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.


Mizuno extends relationship with Luke Donald

Current world number 3, Luke Donald has this week announced that his sponsorship deal with Mizuno golf clubs has been extended.

After using the equipment which has helped him to victory no less than 13 separate times, along with his record breaking 2011 season which saw him top of the money lists on both the PGA and European Tour, Mizuno have decided to extend the contract.

Like any good golfer, Donald has been known in the past to provide Mizuno engineers with expert advice and feedback on many of their prototype golf clubs.

In fact, throughout the past two seasons, Donald has enjoyed a prolific duration of success with his Mizuno clubs; even going as far as holding the number one spot on the Official World Rankings for a total of 56 weeks.

With that in mind, we aren’t the only ones to notice with the Englishman picking up numerous awards in 2011:

  • PGA Player of the Year Award
  • PGA Tour Player of the Year Award
  • European Tour Golfer of the Year

Speaking of both his success and Mizuno, Donald said:

“I feel as if I am playing as well as ever at this stage in my career. Over the next few years I want to be in a position to win major championships and to continue to improve each year. We’ve refined my Mizuno equipment in the last couple of seasons and I’m really happy with what I have in the bag right now.”

With that in mind, Donald has yet to win his first major, so could 2013 be his year?

Although the 35-year old is well known throughout the golfing world for his ability to finish, it is an interesting factor to note that he has never come any closer to winning a major than third place at the Masters Tournament in 2005.

Speaking to ESPN.com, he was asked as to whether his major drought was going to have a mental impact on him personally:

“I think it already has. I’ve been trying to win one of those for the past ten years.”

With a new contract on the table, it is expected that this will certainly give Luke Donald the boost he needs to succeed in his major trophy ambition.


Rory McIlroy Sets his Sights on Topping the European Money List as the Race to Dubai hot’s up

With Rory McIlroy having firmly cemented his place as the top earner of the US PGA Tour, the Irishman will surely now have his eyes set on topping the Race to Dubai which is to take place this November.

If McIlroy does in fact achieve this, he will be only the second golfer in the history of golf to do so after last year, Luke Donald broke the record; earning $6,683,214 in the PGA Tour and €5,323,400 on the European Tour.

Although the current world number three did find himself in poll position in 2011, Donald is currently in 13th position in the PGA Tour and 11th place in the European tour.

Currently first in the overall rankings, Rory McIlroy has won a total of four tournaments this season, taking an accumulation of $8,047,952 in winnings; quite a sum for any 23 year old.

Though a double topping of the tour takings shall certainly be a record in terms of age, it is not the first record in which the young Northern Irishman will have achieved as in 2011 (aged 22), he became the youngest player ever to reach the €10 million career earnings mark.

If that wasn’t enough however, earlier this year he also became the youngest ever player to reach the $10 million in career earnings whilst competing in the PGA Tour.

Despite all the victories and too the failures (having missed the cut three times this season), Rory has stated recently that he shall be competing in fewer tournaments in the 2013 season.

According to ESPN, the current world number one has stated that next year shall contain fewer events for him after totaling around 26 that has been scheduled in for this year. So far, McIlroy has played a total of 21 of those, with five more to go.

“I would just love to cut my schedule back even further and I think next year I will cut it down again to a max play of 22 or 23,” McIlroy continued.

“I still have got some big events left and I would love to win the Race to Dubai and repeat what Luke Donald did also winning the money list on the PGA Tour, so I am going to give it one last push.

“It has been a great season and I am ready to be done. It is just such a long season these days. But then I feel I have got an obligation to play some of these big events leading up to Dubai.”

Rory however, isn’t the only contender to top the European earnings this season however as legendary golfer, Tiger Woods is quickly on his tail with the 36 year-old being found in second place in the current world rankings.

After some amazing play this season, Tiger Woods has accumulated a total of three victories including a third place finish on the Deutsche Bank Tournament in Auguest.

Added to this is the fact that Woods this year became the first ever golfer to surpass the $100 million career earning mark after finishing in that very tournament.

With the winter firmly approaching, golfers all over the Northern hemisphere are preparing for some wintery conditions, wrapping up warm with hats, under armour and waterproof golf shoes at Direct Golf; it’s just a shame that Rory won’t have time to enjoy the cold weather however as he finds himself playing in China, Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai in the next two months.


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