Health & Fitness is as important as Power to Improve Your Handicap

Golf is defined as “playing a ball with a club from the teeing ground into the hole by a stroke or successive strokes in accordance with the Rules.” The modern game originated in Scotland and can be dated back as far as the 16th century.

Accuracy and consistency has always been the key to the success of a golfer of any level.  But the game has changed dramatically in recent years due to several advances in the sport.

Manufacturers constantly compete to produce high quality golf clubs and balls that make it easier for golfers to hit harder and more accurate shots.  While the upper body strength and over health and fitness of professional golfers who undertake rigorous workout programs has also help towards producing a younger breed of golfer that can now play longer and more accurate shots in equal measure.

As with all professional sports, the very top golf pros are aware of the role of a good diet and the importance of sports psychology.  Many of the top players’ entourage will include personal trainers and sports psychologists to keep the body as well as the mind healthy and positive before, during and after a big tournament.

Of all the big hitters I’ve seen in recent years, it never ceases to amaze me to watch an inform, relaxed and confident Justin Rose coil and unwind his upper body as he hits a power-driving tee shot down the centre of the fairway.  The accuracy and the power he gets is amazing.  But the way his upper body twists while there is no movement from his hips down is almost cartoon-like.

Justin Rose is a perfect example for amateur golfers to follow.  He looks healthy and fit, and the power he creates comes from the suppleness and action of his body as much as the swing itself. New titanium head drivers allow even amateur golfers to hit longer drives.   But length is only as good as accuracy.  A good tip for any aspiring amateur golfer who wants to improve their handicap is to consider their suppleness and strength as much as simply attempting to hit the ball harder through the speed of the swing.

Who will win the US Masters 2013?

The US Masters 2012 was won by Bubba Watson after an exciting play-off with South African Louis Oosthuizen following both golfers having an exceptional round on the final day and finsihing on -10.  The 33-year-old left-hander won at the second extra hole to claim his first major title. Peter Hanson, Matt Kuchar and Phil Mickelson finished in a three-way tie for third finishing on -8.  England’s Ian Poulter (69) finished seventh on -5, while Australian Adam Scott, last year’s runner-up, carded a 66 that included a hole in one on the 16th to finish -4.

England’s Justin Rose and Ireland’s Padraig Harrington finished in eighth with Adam Scott.

Pre-tournament favourites Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy ended a disappointing tournament tied on five over last year.  But that has no bearing on this year’s golf betting ahead of the US Masters 2013 where Tiger Woods is closing in on Rory McIlroy at the top of the official golf world ranking list; and after winning this year’s WGC Championship title for the seventh time, is now only one average point behind Rory McIlroy.  A victory at the US Masters would see Tiger Woods regaining the #1 world ranking he held for so long before injury and personal problems caused a meltdown in 2009.

The US Masters 2013
starts the week commencing Monday 8th April with the actual golf tournament beginning on Thursday 11th – Sunday 14th April at the famous Augusta Golf Course.

Is anyone prepared to bet against Tiger Woods (1997, 2001, 2002, 2005) winning his fifth US Masters Tournament next month?

I am expecting Tiger Woods to win but hope to enjoy a battle between Woods and Rory McIlroy all the way to the final pin. If both players have a good tournament and play to their potential, the US Masters could offer one of the most exciting final rounds in recent history.  But don’t forget three-time winner Phil Mickelson (2004, 2006, 2010) has his own private love affair with the tournament and US golf fans.

At the time of writing this article, bwin golf betting has Tiger Woods favourite at 5/1 from Rory McIlroy at 9/1 and Phil Mickelson at 11/1.  The big three are followed by Brandt SnedekerCharl Schwartzel & the highest place Englishmen Luke Donald at 21/1.

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

European Team up against it on Singles Day of the Ryder Cup

After two days of US dominance, the European team go into the third and final day hoping for little less than a miracle, if they are to retain the Ryder Cup.  But they were given a boost with Ian Poulter winning a point in the final foursome match yesterday with five birdies on the final five holes.

The score is 10 – 6 which means the US team only have to win four points from today’s singles matches; and there are some fantastic matches to look forward to.

European Captain Jose-Maria Olazabal’s hands have been tied and he has put all this weekend’s best performing players out first today.  Luke Donald, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose & Rory McIlroy will attempt to build some momentum by getting the blur points on the board.

There is a very slim chance of the European team retaining the Ryder Cup that was made all the better by Ian Poulter’s amazing win yesterday at a time when Tiger Woods was beginning to show some form for the first time this weekend.

Today the European team will be fighting for their lives against a strong US team and a course with next to no rough and fast greens that best suit their game.  They will also be wearing the colours of the Spanish legendary golfer Seve Ballesteros and have vowed to ‘play for Seve’.  When asked to comment on this gesture European Captain Jose-Maria Olazabal, a close friend of Seve’s, was unable to answer. Instead he gave a tight smile and turned away as his eyes filled with tears.

I’m hoping the European team can get off to a flying start to keep this year’s Ryder Cup alive as I look forward to the final day of one of the most exciting competitions in sport.

Ryder Cup 2012 Singles Matches

Bubba Watson vs. Luke Donald
Webb Simpson vs. Ian Poulter
Keegan Bradley vs. Rory McIlroy
Phil Mickelson vs. Justin Rose
Brandt Snedeker vs. Paul Lawrie
Dustin Johnson  vs. Nicolas Colsaerts
Zach Johnson vs. Graeme McDowell
Jim Furyk vs. Sergio Garcia
Jason Dufner vs. Peter Hanson
Matt Kuchar vs. Lee Westwood
Steve Stricker vs. Martin Kaymer
Tiger Woods vs. Francesco Molinari

British Golfers lead the world rankings ahead of the Open

It is the first time since the official golf world rankings began in 1986 that the top 3 positions have been taken by British golfers.

Three British golfers head up the official world rankings as Germany’s former no.1, Martin Kaymer drops to fourth after failing to finish in the top eight in the BMW International Open in Munich yesterday.

Following his U.S Open victory Rory McIlroy moves up to a career best third place behind Luke Donald (first) and Lee Westwood.

This is great news ahead of the 140th British Open Championship which this year is being held at the Royal St. George’s Golf Course in Sandwich in Kent, the Garden of England on the south-east coast, in two weeks time.

Rory McIlroy will go into the British Open as one of the favourites, and it will be good to see how he copes with the pressure post that fantastic display of golf at The U.S Open when he led from round 1 and never once showed a loss of concentrate or bottle as he had on the final round of the U.S Masters in April at Augusta.

The U.S Open was Rory McIlroy’s first major win after several near misses and five years of dealing with the heavy burden of expectancy and praise from many of his contemporaries and commentators alike.  Unfortunately, I think if anything the pressure is going to be greater as everyone looks to see if Rory McIlroy can begin to pull away from the rest of the field and dominate the next few years of golf in the same way as Tiger Woods had before him.

If anymore incentive was required, it has been announced that the winner’s cheque for the British Open is now £900,000 as prize-fund money increases to £5m.

Some high profile PGA players will be missing the AT&T National in the U.S to play The Scottish Open at Castle Stuart Golf Links in Inverness as a warming up for the Open Championship.  Those PGA players making the trip across the pond include Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar and Brandt Snedeker, who join English golfers Luke Donald, Graeme McDowell and Justin Rose.

The Barclays Scottish Open starts on Thursday 7th July with Round 1 of The Open commencing on Thursday on 14th July.

I am really looking forward to this year’s British Open and hope the heat wave continues so the top golfers in the world can do battle with each other, rather than the conditions.

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