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'Bubba is everything I would like to see in a player'

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Iain Carter | 13:03 UK time, Monday, 23 April 2012

This week marks the start of the rest of Bubba Watson's golfing life. In New Orleans he is both the defending champion and teeing off in competition for the first time as a major winner.

Along with the inevitable riches that have accompanied his recent victory at the Masters, the major title holder tag also brings prestige, respect and scrutiny.

Watson has already tasted heightened attention by completing an exhaustive post-Augusta tour of the US chat show circuit. He wowed the audiences with homely explanations of "Bubba Golf" and its inherent hallmarks of fun and creativity.

It is time now for his unique game to come under the public gaze like never before and the fascinating thing about Watson is he will shoulder that burden all on his own.

Bubba Watson

Bubba Watson's unorthodox style could inspire a generation of golfers. Photo: Getty

This is not a case of swapping time with Letterman for Leadbetter for the unorthodox left-hander from Florida.

Indeed, Watson looked more comfortable in the television environs than he ever would on a range taking tutelage from the likes of top coaches David Leadbetter, Butch Harmon or Sean Foley.

Famously Watson claims never to have had a golf lesson in his life, yet now he is a major champion.

How is this possible? All we are ever told is that we must, at the very least, be taught the fundamentals of the game to have any hope of any level of competence.

One leading coach is not at all surprised by Watson's success and the way it has been achieved. "Bubba is king," smiles Kendal McWade, the free-thinking Scot who is England Golf's head man in the North.

"He is living proof that human beings are capable of astonishing levels of learning and problem solving without coaching," McWade told BBC Sport.

"All Bubba has done is apply that innate ability to the game of golf."

McWade believes the fundamentals of golf are not to be found in the conventional wisdom of orthodox grip, alignment and stance. Rather it comes down to the simple physics of what the club head can do to the ball at impact.

"Watson has taken the game back to its very essence and the basic rules of how you apply the golf club. He has explored this and looked at the outcomes. If he swings it one way the ball will go that way, if he swings it another it will fly in a different way," McWade explained.

Through a life of golfing self discovery Watson has found he is able to move the ball sideways and on different trajectories at will.

It was this strength that ultimately won him his green jacket with his outrageous hook from the trees at the second play-off hole against Louis Oosthuizen.

You would struggle to find that shot in any coaching manual; it was achieved through learning by experiment on the range. "I bet he moves the ball even more dramatically in practice when he wants to," McWade said.

"He is so in tune with the club and that's the essence of the game of golf. To the absolute limit he has explored every club in the bag.

"There is an incredible freedom created by not trying to do it right by the text book. And there's definitely a freedom in moving the ball a long way.

"It takes the pressure off massively compared with the accepted desire to hit soft fades, soft draws or even the holy grail of the dead straight shot."

Long before Watson was modeling a green jacket McWade was challenging England's top juniors in the North to take on "the Bubba shot" in their practice sessions. The idea is to prompt these talented youngsters to explore the limits of a golf club's capabilities.

"Bubba is everything I would like to see in a player. He is independent, not coach dependent. After a bad game Lionel Messi wouldn't go and seek a kicking coach to sort him out, he works it out for himself," said McWade.

"Most golfers seek out a coach to tell them where they are going wrong. Bubba is proving the guy with the answers is himself."

Watson's approach is certainly thought provoking, especially when we saw a player of Tiger Woods's immense golfing ability apparently so bogged down in technical issues struggling so badly in the Masters.

Interestingly, Woods's former coach Harmon has suggested a course of action not far removed from the Watson/McWade philosophy. "I'd tell him to go out on the range without anybody," Harmon said.

"Start hitting some golf shots. Hit some high draws, some low draws, high fades, low fades, move the ball up and down, move it around; don't worry about how you do it and go back to feeling it again.

"Quit playing golf-swing and just hit shots," Harmon went on. "He's Tiger Woods for God's sake. He doesn't know how to hit a shot?"

It is a fair point and Watson provides ample evidence to validate this line of thinking.

As he embarks on the start of the rest of his career, we are left to wonder what will be the impact of "Bubba Golf" on the way the rest of us approach the game.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    First up just for you mannia the bog is open ha ha Good blog Ian shame you went missing last week. Interesting that Harmon things woods should go back to basics and just hit shots by feel and instinct. After all Tiger has imense natural talent that has not totally vanished and maybe his problems stem from over complicating things.

  • Comment number 2.

    Welcome back Iain

  • Comment number 3.

    The way Bubba plays the game is not something that you could teach. You never know what he is going to do till he hits the ball. He rarely hits a straight shot, he seems to look for something different almost as if to challenge himself. Its good to watch and what a character his win at the masters is good for the game long live maverick Bubba golf.

  • Comment number 4.

    I would think that coaching for the pro's is all about consistency - the ability to hit the shot when required.

    For the rest of us it is emulating a successful technique to improve (my first lessons were how to swing like Jack Nicklaus but try and have the imagination of Seve B!!) - now the question will surely be is the Bubba Watson approach something that can be emulated (i am positive there are hundreds of club pros trying to work it out to give their students the extra couple of yards on the drive and more variation with the short irons) - It will be interesting to see what happens...

  • Comment number 5.

    Does Buuba golf remind you of the John Daley days and his "grip it and rip it" attitude,I for one think it is agreat aproach and probably less stressfull.

    I just hope our Lee can learn a little bit from it and play with more freedom and without the pressure he seems to keep putting (no pun intended) on himself and goes on to emulate Mr Watson and brings home one of the remaining Majors this year

  • Comment number 6.

    Jimmy for your information :

    Scott ,Y E Yang & S hanson
    Donald,Stricker & Watney

    I hope this is what you are looking for

  • Comment number 7.

    Get your drift mannina under the radar see what happens

  • Comment number 8.

    Has anybody heard of Kendal McWade ?
    it sounds as if he has the right idea on how to coach,push the boundaries as far as you can, see what YOU are capable off, but most importantly enjoy the game

  • Comment number 9.

    Good blog Iain.

    I'm not sure Bubba golf is for everyone on the grounds that people have different personalities.

    Bubba is clearly a free-spirit type of guy, who is probably very secure of himself and willing to work out any problem for himself.

    Other players, however, feel much more comfortable knowing someone can tell them the root of their problems.

    Ultimately disappointed that yet another Masters goes by without a European winner, but it was a cracking tournament, and that hook shot from the Watson will no doubt be played over and over again.

  • Comment number 10.

    I have had the pleasure of experiencing Kendall's sessions. We got him and Paul Eales involved with the Derbyshire first team. So very different, and so very good. No wonder he has gone to the top in Scotland. It was a great learning experience, and so much fun.

  • Comment number 11.

    I think Bubba Golf is the best thing to happen to the game since the rise of Tiger. As someone else who has never had a lesson and currently sporting a Handicap of 15 (playing on average 10 rounds a year) this approach will encourage youngsters who don't want to stand on a range learning shots parrot fashion. It will undoubtedly further choke the 'old farts' who hold the game back with their 'traditions' that MUST be followed or you can't play.

    I think the 'fashion' of these guru coaches has done a lot to ruin the game and players don't think outside of making the Par or settling for a bogey by chipping out of tough positions and not 'going for it'

    Bubba may not win another Major, but it was 'smart golf' that cost Louis the Masters.

    Long live Bubba Golf!

  • Comment number 12.

    An interesting blog Iain.

    I get the impression that many golfers at the highest level have become seduced by the need for coaching and support in every facet of their games and their wider lifestyle - swing coach, putting coach, psychologist, strength & conditioning trainer, nutritionist etc etc etc.

    Subsequently, there is a real danger of paralysis by analysis, as with lots of technical sports, and I think it interesting that you make the point (supported by Harmon) that Watson seems to believe that he has (or can find) the answers himself (and this is despite his own confessions of being very emotional and not overflowing in self confidence) which seems to contrast so dramatically with Woods who seems to need constant support/reassurance from a coach.

    Iain - while we're on Masters-topic - any report on your round at Augusta?

  • Comment number 13.

    @ 11 "it was 'smart golf' that cost Louis the Masters"

    I would say instead that it was adventurous golf that won Bubba the Masters. And as far as I remember , it was some pretty smart golf that Louis played to win the Open.

    Does anyone think Bubba could win the Open or the US Open? I think Augusta definitely suits his game as the rough is pretty non-existent and the wind normally benign.

  • Comment number 14.

    In our club we have 2 golfers, neither of whom have had a lesson, one's called Blubber and the others been christened Blobber (cant think why!). Blubber and Blobber played together in a recent Texas Scramble. To celebrate their win we rolled Blubber down the hill to his home - who needs a coach?

  • Comment number 15.

    nice to have the blog back !!

    Bubba is a law unto himself - but he is right that the hardest shot to hit in golf is a straight one - so he does not try to hit it. The beauty of that is if he goes offline he has the powers of recover because he can hit a 60 yd draw or fade, whereas others who hit gentle draws or fades hoik a bad one and dont have the skill or practise or experience to get out of trouble to the same effect

    its graet to have anothe character on golf in terms of his actual swing but also his demeanour

    As for Louis, apart from his albatross he didn't really play well - he was holing good putts to make par but he was never really playing a good round - whether he went defensive after the albatross or just was not on his game I don't know.

  • Comment number 16.

    I'm a confirmed Bubba fan, I wasnt necessarily a Bubba believer though.

    I recall that not too long ago after Watson was pipped to the Cadillac at Doral that there were question marks over his temperament and also whether such a loose swing could actually remain consistent and repeatable enough over the course of 72 holes, and in particular when the pressure was on in a final round. I will admit that I was one such doubting Thomas.

    All of a sudden he manages to bag the win instead of falling just short and Bubba golf is the way to play golf? I'd say not really, its just one of the many way to play golf successfully and is the current flavour of the month but no doubt it'll pass and another method will be de rigour.

    Manina - Thanks for the Info, very interesting :-)

  • Comment number 17.

    # 13

    Bubba can shape the ball left & right but can he control his trajectory to suit the conditions at the Open (actually a question I am not sure myself)

    I would say he has a better chance at the USPGA of the other 3.

  • Comment number 18.

    After publicly doubting whether or not Bubba could negotiate the many tree lined fairways at Augusta I have to say that it was an impressive win. Coming down the stretch it was very intriguing to watch and could have gone either way. Good for Bubba and Louis.
    I suppose the question being posed is 'does coaching matter?' and IMHO it does. It's not for everyone as I know someone who grew up beside a seaside par 3 course and was deadly with a short iron. He had no distance of the tee and went for lessons to sort this out and his short game was destroyed. What he didn't accept was that he did not need to be long off the tee.
    The right coaching works and Butch Harmon's comments: "Start hitting some golf shots. Hit some high draws, some low draws, high fades, low fades, move the ball up and down, move it around; don't worry about how you do it and go back to feeling it again. Quit playing golf-swing and just hit shots" is actually coaching.

    BTW - how's the leg Iain?

  • Comment number 19.

    Good article Iain,
    Wonder what you think about Bubba/
    Lots of speculation here that he was better off in a play-off trying to manufacture something from the trees than hit a straight-forward shot from the fairway - not for nothing did Tiger used to seek him out for practice rounds because he loved to see the creativity in the way Bubba works the ball.

    PS: The Beeb needs to send the headline writer who covered Ben Curtis's win back to nursery school, there to learn that 84Lumber is not a new type of 3-wood but the last tournament Curtis won before San Antonio.

  • Comment number 20.

    I'm looking forward to it, should be a great tournament!!

  • Comment number 21.

    An interesting blog Iain,

    Watching Bubba reminds me of Jim Furk 10 years ago when he had the big extravagent swing. The thing with players like these 2 is that even though there swing is not textbook like a tom watsons up and down swing, they hit key positions in the swing. my mate is an assistant pro and he says important part of the golf swing is the positions 6 inches either side of the ball, if you get the club square and realeased in this area the rest of the swing can be anything you want.

    I dont believe this watson propaganda about not having a lesson, his short game and putting is very orthodox looking as well as his shot selection around the greens.

    Having said that i am a huge bubba fan ever since the ryder cup and the celebration with jeff overton.

    One thing i cant understand is how 1 major chmpionship takes him to 4 in the world ahead of consistant top 15 finishers such as Stricker, Simpson, Scott etc. The rankings are flawed and need changed however the principle of giving majors the highest value i believe to be correct.

  • Comment number 22.

    Congratulations to BiloMcT.

  • Comment number 23.

    Iain - great article - I'm not a tweeter, but I understand you've broken your leg skiing, and are now some kind of cyber-golf-robo-correspondent. Anyway, get well soon.

    That's one of the things I love about golf - you can get so much variety - Watching Bubba manufacture his ridiculous shots, Westwood almost always hitting the ball to single feet from the hole, Donald's wonderful short game and putting, my fantastic bunker shots (ok, I'm making that bit up).

    Also just like to say that it's nice to see Richard Finch hit a bit of form. I've never met him but he's a friend of a friend.

  • Comment number 24.

    @22..sumo...I agree, and in it's most unique form here is my appraisal.

    Hawksworth had "roughly" 220 to reach the green! Factor in he was in a tight spot and on an incline. The ball was 20 cm below his stance and he was hitting into a piercing 40 kmh wind! John ripped a low 3 iron "stinger" style like an arrow that broke the wind barrier and landed like a feather. Without doubt one of the best shots ever.

  • Comment number 25.

    I think its great to see different swings and styles of play, otherwise it all gets a bit one dimensional and boring. and its amazing to see watson hit it off the tee - when he connects both feet are almost off the ground. i confess i wanted Oosthuizen to win - he has a beautiful swing that I could watch all day - but well done to Watson for holding it together and if more people start trying to play with a bit more feel and daring it will be good for them and the game.
    also, thanks a lot matt @24 I didn't realise how much I missed reading about one of the greatest shots in golf EVER. If only we had a video of it ...

  • Comment number 26.

    Look fair play to Bubba, down to earth guy and a refreshing attitude in how to hit a golf ball.

    But lets not get ahead of ourselves here. If we are accepting that Bubba's 'style' is unique then everyone should also accept that this 'style' has only won one major. The fact that someone is a reasonably respected position is advocating this wonderful way of playing the game should worry some of you in mainland Britain. 'Textbook' golfers have won countless more tournaments and majors than 'Bubba golf'.

    Let's remember that before we get carried away.

  • Comment number 27.

    @25...lovegolf... haha, I've really warmed to it after so long....Bilo is a leg-end dude, top bloke...I had my differences in the past but he is a proper ledge!!
    @26....gbell.....I agree with that...What tournament was it when "Bubba golf" turned into a complete shambles earlier this year when he was way in front? I personally quite like him, just for the "entertainment" value, but if he wins more majors than, let's say PM , i will be gobsmacked!!

  • Comment number 28.

    Augusta was prob always Bubbas best shot at a major as it seems to suit left handers as they can hit a fade with more control than some of the right handers seem to be able to hit a draw.

  • Comment number 29.

    Commiserations on your leg Mr Carter. Thou shalt not enjoy yourself !!

    Bubba golf is great when it comes off and can look daft when it doesn't. It's like everything else though you still need to practice. Practice straight shots, practice bubba shots, but you must be able to HIT the shot. Or in your minds eye think you can. Didn't Seve say it's all 90% mental / belief. Most important thing..relax ???

  • Comment number 30.

    Mannina Bubba does have an air of Daly about him though he seems a bit more grounded shall we say than the wild thing.

  • Comment number 31.

    @Gbell - I can assure you that nobody in mainland Britain will be worried. The main reason for this is that its only golf, not something important, and secondly because this coach is very wisely "challenging England's top juniors in the North to take on "the Bubba shot" in their practice sessions", rather than instructing all his charges to go out and play like Bubba.

  • Comment number 32.

    Ok..here goes....Iain do you have to get "credence", by "slotting" TW into your blog???? Knowing that people will agree/disagree!!!!??? Seriously, let's all embrace golf, because (in essence) we wouldn't even be talking /debating because of "you know who"!!!!

  • Comment number 33.

    #32 Why, Matte, why?

  • Comment number 34.

    Oh and for the Record

    English, Dufner, Bradley
    Bae, Lowry, Poulter

  • Comment number 35.

    @33 ..Trev...why what dude.???? (IF THE ANSWER IS HERE), I am sick of people publishing an article about someone and throwing TW in....Complete and utter crap....no need!!!!! Let's be honest we can't even discuss these two players in the same sentence really!!!!

  • Comment number 36.

    bilomct is a ledge ..peace an love fella

  • Comment number 37.

    Jimmy..Do you think Keegan is a good player, or profited off "doofner"????

  • Comment number 38.

    Well very obviously Keegan is a very good player, no question. He was fortunate in so much as Dufner let him back in at the PGA but none the less Bradley is an excellent golfer, but time will tell jst how good, very early days in his career.

    By the way your criticism of Carters article is way off the mark. Woods played awful at Augusta, you cant get cross at him for pointing it out, and to call it "complete and utter c**p" is just blinkered

  • Comment number 39.

    Jimmy....you missed my point...It was more aimed at why the mention of TW on a Bub blog.....I agree TW was woeful, but I don't think Keegan is "an excellent" golfer, just like people champion Simpson.....!!! The fact is if "doof" didn't choke, Keegs wouldn't even be being discussed.

  • Comment number 40.

    Wozilroy played awful as well dude, but nothing said!!!!

  • Comment number 41.

    Matt, you get annoyed when even the slightest criticism of Woods is made and yet you throw around derogatory comments such as "Doofner" with apparent ease, no offence but double standards in play a little bit i feel.

    If you disagree with the specifics of what has been written about Woods then that is fair enough and worthy of discussion, but a blog isn't a news piece, its just a writers opinion. Its an open licence for the blogger (Incidentally we aren't bloggers, we just comment on the blog) to write on whatever occupies their thoughts,

    As for Keegan not being excellent? Two wins on tour as a rookie including a major, top 30 in the world, on course for a Ryder cup spot. If that isnt the makings of an excellent player then you have very exacting standards

  • Comment number 42.

    Now now boys
    Like you jimmy I like bubba wears his heart on his sleeve is a fun guy and does not take things to seriously and that obv works for him. No extra baggage of mind guru to tell him how good he is ,putting coach swing coach,he just plays the way he feels so fair play to him. Jimmy FYI Donald bubba kucher will go well in the us this week I think and also feel Jimenez poulter and coetze are in for a good week .

  • Comment number 43.

    Whats happened to BiloMct? Has he got married?

  • Comment number 44.

    Bill now has mini bill mickey

  • Comment number 45.

    mattefc are Harmon's quotes not relevant to the article? I think they are and that is why they are included.

  • Comment number 46.

    @45....Iain. Well said. Your comments do fit in with the article. You're writing about swing styles. 1 x "free-styler" has just won a major where 1 x "contoller" is now struggling with his swing. Harmon is correct. Players all know how to hit the ball. It's what they want it to do that counts.

  • Comment number 47.

    can't say i'm a big fan of bubba but he sure got the job done...i love it that he's his own coach...reminds me of seve [rest in peace] learning his trade all on his own with that 3 iron in pedrena

    compare and contrast the metronomic tedium of westwood's game...he might be the longest/straightest but golf is all about getting it in the hole and i think he'd be well advised to dump the likes of mark roe [would you take short-game lessons from him?!] and just sort his pitching/chipping/putting out on his own

    oh...and before the wise guys rush to remind me he's just won in indonesia, please keep in mind who he was playing against...i understand they couldn't raise a full field and had to rustle up a few local mechanics, plasterers and brickies to make up the numbers!

  • Comment number 48.

    47

    - You can only beat what is in front of you..

  • Comment number 49.

    @34...Jimmy. I think you're wrong. These will play better - Sang Moon Bae, George Coetzee, Ross Fisher. And so will these - Justin Rose, Ricky Fowler, Geoff Ogilvy.

  • Comment number 50.

    Also, I believe I am right in saying Westwood's short game has improved under Mark Roe and in my opinion Bubba Watson should not be mentioned in the same breath as Seve Ballesteros.

  • Comment number 51.

    # 47

    He probably plays that tournament to boost his confidence - a win is a win and breeds a winning mentality - same reason football teams play different levels of opposition in friendlies before a season starts

    Westwood needs to improve his putting by a small amount to have a chance - it has to be in his mind and it takes more than a coach to get over that. Padraig used Bob Rotella but having never been on the professional tour I do not know what the pressure is like in those situations and whether that affects Lee

    he is still one of the best ball strikers in the game and that will always put him in contention.

  • Comment number 52.

    gbell...agreed...'you can only beat what's in front of you' but what's he doing playing against a bunch of no-hopers over in thailand, indonesia, nepal or tibet? - he needs to learn to win where it matters and, as a proud european, it pains me to say this but that remains the usa

    as for the comparison to seve [my sporting hero] i was just alluding to the self-taught nature of his game...i agree that's where the comparison ends!

  • Comment number 53.

    Dear Iain

    I'm very sorry to hear about your leg, did you do it while you were playing Augusta ? or celebrating after your round ?

    As I know (from experience),you will probably be sat at home bored and wondering what to do,so just a thought how about organising a charity golf day !!!!! so all your loyal bloggers can meet you and each other and truly find out who is who and whether you are The Mighty Sorcerer !!!!

    I look forward to your Positive response and Hope your back on the course soon

  • Comment number 54.

    Iain, I agree with you about mattefc, I think Harmon's comments were relevant. I don't mean to sound patronising but I really enjoy your blogs, however, sometimes I wished you stuck your neck out a bit more. For example, I saw you tweeted during the Masters about Tiger's stroppy antics - if you turned this into a blog and really slammed his behaviour I think you'd really send out a message. But maybe that isn't the nature of the BBC...?

    mattefc, I'm with Jimmy on this one, getting a hypocrite warning from you.

  • Comment number 55.

    LordVoldemort I would have gone down that route if I thought it was the most relevant post-Masters talking point. I thought there were more interesting talking points, having written plenty about Tiger in recent weeks.

    maninasuitcase: nice idea will give it some thought, could make for some lively 19th hole debate.

  • Comment number 56.

    # 55

    Iain its nice to see you returning to the blog and replying - I feel it is a very important thing for all blog writers to do. Ben Dirs always takes time to re-visit his blog comments and respond where he feels necessary - so many thanks for taking the time to come back.

    I second maninasuitcase's proposal for a golf get together. We wouldn't expect the BBC to pay......for everything!

  • Comment number 57.

    I think it's pretty difficult to dislike Bubba - even the purists must appreciate the different kind of excitement and skill he brings to the game.
    Also pleased to see Richard Finch do well - he's from my neck of the woods so good to see local boys doing well.
    2ironkid... ref Westwood - "he needs to learn to win where it matters and, as a proud european, it pains me to say this but that remains the usa"... isn't Westwood playing the US tour this year? Last week he was defending champion - maybe not in a huge tournament but an obligation most pros would honour. No pleasing you is there!
    Finally... here are some players I quite like... Ross Fisher, Adam Scott and Shane Lowry and here are some more... Steve Stricker, Luke Donald and Ernie Els.

  • Comment number 58.

    Interesting article.

    Even if Bubba never had a golf lesson (as claimed), I am sure he had books, videos, etc. Why I say this? Golf is a very difficult game and one needs to get the basics right. I don't believe that it was possible for him to be a major winner (or to reach PGA Tour level) through trial-and-error alone.

    This was my experience anyway. When I was a junior golfer, I had a very good coach. He thought me the basics. He thought me to understand my swing. Nowadays, with work, family and all, I don't get the time to play as much as I would like. Maybe 5 rounds a year if I'm lucky, with some driving range sessions. I like to think that I understand my swing, and that my rather decent scores reflect this (despite the lack of practice).

  • Comment number 59.

    #32 Matte - Just wondering why you bit on Iain's hook about TW, mate. You're absolutely right about him being a madatory item in golf blogs. I'd love to see more articles without reference to him.

  • Comment number 60.

    @Iain Carter - one thing i really would like to know your thoughts on is what i am seeing and thats the decline of Rory Mcilroy! Rory seems more interested in his personal life at the minute and I think that showed in his Masters performance, he totally disregarded the Arnold Palmer invitational, to apparently go watching baseball. His masters performance showed hints of class at times and the rest was poor, this i think is down to lack of match practise, i think Rory's personal life will stop him winning anything in the near future if he carries on the way he is. Thoughts please..............

  • Comment number 61.

    Iain, as you're much restricted with a duff leg is there any chance you could rustle up some BBC goodies for a charity golf day I'm helping organise on the 10th May? All proceeds are going to Kiwoko Hospital in Uganda (pronounced Chee-woak-ah) and we'd appreciate any help that can be given. It's at Clandeboye GC but your poor leg will probably still be in plaster then so I doubt you could make it yourself.

  • Comment number 62.

    cfcboy...slightly off subject but does your moniker imply you're a chelsea fan?...if so, you'll understand how sport can throw up some major injustices e.g....

    westwood accumulates world ranking points by playing in 'c grade' tournaments [us tour = 'a grade', euro tour = 'b grade', westwood tour = 'c grade'] and finds himself at number 3 in the world...madness!

    chelsea finding themeselves in the champs league final is an equally ridiculous scenario...it's called the CHAMPIONS league and should be confined to CHAMPIONS...the only european league cfc should be in is the 'runners up' league and next year they won't even be in that league!

    re your favourite players...

    ross fisher...classy player on his day but doesn't have enough of those days!

    adam scott...should be banned for putting with that 'thing'...nice swing though

    shane lowry...yep...can't fault you on that one

    steve stricker...nice guy but yesterday's man

    luke donald...nice guy, great swing but flatters to deceive

    ernie els...a class act, both on and off the course...if/when he rediscovers his putting touch, watch out!

    ho hum...nothing personal cfc...just a bit of friendly banter...hope you're playing better than i am just now...just switched to mp59s...why, why, why?!

  • Comment number 63.

    #62 ironkid - Have to disagree with your definition of the tours as the us pga tour is no longer the best tour. Personal viewpoint is that the European tour is much better, covers a far greater range of courses and is target golf orientated like the us. The fact that players get more points for US events is like a self fulfilling prophesy maintained because most of the yanks don't have a passport so can't play anywhere but the US.

  • Comment number 64.

    @ 55 Iain Carter

    No, I agree with you that there were far more interesting stories than Tiger's behaviour this week. What I meant was that you stick your neck out more generally, but I guess what I really want is for you to lay into Tiger's behaviour on one of your blogs, because as I see it you're one of the few in the media who doesn't worship him!

    Easy for me to say that though sat here in my nice, comfy armchair.

  • Comment number 65.

    mmm, trev...respect your view but forgive me if i don't agree with you...when you look at a touring pro's cv, uspga wins still carry more clout

    looking forward to ryder cup...hope olaz picks wisely!

  • Comment number 66.

    2ironkid... yep I am as happy as a dog with two ***** today but I think you've tried too hard to bring Chelsea and Lee Westwood into the same analogy and failed.
    Won't discuss Chelsea because you used the word 'injustice' so clearly are not impartial.
    I only pulled you up re Westwood as you asked why he was playing in Indonesia - I think I answered that. As to him playing where it matters I also pointed out that he has addressed this. So why criticise him? Let the season pan out and see if he made the right corrections to his scedule. And as for questioning his world ranking... gah that's boring - it is what it is and you could argue he's a better player than Donald right now but over a period of time he isn't. However, don't question whether he should be number 3!!

  • Comment number 67.

    cfc...it's no secret i'm a massive critic of westwood...i'd kill for his long game but i just can't make myself like the guy

    why don't we have a friendly wager...if he wins a major this year, i'll give a fiver to your favourite charity...if he doesn't, vice versa...what do you say?

  • Comment number 68.

    I have no idea why the US tour carries more clout - and this is with the players which is the important thing. As a single figure golfer and an avid golf fan I would say the variety of courses, climates and shots required makes the European Tour more of a challenge.

    The big difference is of course money. sponsorship and television mean the US pays more aside from the Middle East/Chinese biggies.

    Nearly every PGA tournament has a 1st prize of $1million - which the European Tour cannot compete with every week.

    Money talks I suppose

  • Comment number 69.

    Nice - nah while I'm a big fan and you're a critic, I'm not saying he will win a major by any stretch but as a fan I really hope he does as I firmly believe his game deserves the recognition/accolade. But I'm biased and you're not in the same way you think there was an injustice in Barcelona presumably!!
    Not backing out of a wager as that wouldn't prove anything... I just don't see how you not liking the guy supports your arguments over his schedule/world ranking etc. It doesn't...

  • Comment number 70.

    #68... YB - is the prize money directly related to the world ranking points??
    Last week Westwood won $180,000 for winning in Indo which was equivalent to tied 8th in the US. Curtis won $1.1m!!
    Hardly Westwood protecting his rankings!!

  • Comment number 71.

    #62 ironkid,

    The Italian team is known for their defensive approach to football. Defensive play, just like offensive play, is part of the game. That is why you have strikers and defenders.

    If you only have league champions in the CL, you won't have enough games for it to be a proper tournament. Or maybe we should have the champion of the Andorran league in the C?

  • Comment number 72.

    #70

    No idea what you are getting at CFC - I was trying to figure out why players seem to prefer the PGA and it seems its the money issue - ie Americans no need to come to Euro Tour because they can stay at home and win money and earn points, as for Euro players they have a harder choice to make in my opinion. Gmac and Rory decided PGA tour was a better avenue, Lee likes to support Euro Tour but play main PGA events, Donaldo proved you can play and be successful at both

    I wasn't inferring anything about westwood I dont recall mentioning his name in my post.......? Nor do I recall suggesting Westwood was protecting his rankings???

    As a side I thought it was brilliant chelsea went through, only way to beat Barca is defend deep and counter attack like chelsea and Inter have done successfully in CL, Barca had no Plan B, wanted to walk it into the goal every time, they looked clueless against ten men with a make-shift defence - but thats a different argument.

  • Comment number 73.

    Sorry YB I was trying to understand 2ironkid giving Westwood a hard time for playing in Indo and highlighting it certainly wasn't to protect a WR of 3 as 2iron seems to think is because LW plays lots of third rate tournaments.
    Thought you might know if ranking points are directly related to cash prizes and made the relation to Westwood's winnings versus Ben Curtis on the same weekend!
    I've said before - being such a vast country many many Americans never leave their homeland. Given the riches on offer the golfers have no reason to be any different.
    I love the fact Dustin Johnson seems to be happy pitching up wherever in the world - kudos to him!

  • Comment number 74.

    cfc - I recall Matt Kuchar venturing to a European event last year and being roundly slaughtered for his demeanour and bad attitutude

    I have no problem with Westwoods latest victory - i stated before I think its a mental thing to get him used to winning.

    I do a similar thing on the putting green before a round - i hit a dozen or so long putts to get used to the speed of greens, then I knock a dozen two footers in - the sound of the ball hitting the cup and actually holing those putts gives me a lot of confidence - so if im stood over a fifteen footer I just recall the 2 foot putt and pretend its that - I watch others trawling round the different holes on the putting green hitting various 10-20 foot putts holing nothing and wondering why they hole nothing on the course

    but thats just me....roll on saturday!!

  • Comment number 75.

    The thing about Harmons comments are that is he not talking himself out of a job.Seriously though the point he is making is perhaps he feels Woods has got too wrapped up in theories and the technical side of his swing and in trying to avoid doing something because he is thinking about it thats why he is doing it. Also having a swing that others aspire to does not work for eveyone. Bubba puts everything into some of his drives so much so he almost launches himself though it works for him it would not work for say Ells who relies on his rythm and tempo. When Mickleson went to Harmon alledgedly he said he was only interested in hitting the ball further, Harmon pointed out he would win more by being accurate mickleson was not interested just wanted more distance. Swings dont have to be a work of art just effective and at the Masters Bubba was the most effective esp when he produced the shot to win the play off.

  • Comment number 76.

    #57 cfcboy23 - Mentioning Richard Finch, are you from Hull, where he originally comes from or Cheshire (which is nice and sunny at the moment)?

    Being a bit of a stats nerd, World Ranking points are not directly related to prize money, more related (but not directly) to the quality of the opposition. What was Lee doing out there in Indonesia anyway - appearance money perchance?

  • Comment number 77.

    @74 Yb You've got to hole your putts as it normally takes you 5 or 6 to get to the green :-)

  • Comment number 78.

    y_b #74, I know what you mean. I always make a habit of missing a few 2 footers before I go out and play.

    My 'favourite' golfers on teh PGA tour right now are Ryan Palmer, Ricky Barnes and Ben Crane , and in Europe they are Adam Scott, Graham Storm and Scott Jamieson. Get my drift Jimmy?

  • Comment number 79.

    It's nice to see all the regular bloggers coming back and not the dummies from the Masters postings' who complained about every opinion they disagreed with and left us regulars a little bit p*****d off

    LONG LIVE IAIN CARTER

  • Comment number 80.

    Nice BMG... you saw where my 'drift' was earlier too!
    #76 Ref the Finch-Meister... strange you should ask as I'm from the east coast (not quite Hull but played all my football there as a kid) but I now reside in Cheshire. How's that for symmetry - and it's not sunny now!
    As far as I can tell, Westwood was defending the tournament... how he came to play for the first time was, no doubt, appearance money.

  • Comment number 81.

    My thoughts exactly ian, Tiger needs just go out and play golf. To over analyse is to paralyse. Yes alterations have to be made to a swing with injury or physique. BUT the man has been playing golf for 35years of his life. You don't lose talent over night or the ability to play at his type of level. I hope he comes back because bubba is great for the game, almost like a phil mickleson, there is however only 1 Tiger Woods

  • Comment number 82.

    Agreed YB... leave the putting green only when you've holed a few short ones for confidence.
    I can understand the need for a few long ones to judge the pace and so on but these are just not going to go in... it's about practising 2 putting over 3 putting.
    As I've said before - if I'm practising from mid range a good tip is to putt to/at a tee peg stuck in the green. Makes you a little more aware of accuracy and then when you finish off practising the 'tiddlers' the hole looks massive.
    Oh - and no rude comments please... I may blush!

  • Comment number 83.

    mickysausage @60:

    How dare you cast aspersions on "my" Rory's future success!

    If you remember "Young Rors" took three weeks off before the Masters to "fine tune" his game/preparation and, indeed, was very much in contention after two rounds before inexplicably falling away and finishing well down the field in T40 with Tiger Woods. The "Wonder Boy" admitted afterwards that he was "disappointed" as he hastily excused himself and made his way quickly off the course to seek and find comfort in the arms of a waiting "loved one".

    OK, I have to admit that Rors then flew over to Nice to make sure that he made a full recovery and got over his Major disappointment and, of course, to watch Sweet Caroline play a little tennis in the warm Mediterranean sunshine. However, may I remind you that Rory still regained the world #1 spot without even hitting a golf ball or, indeed, playing in a tournament!

    After their little tennis break together on the fun-filled French Riviera, "Wozzilroy" then flew over to Newbury to catch up on a little horse racing action, brush up on their royal etiquette and discreetly meet Her Royal Majesty, the Queen. Later that same day, it was a quick flight over to Belfast to take in the big rugby match in Norn Iron.

    Unfortunately, Wozzilroy (.. the poor overworked souls) had to get up early to board a fast jet to Stuttgart so that Caro could get to the WTA tournament on time. Rumour has it that Rory is now having a great time among all the tennis lovelies (read: Maria Sharapova et al) and assorted celebrities before catching a flight over to the US of A where he'll get in a week's intensive practice so as to be ready to make his second appearance in a golf tournament in the last six/seven weeks.

    mickysausage, what are you complaining about? Rory's #1 in the world, he is everyone's favourite poster boy, he has millions in the bank, he has a garage full of exclusive cars, he owns a huge house and practice area, he has an attractive international tennis player on his arm, he leads the jet-set life, he rubs shoulders with the great and the good (e.g. Obama, Cameron, et al), he can get tickets to any big sporting event he cares to go to and you are implying that he's not spending enough time practising!

    What are you suggesting micksausage? That Rory McIlroy is somehow going off the rails (.. like that other great Norn Iron idol/superstar, George Best ... champagne in one hand, the newly crowned Miss World in the other); that his new management team have not got "Young Rors" going on the "right" path?

    Please note that even the R&A chief executive is now suggesting that Rory will be the next "BIG STAR" in golf. Surely Mr Dawson can't be wrong about Rory .... or about the use of mobile phones at this year's Open!!

    Despite your comments, I still have total faith in "my" prodigy. With all his natural talent, Rory is destined for and will achieve "ultimate world golf domination" (with the faithfull JP Fitzgerald on his bag!) .... there is absolutely no question of that!!

    Anyway, mickysausage, why are you calling "my" boy's future into question? You should concentrate on "your" boy, a certain Martin Kaymer... who you never seem to mention anymore! Where has he been hiding of late?

    P.S. - On a lighter note, I would just like to extend my belated best wishes to "my" Darren and his beautiful bride, Alison Campbell, on their lovely wedding in the Bahamas a couple of weeks back. Congratulations to you both!

    From all appearances, G-Mac (aka "cupid") looks as if he's also found himself a nice girlfriend (read: "keeper"!). Maybe that's why G-Mac's lost a bit of "timber" recently!!

    P.P.S. - Thanks trevthetrainer for the Darren/Alison wedding info ... there was a super write-up and photos in the Belfast Telegraph (... no mention of them in the Sun however!!)

  • Comment number 84.

    Don good to see your on form putting Mickey firmly in place. Rory has time on his side and money in the bank but can soon be forgotten if he does not do it on the course. His was not a great masters you have to admit that much. Would be great to see Gmac have a better year esp with Ryder cup.

  • Comment number 85.

    Fellas, its been very interesting to know who your 'favourite' players are, just a warning that i am only interested in who your 'faves' are until 1st tee off in the euro event.

  • Comment number 86.

    @54..LV.....You obviously don't like him so why "encourage" a blog about him????

    I am not the first to wonder why Iain always includes "references" (archives anyone??) to him in blogs (when it is about somebody else). It is painfully obvious the guy just doesn't like him, but is happy to (shall we say) "fuel the fire". I'm happy to leave it at that!

  • Comment number 87.

    Hi Lads!
    Thanks for the kind wishes. Ramona was born on Sunday, everyone doing well. Please excuse my lasck of comments! not much time at home at the moment, when i get back to work after paternity leave i will be back on the blogs wasting my working day!
    Although i'm sure boys are glad of the break from Hawksworth comments!
    Cheers again
    Bilo

  • Comment number 88.

    @73&80 cfcboy23. I wouldn't bother trying to understand 2ironkid. Click on my name for a sample of the diatribe he spouts about Westwood & fellow pro's. Given his comments about Chelsea it would also appear talking football tosh is not beyond him either. Congrats on Chelsea and here's hoping for RM tonight and a return date with the 'Special One' in the final. Some matchup that would be.
    Westwood was indeed returning as defending champ and I believe has supported the Asian tour since as far back as 1997!! A world golfer if ever there was one.
    @74 YB. Are you thinking of our most recent golfing god that is Bubba and his disparaging remarks he made following his dismal performance in missing the cut at last years French Open? Anyway I guess they were at least using their passports so Kudos to them & the likes of D Johnson, J Daly and those US golfers that step out of their comfort zone to challenge the best golfers the world over.

  • Comment number 89.

    p.s....Iain Carter....look back through your blogs....give the loyal bloggers a golf day! it would be so much fun!

  • Comment number 90.

    #88 Golfrants... thanks for the heads up. I've no problem sparring with 2ironkid if there was some substance to his arguments but it's... because he can't seem to like Lee Westwood.
    And presumably doesn't like Chelsea either.
    I've no problem with who likes who (Bilo is particularly interested in that but otherwise distracted currently) but it doesn't make for great debate/blogging.
    I struggle to see what Westwood has done to not be high in everyone's regard other than not have a major to his name. Whilst that is cause for mutual disappointment it's really not a stock to beat him with is it?

  • Comment number 91.

    hey golfrants [@88]...i guess you consider yourself the fount of all wisdom?...man, you must be so blessed!

  • Comment number 92.

    ** stick not stock!

  • Comment number 93.

    Just watched a snippet on Bubba I did not realize like Tiger his Dad was from the military. Seems he does a lot for charity to and everyone knows he has just adopted, the more I hear or read about him the more I like the guy. I hope he continues to play Bubba golf and continues to be himself and that winning the masters does not become a millstone for him. I can see him getting a good reception at Lytham this year.

  • Comment number 94.

    Westwood went to indonesia because he likes it in Asia and he was defending his title. even if it was a weak field, he still won so good for him and it proves he can get over the finishing line to all those doubters, and most importantly himself (although he has done it so many times he probably does not need to prove it to himself anymore)!!
    Well done Iain for joining in on the blog, it makes it much more of a personal and mutual experience. I agree that Harmon's comments on TW were relevant, and Harmon is one of the best if not the best golf coach there is in Pro golf.
    as for the tours, the european tour is imho better than the us tour. the courses and conditions are more varied, as are the players that play them and it makes it more interesting. us players don't travel to europe and beyond very often for various reasons. firstly us citizens generally travel abroad less, and secondly the us tour pays more. so they have less incentive to go abroad. pity they dont always behave graciously but that's probably because they get spoilt rotten and pampered on the US Tour - i wonder how they get treated at their colleges and whether they get the royal treatment there aswell? just a guess.
    Big Congrats Bilo - hope you really enjoy this special time. brings back many memories when my kids were born. one of my best move was to sleep on the couch - it meant I slept through every night and the wife was happy cos she had the whole bed fro herself and the baby! sorry guys - couldn't help reminiscing

  • Comment number 95.

    cfc...never said i didn't like chelsea...just that they're not worthy of contesting the biggest club game in euro football

    anyway signing off now for 2 reasons...first, all the other bloggers must be sick of this exchange and, second, because the game's about to kick off...hope both sides put up a better fight than cfc did last night!

  • Comment number 96.

    @93...Dave....Are you going The Open, be good to meet up and have a chat and a few (cheeky) jars!!! I've not got tickets, I'm just going up on whatever day I can "blag" off!!!!!

    I also wonder about the mobile phone situation...Let's face it, it's ok having "designated" areas, but who is going to "police" this, when (as everyone can imagine) people will be just using them anywhere on the course!

  • Comment number 97.

    #95... see 2iron you showed your true colours there - "chelsea...just that they're not worthy of contesting the biggest club game in euro football"... "hope both sides put up a better fight than cfc did last night!"
    I think golfrants was right... not much humility but a wee bit bitter, eh!
    Matt/Dave - I'm waiting on an invite through work to Lytham so I'll keep you posted too. I don't think the French Open issue has lingered and Bubba will be warmly received.

  • Comment number 98.

    matt -regarding mobiles are they going to check if the phone has a flash on it as this could distract the players, especially a certain TW, who doesn't need much of an excuse to moan and throw baby tantrums,along with little mac who seems to be following in his shoes.
    IMHO LW and PM will be the most popular players at the Open as nearly every euro golf supporter would love to see our Lee win and Big P has a personality and spends time with the golfing public when we all know he wants to go home

  • Comment number 99.

    manina - from what I (think I) read, I get the impression mobiles will only be allowed to be used in designated areas probably near to food/refreshments and no doubt well away from the golf. I'm pretty sure photography will still be banned so in essence the flash is irrelevant. And I presume this is a change in policy from a total phone ban anywhere on the 'premises' in the past as it's a while since I last went?

  • Comment number 100.

    Euro tour
    Scott ye yang poulter

    Pga tour
    Donald dufner and bradely

 

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