Let us know what you think about the site, we would love to hear from you:

Login Here

   Sign Up Now »
Email Address
Password
Keep Me Logged In
Forgot Password?
You are currently logged into Facebook. You can use your facebook account to login or signup
Login/Sign Up

Sign Up Now

   Login Here »
Email Address
Password
Confirm Password
Username
Phone Number
Captcha Image
By signing up you agree to our Terms Of Use
You are currently logged into Facebook. You can use your facebook account to login or signup
Login/Sign Up

Forgot Password

Email Address

19th Hole
News and Opinion

Golf Blogs

Date CreatedMost Popular

Sean Donnelly
DeChambeau bulks-up in bid to gain distance off the tee
Dec 6, 2019 9:37 AM
 
Ever since entering into the popular sporting consciousness following a T21, low-amateur finish at the 2016 Masters Tournament, Bryson DeChambeau has been famed for his idiosyncratic approach to golf. A physics graduate possessed of exceptional numerical and statistical skills, DeChambeau acquired early notoriety for competing with bespoke, single-length irons and wedges (all are cut to exactly 37.5 inches). He has since gone on to enrage many fans by calculating, in pain-staking detail, the distances entailed in hitting ostensibly straightforward shots. However, recent news emanating from the DeChambeau camp suggests that science can only get a professional athlete so far; sometimes sheer bulk and brawn is required to gain a competitive advantage. Two-months ago, the 26-year-old weighed-in at just under 200-pounds and struggled to complete 10 arm raises with 10-kilo dumbbells. Heading into this week’s Hero World Challenge event in the Bahamas, he is regularly lifting 25-kilo weights and tips the scale at a not inconsiderable 225-pounds. The logic underlying this new approach? Power and pace off the tee. Talked to a 222-lb Bryson DeChambeau about Bulking Szn. “I’m going to become like a gymnast. I watch online, on Instagram, these gymnast influencers, and that’s where I want to get.”https://t.co/N5BFmwFvBu— Dylan Dethier (@dylan_dethier) December 3, 2019 “More distance,” DeChambeau said when asked what prompted him to pack on the pounds. “People are gonna say what they’re going to say… I just wanted to be able to swing faster and more powerful.” Inevitably, the transformation in DeChambeau’s physique in recent weeks has prompted concern among some commentators that he may be packing on too much bulk, a strategy that has undermined the swing-plane of many golfers in the recent past. Indeed, the five-time PGA Tour winner has conceded publicly that “When I got a stronger core, my hands weren’t able to keep up” such was “the force my core was generating. So the last few weeks there’s been this mad dash to get my hands strong to handle what my core can produce.” In this regard it is noteworthy that the DeChambeau ranked 34th on the PGA Tour for driving distance during the 2018/19 campaign, averaging 302-yards off the tee, so he is not exactly short with driver in hand. However, the SMU-graduate was equally keen to stress that his gym regimen is targeted at strengthening those areas of his body, such as his lower back, that are prone to fatigue-related injuries. “My core has gotten substantially bigger relative to the rest of my body,” he said; the aim is to “build-up a resistance against injury.” This is unquestionably a sensible approach; however, DeChambeau’s aspiration to acquire greater distance off the tee can only be understood properly in the context of a deeply disappointing run of form that has seen him slip from No.5 in the world as of 1 January 2019 to No.12 as of the beginning of this week. Indeed, DeChambeau is winless in 10-months since claiming his maiden European Tour title in Dubai in January and missed two cuts and failed to finish higher than T29 at the season’s four majors. Clearly, something in DeChambeau’s game needs to change; whether additional gym work can yield the desired advantage remains to be seen. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
0 Comments

Sean Donnelly
Ernie Els tabs Ben An to replace injured Jason Day in Presidents Cup
Dec 2, 2019 3:10 PM
Tags: Ernie Els   Presidents Cup,   Ben An   News   Jason Day  
 
The question of experience has long been a pressing issue in the mind of International Presidents Cup captain, Ernie Els. After all, half of the International’s eight automatic qualifiers—Abraham Ancer, Haotong Li, C.T. Pan and Cameron Smith—had never played in a Presidents Cup. Neither had six of the next seven players in the points standings. It was unsurprising, therefore, that Els had indicated publicly that Jason Day, a veteran of four Presidents Cups and a recent major champion, would be selected as a wildcard after finishing ninth in the points race. The significance of Day’s big-tournament experience in inclusion his selection was reflected in Els’s comments upon announcing the former world No.1 as his first wildcard. “He's won 12 times on the PGA Tour. He's played in four Presidents Cups. He's going to come down to Australia as a hometown hero,” Els said. “You know, he won twice in 2018. Five Top-10s this season, including a fifth at the Farmers and a fourth at Pebble Beach, and eighth place at The Players Championship, fifth at the Masters. “So you know, very solid year. And he brings a lot to the team. He brings leadership to the team. He brings a lot of experience to the team, and obviously he's bringing some home flavour.” With Day’s experience added to that of countrymen, Adam Scott and Marc Leishman, as well as Hideki Matsuyama and Louis Oosthuizen, Els appeared to have struck a promising balance between youth and experience as the Internationals go in search of a first ever Presidents Cup triumph in Melbourne. Big news to wake up to... Jason Day out of both the Aus Open & Pres Cup after an apparent back injury suffered while practicing in Palm Springs. This news will be another blow for Australian fans who yearn to see our big stars. Ben An is his replacement for @PresidentsCup pic.twitter.com/TOVGVd0XUX— Luke Elvy (@Luke_Elvy) November 29, 2019 It is in this context that confirmation Day has been obliged to withdraw from the Melbourne event owing to injury came as such as painful blow to Els. Day said he was "disappointed" he won't be able to return home to play in either the Australian Open or the Presidents Cup, and had been trying to rehab his back injury, but decided it was best to take some time off to nurse the injury. "Frustratingly, I've been through back problems before and my medial team decided it best to shut down all practice and play," Day reflected. "I look forward to playing at home in the near future. My best to all the competitors in Sydney and my teammates in Melbourne.” Els moved swiftly to fill the new gap in his roster with the 28-year-old South Korean, An Byeong-hun. An, a one-time winner on the European Tour ranked No.43 in the world, recorded three top-10s and eight top-25s in 28-starts in 2019, including a third-place finish at the regular-season-ending Wyndham Championship in August. After narrowly missing out on qualifying for an automatic selection, An further strung together an impressive showing during the fall season. He finished third at the Sanderson Farms Championship, T-6 at the CJ Cup and T-8 at the Zozo Championship. In addition, he added a T-14 at the WGC-HSBC Champions. Day’s withdrawal comes as an undoubted blow to the International squad’s strength on paper, but given the Aussie has struggled badly for form over the previous six months and owns a modest 5-11-4 Presidents Cup record, Els’s squad may ultimately profit from An’s inclusion. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
0 Comments

Sean Donnelly
Pablo Larrazabal draws inspiration from Tiger to claim Alfred Dunhill Championship
Dec 2, 2019 3:01 PM
 
Gladly for Pablo Larrazabal, there is more than one way to win a golf tournament. The Spaniard took a three-shot lead into the final round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa on Sunday but lost his overnight advantage after following three bogeys in his first five holes with four dropped shots in a three-hole stretch from the seventh. Larrazabal had been struggling with pain arising from a blister on his right foot throughout the opening 54-holes at Leopard Creek Golf Club; however, his physical discomfort reached unprecedented levels on Sunday as he grimaced upon striking every shot and periodically appeared to be struggling to walk. The 36-year-old was 7-over upon completing the outward-nine in 41-strokes and whatever feint hopes he retained of claiming a fifth-career European Tour trophy appeared to have evaporated decisively when he dropped a further shot at the 10th. With three birdies in his final four holes, Pablo Larrazabal wins the Alfred Dunhill Championship by one shot. pic.twitter.com/kgJz85qbzw— Golf Digest (@GolfDigest) December 1, 2019 It is a testament, therefore, to a remarkable mental strength that Larrazabal rallied with back-to-back birdies on holes 15 and 16 to re-join Wil Besseling and Joel Sjoholm at the summit of the leaderboard. Sjoholm, playing ahead of Larrazabal, parred the par-5 18th hole to finish at seven-under par 281. Besseling, attempting to reach the 18th green in two from the rough, landed his ball on the green, but it rolled over and settled on the rock wall behind the green, just short of the water. From an exceedingly difficult lie, using a putter, he got the ball back on grass, then was unable to get up and down for par. Larrazabal, meanwhile, laid up with his second, then hit a brilliant third to three feet of the hole. He holed the birdie putt to conclude an improbable back nine of three-under 34 for a three-over 75 to win the European Tour's 2020 season opener by a stroke. “Unbelievable, the way I won it,” Larrazabal said. “It’s been a long road. I’ve really struggled the last few years. I’ve been working so hard.” "I woke up this morning and I didn't think I was going to play. I couldn't put my shoe on, I couldn't walk to the buggy. I couldn't go to the putting green. "I really struggled today. For the front nine I couldn't walk and then on the back nine I suddenly thought to myself, 'If Tiger can win a US Open with a broken leg, then what is a blister?!'. I just fought hard." In addition to ending a four-year European Tour trophy drought, Larrazabal has surged back up inside the world’s top-200 and has generated an invaluable sense of momentum around his game looking ahead to the 2020 season. Not a bad week’s work. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
0 Comments

Sean Donnelly
Els will rely on Scott to make a difference at the Presidents Cup
Nov 29, 2019 9:39 AM
 
When Adam Scott birdied each of his last four holes en route to an exceptional 4-under final-round 68 at the Farmers Insurance Open in January, drawing briefly level with then world No.1, Justin Rose atop the leaderboard, it seemed as though he was poised to recapture his best level. For although the former Masters champion was obliged ultimately to settle for a runners-up finish, two-shots shy of Rose’s winning total, the Farmers Insurance Open marked the occasion of Scott’s first serious title challenge in well over a year. Scott has struggled badly since claiming PGA Tour titles Nos. 12 and 13 in consecutive starts in the spring of 2016. He registered just a single top-three finish in over 40 professional appearances in 2017 and 2018, and slumped outside of the world’s top-70 as recently as last October. It was in this context that the Aussie’s near-miss at Torrey Pines in January felt so significant. Faced with a top-class field on a US Open-rota golf course, he recaptured the pristine ball-striking and penetrating iron-play that propelled him to the summit of the Official World Golf Rankings as recently as 2014. Jason Day WITHDRAWS from International Presidents Cup side; captain Ernie Els names his replacement REPORT https://t.co/qSdXkBKRwP pic.twitter.com/3YPdLiTkWK— GolfMagic.com (@GolfMagic) November 29, 2019 This blog was not alone in prophesying that 2019 would see Scott re-establish himself at the elite-level of the PGA Tour. Regrettably, such optimistic predications were never meaningfully fulfilled. While Scott’s 2019 form marked a significant improvement on the previous two-years – consolidating his position inside of the world’s top-20 – he remains winless in three full seasons on the PGA Tour and was essentially a non-entity at the quick-fire run of back-to-back majors during the summer, recording a respectable (but never title-threatening) T18-T8-T7-CUT run through The Masters, the US PGA Championship, the US Open and The Open. Thus, as much as the 39-year-old impressed in finishing second at both the Farmers Insurance Open and the Memorial Tournament over the past 12-months, such results can only be assessed accurately in the context of a three-year winless streak marked by a conspicuous lack of cutting-edge in high pressure situations. This circumstance will inevitably give International Presidents Cup team captain, Ernie Els some pause for thought. The Big Easy has stated publicly that Scott, a comfortable automatic qualifier, will be looked to for leadership by a conspicuously inexperienced collection of teammates in Melbourne next month. Whether the former World No.1 will be capable of delivering such inspiration when the pressure really comes on during the latter stages of the tournament remains very much open to question. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
0 Comments

Sean Donnelly
Phil Mickelson wants return to glory days for La Quinta event as career winds down
Nov 29, 2019 4:21 AM
 
You may have missed it amidst all the excitement that surrounded the conclusion of the European Tour season in Dubai; however, on 3 November, Phil Mickelson’s 26-year reign inside the top-50 of the Official World Golf Rankings came to an abrupt end. The 49-year-old finished in a respectable share of 28th-place on the occasion of his most recent start at the WGC-HSBC Champions event in Shanghai at the beginning of the month. However, Shugo Imahira's runner-up result at the Mynavi ABC Championship on the Japan Tour that same weekend was sufficient to jump from No. 53 to No. 50 in the rankings, knocking Mickelson down to 51st. He has since slipped to No.56. Inevitably this development has occasioned speculation regarding Mickelson’s long-term future as a fixture at the elite level of the professional game; indeed, the precipitous nature of his slump down the world rankings can only be understood properly in the context of a deeply disappointing run of form over the past 11-months. The five-time major winner began the year on a sensational high, claiming his 44th PGA Tour victory at the annual AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am by three-strokes away from Paul Casey in February. With the US Open slated to be staged on the California track in June, the veteran’s accomplishment inevitably generated excitement that he may be poised to end his agonising wait to secure a career grand slam. As it turned-out, however, such early-season optimism was misplaced and Mickelson proved incapable of sustaining or, indeed, recapturing the level of performance he produced at Pebble in February. In 17 starts across all Tours following his victory, the veteran missed eight cuts and failed to produce a single top-10 finish. In addition to missing-out on the FedEx Cup-ending Tour Championship at East Lake, he finished 16th on the Presidents Cup points list, eight-places behind Patrick Cantlay in the final automatic qualification spot. When I posted a picture of me poolside drinking ‘85 Haut-Brion, I was questioned by Rory and others over my choice of vintage. When I know I’m right I’ll go to extremes to support my case with facts and sound data. This Phireside again proves me right. #PhiresidewithPhil pic.twitter.com/87xfyEqh1R— Phil Mickelson (@PhilMickelson) November 20, 2019 Unsurprisingly, US captain, Tiger Woods determined to overlook his long-time sparring partner when announcing his four wildcard selections for the tournament in December, thus ending Mickelson’s run of 24 consecutive years representing the US at either Presidents Cup or Ryder Cup-level. Indeed, it would take a brave man to back Mickelson to form part of Steve Stricker’s Ryder Cup squad for the 2020 event at Whistling Straits. It is in this context that yesterday’s announcement that Mickelson is expanding his role with the long-time Palm Springs, California, area golf tournament, now known as the American Express, by signing on to become the tournament host felt so significant. "It's always been an important part of my life,'' he reflected when attending a ceremony on Monday. "I would come out here and play junior tournaments here [at La Quinta]. I've always been passionate about here, and I love the tournament itself. But more than that, this tournament has meant historically a lot to this area, and I want to bring back the vision of Bob Hope.'' All these developments smack of the end of an era. It may well be the case that 2020 is Mickelson’s last full season as a PGA Tour professional; indeed, from June next year, he will be eligible to compete on the Seniors Tour. He would be a thrilling addition to what is an increasingly compelling and vibrant competition. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
0 Comments

Sean Donnelly
MacIntyre richly deserves rookie of the year accolade
Nov 27, 2019 4:21 PM
 
In the end it was not to be for Robert MacIntyre. The 23-year-old spoke in the lead-up to the final-round of last week’s DP World Tour Championship in Dubai of his determination to finish the European Tour season on a high by recording an eighth top-10 finish. He was further keen to dismiss any suggestion that he might be content merely to secure his spot as the Tour’s best performing rookie during the 2019 campaign. "I didn't worry about it today," MacIntyre reflected when questioned regarding his hopes of winning the European Tour’s Rookie of the Year award last Saturday. "Every last piece of energy I have is going into tomorrow [Sunday] and try to push into another top 10. If I can do that then it will be another good week." Ultimately, the Scot’s 3-under closing-round was only sufficient to secure a tied-14th place finish, 12-strokes shy of Jon Rahm’s winning total. However, he did succeed in finishing comfortably clear of the highly rated young American, Kurt Kitayama in the Race to Dubai standings and was consequently conferred with the European Tour’s Sir Henry Cotton award for Rookie of the Year on Monday. He also collected the Tour's 'Graduate of the Year' award reflecting the success of his step up from the Challenge Tour. "My goal for the season was just to keep my card," MacIntyre reflected in an interview with BBC Radio Scotland. "But once I came close at the British Masters, it opened my eyes to the world of golf." WATCH: Will Robert MacIntyre buy his mum another kitchen?READ MORE: https://t.co/SGoiPmTIrE pic.twitter.com/Sss5AKINCy— BBC Sport Scotland (@BBCSportScot) November 20, 2019 "It made me realise I can compete out here and obviously I've thrown in other good results at bigger events. I'm just absolutely delighted the season's finally over and looking forward to doing it all again next season." There can be little disputing the fact that MacIntyre has strong foundations on which to build. In 21 starts since claiming his European Tour playing card at the end of 2018, the Oban native has carded seven top-10 finishes to just four missed-cuts; significantly, this run included runners-up finishes at The British Masters and Danish Open in May, and at the Porsche European Open in Switzerland in September. Such form functioned to catapult the Scot more than 150-places up the Official World Golf Rankings, from No.247 as of 31 December 2018, to No.69 upon arriving in Dubai last week, and the remarkable maturity and consistency of the former Walker Cup player’s performances have already caught the eye of Europe’s 2020 Ryder Cup captain, Padraig Harrington, who avowed that he would be "very happy" were the youngster his way into the team at next year's tournament. In this regard it is significant that MacIntyre has identified cracking the world’s top-50 and qualifying for the Ryder Cup as his two principle targets for 2020. "I've been shooting at the top 50 in the world for the last four or five weeks," MacIntyre said. "We've fallen just short but the season has opened up doors for me, it has opened up WGC events. If we can keep improving then Ryder Cups and top 50 in the world are all achievable." Based on the scale of MacIntyre’s accomplishments over these past 12-months, one would hesitate to discount him from achieving those targets in 2020. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
0 Comments

Sean Donnelly
McIlroy ready for Christmas break following strong showing in Dubai
Nov 27, 2019 5:12 AM
 
In the end it appeared to be just a tournament too many for Rory McIlroy. The Northern Irishman started brightly at the €3 million DP World Tour Championship in Dubai last week, opening with an 8-under Thursday total of 64. While his scoring contracted during the second-round (he signed for a 2-over 74), he rallied with a bogey-free, 7-under 65 on Saturday to draw to within a shot of Jon Rahm and Mike Lorenzo Vera’s 54-hole lead. McIlroy, who has won four-times on the PGA Tour in 2019, spoke in the build-up to the Dubai event of his desire to emulate his 2012 record of five wins in a single season by claiming a third career title on the Earth Course. He seemed exceptionally well placed to fulfil that ambition going into the final-round. In the event, however, he was unable to sustain his best level through to the finish. The 28-year-old started promisingly with a birdie on the par-5 2nd-hole; however, a sloppy bogey on the par-5 7th swiftly knocked him back to level par upon reaching the turn. The semblance of late-round momentum generated by his second birdie of the day on the par-5 14th was swiftly eliminated by a bogey on the subsequent hole. A further bogey on the 17th quashed any feint hopes that McIlroy might be able to force himself into a play-off; he ultimately was obliged to content himself with a 1-over final-round 73 and an outright fourth-place finish, seven-strokes back from Rahm’s winning total. World class @McIlroyRory!#DPWTC #RolexSeries pic.twitter.com/N0RL22CsCY — The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) November 21, 2019 Some commentators have proffered that, had McIlroy been in contention for the Race to Dubai title, he would have been more motivated to maintain the level of scoring he achieved on Thursday and Saturday across 72-holes. This position, while plausible, is not entirely convincing; indeed, the uncharacteristically unpredictable nature of the world No.2’s scoring in Dubai bears all the hallmarks of a player suffering from physical and mental fatigue. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that, as at the European Masters in Switzerland two-months ago, fatigue prevented McIlroy claiming a tournament that, fully fit, he would likely have won at a canter. It was heartening, therefore, to hear the 14-time European Tour winner discuss his readiness to rest and recuperate during a well-earned winter break. "First and foremost, I'm looking forward to a couple of months off, reflecting on everything and getting myself ready for next year," McIlroy said. “I'll try not to touch my clubs for the rest of the year to try and take a nice four or five-week break from them. “Then in the New Year I'll start getting ready again before playing in the last week of January. I'll spend time with my family. I'm going to go back home for Christmas for the first time in a couple of years, which will be nice. I really just try to get away from it. I'll maybe do a bit of gym work, enjoy the sun in Florida for a few weeks before I enjoy Christmas time at home." 2019 has been one of McIlroy’s most impressive seasons as a professional. While he failed to add to his collection of four major titles, he won four times and registered a further 15 top-10 finishes through the course of 25 starts across all Tours – a level of consistency that he has never previously achieved at the highest level of the world game. The challenge for McIlroy now will be to ensure he recaptures such form in time for the major championship season when he returns to the course in January. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
0 Comments

Sean Donnelly
Lowry left to lick wounds following disappointment in Dubai
Nov 27, 2019 4:17 AM
 
There was a period – albeit a brief one – last Friday afternoon when the fates seemed to be aligning for Shane Lowry. The Irishman, chasing his first Race to Dubai title, disappointed during the opening-round at the DP World Tour Championship, bogeying three of his final 10 holes to slip 10 strokes behind overnight leader, Mike Lorenzo Vera. Early on Friday, however, he rallied as the pristine ball-striking and penetrating iron-play that propelled him to a maiden major championship title at The Open in July returned. Lowry birdied each of his first three-holes consecutively to shoot-up into the top-30; by the time he added a further three birdies in a five-hole stretch between 10th and 14th holes he was hovering on the fringes of the top-10, confident in the knowledge that a strong finish would place him firmly in contention for the title going into the weekend. Regrettably, the 32-year-old was unable to sustain such a rate of scoring into the clubhouse; a sloppy bogey on the par-4 16th immediately stymied the gathering sense of momentum surrounding his game, while a further bogey on the par-5 18th effectively spelled a death-knell for his tournament. Lowry performed solidly across the weekend, mixing nine birdies with five bogeys to sign for consecutive 2-under rounds of 70; however, his Race to Dubai hopes ended with that uncharacteristically careless bogey-par-bogey finish on Friday. He ultimately signed for a 7-under total and was obliged to content himself with a share of 12th-place, resulting in a 4th-place finish in the Order of Merit. Shane Lowry may not have pulled off the Race to Dubai No. 1 crown but he’ll arrive home to reap the rewards of a Major winning season regardless https://t.co/xhosG4g82h— Irish Golfer Magazine (@IrishGolferMag) November 24, 2019 Missing-out on the Race to Dubai title will inevitably irk Lowry in the short-term. While the five-time European Tour winner was clear in the lead-up to the event that he would never privilege the Order of Merit over his preparations for the 2020 major campaign, there was an undeniable sense that it would have been fitting were he to end his major breakthrough season at the summit of the European game. Nevertheless, Lowry can reflect contentedly on a banner year that saw him climb more than 50-places in the Official World Golf Rankings back up into the top-20 and re-establish himself among the sport’s elite. He can justifiably look forward to a rejuvenating winter break. "I am going to go and hang out with my friends, hang out with my family over Christmas, I'm just going to do what I did last Christmas. I'm not going to do anything different just because I won the Open this year”, Lowry said. "There might be a couple more celebrations in there, but other than that it's going to be the same thing. But yes, when I go out and play golf it's a little bit different, but it's all good and it's a bit of a learning curve, I suppose." Lowry will inaugurate the 2020 campaign by defending his Abu Dhabi Championship in January. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
0 Comments

Sean Donnelly
Fleetwood can depart Dubai with head held high after near miss in Order of Merit
Nov 26, 2019 3:17 AM
 
In the end it was not to be for Tommy Fleetwood. Just seven-days after carding a sensational closing-round 65 to win the Nedbank Golf Challenge and resurrect a flagging Race to Dubai campaign, the Englishman produced another gripping final-round remontada at the DP World Tour Championship on Sunday, and came within a hair’s breadth of sealing the overall Order of Merit title. Fleetwood began the final-round four-strokes behind the joint 54-hole lead established by Spain’s Jon Rahm and Mike Lorenzo-Vera of France. Thus, when Rahm birdied five of his opening seven-holes to build-up a six-stroke lead atop the leaderboard, the Englishman could have been forgiven for mentally checking-out of the tournament. True to form, however, the five-time European Tour winner rallied, birdying five of his last seven holes, including the 17th and 18th consecutively, to sign for another sensational, closing-round 65. He consequently drew level with Rahm at the summit of the leaderboard at 18-under-par. Significantly, Fleetwood hit nine of 14 fairways off the tee on Sunday; he landed 16 greens in regulation and led the tournament for strokes-gained putting. Last week: win $2.5m in the Nedbank Challenge This week: start with a hole-out eagle at the 1st Tommy Fleetwood has FOUR eagles in his last 11 holes!pic.twitter.com/bkXQwr5u9Y— Sporting Life (@SportingLife) November 21, 2019 It is a testament, ultimately, to Rahm’s remarkable winning mentality that he produced a sensational birdie on the last to win the tournament by a stroke and claim his maiden career Race to Dubai title; however, Fleetwood keen in his post-round comments to the press to emphasise the positive aspects of his performance. "Couldn't have done much more, really," Fleetwood reflected. "Proud really of the way I played those last few holes. Proud of the end of the season. And these last two weeks, they just make the season seem in a different light than it seemed two weeks ago. And fair play to Jon. That was a cracking birdie down the last when he had to make it." Fleetwood is undoubtedly correct to adopt such a philosophical perspective. After all, the 28-year-old entered into the Nedbank Golf Challenge a fortnight ago ranked outside of the world’s top-10 and devoid of victory in 22-months. In the space of just two-weeks he has returned to the winners’ circle, reclaimed his spot among the sport’s elite, and reminded Messrs Rahm and McIlroy that they cannot expect to have everything go their own way at the highest level of the European game. Possessed of good distance off the tee, exceptional ball-striking ability, penetrating iron-play and a solid, reliable putting-stroke, Fleetwood remains one of the foremost golfers in the world game and is undoubtedly the finest practicing European professional who has yet to win a major title. The manner in which he has rounded-out the 2019 Race to Dubai campaign indicates that he will be a force to be reckoned when the 2020 major season kicks-off at The Masters next April. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
0 Comments

Sean Donnelly
Rahm seals Order of Merit title following victory in Dubai
Nov 25, 2019 4:20 AM
 
Asked how he felt about the prospect of becoming only the second Spaniard in history after Seve Ballesteros to claim the European Tour Order of Merit title on Saturday evening, Jon Rahm struck an endearingly excitable tone. “Gives me goosebumps to think about that,” he reflected after signing for a third-round 66 to seize a share of the 54-hole lead at the DP World Tour Championship, alongside Mike Lorenzo Vera. “I've said it many times, as a Spaniard, any time you join or you have the chance to put your name on a list where there's only one name and that name is Seve, it's pretty impactful. It's really emotional for all of us. To think even Sergio [Garcia] or Miguel Angel [Jimenez] or Jose [Maria Olazabal] or many other great players couldn't get it done. It's hard to believe I have the chance to be the second.” Any anxieties that the weight of history might hinder Rahm’s pursuit of a second career victory at The Earth Course in Dubai proved entirely unfounded as he held off a thrilling charge from Tommy Fleetwood to win the DP World Tour Championship and the Race to Dubai. A blisteringly efficient start saw the 25-year-old build a six-stroke lead within the space of his opening seven-holes; however, a contraction in his rate of scoring on the back-nine, allied to Tommy Fleetwood’s exceptional closing-round 65 (comprising five birdies in his last seven holes), ultimately obliged Rahm to birdie the 18th to complete a closing 68 and finish 19 under par, a shot ahead of Ryder Cup team-mate, Fleetwood. What an honour to win the #RacetoDubai and follow one of my all-time heroes into European Tour history!#DPWTC #RolexSeries pic.twitter.com/Hzsq1LhVzT— Jon Rahm Rodriguez (@JonRahmpga) November 24, 2019 “I’ve thought about it all week,” Rahm reflected of his achievement in emulating Ballesteros. “I’ve thought about it the last two hours. I thought about it as soon as I made the putt but it still hasn’t processed in my mind. It’s a thought in there that still has not been internalised. “I told myself on 16 before I hit the tee shot: ‘If you finish four, three, four you win the golf tournament, no matter what anybody else does.’ You dream of making birdies on 18 to win a tournament.” This was a richly deserved victory for Rahm, who has carded a remarkable 11 top-five finishes in the space of just 15 starts on the European Tour on 2019. The world No.5 looked briefly to have thrown the tournament away when he three-putted the 15th from no great distance, enabling Fleetwood to move into a tie for the lead courtesy of birdies on the 17th and 18th. On the par-5 18th, however, Rahm produced one of the best recovery shots of the tournament from a greenside bunker to set-up a 4-foot putt for the title. He held his nerve impressively to etch his name into the annals of Spanish golfing history. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
0 Comments

Sean Donnelly
Rahm and Fleetwood poised for Race to Dubai shootout, McIlroy surges
Nov 24, 2019 7:16 AM
 
When Jon Rahm claimed his second European Tour title of the season at the Open de España in October and stated that he would not play again until the DP World Tour Championship in November, many commentators understood the Spaniard to be expressing indifference to the Race to Dubai. After all, the victory in Madrid catapulted Rahm to the summit of the Order of Merit standings with just five events to play; there was consequently a strong incentive for the Spaniard to frontload his schedule with a view to maximising his chances of winning again before the end of the year. Rahm, however, was steadfast in averring that his previous plans would not be effected; he would take six weeks off to allow for physical and mental recovery after a gruelling 23-event season spanning four continents, and return in mid-November to inaugurate his preparations for the 2020 major championship campaign. This strategy was premised on the calculation that neither one of his two principle Race to Dubai rivals, Shane Lowry and Bernd Wiesberger, would build-up an insurmountable lead in the space of just five starts. Furthermore, Rahm’s focus is always going to be on the majors. Thus, although he remains highly motivated to emulate the achievement of Seve Ballesteros by winning the Order of Merit, he would never be willing to compromise his preparations for the 2020 major season by backloading his 2019 schedule and risk allowing fatigue and injury to undermine his performance in the first half of next year. Jon Rahm moved into a strong position to win the Race to Dubai title after shooting 6-under 66 in the third round of the season-ending World Tour Championship.https://t.co/6HZwxwDb5t— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) November 23, 2019 As it turned-out, this strategy was entirely vindicated; a rested and rejuvenated Rahm arrived at The Earth Course in Dubai this week positioned third in Order of Merit standings, confident in the knowledge that a victory in the DP World Tour Championship would seal his first career Race to Dubai title. The 25-year-old started brightly as a 6-under opening-round 66 immediately thrust him into contention for the title, and while his scoring contracted on the Friday, signing for a 69, he surged back to the summit of the leaderboard after signing for his second 66 of the week on Saturday. Rahm will consequently tee-off for the final-round level with Frenchman, Mike Lorenzo-Vera at 15-under, two clear of Rory McIlroy in third and four clear of Race to Dubai-chaser, Tommy Fleetwood in fourth. “Gives me goosebumps to think about that,” Rahm said on Saturday, when put to him that a second win at the DP World Tour Championship would make him the second Spaniard after Ballesteros to seal the European Tour’s Order of Merit. “I've said it many times, as a Spaniard, any time you join or you have the chance to put your name on a list where there's only one name and that name is Seve, it's pretty impactful,” Rahm said. “It's really emotional for all of us. "To think even Sergio [Garcia] or Miguel Angel [Jimenez] or Jose [Maria Olazabal] or many other great players couldn't get it done. It's hard to believe I have the chance to be the second.” It would take a brave man to bet against an in-form Rahm achieving such a feat on Sunday. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
0 Comments

Sean Donnelly
McIlroy’s progress falters following difficult second-round in Dubai
Nov 22, 2019 8:21 AM
 
Speaking to the media in the lead-up to the European Tour season ending DP World Tour Championship this week, Rory McIlroy commented that although he cannot claim the $8m Race to Dubai title, he remains highly determined to claim a fourth career victory on The Earth Course. The source of that motivation? The aspiration to win five times in a single season and thereby equal the career-best he achieved as a 23-year-old back in 2012. “I feel like I’m playing well enough. The most I’ve ever won in a season is five. I’d love to at least equal that and try to better that”, McIlroy reflected. “I’ll try not to let my foot off the pedal and finish the year the way I started it on a very positive note. Then I can really enjoy the off-season, or whatever off-season we have, December, January, and reset and go again.” Unreal shot from Rory McIlroy in Dubai. Says it’s his best of the year! pic.twitter.com/qkcpa9q7ZL — Stephen Watson (@winkerwatson1) November 21, 2019 The emphatic nature of the world No.2’s opening-round performance at the Earth Course attests to the seriousness of those convictions. A run of five birdies inside of the first seven-holes immediately thrust McIlroy towards the summit of the leaderboard, and while his rate of scoring contracted around the turn, he finished strongly with back-to-back birdies on 15 and 16 before producing one of the shots of the season en route to carding an eagle on the par-5 18th. The Northern Irishman ultimately signed for an 8-under opening-round 64 to draw to within a shot of the overnight lead established by Frenchman, Mike Lorenzo-Vera. “Possibly the best shot I’ve hit all year,” McIlroy reflected of his 291-yard, three-wood approach into the 18th green. “It was one of those where if you get it right and you button it, (you know) it’s going to be perfect . . . the two shots into the last were right up there with the two best shots I’ve hit this year, I would say. Look, I’m feeling comfortable with my game. I have done for the last while. I felt like (this) was just more of the same of how I’ve been feeling.” However, any expectations that McIlroy would cruise thereafter towards his fifth triumph of the season were dashed on Friday afternoon as he laboured to a deeply underwhelming 2-over 74. The Northern Irishman double-bogeyed the par-3 sixth en route to completing the front-nine in 1-over and two further bogeys were to follow on the 10th and 13th as he slumped to one of his most disappointing rounds of the season. Indeed, the drastic nature of the contrast in the quality of McIlroy’s golf between Thursday and Friday (a full 10-stroke swing) indicates that physical and psychological fatigue may be a significant factor in shaping his performance in Dubai. Lorenzo-Vera remains well-placed to claim what would be the biggest victory of his career as Tommy Fleetwood and Jon Rahm, positioned second and third respectively on the halfway leaderboard, prepare to do battle for the Race to Dubai title over the weekend. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
0 Comments

GolfSmash Bloggers

Sean Donnelly
Blog Posts: 1396
crudbay
Blog Posts: 90
OfficialGolfSmash
Blog Posts: 38
CLTheGolfer
Blog Posts: 33
Matt Martin
Blog Posts: 10
MattRistine
Blog Posts: 6
Darren DeYoung
Blog Posts: 6
Anyagolf
Blog Posts: 4