc

  • Comment number 40.

    @34 cfcboy, i think if your player misses the cut to lose points would be a good idea, but i'd worry that we'd all end up opting for the same players each tornament and it would deter anyone from picking an outsider who they fancy because of the fear they could miss the cut like they normally do?
    Plus mickeysausage's head might explode!

    Did anyone hear the story about Phil Mickleson hitting boiled eggs off beer cans in his back garden when he was drunk? Legend

  • Comment number 41.

    aaah... the 'Flip I'm Good - Just Ask Me'!

  • Comment number 42.

    jimmy....not heard if casey is comitting to the match play, is it still the friday before that they have to commit given it starts on wednesday!! I suppose with the field set as such (discounting withdrawals) he may well play

  • Comment number 43.

    @41 cfc.....not quite flip..if you get my point

  • Comment number 44.

    haha pretty sure BiloMcT doesnt actually think Westy is a bottler, just winding up the stupid people on here! It was great watching Mickleson on Sunday, on top form he is the best Golfer in the world...FACT!

  • Comment number 45.

    Off Topic:
    Is anyone going to the Open at Lytham this year?

    Is anyone else shocked at the £75 per day adult price?

    4 years ago it was £40 and £25 for concessions, but that is some increase! on top of travel etc its a fair whack!

    I know a ticket to a football match is £50+ so in context not that bad but its put me off going this year I think : (

  • Comment number 46.

    Westwood chokes again at the weekend.

    Will Westwood or Donald ever have the bottle to win a major...I dont think so.

  • Comment number 47.

    Bilo - apology accepted but judging by The Boike-Meister General's response you have way more making up to do... and on Valentine's Day too!
    sumo82 - agreed and I didn't want to make things ridiculous but who'd have thought Kaymer would miss the cut in Dubai (also Jason Day and Brandon Grace) and then Karlsson, Manessero and Ross Fisher in Qatar. All safe picks?

  • Comment number 48.

    @45....I am going on the saturday and i thought it was £55, it was £50 i think a few years ago at birkdale

  • Comment number 49.

    #45... possibly practise day plus Friday and/or Sat. I'll keep you posted - just off to raid my piggy bank!

  • Comment number 50.

    haha Bilo ill get a prediction in soon mate! Maybe you should concentrate more on winding up a few of these suckers more....they bite easier than a bunch of mackerel.
    On a serious note Mickleson was a class act again and i hope he can play like that at Augusta, we could see an amazing Masters if Tiger, Rory, Phil and Bubba Watson all hit top form

  • Comment number 51.

    @44...that is a sweeping statement.....i think playing with TW gets his juices flowing more so than playing with someone else??? He did play superbly on sunday though.

  • Comment number 52.

    Apologies, £60 before 1st June £70 thereafter, £60 seems more reasonable price increase...dont know where I read £75 - my apologies.

  • Comment number 53.

    @45 - On the plus side, your hotel will only cost £20 if you stay in Blackpool,
    swings and roundabouts and all that.....

  • Comment number 54.

    Lets get one thing clear...BiloMcT actually likes Westwood and Donald, in fact i probably cheer them on more than anyone else here! If you look back at my blogging over the last few years i have always supported them and said they are so good they would one day be Number 1's in the world! where were my critics back then?! New boys just appearing on here out of nowhere giving off are a joke, they dont understand the banter in delivering the standard line 'Westwood Chokes Again'...its an old school joke amongst regular bloggers like mickysausage, jeffkenna Don247 ( may he RIP ), mickyweir and Sumo82. Anyone who think i am having a go at Westwood or Donald is a misguided clown. Get with the programme and a bit of fun amongst the golf debates or run along away from here.
    Westwood = Legend
    Donald = Legend

  • Comment number 55.

    I think id rather spend the £20 on fuel each way Sumo!!

    Blackpool not far from my neck of Yorkshire - when it was at Birkdale I left at 5am, beat all the traffic and grabbed a bacon sarnie and a coffee waiting for turnstiles to open

    might try and get there for a day, never been to Lytham.

  • Comment number 56.

    The Aussie Cricketers call Pieterson FIGJAM. I thought they'd made it up but i cant see too many US tour golfers taking an interest in cricket so maybe its a more common sporting nickname than i'd realised.

    Matt - I had a look and i'm not sure when they have to commit by however the rankings in terms of who qualifies and who is on standby have now been locked. Mickleson already said he's not going to play. Seems an odd decision?

  • Comment number 57.

    56 Jimmy...Your probably right, very common towards people who have their own head stuck up the preverbial. Just checked on the worldgolfchampionships website and it says the have untill 5pm friday (10pm gmt) to commit.

  • Comment number 58.

    stand your ground bilo. westwood choked. 11 under for the back nine over the first 3 days. 1 under when it counted. apparently one of the groundskeepers found the incriminating bean at the side of the 18th green when they were tidying up on sunday evening.

    and by the way, with all the weekend action and players on show we get a blog about a south african winning a couple of local tournaments a month ago??? nice one carter. i think i prefer your "tiger's a mean man who is never friendly to me so i'm going to find any excuse to slate him" articles.

  • Comment number 59.

    #54 New boys just appearing on here out of nowhere giving off are a joke, they dont understand the banter in delivering the standard line 'Westwood Chokes Again'...its an old school joke amongst regular bloggers like mickysausage, jeffkenna Don247 ( may he RIP ), mickyweir and Sumo82.

    Sorry for being 'a joke'... it really isn't funny - honest!! Still, if this blog is a closed shop, good luck with your unique old school humour, Bilo.

  • Comment number 60.

    Just a quick addition to the is Phil Mickelson a decent bloke argument. Many, many years ago I worked in the players area at a golf tournament in which Phil Mickelson was playing. I have to say his courtesy towards everyone he came into contact with that was marked. This contrasted to the behaviour of some of the other players at the tournament.
    His maturity in dealing with the various sponsors and media was also very obvious. This, to be fair, was before he really became a worldwide golf superstar and he may have changed since then. However with my very limited interaction with him we has a thoroughly pleasant and engaging guy.

  • Comment number 61.

    Totally irrelevant blog this, Iain. Would have been better if you'd posted it just after Grace won for the second time & not weeks later. Did you have a few weeks off yourself?
    Also, #31 The Boike-Meister General is spot on with his observations. There are far too many people on here who regularly run down Donald, Westwood, Mcilroy, etc., despite their world standing - And one in particular who spins faster than New Labour when challenged on his views.
    On a side note I'm disappointed at Messrs. Poulter, Casey & Rose absence from the European golf scene recently. They will, no doubt, be expecting Snr. Olazabal to give them wild card picks for the RC when they could have easily amassed a significant number of points over the last 3weeks. Hope Ollie remembers that come August.

  • Comment number 62.

    #61 - whilst I understand your sentiment it is a little harsh on Casey as he is injured and therefore unable to play.

  • Comment number 63.

    Most of us can only base our opinion of players on how they act on the course and in interviews. Mickelson does come across well in both regards. He also plays the type of golf most of us would love to play - with the kind of shotmaking and short game few others have.

    There's all sorts of stories you hear, depends how much you like to believe in gossip.
    There were rumours that Mickelson is a huge gambler and has run into problems with it. Rumours that he lost a huge bet at Augusta and couldn't/wouldn't pay up. Most of them are probably nonsense and I'm sure plenty of his fellow pros are jealous of him.

  • Comment number 64.

    Interesting article but not really relevant to last weeks golf. Great to be in second place on the league table prob wont last though.
    Shame again that Westwoods putting let him down again.
    If Lee could get Luke donalds short game he would be almost unbeatable

  • Comment number 65.

    # 64

    you would think with how they are such good friends that Lee would go and see Luke and his training methods etc - the man has arguably the most consistently good short game in the world, and thats the thing Lee needs to work on

    when I play on a weekend my playing partners and I always give each other feedback on general and specific swings/shots

    do you think the pro's do this at all??

  • Comment number 66.

    Excellent post #35 and even better#59!

    Well I'm sorry but I'm not part of the in-crowd (yet) so I'll just have to try and work out when someone is being serious and when someone isn't. Having read some of James Matthew's posts in the past, you can forgive me for being confused. And by the way, for your information, a WUM is a ... nice try.

    As you have probably gathered I don't really think the term 'choker' should be bandied around by armchair fans like us. That said, I would agree with whoever it was (actually luis_suares_teeth, #38) that McIlroy is more vulnerable mentally than Westwood. Not because of his blow out at the Masters, which would be the obvious example. Rather, firstly because of his comments that his game doesn't suit links golf. You'd never hear Tiger stating something as negative as that. To be the best of the best you have to have everything on your side, and that includes an unwavering belief that you are always going to win. That's what Tiger had (maybe still doe, who knows). The second thing is that he seems to make the game look so easy at times, but then appears to almost give up. Obviously I can't read his thoughts, but it seems as if he almost loses interest sometimes. Plays breathtaking golf then finishes disappointingly, with his body language telling a tale. It's too early in his career to tell, but I wonder if he may end up underachieving. I guess we'll get a better idea this year by his performance in the majors.

    Mind you, with Westwood and Donald nailed on certainties to win a couple each, I guess he'll be playing for the minor places...

  • Comment number 67.

    @58 PG...always the Bean!

    cfcboy23.....dry your eyes!

    TREVTHETRAINER! i thought we were BFF' how you've turned.

    On a side note i cant go to Lytham this year, an unfortunate incident with a Belly Dancer there last time means i'm banned

  • Comment number 68.

    yorshire blogster I would be surprised if they gave too much away to one another as they are not going to want to give away an advantage with the money they can win or lose on one shot.
    Lee was getting some coaching from Mark Roe but dont think that is the case any more.
    Lee has a long game anyone would want but once on the greens something just does not happen for him and somehow he needs to unlock that something to step into the next level.

  • Comment number 69.

    @ Trev

    I cant help but feel your comments are a little wide of the mark, though i do understand its from a point of view of wanting Europe to have the best team it possibly can. I personally hope Ollie picks the best men for the job rather than discriminating against people based on where they play. Poulter shows as much if not more passion for Ryder Cup as anyone i've ever seen, Rose is currently in the Team as it stands, perhaps he feels his best chance is to play where he is settled and accumulate points that way. Whatever their motives its not up to you, me or anyone else to say where a players priorities should lie.

  • Comment number 70.

    @ 66 The Boike-Meister General...i do agree with you there. I like you, do you like me?

  • Comment number 71.

    #65 - I always give feedback to my playing partners. Keen but cr*p, usually.

    One thing I would agree with re: Westy is that his putting lets him down. Watched him recently (I think in this tournie actually) and he missed a 2 footer that I could have boxed. I know they all do it, but he does seem vulnerable on the greens.

    In terms of nice guys, again far be in from me to judge a pro golfer, but I went to the Nedbank at Sun City in Dec. All the players came out after their rounds and signed autographs for several minutes (in the case of Donald he signed every single one). However one player didn't, and that surprised me. Guess who? I'll post a copy of my book to the first one who guesses right

  • Comment number 72.

    i'd like to hear more from BiloMcT about the Belly Dancer ( did she have a Belly Putter?! )

  • Comment number 73.

    #70 Bilo - that's a tough one. I'm inclined to say yes but I fear you're just setting me up with one of your little in-jokes again...

  • Comment number 74.

    Guys i have just read this on another blog thought i would copy onto here its regarding Westwood, what are your guys thoughts??? Think a few people on our blog would be angered by these statements!! (Apart from possibly BiloMct)..........


  • Comment number 75.

    The fact that “westwood chokes again” is predictable, is precisely the point.
    It is very predictable that westwood chokes.
    And by choke i mean, does not raise his game when he needs to, to win a big tournament.
    Westwood is good for getting to where he is consistently, but not a legend until he turns “running close” into “multiple winner of big tournaments”.
    This used to be known as “Harrington Syndrome”.
    It is great the mickelson is back firing.
    My dream season would be the world rankings to finish like this:
    1. Woods
    2. McIlroy
    3. Mickelson
    4. Big Mac
    US Masters – Mickelson
    Open – Woods
    US Open – Woods
    PGA – McIlroy
    With the other 2 as runners up in each they don’t win, by ONE shot.

  • Comment number 76.

    @ #71 - Kim Kyung Tae – On account of his autograph takes too long and looks like a map to his house.

  • Comment number 77.

    73 The Boike-Meister General...i'm not setting you up, i do like you and your golf thoughts.

    mickysausage, thats a crazy post about Westwood. I dont agree with it. Westy is a Legend.

    Golfnut99, i cant go into details on this site i'm afraid. Lets just say the night took a sour turn when she whipped out an Umbrella and a bag of Sugar

  • Comment number 78.

    Does anybody know if theres any truth behind John Daly snapping his putter in half with his leg after shooting a quadruple bogey on the par-four 12th at Dubai? Apparently he was ready for walking off again but they said he would see severe consequencies if he did!

  • Comment number 79.


    I dont see how it would be giving too much away because they could film and slow down swings etc - I suppose it is more of a mind thing

    Maybe he needs to hire Dr Bob Rotella - great books if any of you haven't read them

    With putting I suppose it is always a mental thing - I mean how hard is it to get the face through straight at impact? Some days you see every line on the green some days you don't

    # 71 was it Paul Casey - ever Open I have been to I have never seen him sign an autograph!!!

  • Comment number 80.

    #71, technically you're right. He didn't, but I let him off cos he can't speak English. There was one other though

  • Comment number 81.

    Micky do you really think Westwood chokes or is he just a poor putter because even when under pressure his long game holds up , he finds the fairway then invariably the green.
    Like your ideal year end ranking but a long way to go and a lot will depend on who wins the majors and high ranking point events .

  • Comment number 82.

    When I say poor putter I mean in relation to someone like Luke or Charl Shwartzel

  • Comment number 83.

    @ Y_B. I'm planning on getting Putting out of Your Mind before the start of the new season to see if i can find a way of improving on the green. I am however hugely sceptical as to whether it will see any improvement but for the sake of £6 its worth a shot, after all i just got a new putter so its peanuts in comparison.

    I dunno about JD snapping his putter but in last years October medal i snapped mine over my knee (In my defence it was an accident) still managed to win, though the time of year and lack of prestige rather diluted the quality of the field and therefore the impressiveness of the win. A bit like Branden Grace really.

  • Comment number 84.

    @71 - Darren Clarke - he was at the bar, too busy still celebrating the Open win.

  • Comment number 85.

    #79 – Unlikely as he wasn’t there.
    By a process of elimination I would guess Darren Clarke.

  • Comment number 86.

    @daveyboyfletcher - Please read my comment before the article, that is what somebody else has posted on another blog about Westwood.

    I actually like Westwood but i just dont think he takes things serious enough to win a major!, people like Tiger, Nicklaus, Watson, Seve were determined and pushed so hard that they became the best, i dont think Westy works towards really winning majors, i think he will win lots of tournaments though.

  • Comment number 87.

    #58 PG - timing is everything! Just as you jumps to Bilo's defence, he retracts and tells us he was 'kidding' all along! Better luck next time.
    #67 Bilo - my tears are for you only... you seem in need of constant attention, are you unhappy/lonely?
    #75 Mickey - I as do others tend to stick up for sportsmen and women rather that see them as easy targets. Terms such as choker and bottler I find offensive and wildly inaccurate. I'm happy to agree Westwood is an average putter but (various definitions aside) to call him choker or bottler is wrong in my view. Neither of these could be attributed to anyone who has got to the top of his/her profession. I've played many sports and a few to a good standard - I therefore have nothing but admiration to those who can make a (good) living from it. Name calling... nah, not my thing.

  • Comment number 88.

    Jimmy - its a great little book - theres a story where he took Tom Kite under his wing because he was struggling, so played a round with him and the blindfolded him on the green - Tom shot 64 or something

    I suppose different things work for different people but it is definately a game of the mind!

  • Comment number 89.

    OH ok Micky so you do not think its a mental thing with Westy its down to practice?
    I dont understand why he does not get someone like Dave Stockton to have a look at his putting thats what Rory did last year and seemed to improve straight away.

  • Comment number 90.

    @Y_B - Thats good to hear but did reading it actually help you to putt better? We all know from experience that when you feel confident over a putt they go in more often but its very hard to force or fake confidence. Its more of a gut feeling. I dont want a book that just nice anecdotes about other people getting better. That said for the price its worth a shot regardless.

    I think the inability to force yourself to be confident on the greens could be Lee's problem. Then again some people are just naturally better than others at certain things. Perhaps its just a fact that compared to his peers he will always be a poor putter because he isnt as naturally good at it. He just needs to hope that he gets lucky and has a good day on the greens 1st round of a major which gives him enough momentum to take it through to a victory. Sadly i just dont see it happening though. Would love to be proved wrong

  • Comment number 91.

    mickysausage and powerhitter....what do you think of cfcboy23?

    mattefc...your a legend mate, what do you think of Sumo82?

  • Comment number 92.

    Bilo are you 12 years old what is all this like business grow up or go back to school

  • Comment number 93.

    Micky not sure why but the league has been removed ????

  • Comment number 94.

    BiloMct - I think that cfcboy23 contributes greatly to the blog, he reminds me a bit of "John Daly" He has his ups and downs, but he sticks to his own opinions and he his never afraid to throw his putter in the water!

  • Comment number 95.

    @92 daveyboyfletcher, i was just wondering who likes who and who doesnt like who.
    Do you like me?

  • Comment number 96.


    I'm currently reading the Bob Rotella books. To be honest they wont tell you much you don't already know ie forget about the bad shots, stick to a routine, commit to every shot, be positive etc etc. It's actually doing it on the golf course that's the hard bit. Who doesn't stand on the next tee followng a 3-putt from nowhere and give that tee shot a bit extra?

    He tells the story about Tom Kite playing with a bunch of college kids and they couldn't understand why Kite was so successful when they hit the ball just as well, chipped and putted as well etc. The reason was of course that when the bad shots came, Kite would keep calm, still think clearly and still make a par from 100 yards out, where the others would try and hit a wonder shot and make a double. If Kite missed a makeable putt he wouldn't get angry and also end up bogeying the next etc. I was always sceptical about golf being '90% in the head' but at that level it really is.

  • Comment number 97.

    @93 thanks for that information @Daveyboyfletcher.


  • Comment number 98.

    Bilo i dont know you so cannot pass judgement though you seem to like to try and provoke a reaction. Most on here write solid stuff though obv a bit is tongue in cheek.
    Micky is the most balanced and so there for in my opinion the top blogger.

  • Comment number 99.

    BiloMct - I think cfcboy23 is a legend, although it's a shame about what team he supports. But given this is a golf blog, I'll overlook that.

  • Comment number 100.

    Micky a shame as you put in the work and on a personal note I was off to a good start


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