Levi Wins Constellation Energy Classic

Wayne Levi holds off a charging Hale Irwin to capture his second Champions Tour title.

wayne_levi.jpgWayne Levi, 52, carded a second straight round of 68 (-4) to win the Constellation Energy Classic. Levi led wire to wire to beat Hale Irwin by two strokes, finishing at -16 (200).

Irwin lead a charge, shooting an 8-under 64, and Rodger Davis took third place at -13. Fan favorite Jim Thorpe and the plodding Graham Marsh finished another stroke back at 204.

This is Levi’s second Champions Tour title, having previously won the 3M in August, 2003.

Levi Strauss and Company was unavailable for comment.

Woods on Ryder Cup Selection

Tiger speaks out on Ryder Cup selection and a vice captain role.

Tiger Woods is now on record: he wants to be like Europe. At least when it comes to choosing the Ryder Cup team. Specifically, Woods wants a one year selection period instead of the current two. Woods said that “to get the true team that’s playing the best we’re going to have to go to a one-year period, like the Europeans do.”

Woods also expressed interest in a vice-captain’s role, saying:

I’d like to work with the captain on the pairings and team strategy and working on the whole concept of bringing the team together and doing what I can to make our team successful at the end of the week. I basically kind of do that now, but if I were a vice-captain it would have an official role.

It remains to be seen (and debated, of course) what exactly a title would offer if Woods is already fulfilling the role presently.

Tiger Getting Hitched?

Woods may be getting married this week.

According to various news reports, Tiger will marry his girlfriend Elin Nordegren next week at the Sandy Lane resort in Barbados.

“All I can say is that I’m getting married in the future. I’ve narrowed it down to that,” Woods said.

Sunday at The Heritage

Despite the absence of many top names, The Heritage at Woburn provided an entertaining day’s golf and a worthy winner.

13th tee at The HeritageWith only two of Europe’s Ryder Cup winning stars making the cut, and only a handful of otherwise household names in attendance, my expectations for the final day’s play of The Heritage at Woburn were perhaps understandably low. However, my pessimism was unfounded, as the quality of golf played on Sunday not only made for a great tournament, but also (re)opened my eyes to the high standard of golf on tour, not only among the top dozen or so golfers, but right down to 125th ranked player and beyond.

The tournament was won by Henrik Stenson of Sweden by a convincing margin of 4 shots from Spain’s Carlos Rodiles. His stats for the tournament speak for themselves, notably his impressive length and accuracy from the tee, on a tight, tree-lined and slightly damp course. Equally impressive was his run of four consecutive birdies from the 14th (that I was fortunate enough to witness), and the manner in which he made each of them: found the fairway, found the green, holed the putt. Simple. He could have made it five birdies in a row on the par 5 finishing hole, but, deciding that discretion is the better part of valour, laid up and wedged onto the final green, and two putted to close out the win.

Why in the Hal?

Why in the Hal did the US team lose the Ryder Cup… again?

hal_sutton.jpgLet’s get all of the second guessing out of the way in one fell swoop so that we can just move on. We’ll play a game called “Why in the Hal?” as in “Why in the Hal did he do that?”

Why in the Hal were Tiger and Phil paired? Twice!? And then Tiger was paired with Davis Love III, who’d sucked it up earlier the previous day. The only player Woods won with: his friend Chris Riley.

Why in the Hal did Phil switch clubs and balls just before the Ryder Cup? Why in the Hal didn’t Phil practice with the team? Why in the Hal did the captain let him?

Why in the Hal didn’t the US team play mock matches against each other in its three days? Strategy in a team game is important and a little more complex than “I’ll hit one safe so you can really go at it, pardner.”

Why in the Hal did Sutton choose to walk on Saturday, admitting later that it prevented him from getting to every group that needed information?

The Heritage

A new tournament, The Heritage, takes place on the European Tour this week.

woburn_dukes_2nd.jpgA new tournament, The Heritage, takes place on the European Tour this week. The event, though probably created to fill an awkward gap in the schedule (i.e. the week after the Ryder Cup), has been established to honour the European Tour’s Executive Director, Ken Schofield. Schofield has been the driving force behind European golf for the last 30 years and is set to retire at the end of the year.

Europe 18.5, USA 9.5

Europe wins the Ryder Cup in convincing fashion: with a new winning victory margin.

The US had their backsides handed to them yesterday, losing to the European squad 18½ to 9½ in the 35th Ryder Cup matches at Oakland Hills Golf Club in Detroit, Michigan. Not only did the US lose the Ryder Cup, but it did so in an unprecedented fashion: losing by the largest margin in the 77-year history of the Ryder Cup.


“We haven’t been winning it,” Davis Love III said. “If they keep bringing the cup back on their airplane, we are the underdog.” No kidding, Davis. The US has lost seven of the last ten Ryder Cups and shows no signs of reversing that trend. The same comments were made before this Ryder Cup as have always been made: “The Euros have more chemistry,” “It means more to them,” and – our favorite – “They have more heart.”

Mickelson Dropped

Phil Mickelson has been dropped from Saturday’s morning fourballs.

phil_mickelson.jpgPhil Mickelson has been dropped from Saturday’s morning fourballs by US captain Hal Sutton, presumably as a result of failing to win a point in his first two matches. His playing partner for those matches, Tiger Woods, will partner Chris Riley in the second match against Darren Clarke and Milton Keynes‘ very own Ian Poulter.

Bernhard Langer, on the other hand, is ensuring that his remaining rookies, David Howell, Ian Poulter and Paul Casey all play their first matches, while retaining the successful pairings of Garcia/Westwood and Monty/Harrington. Montgomerie will maintain his record of playing in every series since Kiawah Island in 1991, a span of 30 (and counting) consecutive Ryder Cup matches.

Giving rookies their first game in fourballs, as opposed to foursomes, is a shrewd move. It gives them a chance play their way into a match, without the pressure of knowing that every stroke they play is crucial. It also gives them marginally more Ryder Cup experience; they’ll hit 60-70 shots in fourballs, and roughly half that in foursomes. Those extra few shots may count for a lot come Sunday.

Europeans Stretch Ryder Cup Lead

After a 3½-½ advantage from the morning fourballs, Europe stretched their lead to 6½-1½ in day 1’s afternoon foursomes.

Monty and HarringtonDespite the alarming amount of bleach in their collective hairstyles, Team Europe stretched their lead to 6½-1½ after day one following a 3-1 victory in the afternoon foursomes.

The talking point will of course be the pairing of Woods and Mickelson, who lost their second match of the day. Three up after 4 against Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood, the “Dream Team” were pegged back to all square by the 10th, and fell 1 down on 11, where they remained until they won the 17th. With the momentum seemingly on their side on the 18th tee, Mickelson hit a wayward drive into a position from which Woods could only drop and punch out down the fairway. An average wedge by Mickelson’s standards left Woods with a 15-footer for bogey, which he missed – double bogey. After Darren Clarke left his par attempt within gimme range, matchplay’s cardinal sin of losing a hole to bogey had been committed, giving the Europeans the hole and the point.