Europe Win the Ryder Cup 2012

Starting the third & final day 10-6 down, the odds were stacked against Europe to even make a reasonable score, let alone retain the Ryder Cup by winning a majority of the 12 singles matches.  But with Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose & Paul Lawrie winning the first five matches, the final day was an amazing show of awesome, nail-biting golf.

Ian Poulter didn’t lead in his match against Webb Simpson until the 17th hole and Justin Rose needed 18 holes to beat Phil Mickelson finishing with two sublime birdies.

While Rory McIlroy beat the young charismatic Keegan Bradley after only arriving at the Medinah Country Club ten minutes before his tee time in a police car with the excuse he had confused Eastern with Central Time!

Luke Donald & Bubba Watson was the first match of the day & the first to finish with Donald winning 2&1. But apart from Paul Lawrie thrashing US rookie Brandt Snedeker 5&3 every match was a tight one, with many switching from red to blue and back again.

It went right down to the wire, the last two matches between Steve Stricker & Martin Kaymer and Tiger Woods vs Francesco Molinari.  With three holes to play both matches were all square with Europe needing just one point to retain the Ryder Cup. And it went down to the 18th when Steve Stricker made his putt and left Martin Kaymer a shot to win or lose the Ryder Cup for Europe. With just one match remaining, Kaymer won the Ryder Cup for Europe in the most amazing comeback of all-time.

In a post-match interview José María Olazábal attempted to dedicate the win to his great friend Seve Ballesteros before breaking down with emotion.

Sunday’s Singles:
Bubba Watson lost to Luke Donald 2&1
Webb Simpson lost to Ian Poulter 2 up
Keegan Bradley lost to Rory McIlroy 2&1
Phil Mickelson lost to Justin Rose 1 up
Brandt Snedeker lost to Paul Lawrie 5&3
Dustin Johnson beat Nicolas Colsaerts 3&2
Zach Johnson beat Graeme McDowell 2&1
Jim Furyk lost to Sergio Garcia 1 up
Jason Dufner beat Peter Hanson 2 up
Matt Kuchar lost to Lee Westwood 3&2
Steve Stricker lost to Martin Kaymer 1 up
Tiger Woods v Francesco Molinari A/S


Belek Golf Club in Turkey to become a European Tour Destination

Belek Golf Club in Turkey
Belek Golf Club in Turkey (computer-generated image)

Belek Golf Club, the first integrated golf and residential community on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, is to become a European Tour Destination.

The partnership with The European Tour will result in top-flight professional golf being staged in Turkey on a new José Maria Olazábal designed golf course, construction of which starts this autumn.

Belek, 25 kilometres east of Antalya International Airport, is already a golf tourism hotspot (KPMG Golf Travel Insight report 2008) and was voted European Golf Destination of the Year by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators in 2008.

Now, joining London Golf Club as a European Tour Destination, Belek Golf Club will be the first world-class venue in the region offering golfers and non-golfers alike the opportunity to own a home within an exquisite residential and resort community benefiting from year round warmth and sunshine. England football stars Michael Owen and David Platt, as well as Austrian Alpine ski racing legend Marc Girardelli, are among those who will own homes at Belek Golf Club.

Hasan Besneli, Chairman of the Board, Belek Golf Club, said: “Our partnership with The European Tour is significant as it guarantees our residents, hotel guests and golfing visitors outstanding facilities and levels of service, positioning Belek Golf Club among the world’s finest golf clubs.

“José Maria Olazábal, who has taken a close personal interest in this project, has designed a remarkable golf course that will be a fitting venue for a European Tour event, and a compelling, enjoyable course that all golfers will want to play time and again.”

The Belek Golf Club residential development, which is fed by an abundance of water flowing from the Taurus Mountains, will feature a fully navigable 7-kilometre long canal system, also connecting lakes and streams on the golf course. Other amenities include a town centre with shops, a rich variety of dining opportunities and nightly live entertainment. A wellness clinic offering spa and fitness programs will be complemented by state-of-the-art preventative and anti-ageing medicine under the guidance of medical doctors.

There will also be a Small Luxury Hotel of the World. Norgra Hotel Management will oversee the highest levels of service across the resort, while Troon Golf, the world’s leading golf management company whose portfolio of properties include Turnberry, Scotland, and The Grove, London, will manage operations and service at the golf club.

David MacLaren, Director of Property and Venue Development for The European Tour, said:

“Belek Golf Club is one of the best new golf and residential developments anywhere in the world and a fitting addition to the London Golf Club as a European Tour Destination, part of The European Tour Properties network of world-class golf venues.

“Belek, with its variety of high quality golf courses, excellent hotels and appealing climate, has already established itself on the world golfing map. Now, with a European Tour Destination and the promise of a full European Tour event within the next seven years, we believe this first integrated golf and residential community will become an icon for golf in Turkey.”

Jonathan Orr, Finance Director for The European Tour, added: “The development of our Property network is a major strategic objective for the European Tour and we are delighted to secure a partnership with Belek Golf Club, as we believe that it has all the ingredients to become an important strategic partner in a region of exciting potential.”

There are 17 golf courses in Belek, many designed by leading international golf course architects, and all within a 15-minute drive time. With year round sunshine and warmth (monthly average temperatures range from 15°C in January to 34°C in August) and an abundance of water, Belek is already a major golfing centre.

Two-time Masters Champion and winner of 23 European Tour titles, Olazábal, who coined the phrase ‘the magic of Belek Golf Club’, said: “The Castle Course at Belek Golf Club is my first design work in Turkey and I am honoured to be part of a development of such high international standard. I look forward to the challenge of creating a course that shall not only become a spectacular venue for The European Tour but, as importantly, an enjoyable and memorable experience for future residents and guests.”

Construction of Belek Golf Club begins in autumn 2010 with a planned opening date of 2012.

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Bernard Gallacher backs Colin Montgomerie for Ryder Cup captaincy

I think it is fair to say that there have never been so many candidates for the European Ryder Cup captaincy. Many have been mentioned, several have been backed by the experts in the game and the majority have admitted they would be interested in the role.

The latest name to be put into the hat is Colin Montgomerie. The Scotsman wasn’t even mentioned a couple of weeks ago, but now he appears to be one of the front runners.

Colin Montgomerie has the backing of former captain Bernard Gallacher who believes that the appointment of someone with his pedigree would make good ‘business sense’ for Team Europe.

By this, Bernard Gallacher means that he will ‘pull in sponsors’ and keep the competition ‘on the front pages’ over the next couple of years. Colin Montgomerie is a very well known and popular character in Europe, after all.

This is all well and good, but what about the playing side of it? Is Colin Montgomerie the man to lead Europe to Ryder Cup success next year?

Well, according to another former captain – yes he is! Sam Torrence has admitted he was surprised that Colin Montgomerie wanted the job, but now believes that he is ‘100% the right man’ to help Europe win back the trophy.

It seems as though the players are firmly behind the idea of it being Captain Montgomerie as well. Lee Westwood – who is one of Europe’s most experienced Ryder Cup players – has described Colin Montgomerie as an ‘inspirational’ character who would make a ‘good captain’.

Overall, it seems as though Colin Montgomerie has a lot going for him in terms of an ‘application’ for the Ryder Cup captaincy. In fact, the golf odds have now installed him as favourite for the post.

The Ryder Cup committee will announce their decision tomorrow, with Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal being touted as Monty’s main rival.

Sam Torrence backs Ian Woosnam for Ryder Cup captaincy

Former European Ryder Cup captain Sam Torrence has backed Ian Woosnam to succeed Nick Faldo in the role for the 2010 Ryder Cup tournament. Discussions about who will lead the European team have commenced and Sam Torrence believes that Ian Woosnam is the ‘right man’ to do the job.

Sam Torrence went on to claim that if anybody is going to get the best out of the Welsh crowd, it is going to be Ian Woosnam. The Welshman led Europe to victory in Ireland back in 2006, but to do so in his home country would mean so much to him. Perhaps this will influence the decision, who knows.

In terms of other candidates, well Jose Maria Olazabal is the favourite according the golf odds, but Sam Torrence doesn’t believe the time is right for the Spaniard to be given such a huge responsibility.

Sam Torrence says that Jose Maria Loadable ‘should wait one more’ Ryder Cup tournament and look to captain Europe in America during 2012.

Other names in the frame are Sandy Lyle, Bernard Gallacher and last year’s captain Nick Faldo. Although the latter seems unlikely given some of the fall out during and after Europe’s comfortable defeat to America in Kentucky.

Overall, it is my opinion that Ian Woosnam is the best man for Europe. He has won the tournament before, he has the respect of the players and most of all – the crowd love him.

The atmosphere will be electric whatever the circumstance, but if Ian Woosnam leads Europe in Wales, then it would be just that little bit more special.

Jose Maria Olazabal to return to professional golf

After fatigue disrupted the majority of 2008, Jose Maria Olazabal is set to make his third career comeback at this week’s Madrid Master’s. The Spaniard – who will be surrounded by home comforts during the tournament – has not played competitively since 30th June.

It is thought that Jose Maria Olazabal is using this tournament to ‘test the water’ with regards to his golf career. The 42-year-old says that he wants to see if his body ‘can stand up to a tournament’.

Of course, it is not the first time he has made a comeback after illness. He suffered with polyarthritis a number of years ago which made him miss the 1995 and 1996 seasons. He bounced back though, winning the 1997 Masters at Augusta and helping Europe to Ryder Cup glory in the same year.

Then, back in 2007, he was struck down with a similar illness and didn’t play after August that year. During 2008, he made a small number of appearances, but now is the time for the real comeback. Should he struggle or fall ill again – that could be that as far as Jose Maria Olazabal’s professional golf career is concerned.

I personally hope he is back to his old self though – he is a great character of the game and let’s face it, he’s a fantastic golfer as well. He says he doesn’t have too many expectations for this week’s Madrid Masters and that his first target is to see ‘if I can make the cut’. It is more about proving to himself that he can still perform at the top level and he will start to find out as he tees off on Thursday.

Regardless of what the future holds with regards to his playing career, Jose Maria Olazabal will be involved in golf for a while yet. This is because the golf odds are tipping him to be the 2010 European Ryder Cup captain. He assisted Nick Faldo in this year’s defeat to USA last month and certainly has the pedigree to take over the role.

For now though, he will be concentrating on his playing career and hoping that he can match the likes of Martin Kaymer, Angel Cabrera and Miguel Angel Jimenez in the Madrid Masters.