Monday, November 30, 2009

Tiger Woods Bails on Own Tournament, Chevron World Challenge

Views of Tiger Woods Home
According to his official website, Mr. Woods has pulled the plug on playing in this week's Chevron World Challenge. That makes two consecutive years without the denizen due to injury, last year the knee, this year a purported face plant of some unknown type. The announcement was made as follows....

"Due to injuries sustained in a one-car accident last week, Tiger Woods will be unable to play in the 2009 Chevron World Challenge."

"I am extremely disappointed that I will not be at my tournament this week," Woods said. "I am certain it will be an outstanding event and I'm very sorry that I can't be there."

Rather generic, non-enlightening, borderline lawyer speak indicating that Woods is no nearer to discussing his Thanksgiving Day Escalade episode with anyone other than Mrs. Woods. Certainly well within his right to do so, but time will tell if his relentless pursuit of privacy will tarnish the "Woods brand". It's definitely not going to keep the tabs and bloggers at bay, but then again, what would have?

Til' next,

Friday, November 27, 2009

Tiger Woods Hits Tree, Recovers Nicely

2009 Australian Masters - Day 4
In the last of a long spate of driver woes, Tiger Woods reportedly backed out of his driveway at 2:25 AM this morning, backed into a fire hydrant, then ricocheted into a tree. Tiger's driving exploits have frequently been troubled by trees. This latest incident only proves that the more time you spend in trees the better you are at escaping the trouble.

It appears that the early reports of Woods being seriously injured were exaggerated. It's now said that the 33 year old suffered facial cuts in the incident with his 2009 Cadillac SUV. A statement from Health Central Hospital read he was, "admitted, treated, and released today in good condition."

Bystanders also reported that after hitting the hydrant and the tree Woods' third shot was a gorgeous approach onto his neighbor's "lawn/green" where he then easily converted a five footer for par. That left his scorecard unblemished in everyone's mind except perhaps for Mrs. Woods who was said to be dismayed by his 2:25 AM tee time. The DNF was Woods' first for the 2009 season.

Til' next,

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Wie Wins - The Wait is Over.

The "Will Michelle Wie win?" watch is officially over. In her 66th LPGA start the phenom notched her 1st victory in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational. Her 69 today was good enough for a two stroke victory over Solheim Cup teammate Paula Creamer. Morgan Pressel, Cristie Kerr, and Jiyai Shin finished three back at -10. Wie knocked a 30 yard bunker shot to tap-in range for a 72nd hole birdie that sealed the win. In doing so she leaped off perhaps the biggest schneid in the history of golf. Final Full Field Scores.

Even a young Tiger Woods didn't have the expectations heaped on him that Wie's seen since her pre-teen days. Dubious career decisions, horribly timed injuries, and parents perceived as mettlesome have only acted as roadblocks in her predicted rise. Her 3-0-1 record in this year's Solheim Cup was a huge confidence boost that only proves the adage that golf can be a mental struggle. Her acceptance by her Cup teammates may have been the bell that went off in her head and convinced her she belonged in their club. Regardless, she showed today that she is all everyone wanted or expected her to be. Her youthful exuberance displayed after she sunk the winning putt was genuine and worth the price of admission to witness. She showed she still has a lot of kid in her in the post round interviews, seemingly struck by lightning. Don't confuse her childlike responses with an intellectual void though. No one gets into Stanford by accident, especially when they've abandoned their amateur status and can't play on the golf team.

Time will tell if this was Michelle's breakthrough moment and is a harbinger of things to come. She possesses a game of strength that no other woman pro has. On the difficult 220 yard par three 17th today most of the players had hit between a hybrid club for Yani Tseng, a long hitter, up to and including 3 woods. Michelle's club of choice on the hole this week was 4 or 5 iron. That my friends is a serious power difference. Couple that with renewed short game focus and dose of confidence and you might have glimpsed the future of women's golf. Better late than never.

Til' next,

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Putting Fix? - Precision Putting Trainer

Precision Putting Trainer
Average Golfer Equipment Review

Who wouldn't like to shave strokes off their game with improved putting? Couple that with the convenience of practicing on your living room carpet and there you have it. After all, it's difficult to take full swings with a driver in one's domicile. Putting Technologies says they can fix key areas of our putting game with their Precision Putting Trainer and your very own Average Golfer put their claims to the test.

First, the Precision Putting Trainer came in a well designed tidy package and was easy to install on my Scotty Cameron Newport. Clip on, clip off, no marks left on "Ole Reliable". I would predict that it would adapt to any putter that's legal. The company claims it assists you in 8 key areas that affect the putting stroke. Let's examine them and see how the Precision Putting Trainer stacked up.......

Eye Alignment - The trainer is set up like a rifle sight with the cross hairs appearing over your club head and the ball. Red lines appear on the sides of the device when your eyes are directly over the ball. It works and helps if you're of the theory that your eyes should be directly over the ball at address.

Stroke Smoothness - There's a hanging alignment blade attached to the aiming device. It's sort of a level to gauge whether your stroke remains smooth throughout. It works. In fact I found it to be the most helpful of the trainer's multiple uses.

Level Club Head - Again, another take on the cross hair theory. It works if that's how you want your putter soled.

Straight Through Stroke - This is a suggestion to use the trainer's alignment bar to follow a line on the putting surface in order to groove a repeatable stroke. This works, but is similar to the common string drill and doesn't take into consideration the putting theory where the putter travels on an arc like a regular golf swing. It's for straight back and straight through advocates only.

Steady Wrists - I had trouble understanding the idea behind this. I would expect most players could tell if they maintained steady wrists during a putting stroke anyway.

Target Alignment - The 90 deg. cross hairs are very helpful in seeing your intended line before making the stroke.

Steady Head - This goes back to the two red lines that appear when your head/eyes are centered over the ball. If you can complete a stroke while maintaining sight of the red lines, your head was steady. It works.

Sweet Spot Contact - Many golfers don't realize the importance of striking the ball on the sweet spot. Again, the alignment bar on the trainer is visible and if you see it dissect the middle of the ball through the swing, it must be the sweet spot. This works as advertised.


The enclosed set up guide and manual is useless. The website however,, is packed with great graphics and video that enhance the trainer and are in many ways a decent putting lesson in their own right. Ditch the manual and head straight to the website. The trainer itself is very helpful as an alignment aid and assisting in making a smooth stroke, both major keys in sinking more putts. Some of the claims were redundant, but that doesn't take away from the basics of the device. It's a solid practice aid that's easy to carry and use and will translate to fewer putts in your future rounds. It earns Average Golfer recommended.

*The Precision Putting Trainer was supplied to Average Golfer for evaluation purposes. This had no bearing on my review evidenced by the fact that I've since given it away to a terrible putter so it can accomplish the most good.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Woods vs Mickelson in Shanghai Showdown

WGC-HSBC Champions-Round Three
Tiger Woods will spot Phil Mickelson two strokes in the final round of the WGC-HSBC Champions event to be held later today in Shanghai, China. The pairing of the superstars in the last round isn't really a common occurrence. It should make for compelling viewing commencing on The Golf Channel at 11:00 PM, EST. Thoughts of Jones/Hagen or Nicklaus/Palmer come to mind in the set up for a rare late season match up worth watching. Let's hope it lives up to at least part of the hype.

Woods carried a one stroke advantage over Phil beginning yesterday's round, but Mickelson made short work of the deficit. His 67, including a back nine 33, gave him the two shot cushion at -14 over Woods and American Nick Watney. Ryan Moore remains within sniffing distance at -11. Woods' third round 70 was marred by a rather pedestrian back nine 36, reinforced by many players finding out that birdies were in short supply. In birdieing 3 of his last 5 holes Mickelson was the only player in the top 18 to break 70. Lee Westwood carded a stellar 65 to come in at -10 and place himself back in the conversation.

Dream pairings don't often match the build up, but if this one does it may set the tone for a very interesting 2010 season. A Mickelson victory over Woods in a head to head match up would be frosting on his 2009 cake and shoot him into 2010 with a confidence injection. It would come on the heels of his TOUR Championship victory in Atlanta and indicate Phil's back in good form after a personally tumultuous 2009 marred by his wife Amy's and his mother's cancer diagnosis. This will make the 25th time Woods and Mickelson have gone "mano y mano" in the final round of a tournament and the 1st time since 2005 at Doral. In the 24 previous meetings Woods has posted the better score in 12, Mickelson in 8, and 4 have ended in ties.

May the best man win.

Til' next,

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

WGC - HSBC Champions, Shanghai Surprise

HSBC Champions - Previews
Forget the obvious irony about holding a $7,000,000 golf tournament in a communist country, this week's WGC-HSBC Champions event at Shanghai International Golf Club is the real deal with actual top ranked players. Woods/Mickelson is enough to catch this Average Golfer's interest. Throwing in defending champ Sergio, Paddy Harrington, Geoff Ogilvy, and Henrik Stenson just adds to their worldwide street cred. Despite being officially declared a World Golf Championship event just 6 months ago, the fledgling tourney has managed to attract 15 of the world's top 20 stick men. Not bad for a November tournament being contested well after many players, (see Americans), have hung up the clubs for the year.

The PGA Tour however needs to do a bit of rearranging to make this must-play tour stop. You see, the Tour doesn't count this week's purse in their year long money earnings list. If they expect this to play as it's US based WGC brethren, they need to make the winnings count toward the top 125 list and validate the event. I would imagine this will happen in the not too distant future, but still find it hard to believe they didn't accomplish it when they granted WGC status.

No one need look any further than this tournament being held in Shanghai to witness the future of growth in golf. The economy has dragged the game down in the US and other traditional capitalist societies. Look East to find the cash stockpiles and fresh population bases to propel the game forward. Better get used to setting the Tivo for time zones heretofore undiscovered. The next Tiger Woods may well speak Mandarin, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Til' next,