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Race To Dubai extended until 2014

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Iain Carter | 15:25 UK time, Sunday, 11 December 2011

As the dust settles on a vintage European Tour season and Luke Donald celebrates his historic money-list double, Tour officials must feel equally satisfied having secured the future of the Race to Dubai.

Donald dominates the headlines with his achievement but my bosses ban me from reflecting on it in too much detail for fear of unduly influencing the voting for Sports Personality of the Year.

But the fact that the world number one knows he has the chance to defend the Race to Dubai title next year is noteworthy enough in the current difficult economic times.

Last Sunday, Tour chief executive, George O’Grady, announced a three-year extension to the deal that has made Dubai the end-of-season destination for the Tour since 2009.

Donald

George O'Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, presents Luke Donald (right) of England with The Race To Dubai trophy. Photo: Getty  

The Dubai World Championship will be known from next year as the DP World Tour Championship and will have a prize fund of $8m (£5.13m).

A separate agreement for the bonus pool for the Race is being negotiated.

“Quite frankly I think this is an enormous deal,” O’Grady told BBC Sport. “I’m not talking about the size of the money, I think it shows confidence in our product, which we know is very good, but us knowing it and others knowing it are two different things.”

It is testament to the quality of European golf that the initial deal that transformed the old Order of Merit into the Race to Dubai survived the global economic meltdown that hit the Emirate hard.

The three winners of the newly-branded money title have all been world number ones, with Donald joining fellow Englishman Lee Westwood and Germany's Martin Kaymer on the roll of honour.

The top four players in the world teed it up in Dubai last week and it felt like a fitting end to the global golf season, never mind just the European sector.

O’Grady acknowledges that the golfing riches at his disposal could only help broker the new deal with the Dubai backers. “It certainly didn’t do any harm,” he said.

“I think they saw the final pairing last Thursday with the world number one and two players teeing off together. But our players are in demand wherever they go, obviously it is attractive to join the PGA Tour and play both tours as Luke Donald does. It is easy to do if you are in the world’s top 50.

“We have so many players in the top 50. And why? Because all the standards over here have got better and better.”

This season, Kaymer, Westwood and Northern Ireland's world number two Rory McIlroy all rejected American tour membership but next year only Kaymer is not signing on the dotted line with the PGA Tour.

This will not have a massive impact on the European Tour, but Westwood and McIlroy will have to shed a couple of events and the tournaments that will suffer are likely to be in Europe.

Although the latest Dubai investment is clearly welcome, the biggest challenge for the Tour is to bolster events in the continent from where it derives its name.

Economic chaos in the Eurozone doesn’t help (the Tour’s currency is the Euro) and the Scottish and Irish Opens have still to announce title sponsors for next year. Furthermore the BMW PGA Championship is the only regular Tour event in England.

McIlroy has already committed to the Irish Open and his entry is key to securing a new backer.

Donald will be defending champion in Scotland and has said he will play essentially the same schedule in 2012 as he did this year so its reasonable to assume he will play at Castle Stuart.

These are the key players going forward and their participation in events strengthen the hands of the dealmakers.

The golfing compass points East at the moment with Asian countries the more likely to stump up worthwhile purses.

The Tour insists that sponsors only shell out on tournaments because they offer value for money. “It’s not patronage,” O’Grady said.

McIlroy and Donald have become highly significant sporting figures who in golf are driving the marketplace. They may appear to earn obscene sums of money - Donald pocketed £4.57m from the European Tour and £4.29m in winning the PGA Tour in 2011 - but the fact is they are worth it.

 

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Sorry to be a downer on Luke but I don't get the fuss about this 'historic' double.

    Tiger Woods has top both money list - 2005 he won both US Masters & Open, won way, way more money than Colin in sanctioned European Tour events - but it was not official because he did not enter the minimum required number of events.

    In my mind, that's an even bigger achievement.

  • Comment number 2.

    'Donald dominates the headlines with his achievement but my bosses ban me from reflecting on it in too much detail for fear of unduly influencing the voting for Sports Personality of the Year.'

    Come on Iain! Donald deserves a good write up after what he achieved! Rebel against the bosses! be a man!

  • Comment number 3.

    I wouldnt be surprised if thats not the only year Tiger won the Euro tour money list but it didnt count, for example in 2000 when he won 3 majors he must have come very close on the back of thos 3 wins alone.

    Anyway the difference for what its worth is that in 2005 Tiger didnt win any purely European tour events.

    Fair enough Iain if the paymasters dont allow you to reflect too much on the size of Lukes acheivement, I hope that at some point after SPOTY you do because its actually a quite remarkable success. In fact i'd go so far as to say that outside of some of the ridiculous things that Tiger Woods has managed during his career this is perhaps the most outstanding acheivement i've seen during my time watching and following golf.

  • Comment number 4.

    Surely the fact that Luke did not have any inflated pay days for winning 'so called' majors makes his achievement even greater and shows the incredible consistency of his game.I consider this achievement is worth 10 'so called' majors.

  • Comment number 5.

    Have to agree with 3. 'Winning' both tours is far more impressive than winning a slitary Major. I've said it on here many times, but too much is made of winning (or not winning) 1 of those 4-times-a-year tournaments. To win one you need to put together four very good rounds (or at least 3) and hope that no-one does better. It can and does happen to average pros like Hamilton and Curtis. Yet too many golf commentators (professional and amateur) think that such an achievement somehow eclipses, say, Montgomerie being top golfer in Europe SEVEN times, or even Westwood being World Number One for 6 months. Monty himself said that given a choice he'd rather have reached No.1 than win the USPGA. Luke Donald has shown the sort of consistency that the likes of even Darren Clarke can only dream about. I'd expect him to be World Number 1 this time next year with or without a Major win.

  • Comment number 6.

    Well done to Luke Donald. Winning both money lists is a fantastic achievement. He deserves all the credit he can get for the manner in which he has gone about it. Seems to be a true gent on and off the course, very gracious and humble. A credit to the great game we love. As usual the BBC blog shut down at the usual time on Thursday evening (thanks BBC for doing this continuously thereby robbing us bloggers of the opportunity to have discussion and banter as the golf unravels over the weekend!!) I’m sure Don247 will be on soon with the updated prediction league standings. No-one predicted it would be Quiros or Paul Lawrie for the “W”.........................

  • Comment number 7.

    ..........................Jeffkenna’s predictions of Westy, El Nino and Rors (who could have broken his right paw on Sunday such was the power of the smack he gave his putter face upon seeing yet another one slip by – cue plenty of pics of Rors looking to the heavens for guidance) let me down somewhat. Bobbie “coz I’m worth it” Rock picked up a nice “journeyman” cheque – enough to keep a healthy supply of hair conditioner for another year.

  • Comment number 8.

    sween @1 - Tiger would have achieved this feat on more than one occasion - as many as 5 times I believe - had he been an official meber of the European tour.

  • Comment number 9.

    That was an absolute brilliant display of golf from the deserved World #1 Luke Donald. To round off the weekend and wrap up The Race to Dubai with a 66, 66 finish - closing it out with three consecutive, birdies - was golf of the highest order.

    Luke, you have my utmost respect as a golfer, as a family man and as a human being - you encapsulate everything that the game is about and should be about!

    Your recently deceased father, Colin, would have been proud of what you have achieved and how you hold yourself in the face of adversity and constant criticism. Your brother, Christian certainly knows what you've done for the Donald family-name!

    RESPECT LUKE, RESPECT!!

  • Comment number 10.

    @ 4 Peter Hume....10 Majors! most ridiculous thing i've read on here ever.

  • Comment number 11.

    To all competitors in our "Official Prediction League":

    The full official prediction list for the Dubai World Championship presented by DP World was as follows before the start of play.

    "Official Predictions" Made/Registered At/By:

    @ 109 BiloMcT - 1. Luke Donald, 2. Martin Kaymer, 3. Sergio Garcia
    @ 111 TheSourcerer - 1. Sergio Garcia, 2. Paul Casey, 3. Ernie Els
    @ 112 Jimmy - 1. Lee Westwood, 2. Paul Casey, 3. Robert Rock
    @ 113 jeffkenna - 1. Lee Westwood, 2. Sergio Garcia, 3. Rory McIlroy
    @ 116 Daffy - 1. Sergio Garcia, 2. Charl Schwartzel, 3. Luke Donald
    @ 120 powerhitter - 1 Lee Westwood, 2. Rory McIlroy, 3. Paul Casey
    @ 129 sumo82 - 1. Luke Donald, 2. Sergio Garcia, 3. Alvaro Quiros
    @ 138 nhill89 - 1. Louis Oosthuizen, 2. Retief Goosen, 3. Paul Casey
    @ 154 anglesdan - 1. Martin Kaymer, 2. Charl Schwartzel, 3. Rory McIlroy
    @ 155 Don247 - 1. Graeme McDowell, 2. Lee Westwood, 3. Rory McIlroy
    @ 157 yorkieboycanada - 1. Lee Westwood, 2. Luke Donald, 3. Sergio Garcia
    @ 161 CHUMBAWUMBA12 - 1. Luke Donald, 2. Sergio Garcia, 3. Lee Westwood
    @ 162 mickysausage - 1. Sergio Garcia, 2. Rory McIlroy, 3. Luke Donald (10. RR)
    @ 170 eight for six for one - 1. Martin Kaymer, 2. Sergio Garcia, 3. Luke Donald
    @ 175 mattfc - 1. Martin Kaymer, 2. Ian Poulter, 3. Rory McIlroy
    @ 180 lovegolf0712 - 1. Martin Kaymer, 2. Lee Westwood, 3. Rory McIlroy
    @ 184 superbaby - 1. Thomas Bjorn, 2. xxxxx, 3. xxxxx (4. McIlroy, 13. Donald)
    @ 189 Golfnut99 - 1. Thomas Bjorn, 2. Mark Foster, 3. Sergio Garcia
    @ 192 saintgina - 1. Paul Casey, 2. Miguel Angel Jimenez, 3. Ian Poulter
    @ 199 happyjaybee - 1. Robert Karlsson, 2. Luke Donald, 3. Rory McIlroy

    After duly comparing the predictions listed above with the actual result of the Dubai World Championship, i.e.

    1st Alvaro Quiros, 2nd Paul Lawrie and 3rd Luke Donald

    it is my solemn duty to announce that only two tipsters out of our entire illustrious band of "experts" managed to get any points on the board, namely Daffy and eight for six for one.

    The stark reality facing the rest of us is that we are an abject bunch of "tipping zeros" (read: total failures!)!

    "Official Prediction League Table" (as at 12th December 2011 after 2 tournaments)

    1. powerhitter - 9 points
    2. BiloMcT - 6 points
    3. jeffkenna, PG, Daffy and eight for six for one - 3 points


    Cue: "Ships - Where Were You When My Ship Went Down?" by Big Country


    Concluding Statement and Rallying Call from the "Chief Blogger":

    Fellow bloggers, remember how I built up us all up last blog by saying:
    'Our "intrepid" BBC bloggers (read: "expert tipsters to a man") have made the following predictions.'

    However, following our "unmitigated prediction debacle", we must look like a bunch of losers to any "neutral observer". Our unsuccessful (read: hopeless) tips must give the impression that we are just a load of blowhards who know absolutely nothing about golf or, indeed, about the players we purport to love and support, and only emit huge amounts of hot air in order to amuse ourselves and keep global warming in all the headlines.

    Gentlemen, we don't want to become an easy target for critics who would be only too happy to ridicule us and make cheap jibes at our expense. Each and every one of us must now take a good hard look in the mirror and promise to every effort to raise our collective tipping game - because, quite frankly, as things as stand at the moment, it couldn't get any worse!

    Pathetic excuse ... for anyone who wants to listen:

    It's has been a long hard season for us poor golf fans. All that watching the telly for hours and hours on end, sitting on our comfy sofas, swilling back six-pack after six-pack of nicely chilled beer and munching our way through (wheel)barrow-loads of crisps and nibbles have exacted a terrible toll on our "svelte" couch-potato physiques and totally befuddled our already addled brains. I believe we're suffering from communal end-of-season burn-out.

    The time has come, therefore, for us to finally switch off the telly, put down that remote control of ours, venture outside for once and breathe in some much-needed fresh air to re-oxygenate our brains and recharge our batteries in preparation for the new season which begins in some three weeks time!!

  • Comment number 12.

    9 Don247 - well said

    That is virtually what I was going to write - give Mr. Donald the RESPECT he deserves. He is great to watch in my opinion - he was all over the shop on Friday, then 66+66 over the weekend - simply fantastic.

    Well deserving of top spot on both tours, a feat I do not think may ever be achieved again - unless the rules are changed.

    LUUUUUUUUUUKE for SPOTY ?

  • Comment number 13.

    Great performance by Donald, what a fantastic player and also a great guy. Some of the rubbish written about him on these blogs is just ridiculous, but he's risen above the constant baiting by the likes of (the vitriolic and universally unloved) James Mathew and showed us what he's made of. Great stuff.

    Pity that Alvaro Quiros never even got a mention by Iain carter, but something about Dubai must do it for Alvaro, as he's 2 from 2 there this year.

    Don247, it's a shame the season is coming to an end just as you were getting the prediction league into full swing. However, does this mean that I can declare myself the winner of the (admittedly shortened) official 2011 Order of Merit?

  • Comment number 14.

    @DON247!!!!! So i take it my prediction of Luke Donald finishing 3rd doesnt count then???? Yet again DON247 you carry on your vendetta against Mickysausage after our handshake, this is out of order, Don247 you need to have a re count!

  • Comment number 15.

    An honourable mention should go out to Sumo who had LD 1st and AQ 3rd. Pretty good tipping . Perhaps single bonus point could be awarded for correctly tipping a top 3 place but placing that individual in the wrong position.

    I must point out at this stage that this wouldnt help me in the slightest and therefore cant be construed as begging for points, as for the second week running i failed to trouble the scorers, though Robert "James Bond" Rock did have me dreaming of opening my account for a while.

  • Comment number 16.

    Well done to the BBC for managing to ignore Paul Lawrie's achiements in Dubai. I can't remember him featuring on a single Radio 5 bulletin at all; that must have been quite difficult to do.

  • Comment number 17.

    I am boycotting any further predictions until the mess is sorted!

  • Comment number 18.

    @15 - Thanks Jimmy, maybe Don247 will soften the rule and give bonus points for a top 3 finish otherwise it would be hard to score any points in a big field.

    Great play by Luke again, he is proving that he has got the bottle and stomach for a fight under pressure, anyone who dismisses him in next years majors is just crazy!

    @14 - it's always mickeysausage! Ha ha

  • Comment number 19.

    What a fantastic year it has been for Luke. He has proven time and time again that he deserves his number one ranking and those that feel otherwise due to his lack of a major win need to have a rethink.

    This golfing year has provided the opportunity for people to make the number one ranking their own in the absence of Woods and Mickleson's best form and Donald has made certain that he has been the greatest beneficiary. His unbelievable level of consistency and attention to detail have earned him his place at the summit and he truly deserves to be there. For me, Luke Donald has been the star of British sport in 2011. http://jackhayward1989.wordpress.com/2011/12/11/luke-donald-my-british-sports-star-of-the-year/

  • Comment number 20.

    Don247, i think i should have a point because i picked Donald to win and he came 3rd.
    You have to admit it is pretty hard to pick exact finishes!
    I would liek to give special praise to my mate mickysausage for nearly predicting Robert Rock coming 10th, he came 8th! close mate.
    Sumo82, leave mickysausage alone, you are always picking on him!

  • Comment number 21.

    jeffkenna @6 and 7:

    Regarding Rory's putting, poor reaction etc.:

    "My" Rory has a lot to reflect on this Christmas ... the things he got right this year and the many things he got wrong.

    Young Rors should really have a long and hard look at himself and the people around him. He has to accept that there is a "yawning gap" between Luuuke #1 and Rory #2, not with regard to "talent" and "ball striking" but in terms of "consistency", "on-course management", "decision-making" and, most of all, "determination".

    As it says in the today's DS (daily newspaper, nudge nudge!!) ....Luuuke's "closing hat-trick meant he played the last 46 holes without a single bogey to clinch his 20th top-10 finish in 26 starts this year. He added: “I’ve played extremely solid, consistent golf all year and it’s down to a good work ethic and good people around me pushing me hard."

    Hopefully, Rory has now realised that if he isn't fit and well, doesn't bring his "A" game to the table/course and doesn't "hole the majority of those chances he consistently sets up" some "lesser light" will turn up, turn it on for four days and "turn Rory's lights off" to claim the win.

    "Mentally speaking", Luke pounded (an admittedly physically weakened) Rory (.. because of his self-inflicted scramble after "petrol money" and "filthy lucre" all over Asia) into the ground with his consistent play. Luuke just never made a mistake to give Rors even the slightest of look-ins after the first round.

    Rory has to "acquire more backbone" and "strengthen his intestinal fortitude" because he now faces "assassin" Luuuke and a resurgent Tiger (with his "killer instinct" rekindled) in the hunt for the Majors in 2012 ... as well as all the other "up 'n' comers" and those who suddenly appear out of nowhere, like in 2011.

    All this slamming down the putter, looking dejected, the overblown histrionics, the play-acting, the looking for Caroline in the gallery (.. Did you see the dress and shoes Sweet Caroline turned up in to watch "her man" in Dubai? - I ask you ... what will she add to Rors' golf game? Give me the discrete Mrs Webb Simpson and baby, sitting on the grass, waiting in front of the clubhouse, anytime !!) should be confined to the dustbin for a start. He has to adopt a more "professional attitude" because, next year, he's going to be playing in Europe and in America ... with a whole lot of travel in between.

    Has he taken this "wake-up call" on board, I ask myself? As a young man, is he "wise enough to see the wood from the tress", I ask myself? (... Answers on a postcard!)

    Luuuke has raised "professionalism" up a notch or two ... the others are going to have to look at their physical training, their mental coaching, their general well-being with sufficient rest and good nutrition, plan their schedule and their travel.

    I mentioned on the last blog that Roger Federer is always fit and well-prepared for each and every tournament he plays; whether you like RF of not, you know that somewhere along the line his opponents are going to have to beat him by playing well to win the tournament.

    Luuke is beginning to achieve the same level of consistency, success and (dare I say?) reputation. Can we now speak about "Luke's Aura" (in matchplay and/or in strokeplay)... or is that going too far?

    P.S.- Regarding Rors' "mild case of dengue fever", there has been a severe outbreak of dengue fever in the Maldives this year (... which begs the question why did "Wozzilroy" go there for their holidays ... and end up on a drip for three days?) but those who have contracted the disease (.. from day-biting mosquitoes!) say that, if you get dengue fever, all your body joints ache and you feel so bad that there's little chance of playing golf!!

    We'll see what the doctors diagnose and say about our "love/disease-stricken young pup" later this week.

    P.P.S. - jeffkenna, as you see, I'm no longer "Bubba Long", I'm now "Alvaro Quiros Long" ... I got tha' power!! (Special dispensation for being "Chief Blogger, I suppose!)

  • Comment number 22.

    @21 - I contracted a strain of Dengue fever last year after a safari in Africa, trust me, there's not a chance you can walk, never mind play golf, absolutely horrible.

  • Comment number 23.

    Sorry to break up the predictions league love in (you need a fairer points system guys), but ...

    Iain, your bosses need their heads examined, right after they've extracted them from their backsides I suggest. Are they saying that if Khan had demolished Petersen in some epic fashion, that it couldn't have been analysed and praised? No offence to you but do they really think your golf blog is going to sway the decision? And so what if it did? Will the presenters not be praising the breastless ones on the night for fear of influencing us? Just ridiculous, illogical, stupid and (unfortunately not the least bit) shocking. This (sport) website is a great portal and has some interesting writing but the whole ethos of BBC sport is muddle headed, self satisfied and lazy.

    As for SPOTY itself they need a Ryder cup type system where 9 or 10 are chosen by the newspaper editors and the last 2 or 3 by captains picks - the captain being a panel of top sportsmen and women - not BBC editors (trying to be constructive here despite my anger). I notice Chrissy is on the shortlist for Laureus WORLD sportswoman of the year, so funny if she wins! Of the 10 listed Luke and Cav the biggest achievers for me but I shan't be watching.

  • Comment number 24.

    No time for Alvaro Quiros on here? Crazy really, he was simply awesome all week. He thumps the ball so hard, its class to watch. He could be a major man soon with hitting like that and his soft hands around the greens.
    @20 BiloMcT, agree with that, we should get points for top 3 etc as its too hard to pick who came in what place in a big field. Mark Foster let me down!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 25.

    Well done Luke...he managed to do something no golfer has ever done before and he deserves all the praise he gets.

    However I do agree with #1 and a few others here...Tiger did the same thing 5 time or more but without the official stamp on it. So its not that ground breaking is it.

    Secondly Luke like Lee has a great nack of making sure they are out of the tournament and then produce 2 fantastic rounds of golf to make it into the top 3...Lee has done this is several majors as has Luke.

    Winning the money list shows consistancy....however on the greater scheme of things...I think Darren Clarke has had a more significant season then Luke...sure he has had more top 10s then anyone...but who cares about top 10s...they care about Majors!

    Well done Luke...but you need a major before you can really be considered more then a consistant player who is always in the top 10.

  • Comment number 26.

    DON247 as head blogger i find it very rude that you have refused to answer my question in post 14!! If you cant handle the pressures of being chief blogger and prediction analyst then you should apoint somebody to look after the prediction, my choice is BiloMct is seems like the kind of guy who as run a few prediction leagues in his time. The league also needs a better points scoring system.

    Well Said @Golfnut99 i totally agree.

    Also well said comment 4, your 100% correct on that one!

  • Comment number 27.

    From broken clock to broken record.

    Seen as 5 of his top ten finishes were wins this means that he converted 20% of his top tens into wins. Common sense will tell you that this is clearly twice as good as the tour average, so therefore he isnt just a steady top ten player, he has for the 1st time become a proven and consistent Winner.

    Topping both money lists in a single season doesnt hold the prestige of winning a major, but it is actually a far greater acheivement in real terms

  • Comment number 28.

    Can I suggest a system for your league. 3 picks including a nap (your strongest/favourite pick). 3 points for a win 1 point for 2nd or 3rd. 2 bonus points if your nap wins (total 5 points) and 1 bonus point if he finishes 2nd or 3rd ( total 2 points) - fair and simple.
    Alternatively, judging by many of your comments on the supreme importance of majors and irrelevance of other tourneys or finishing 2nd. 1 point for a win all season but 100 points for picking a major winner, nothing for 2nd of course!

  • Comment number 29.

    mickysausage you cant be agreeing with comment #4?! PeterTheHoss is right, comparing it to 10 Majors is ridiculous!
    mickysausage i think you should lay off Don247 until he fine tunes the prediction league system, fair play to him for taking it on and he'll have a serious good system in place for 2012.
    Did anyone see the Brian Davis interview last week? Apparantly his ball striking is now better than ever ( is that even possible? best ball striker on tour ) and once he gets the putter hot he's going to be impossible to beat. You heard it here first - Brioan Davis to win a major next year.

  • Comment number 30.

    powerhitter @13:

    I think you are definitely in the running for the title ... but we'll have put it out to the "popular vote" before an "official declaration" can be made.

    Anyway, well done ... three holes-in-one in two rounds of golf over two very tricky courses are quite an achievement!!


    mickysausage @14 and 17:

    Total incompetence on my part, I'm afraid! A simple administrative oversight was the simple root cause (... you simply can't get the staff these days)!!

    No vendetta was meant or, indeed, being pursued, mickysausage ... so that our "smoking of the peace pipe" and "ceremonial burying the hatchet" etc, etc. are still very much intact, I can assure you.

    The "Official Ruling" with regard to mickysausage's complaint is therefore:

    mickysausage has duly been awarded 3 points for correctly naming Luke Donald in 3rd place.

    (Hopefully your injured pride has now been restored ... and we can get back to the golf and other more important personal vendettas!)

    The revised and updated "Official Prediction League" now read as follows:

    1. powerhitter - 9 points
    2. BiloMcT - 6 points
    3. jeffkenna, PG, Daffy, eight for six for one and mickysausage - 3 points


    jimmy @ and sumo82 @18:

    Jimmy, by living up to your reputation as the "ersatz bane of Don247's life", you are merely trying to stir up unnecessary trouble between sumo82 and me ( ... which is liable to rebound on you very quickly and very badly, I'm afraid. The warning sirens are already going off. If I were you, I would be heading for that extremely deep underground bunker of yours ... not that I'm saying anything!!)

    Sumo82 (still my BBFF ... but, as I'm sure you'll well understand, I have to remain impartial in my capacity as "Official Prediction League Secretary"), you did indeed do very well in your predictions .. but you were only "there or thereabouts"!

    A superb 3-iron shot into the face of a 15 mph headwind over a menacing water hazard to within two inches of the cup still counts as a two on the scorecard. Brilliant shot, "but no cigar", I'm afraid. The same holds true for your/all predictions!

    You do, however, get an "honourable mention in dispatches" ... which is excellent in itself!!

    The "Official Ruling", therefore, is that no points can be awarded for near predictions or for predictions that almost happened ... no matter how close a call they were (... because that is the game of golf and the game of the Official Prediction League, I'm afraid!)

    By the way, I share your views on Luuke completely ... he has become a really superb golfer. Hopefully, he'll go on and put the cherry on top of that nice newly-iced cake of his!

    BiloMcT @20:

    We all know the challenge of golf (and the "Official Prediction League") - you don't get anything for near misses. The name of the game is to put the ball/prediction in the hole!

    Sorry mate, "rules is rules"!! It's either right or wrong, black or white!!!

    Regarding Robert Rock, it really was a superb performance ... and mickysausage, has, indeed, been fighting RR's corner (.. in the face of constant unremitting criticism from a certain jeffkenna I might add!!) for some quite time. RR and mickysausage are a credit to the game ... and to each other!!

    I think jeffkenna should now go and wash his cutlery ( .. and his mouth out) in readiness for a delicious serving of "humble pie"!

    Unlike Iain Carter (regarding his comments about Luke/SPOTY etc.), I wonder if jeffkenna can stand up like a Man ... with a capital em .... and apologise - like I just did - to the oft-maligned mickysausage??

  • Comment number 31.

    Don247 thank you and as you said at least we can now kick our recliners back, turn the fire on, and share a box of mince pies whilst we discuss next seasons winners and losers! Thank you for backing my corner also in the shape of a certain Mr JeffKenna! Jeffkenna and a certain (still missing in action) MickyWeir gave me stick for about two months when i predicted that unknown Kenneth Ferrie and Robert Rock were destined for brighter and bigger things! And since those predictions Ferrie as won a big tournament and Rock as showed his class this weekend, they are almost sure to be in the mixer for next years prizes.

  • Comment number 32.

    Can we bury the Tiger comparisons please? Sure he won more money BUT he wasn't a European Tour member as this would have required him to play a statutory number of events on the Tour - which he would not do. Read your history books and you'll find that TW was not leading money winner on the European Tour.

    Luke Donald took on the challenge of joint tour membership, met all the requirements, won more times than anyone else this year and in doing so accumulated more money than anyone else.

    That makes him No.1 on the USPGA Tour, No. 1 on the Eurpoean Tour and No. 1 in the World. He earned it and he deserves it.

    P.S. As an Ulsterman I'd love to see Darren win SPOTY but in my head and heart I think Luke's achievements are much more worthy of the accolade.

  • Comment number 33.

    BiloMct typing error on my account there, i meant to say that comment 4 was a ridiculous comment to make, and PeterTheHass is right in comment 10, it as to be a contender for the worst comment of the year award!! No matter how much money you win it will never equate to major success and majorless people like Monty can say what they want, i think Monty would love to go back and keep that 6 iron in his hand rather than changing to the 7 iron in the 2006 us open.

  • Comment number 34.

    Speaking of Choking and Bottling, what are peoples choices on the biggest chokes of all time, who do you think as made the biggest Choke??

  • Comment number 35.

    mickysausage @26:

    You are obviously "business executive" material, i.e. stand about with your hands in your pocket, dishing out the criticism while all the others do the hard graft!! (All this writing tables etc. takes time and has to be written by someone ... i.e. the "League Secretary" Don247 .... as if you didn't know or realise!)

    I don't just fire off short sharp missives.. complaining, complaining, complaining!

    I prefer to be more reasonable and adopt an understanding approach. You can't get a new league up and running without a few teething problems.

    Look where we've come in two tournaments (... you even managed to miss the first one, so perhaps, you should look at your own level of competence first!) and the growing number of people taking part! It has sparked everyone's interest ... and it is being regulated so that it's fair and above board for everyone!!

    Remember, it's only a bit of fun ... designed to generate even more comments on the blog and make "day-trippers" interested enough to contribute more ... so off you go mickysausage and run a nice warm bath to relax your obviously over-stressed body and brain .... you're becoming almost as aggressive and vitriolic as certain others on the BBC blog!!

    Regarding the Official Prediction League:

    Yes BiloMcT can take over the running of the league if he wants; yes we need to have a look at the scoring system, but the more complicated the scoring system is the more difficult it will be to administer ... then the number of complaints will increase ... taking the focus away from the actual purpose of the blog in the first place, i.e. talking about the golf and the performances of the golfers!

    I would prefer to keep it simple just like now. You've got to avoid falling into the trap of discussing the league and winners/loser rather than concentrating on the actual golf being played and the golfers themselves.

    Let's talk about why we got our predíctions wrong, what happened to "our tips" ...it's not a case of "me", "me", "me" but of "them", "them", "them"!

  • Comment number 36.

    Don247, i dont want to take control of the predictions as mickysausage has requested, you do a better job than i could.
    Just to touch on the much disliked comment #4 by Peter Hume...i agree, possibly the most stupid comment of all time.
    mickysausage, regarding biggest chokes of all time you have to look at Greg Norman in the Masters of any number of chokes by Lee Westwood over the years.

  • Comment number 37.

    trevthetrainer @32:

    I was with you all the way there ... until you mentioned the name Darren Clarke.

    Unfortunately, Ill have to warn you right here and now that I'm going to be saying some terribly harsh things about "our" Darren as this blog progresses.

    But, in the meanwhile, you should maybe link up with 'Jimmy' (the blog's resident "culture vulture") who is another great DC fan (... seemingly always wears a "I Heart Darren Clarke" tee-shirt) to extol the virues of the reigning Open Champion from Portrush in "Norn Iron"!!

    A quick question to both of you: How did "our/your" Darren get on in Dubai?

  • Comment number 38.

    I have noticed how some people say that one major is not enough and people who win 1 major are forgotton and would give the major up for better overall success. Don247 and all, i wonder what Darren Clarkes answer to that question would be?? I think he's already told us the answer to that one with his recent performances!

  • Comment number 39.

    Don247 and mickeysausage - cue Tom Petty "won't back down". My unrelenting criticism of Robert "coz I'm worth it" Rock and Ken Ferrie stems from mickeysausage's assertion that "these (along with Brian Davis) were the finest products of English golf and destined for great things (a win at a 3rd rate tournament while the rest of the golfing world are playing / watching a major in the case of Ferrie (not a "Big" tournament mickey) and a good showing from Rock this weekend.................................

  • Comment number 40.

    In my eyes getting back to the blog subject Donalds achievement is quiet simply astounding. To win the USPAG tour and European tour is something I doubt will be repeated for a very,very long time.
    The comparison to Woods is irrelavent, Woods like a lot of Americans gets a nose bleed wehn getting on a plane to play in Europe and the courses (with the exception of a few of the easier open ones) require a little too much inventivenss.
    It was very nice to see the top 4 golfers in the world go head to head. Unlike the world golf challenge the other week!

  • Comment number 41.

    ...................... I will indulge in a smidgin of humble pie to say this - fair play to RR (and you mickey for standing up for him) a good result topping off a good year in which he won his first european tour event. I actually like RR, he's a lovely ball striker and I like the fact that he doesn't cash in by wearing a cap at the expense of ruining his luscious hair! However I stand by my assertion that time will judge him and Ferrie as journeymen and they are not destined for super-stardom that mickeysausages predicts (sorry mickeysausage just my humble opinion and if Robert Rock captures the Claret Jug - wouldn't it be something if he did it at Lytham 2012 with the BBC bloggers in attendance! - I will glad pick up a big spoon (or fork depending on the texture / consistency of said pie) and eat the WHOLE of the humble pie!

  • Comment number 42.

    @Mickeysausage ya know what, I agree with you now that I think about it...if golf ended now....."Our Darren" would be remembered longer then Luke because of his major win...along with all his other titles but that major certainly has put him on the map.

  • Comment number 43.

    @4 Peter Hume - it's not worth 10 majors, but I get the point you're trying to make.

    What was this big tournament that Kevin Ferrie won? Is this the Austrian open or the likes? I remember when he bottled it during the US Open (at Winged Foot) before Monty and Mickelson threw it away, although at least they got to the 72nd hole before blowing up.

    In terms of ultimate chokes,theer's been so many contenders over the years that I'm sure everyone will have their own personal 'favourites', but I'll only include the ones I watched (so have to exclude the likes of Doug Sanders etc), but my list is:

    Mark Calcaveccia - losing last 5 holes to Monty at Kiawah Island
    Scott Hoch - where you realised his surname actually rhymed with Choke
    Van de Velde- no explanation required (although Harrington nearly matched him!)

  • Comment number 44.

    Don - Its only "constructive criticism", I'm not the Wat Tyler of blogdom, the peasants aren't revolting (Just a bit smelly)

    In answer to your quick question an equally quick answer. He was rubbish yet again. I still love him though.

    As for Chokers, Norman probably has the record for Multiple chokes but at least he got the job done in Majors on a couple of occasions. Scott Hoch however deserves a mention becasue unlike Greg he never managed to seal the deal, and anyone who managed to get the word choke incorporated into their nickname has to be up there with the best (Or in this case worst) of em.

  • Comment number 45.

    mickysausage:

    With regard to "choking", I think you can all agree that there was very little choking going on in Dubai. Like your Robert Rock, there were some really good performances by a few "lesser lights" ....in fact, they were "over-achieving" rather than "under-achieving"!!

    As Jimmy suggested before the tournament, "my" Rory got his excuses in early so that "officially" his less-than-stellar performance could not be classified as a choke like his "headless chicken act" at the Masters.

    (karlwbrown will now come on and fire expletive after expletive and profanity after profanity at me ... like he did on the last blog!!)

    I'm presently preparing my case in defence of Paul Lawrie, the much-maligned Open Champion at Carnoustie. We all remember Jean Van de Velde's now-infamous "choke-cum-meldown" on the last hole but we tend to forget the absolutely brilliant final-day performance and play-off win (.. by three strokes no less) by Paul Lawrie.

    sumo82 @22:

    I think it's more likely to be one of these "super-resistant stomach bugs" which are difficult to treat with "normal medication" these days. I hope Rory has had all the other "shots" (i.e. injections) he needs to travel all over Asia, Africa etc.

    Holiday companies are quick to advertise all these exotic golf resorts in far-off destinations, telling you about the fabulous "nightlife" etc., but they forget/don't want tell to you about the "wildlife" hanging about thick in the air and biting you at every turn ... or indeed the necessary precautions you need to take, e.g. Deet sprays, anti-malaria tablets etc.

    If you think it's not going to happen to you, you're a complete fool ... and the consequences can be very grave as we've seen on many occasions!

    sumo82, obviously you were caught out quite badly .... I'm sure it won't happen to you again!

    Hopefully, Rory has learned a thing or two about accepting another 11-week trip across the world. The last thing he needed was to fall ill ..... but did he or his management team think about all this in advance?? (Answers on a postcard!)

  • Comment number 46.

    Don274 @42:

    You seem to be my "alter ego" .... well, you are treading a fine line there my friend!

    But, as they say, "All is fair in love and (blogging) war!"

    You will obviously have to polish up your (somewhat limited) writing skills if you seriously want to convince all my fellow BBC bloggers that (the pitiful imposter called) Don274 is actually Don247!! That really is A BIG ASK!!!

  • Comment number 47.

    @ 42 - Who is this imposter???
    I's a fake Don247 !

    cue 'fake plastic tree's' - Radiohead

  • Comment number 48.

    @42 DON274 - Cut the crap JamesMatthew, you must think us regular bloggers are silly, we have been on this blog longer than you have been at primary school, now get back to your homework, and make sure your mother warm's your bottle before bed!!

  • Comment number 49.

    Can I register my tips for the R2D as I've been without broadband for the last 2 weeks, thanks to Sky, but that's another story.
    1. Alvaro Quiros
    2. Paul Lawrie
    3. Luke Donald

    But in all seriousness I think Luke has proven that he is no choker, to go 46 holes without a bogey with the pressure that he must have been under, some of it self imposed was nothing short of brilliant. Well done chap.

    People have mentioned Greg Normans meltdown at the masters in 96 as the biggest meltdown, and like Paul Lawrie at Carnoustie it seems all too often forghotten what a great final round Faldo played that day, a 5 under 67. Not that I was ever a great Faldo fan, just thought it should be mentioned.

  • Comment number 50.

    @Don247 - The Blog FBI that is otherwise know as Mickysausage have analysed comment 42, and it took my forensic computer 2 seconds to make an 100% match to JamesMatthew's grammar and terrible writing.

  • Comment number 51.

    mickysausage @38:

    If you read the article from the Daily Mail I posted on the last blog, "our" Darren is out there on the range at Portrush every day, practising harder than ever to live up to people's expectations and go on and win more tournaments.

    That is what is sad about his recent precipitous decline in form ... DC hasn't just rolled over and indulged himself in pint after pint of the "black stuff"!

    To all said and purposes, therefore it was the ONE OF THE BIGGEST FLUKES EVER!!

    Perhaps mickysausage, you should start asking about "flukes" as well as "chokes".

    But coming back to the main business, we can honesty say that Luuuke's performance this year has contained "absolutely no flukes" and "very few chokes" ... (.. although he's now admitted that he tugs his irons under pressure, like he díd on the back nine of the USPGA) .. so hopefully he can sort this problem out, challenge in the Majors and finally bag at least one to put all the nay-sayers in their rightful place!

    What do you think about that Don274?

    jeffkenna:

    You're a real Man who manned up!! Why Paula C left you standing there all alone after the Solheim Cup I will never know!!

  • Comment number 52.

    Darren Clarkes major may well live longer in the memory, but surely no one doubts Luke Donald is the better golfer. He played better than the rest all year, not just 4 rounds. This is a golf blog not heat magazine so I dont see how people rate excellence below headline grabbing exploits. Not diminishing Clarkes major win but saying he had a better year than Donald? No

  • Comment number 53.

    mickysausage @50:

    You're absolutely right, "ace Blog detective/Blog FBI" ... "our" James never did know the difference between "than" and "then!!

    Perhaps we have an unfortunate case of (malignant) "James Mathew Disease" on our hands ... I'll have to think up a suitable cure/solution, which would rid him/us of thís dreaded affliction once and for all!!

  • Comment number 54.

    Cant beleave James Mathew has had the cheek to pretend to be Don247!? Speaking of Chokes what is everyone's favourite Lee westwood Choke? There's been quite a few!!!

  • Comment number 55.

    daveyboy @49

    Queen Victoria is "not amused" with your feeble attempts at some poor dead-pan Billy Connelly (playing-the-loyal-gamekeeper-type) humour from up there in the broadbandless-wilds of this fair land ... that's how late you were daveyboy with your "predictions" ... or should I say with your "postdictions"!

    Anyway, glad to have you back onboard... and please accept my profuse apologises for mixing you up with a certain Jimmy (... the "supreme bane of my life" although a certain "Don274" has just raised his rather unwelcome head above the parapet! Now, where did I put that trusty Dragunov SVD 7-62 of mine - every sniper's weapon of choice? I'll soon take care of that pesky little blighter!)

    You're right about great performances being overlooked by the more tragic and more memorable side events, e.g. Nick Faldo and Greg Norman, Paul Lawrie and Jean Van de Velde, Tom Watson and Stuart Cink, Tom Watson again with his great 72 in the most horrific weather compared with Darren Clarke's subsequent 69 in the weather-lottery-dictated-dead-calm-and-sunny conditions after the storm at this year's Open (Do you think I have an axe or three to grind about that "flukey one-off performance" at DC's umteenth attempt?)

    I'm with totally on what you say about Luuuke ... he realises the historical importance of what he's achieved and what is now missing from his CV/resumé ... and is doing everything (physically and mentally) possible to "bag a big one".

    Luuuke just loves being Number 1 (... unlike Martin Kaymer who couldn't handle the pressure and expectation! Sorry mickysausage ...sometimes the truth hurts!) and sees it as a great challenge and it spurs him on to keep ahead of the chasing pack.

    Luuuke has proved he's well capable of doing just that in Disneyland and now here in Dubai .... when the pressure to succeed was enormous and the pressure not to fail was even more enormous ... thus condemning him forever and being written off as a just another "choker"!

    Do we remember Greg Norman for his "massive chokes" (Masters, British Open etc.) or that he was a well-deserved multiple-major winner?

    Luuuke knows what he has to do ... he's fighting for his rightful place in the golf history books!

    Anyway I don't care about all that because to me he's just an absolutely great guy with a great attitude who is well respected by all his fellow professionals wherever he chooses to play. A little guy but a BIG BIG MAN!

    Jimmy:

    I think Luuuke could be "IF" material ... what do as our resident "culture vulture" think?

  • Comment number 56.

    BiloMcT @54:

    I remember his fantastic 62 at the Nedbank Challenge last week to win the tournament at an absolute canter/dawdle!

    In fact, that tremendous win could wipe out his two nay three chokes at Wentworth in the BMW earlier this year ... firstly to lose the tournament lead, secondly to lose the play-off and thirdly to lose his #1 world ranking to Luuke! (Do I get extra points for that three-chokes-one???)

    Luuuke has never looked back from that moment and has just go better and better!

    P.S. - Am I "Don274" in disguise ... or the real "Don247"? (Confusing isn't it?)

    P.P.S: Even before this present stupidity, "our" James never could get my number right anyway. In fact, he never has been numerate or literate, I'm afraid .. as jeffkenna and Jimmy have mentioned time and time again!

    mickeysausage:

    Are you not one of James' famous "customers" then?

    (What was that saying again ? "You can fool all the people...?)

  • Comment number 57.

    Awesome to watch "my" Luke close out the Euro Numero Uno spot he so richly deserved to go with the USA top spot. A truly remarkable achievement - surely his maiden major is just around the corner.
    And congrats to Alvaro "beautiful teeth" Quiros and Paul Lawrie too for making the last day unmissable.

    On another note, it's often said that you don't win a tournament on the 1st day but you can lose one.
    With that in mind can anyone else believe young Rors 2nd shot on his 2nd hole? To refresh your memories he carved the ball out of deep rough going for the green on a par 5 into the rubbish and lost it. Unbelievable course management that cost a double bogey. I know he's only 22 but that is - as they say - a schoolboy error.....!

  • Comment number 58.

    bit of a blow out on the tipping side but what a brilliant tournament to watch on TV. Quiros perfect eagle on the 18th on the last day to wrap it up, lighting up the place with his massive grin and pure enjoyment following Luuuuuuke winning the race to dubai with a great showing on the week-end.
    i agree totally with don 247 at 9. LD's achievement is pretty awesome, and he is THE man of golf for 2011, no question.

  • Comment number 59.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 60.

    @25 james mathew

    Feint praise indeed for "my" Luke. I trust that when the World's Number One clinches his maiden major next year you will offer a full apology for the snippy criticism you constantly trot out.

    However, your comment "I think Darren Clarke has had a more significant season then Luke" clearly shows either that
    a) you don't know what you're talking about or
    b) you sit at your keyboard with your tongue firmly in your cheek

    which is it...?!!

  • Comment number 61.

    Van der Veld didn't choke, he did the opposite with the same result. he could have played it safe but wanted to win in a blaze of glory, that's why he threw it away, because he didn't want to live with the knowledge that at his greatest moment he played like a scaredy cat. I heard him say that, so if you believe him - and why not? - its an interesting choice that may have defined his golfing career. call it gallic flair, call it genuine balls of steel, or call it several moments of sheer madness, but it was no choke. choke is when you dont go for it like you have been the whole tournament to get into the position to win, and then suddenly as Bilo would say that baked bean looms large in your throat, you start to get scared and everything tightens up. this is what happened to Norman at the masters , because there is no way that he would not have won if he had relaxed and played his natural game.
    By the way - hat's off to Robert Rock for his performance, and his natuarl I'm worth it style. Good to see a player not desperate for the cash to wear a cap. How many players 20 years ago wore them? not many - see if you can name one. Can't see how it improves your game, just gives you a two tone face and head and no doubt a huge wad. I don't remember seeing Seve, Faldo, Woosnam, Lyle etc. wearing them and being beaten by guys who did!

  • Comment number 62.

    @59 Jimmy why have the red carded you, I didn't read anything contraversial. But hey ho.

    I think Luuuuuuke will kick on from this and may very well capture his first major next season, and then I think he may make it another 2 or 3. Providing he can keep fit, as he has now proven he has the mental toughs.

    And dear sweet Darren, a great golfer but yes flukey at the open. Although I thought he did manage the course very well on the final day. He has always been a great competitor and a fine match player - Ryder cup matches etc.

  • Comment number 63.

    Jimmy @any/everytime (trevthetrainer @32 and spurschuggger @52):

    Can you guess who I'm referring to?

    76, 72, 75, 76 (i.e. +11) to finish dead last, 57 out of 58 (because Y.E. Yang had to retire after only 1 hole) - surely it's time for this major winner to hang up the real clubs and concentrate on that crazy golf course in the recreational park in Portrush, quietly trying to get past the stupid windmill hole (..the 11th, I think it is!!??) with his children.

    It must really difficult for you as a "dyed-in-the-wool" Darren Clarke (or in DC's case "died-on-the-tee-fairway-rough-bunker-green-you-name-it") fan, sitting there proudly wearing your "I Heart Darren Clarke" tee-shirt, to read about just how low things (but unfortunately not his scores) have become for your purported boyhood hero. I commiserate with you, I really do!

    Adding insult to injury, however, you sometimes dig your own hole, like in the last blog - Jimmy @ 221 said, "I'm gonna pin my colours to the mast and say Paul Lawrie won't even make top 5. Don't bite my head off though, I'm not a "Paul Lawrie Hater"

    Dear oh dear (.. come back mickyweir all is forgiven!!) Jimmy, what can you possibly say now to defend that indefensible statement?
    More to the point, how many pies, i.e. humble pies, can you eat at one sitting?

    Have a quick look here before you answer:

    Paul Lawrie - 65, 73, 66, 67 (-17) to finish 2nd
    Darren Clarke - 76, 72, 75, 76 (+11) to finish 57th .... and dead last (when there's no "weather lottery" involved!!)

    I reckon that's 28 pies in all!! (I'll just ask "Don274" to confirm that.... oh sorry, I forgot my "alter ego" can't count past 1+1 =?!!)

    Anyway, you being the blog's resident "culture vulture", I thought I'd lighten up your sombre mood by drawing your attention to some of the latest entries in the just-published-in-time-for-Christmas edition of "The Colons Thesaurus":

    abject - deplorable, forlorn, hopeless, miserable, outcast, pitiful, wretched, Darren Clarke

    embarrassment - awkwardness, bashfulness, chagrin, confusion, discomfiture, discomposure, distress, humiliation, mortification, self-consciousness, shame, showing up, Darren Clarke

    You can order a copy on the internet if you'd like to buy somebody a nice X-mas pressie!!

    Jimmy, despite all your failings/failures, you'll always have a job in your "Culture Club" as you mentioned @185, on the last blog.

    Besides Boy George, William Blake and Rudyard Kipling, who else is in your club? Mahatma Gandhi, Karl Marx and Elvis Presley, no doubt?

    I can hardly wait to see your next carefully chosen "outpouring of culture" to go with along with your latest carefully chosen "outpouring on golf"!

    P.S. - I think you've now got enough on your plate (read: scoffing 28 Darren-Clarke-sized humble pies) to keep your jaws and your thoughts occupied without trying to stir up trouble between me and my BBFF sumo82!

    Do you need a pint of the "black stuff" to help you digest all that ... "bane of my life"?

  • Comment number 64.

    Golfnut at 24 - Quiros is brilliant to watch as he reminds us that golf is a GAME that is meant to be FUN. its good to see someone enjoying themselves, even in pressure situations. sometimes people/we get a bit too focussed on winning, and forget to think about the pleasure of the game, whether playing or watching - a miserable face on the golf course or on the TV never helps. if I could play in the dunhill masters as an amateur alvaro would probably be the dream pro to play with!

  • Comment number 65.

    Firstly this is an almost exact repeat of my previously moderated post. Davey, i can only think that my description of Diego Maradona was considered defirmation, and therefore i've tidied that up, otherwise its all the same.

    Don - I cant think of a bad thing to say about Luke Donald, he is a very impressive golfer and he comes across as a very impressive person as well. I do have a few reservations over his ability to extend his current outstanding form into next year and his ability to take a major but they are probably for another time. I sincerely hope that next year he can make the 18th Green at Kiawah a corner of a foreign field that is forever England.

    On Greg Norman, Its possible to remember people for more than one thing, for example, everyone remembers Maradona as a footballing genius, arguably the greatest ever, however they also remember him (In this country at least) for the unsavoury incidents such as the hand of god and the occasional drug use. I think Greg will be remembered as a great multiple major winner AND as a guy who blew it on multiple occasions.

    Cue - Oops I did it again (Now thats culture)

    PS - Despite the fact that Faldo's final round of 67 was a great round the fact is that Norman only needed a level par 72 to win the tournament. I honestly think that had it been anyone other than Faldo chasing him down on that final day Norman would have shot a better round and won comfortably. A case of Norman being beaten by Faldo's "Aura"

  • Comment number 66.

    @65

    Jimmy - didn't have you down as a Miss Spears lover, more a Cristina A fan....

  • Comment number 67.

    @63 Don247

    Steady on old bean! Just think how many pies you'll have to scoff if DC repeats his Major feat...! (Current odds 1,000,000/1)

  • Comment number 68.

    And now to your latest post Don.

    I will eat as much humble pie as you want to feed me on my Paul Lawrie comment. I felt that he would follow up his great 1st round with some very average golf, average scores and that he simply wasn't as good a golfer as as the other guys up there and would therefore get passed as the cream rose to the top. In that context i think my prediction was understandable but i was wrong, simple as that. Lawrie played a great last 2 rounds and deserves credit.

    As for Clarke, no humble pie needed. He's playing rubbish, I admitted as much on the last blog, I can cope with him shooting the kinda scores that would leave me feeling a little underwhelmed in the monthly if i shot them in a sunday medal, I'll just re-live the final round of the open that i still have on my digibox or stick on my 2006 Ryder Cup DVD and all is well with the world

  • Comment number 69.

    Don 247 - what's the beef with Darren Clarke??!? Too much vitriol, did he do something to you to encourage this? He might not be playing well, but he doesn't deserve that level of abuse. Also, let's not forget that in addition to his "fluke" (there's no such thing over 4 rounds) he has won 9 or 10 other times and had some great performances in the Ryder Cup. Also, albeit a long time ago, I believe he gave Tiger Woods a bit of a lesson in the matchplay. Think again, blog again and take it back, maybe eat some of that humble pie you have been trying to serve up?

  • Comment number 70.

    Jimmy @any/everytime:

    You'll soon be off that "bane of my life" list (..and on to my "boon of the blog" list) if you become any more reasonable.

    I think you must've been inspired by Luuuke's performance and are now making every effort to live up to Rudyard's poem - you know the one that goes ...

    "If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    'Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much

    ..... you'll become a Man, my Jimmy!

    Regarding Paul Lawrie, I've seen him play up close and personal a few times and, as I mentioned before, he just couldn't finish off all his good lead-up play, leaving a whole lot of shots out on the course.

    On a long par three, where everybody else was all over the place, I've seen him a three iron in a strong cross-wind to 5 feet ... then miss the putt. PL's a very good player in the wind ... jeffkenna would appreciate his skills in that department!

    Finally, however, PL's putting was right where it should be in Dubai and, in the end, he was disappointed he didn't win .... but, like the Man he is, he gave all credit to Alvaro Quiros for his tenacious display - especially for AQ's fantastic eagle at the last ... three wood from some 250 yards out into the head wind, then sink the long putt! You can't do much against that!!

    But remember Paul sank his own 9 footer to secure second place ... ahead of Luuuke! The guy can still play!!

    Quiros bodes well for Europe at next year's Ryder Cup ... if the Americans opt for the bombers' set-up, we have our own "big guns" at the ready!

  • Comment number 71.

    yeh, congrats luuuuuuke, what is it , 11 pga wins, no major, insipid at best to watch, and you according to a lot of people are the the future , is this how rory's bird got to number 1 in tennis!!! Lets face it, he is consistantly consistant, but you would not really pay to watch him would yeh???

  • Comment number 72.

    lovegolf0712 @69:

    Darren Clarke is the reigning Open Champion ... who has only had a handful of rounds under par since winning the Claret Jug!

    Has he lived up to your/anybody's/his own expectations since making his "weather-lottery-assisted", "thinned-two-shots-through-bunkers-in-the-last-round" way towards his lifting the famous old trophy?

    The only thing that prevents others from giving DC some sharp stick/criticism is that he's British .. and he had to overcome a sad loss in his family, he then did well at the Ryder Cup (i.e. merely doing his job, in actual fact .. like everybody else tries to do in similar circumstances! You see Luuke did it as well!! It's called "professionalism!") and finally won the Open after many years of trying unsuccessfully.

    We can lampoon Ian Baker Finch, we can lampoon Ben Curtis, we can lampoon Todd Hamilton with seeming impunity for disappearing off the golfing radar ... but "our" Darren is "off limits" because he's one of our own and he's up for SPOTY (.. see Iain Carter's pathetic statement)..... despite quite literally disappearing off the golfing radar before our very eyes!

    Your conclusion regarding all this is that I need to rethink about DC, tone down my "vitriol" and eat some humble pie!

    Are we speaking about "level playing fields" or "skewed opinions" here? What standards are we applying?

    A major winner, unfortunately, has to live up to heightened expectations ... "our" Darren has failed miserably in this particular respect ... but no-one will ever mention this all-too-obvious fact/truth and it will never ever be written in any British newspaper! PC for DC at its British Best!!!

    Plus, another sad fact but true, Jimmy has eaten all the humble pies!!

  • Comment number 73.

    @71 mattefc

    66 on Saturday, 66 on Sunday with not a bogey in sight and you ask if I would pay to watch him?
    Of course I would!!

    Did you really find his 3 birdies in-a-row-finish insipid to watch? If so, his 6 birdies in-a-row to power thru the field to win Disney must've more to your taste..? Or his 63 to win the Scottish Open...?
    Need I go on?

    He's not consistently consistent, he's consistently brilliant!

  • Comment number 74.

    mattfc @71:

    At least you're also "consistently consistent". You came out with the "short-hand" Luke jibe on the last blog (@175 if I remember well!!??)

    The "pride of High Wycombe" ... and now of England, should be known as "Cool-Hand" Luke (.. displacing the long-deceased Paul Newman, who also put in a fantastic performance in the aforementioned film).

    Luuke drilled "my" Rory, the world's #2, full of superb (iron) shots during the final three rounds (68, 66, 66 versus 71, 71, 71) of their "shoot-out in the desert"!

    Who would pay money to watch then? Who would you like to play like? (Because most of us would like to hit it straight doan the middle, then on to the green and sink the putt to become the "king of the swingers, i.e. the jungle/local golf club V.I.P.!)

    Luuke has just achieved something which even "my" Rory has said may never ever be done again, namely, maintaining a standard of play (... just look at his stats on pgatour.com) good enough to win both tours in the same year.

    mattfc, you're a hard man to please ... even harder than me, and I thought I was the "ultimate cynic"!

    P.C. - Caroline Wozniaki's form has tailed off badly since becoming the front end of the pantomine horse called "Wozzilroy!"

  • Comment number 75.

    happyjaybee @73:

    Good stats! Good points! Good man!

  • Comment number 76.

    I totally agree with all the plaudits for LD's efforts this year. Absolutely phenomenal! He won't win SPOTY (not that I care as it's pretty much a joke of a "competition") as McIlroy and Clarke will split the golf vote leaving Mark Cavendish to win.

    Don247, I greatly respect (most) of your views, but I'm not having the Clarke Open win as a fluke. A fluke is when a ball bounces of a seagull into the hole or (from personal experience) you hit dreadful tee-shot on a par-3 that hits the branches of a tree, ricochets off the roots, bounces back off the flag to 3 feet, setting you up for a 2.

    Maybe DC was fortunate that he had a purple patch that week, that he had the ability to play in those conditions, that he had the balls to hold on and close it out (whilst riding his luck). But a fluke? I don't think so! Was it a fluke that Paul Lawrie was second last week after only 2 top-20 finishes (no top 10s) in the previous 15 tournaments?

    Finally, whenever "choke" and "golf" are mentioned in the the same sentence, I always think - Mark Calcavecchia vs Colin Montgomerie, Ryder Cup 1991 Kiawah Island. Oh yes!

  • Comment number 77.

    Not that I'm one to "purloin" ideas, but Derek Lawrenson in today's Daily Mail lists the following:

    My heroes, after a year none of us will forget

    Best Golfer: Luke Donald

    Best Tournament: The Open

    Best Shot: Rory McIlroy, US Open (tee shot 10th hole, final round)

    Best Quote: Jose Maria Olazabal

    Best Round: Darren Clarke (3rd round at the Open)

    Best Comeback: Sergio Garcia

    Best Team: Europe, Solheim Cup

    Biggest Letdown: Belly putters

    Best Newcomer: Tom Lewis

    Biggest Fall: Padraig Harrington

    Biggest Pl*nker: Steve Williams

    (Regarding Steve Williams, I think we should leave this one well alone. On a previous blog, I tried to say a "word or three" in Stevie's defence, but got a red card from the Administrator Chap for my trouble. Stevie was proven innocent by the golfing world but the BBC likes to pursue its own agenda on certain issues.)

    Who or what would you vote for? And why?


    eight for six for one @76:

    The DM's golf correspondent is obviously with you on the "DC issue", but I have stated my position quite clearly and unequivocally.

    Macmillan English Dictionary:
    "fluke" - something that happens unexpectedly because of an accident or good luck

    Cambridge International Dictionary of English:
    "fluke" - something good that has happened that is the result of chance instead of skill or planning

    Collins English Language Dictionary:
    "fluke" - something good that has happened accidentally rather than by being planned or arranged

    We can agree to disagree!

    P.S. - "Obduracy" is a word that a certain "Don274" has never likely even head of but it characterises "Don247"!

  • Comment number 78.

    This used to be a good blog until it was monopolised by a small group of people who seem to think that only their opinion matters and that other people are interested in their "Official Prediction League" or their petty arguments. Have you ever wondered why the majority of comments on this blog come from 5-6 people? Perhaps others like me are getting a bit bored by it all and have stopped reading.

  • Comment number 79.

    @Jimmy comment 59, too talk aboult a major winner like Darren Clarke like that is totally disrespectful, and him and Monty have never even been that close so that cant be true!

  • Comment number 80.

    @ realgolf3r stop reading then and todlle off to another blog, its people like you who make one blog comment every century who brings this blog down, maybe you should grow a heart and join in on the discussion!

  • Comment number 81.

    realgolf3r @78:

    We would all welcome your contribution. There is no "monopoly" or "oligopoly" - it's an entirely "free market", "flat playing field situation"!

    This is a forum which is open to absolutely anybody and everybody.

    So come on, give us your views!

    P.S. - By the way, 20 people took part in the "Official Prediction League" last week ... from a variety of countries!!

  • Comment number 82.

    mickysausage @80:

    I think your reply to 'realgolf3r' just highlights the difference between us two!

    Come on, mickysausage, gives us your "bests" for 2011, e.g. Martin Kaymer in Shanghai!!??

  • Comment number 83.

    Don247, what can i say, i'm just a passionate blogger, i hate it when people who have never posted before just jump in and interigate us! Making it look like we have ruined a good blog, when in insight we have brought this blog from the blogging incinerator! Thats why your blog leader though Don, your more mellow than me! Right my years highlights are as follows...........

  • Comment number 84.

    Best Golfer: Tiger Woods (What a year! So many twists and turns, and trials and retributions, but ended the year on a high and has got all our tails wagging with what we have to come next year, and for this Tiger i salute you!

    Best Tournament: US Open, Rory's display(however Don247 hates him) as to be the highlight of the majors last year.

    Best Shot: Kenneth Ferrie (Austrian Open) Hit a pinseeker in the playoff to win the tournament, best ball strike i have seen since Brian Davis's hole in one!

    Best Quote: Steve Williams at the Caddie awards

    Best Round: Mcilroys 65 in the opening round of the US Open totally blew the field!

    Best Comeback: Tiger Woods

    Best Team: US Presidents Cup
    Biggest Letdown: Darren Clarke winning the Open
    Best Newcomer: Keegan Bradley

    Biggest Fall: Lee Westwood

    Biggest Pl*nker: John Daly (a 2 month spell of absolute crazyiness!)

  • Comment number 85.

    @78 - Cue 'cry me a river' - Justin Timberlake

  • Comment number 86.

    To win the event at Disney is where both money lists were won, Luke is miles ahead of the field and should win the SPOTY on merit alone, as for majors one will come, they are just golf tournaments that you have to have the right draw and a bit of luck. Why are there still 3 majors in the US ? golf is a global game now.

  • Comment number 87.

    Don @ 63 &72.

    I was in two minds as to whether to come back to you on this one. I'm not sure whether you would consider getting a rise out of me on the subject as some sort of personal victory, but no doubt that would be just regarding my influence far too highly.

    Quite why you feel the need to criticise (Or Lampoon) anyone so strongly or consistently is beyond me, when their only sin is to have won a major then struggled to play well in the aftermath.

    Perhaps if that person had tried to lord it up over the public, the press, or his peers then they would be ripe for shooting down but "my" Darren has never done anything other than come accross as a nice genuine kind of guy.

  • Comment number 88.

    If you are searching for a Difference between Darren Clarke and the 3 others you mention then how about the fact that if you take out their Open Championship success then they have 5 wins on the Major tours between them, Darren has 14 including 2 WGC events, and an appearance in 4 winning Ryder cup teams, a career befitting of a major champion. Not that I would personally see the need to lauch into constant attacks on the Todd Hamiltons of this world anyway. One of your arguments for the barracking seemed to be if others can do it why cant I, very childish

    Your defenitions of a Fluke could apply to 3 of the 4 major winners this year and many many more besides, simple fact, you need luck to win a major. And the constant point in your defenitions of a fluke seems to be that it was done by accident. I personally could have swore he won on purpose.

    Anyway your constant attacks, and kicking a man whilst he's down just serves to actually make you look really petty. A clear case of schadenfreude if ever i saw one.

  • Comment number 89.

    @78 realgolf3r....run along.

    Jimmy, Don247, mickysausage, powerhitter and Sumo82, lets not lose track of what we really need to discuss here.....Lee Westwood and his multiple chokes over these years.

  • Comment number 90.

    BiloMcT- biggest choke in golf? Hawksworth hits a 3-iron to 2 feet.....then misses the putt. Biggest choke ever.

    Jimmy/Don, it's difficult to know how to view Darren's win. On the one hand, he had been a class player, winning some big tournaments and a good Ryder Cup player so anyone with that background shouldn't really be considered 'lucky' to win a major. However his form leading up to the Open and following it has been pretty woeful.

    At the stage of his life/career he's at, it's understandable that he's struggling for motivation - he's got his 5 year exemption now (takes him to age 48/49) and he's never going to be number 1, so only the Ryder Cup would be motivating and he might find some better form in 2012 with this in mind.

    Don - I don't really agree that his Open win was down to luck or getting the weather. He did what both Mickelson and Dustin Johnston couldn't do on the Sunday, and that's keep it together. Yes, he had one or two lucky breaks with not going into bunkers etc but he played som epretty good stuff too.

    Mickysausage - Tiger woods is your golfer of the year? Interesting.

  • Comment number 91.

    BiloMcT - why dont you run along mate, everyone s sick of your contributions on this blog.

  • Comment number 92.

    We've got a mickysausage clone!

    mickysaursage - are you james mathew?

  • Comment number 93.

    It just goes to show who the two most popular bloggers are on here!! People cant get enough of Mickysausage and Don247 that people are now cloning us. Our alter egos's Mickysaursage and Don274, as long as you blog sensibly and dont bring mine and Don's good names down then fair enough.

    My suspects

    Don274 = Jamesmatthew (same terrible grammar)

    Mickysaursage - Powerhitter (exact same blog writing and setup)

  • Comment number 94.

    mickysausage @83

    I'm with on all the "day-trippers" who come on here and complain.

    My strategy, however, is to be "inclusive", i.e. extend the hand of friendship to them (read: disarm them with a bit of charm!) Hopefully, they'll then stop complaining/sniping at us "regular troopers" from behind the bushes and actually join up for service and contribute something "meaningful" on a regular basis.

    mickysausage @84

    US Open "Rory's display (however Don247 hates him)" .... oh, that one hurts!

    You're maybe just trying to undermine my "reverse psychology strategy" (i.e. criticise the one you love most) there and putting words in my mouth to poison other people's minds!

    I'm currently carrying out an "end-of-year audit" on "my" Rory's performance. Of course, you - as "business executive material" - will know all about "performance analysis". I'll publish my findings later! (I got that idea from Ian "I'm a Brand" Poulter, you'll understand!)

    Fair dos regarding the rest of your "bests" ... especially Lee Westwood falling from #2 to #3 by a mere fraction of a point - that really was a "vertiginous fall!"

    P.S. Where did "Ashington's Finest" disappear to after that victory in Austria? (A job as Santa Claus in some department store in downtown Vienna, perhaps, with that white beard of his!)

    Best Bearded Golfer of 2011: Lucas Glover!!

  • Comment number 95.

    @93 micksausage, don't be so ridiculous.

    Everybody knows I also post as Sumo82, I've hardly got time for another alias!!

  • Comment number 96.

    Powerhitter = Powerhitter, Sumo82 and now Mickysaursage. This guy must have endless email accounts!

  • Comment number 97.

    Best Golfer: Darren Clarke (And luke Donald)

    Best Tournament: The Open

    Best Shot: Darren Clarkes Winning Putt (And Tom Watson's Hole In One at St Georges

    Best Quote: Darren Clarke - The get a life quote.

    Best Round: Darren Clarke in 1st 2nd 3rd and 4th Places (Also Rory 1st round at the US Open)

    Best Comeback: Darren Clarke (Plus Sergio and Bjorn)

    Best Team: Clarke and his Caddy (Solheim and Walker cup teams joint 2nd)

    Biggest Letdown: Englishmen in the Majors (Thank goodness for the Irish)

    Best Newcomer: Webb Simpson

    Biggest Fall: A p*ssed up Darren Clarke after too much of the black stuff celebrating his triumphant Open.

    Biggest Pl*nker: Steve Williams

  • Comment number 98.

    @Jimmy, absoulte ridicoulous years highlights.

    Jimmy's yearly achievements: Stalking Darren Clarke

    Jimmy's 2012 preminitions: To have Darren Clarke facial surgery

  • Comment number 99.

    @Don247 before our final Iain Carter blog of 2011 comes to an end possibly tomorrow night at 11.59pm, i think we should hold our annual "Iain Carter Golf Blog end of year blog personality of the year awards" we can have the top 3 bloggers, the best team bloggers of the year and the worst blogger of the year award, and best newcomer to the blog award. What do you think Don247??

  • Comment number 100.

    I'm just cross that i couldnt find some way to describe him as a newcomer

 

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