Wednesday, April 20, 2011

4all Presents 2011 Line of Women's Golf, Tennis, Fitness Apparel

Here at Average Golfer we never expected our first clothing review to be of women's apparel. How in the world did the folks at 4all find out about my propensity to wear women's clothes? Doesn't matter. 4all is a female owned company headed by Joanne Cloak, founder and CEO. Their foray into the crowded sports apparel business is built on the advantage of being designed by women athletes for women athletes. Sounds like a winning formula.

Tested Garment
Since 4all graciously offered a merchandise sample to back up their claims, I had to find a volunteer reviewer. I recruited a woman friend who's a part-time golfer, full-time runner and workout fiend. She's also extremely discriminating in the clothing department. It seemed to a good combination for putting a 4all garment through it's paces. She chose a V-Neck Contrast Tank Top as pictured here. It's in the tennis section of the catalog, but migrates well to almost any activity. After a week long session, long on the workout, and short on the golf, due to never ending snow, the results were in. At first she commented on the great fit, something not always guaranteed with catalog shopping. Second was the comfort level, affording a full range of motion, whether running or working through a cardio session. Clothes that bind can ruin a session. Clothes that are too loose can distract. The 4all top, in her words, was "Just meant to be worn". The third criteria was moisture handling capability. Today's synthetic fabrics leave no reason to feel wet or clammy during a workout. 4all's Dry Jersey fabric met all expectations in the moisture-wicking and breathability departments. In short, all the bases covered, an excellent all around athletic top and a great value for the money.

Check out 4all if you're considering smart, high-performance, and attractive women's gear. You really must visit their catalog site to understand the large range of styles and offerings. Chances are if they don't have it, you don't need it. Tell 'em Average Golfer sent ya'.

* Merchandise for review was supplied to Average Golfer by 4all.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Jim Furyk Partners With Children's Miracle Network, Announces Miracle Birdies

Beginning with this week's tournament, The Heritage in Hilton Head, SC, 2010 PGA Tour Player of the Year Jim Furyk debuts his partnership with Children's Miracle Network. The network is a charity that raises funds for over 170 children's hospitals in North America. Miracle Birdies is a new program where individuals, groups, and sponsors can pledge money every time Furyk makes a birdie during his play in 2011. Importantly, donations are are localized so the money ends up in the person's local hospital.

I must admit I have a parochial interest in this program. My brother John Brancato is a pediatric emergency physician at Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford, CT, a Children's Miracle Network facility. His husband, Thomas Richardson, is Senior Director of Strategic Planning & Development at the hospital. Here's what they and Martha Schall, President of the hospital's Foundation, had to say about being a part of Children's Miracle Network;  

"Children's Miracle Network Hospitals support touches every corner of Connecticut Children's Medical Center.  Those gifts make possible investments in state-of-the-art technology, groundbreaking research and development of new clinical programs that provide care of the highest quality in the most effective and efficient ways possible.

Children's Miracle Network donors number in the thousands every year.  Every donor makes a difference, and we hope every donor remembers we are here for their families and their friends' families, so that every child in our region who has the chance to receive the special care that comes from doctors and nurses who only treat children, and have the comfort of an environment specially designed for children and their families."
There's no better way to invest in our future than through our children, our most precious resource. The golf community has a validated history for charity, so I ask you to consider this cause, as Furyk has, and add to that legacy. 
Here's where you can enroll... Miracle Birdies

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Schwartzel Birdies Last 4 Holes, Takes 2011 Masters

They say the Masters doesn't really start until the back nine on Sunday. At one point on the back nine today there were 5 golfers tied for the lead and a slew more within sniffin' distance.  26 year old Charl Schwartzel put and end to the madness by birdieing the last four holes for a two shot win over Aussies Jason Day and Adam Scott. He finished with a 66 to leave him at -14 for the tourney. Tiger Woods and Geoff Ogilvy carded 67s to place them in the conversation, but four shots shy of Schwartzel and tied with Luke Donald.

Third round leader Rory McIlroy succumbed to the moment with a disastrous back nine 43, falling to T14, ten strokes back. I was going to say he came apart like a $30.00 suit, but remembered he's just 21. I'll take him in all the majors for say, the next 20 years. Too much talent not to. I was particularly taken with McIlroy's classy post-round interview. It must have been difficult under the immediate circumstances. It stood out in complete contrast to Woods' terse, "get me the hell out of here", comments. Woods' front nine 31 had the crowd going his way, but he strangely shot just even par on the birdie-laden back nine. He was leader in the clubhouse, but only for the briefest of tenures. A balky putter did most of the damage highlighted by a 3 foot miss for eagle on 15 that effectively sealed his fate. Adam Scott's chances were jettisoned by an errant 17th hole tee shot. He salvaged par, but Schwartzel's subsequent birdie on the same hole gave him the lead for good. Day and Scott threatened to be the first Australian winner of the Masters. Instead, Schwartzel, South African, won on the 50th anniversary of Gary Player's victory that made him the first foreign champion. Final Full Field Scores

All in all it was a compelling dogfight with any of eight or so players with a chance to win on the back nine. It really wasn't sealed until Schwartzel's bird on the 71st hole of the event. Great way to ring in the golf/major season. Can't wait for the US Open.

Swing hard, look up,

Saturday, April 9, 2011

McIlroy Boosted By McDowell For Masters 3rd Round

US Open winner Graeme McDowell shadowed Rory McIlroy around Augusta National today during the Irish lad's 3rd round. McDowell had missed the cut, but stuck around to support his young countryman. Quite a nice gesture from a multi-millionaire who could have easily hopped on a private jet yesterday and been somewhere else before SportsCenter. Think any male American player would do the same? It probably speaks volumes in explaining their Ryder Cup successes.

McIlroy takes a 4 shot lead into tomorrow's final round.

Swing hard, look up,

Friday, April 8, 2011

2011 Masters 2nd Round - McIlroy Hangs Tough, Woods Threatens

Here's what happened in the 2nd round of the 2011 Masters tournament that mattered and you need to know....

Rory McIlroy held his 1st round lead by firing a 69 today. He stands at -10.

Jason Day's spectacular 64 left him at -8 and secured another date with McIlroy. McIlroy, Day, and Rickie Fowler were a combined 23 under par. So much for experience at Augusta.

Speaking of experience at Augusta, 51 year old Freddie Couple's 68 left him at -5, tied with Lee Westwood, Ricky Barnes, YE Yang, and Fowler.

Tiger Woods inserted himself back in the tournament with a stellar 66. Woods was 7 under par for his last 11 holes.   

Geoff Ogilvy and Alvaro Quiros completed the upper portion of the leaderboard, both finishing at -6.

Phil Mickelson's 72 left him at -2, 8 strokes off the pace. Phil will have to put together a remarkable weekend to claim another green jacket.

The cut line was at +1. Big names Ernie Els, Aaron Baddeley, Steve Marino, and Camilo Villegas all made it just on the number.

Big names that didn't make the weekend... Cink, Goosen, Harrington, Z.Johnson, Kaymer, Mahan, McDowell, Oosthuizen, Singh, and Mike Weir.

Hideki Matsuyama of Japan was the only amateur to make the cut. He put it right on the number, +1.

McIlroy/Day will be the last group off tomorrow, preceded by Woods/KJ Choi. 2nd Round Final Scores

The weather report for tomorrow is for warm, sunny, and relatively free of wind. The only defense left for the green jackets is tee placements, pin positions, and green speed. Expect icy greens, a mix of tees, tough pin positions, but the most diabolical saved for Sunday.    

It'll be fun to see if McIlroy, and or Day can handle the pressure of being chased down by Woods. It will be doubly interesting to see if Woods' 66 today was a sign that his game is back, or an aberration.

Swing hard, look up,

Monday, April 4, 2011

2011 Masters - Odds and Expert Picks

For the first time in recent memory, or distant memory for that matter, Tiger Woods won't be the favorite among the bookmakers for this staging of the Masters, the year's first major golf tournament. That distinction belongs to Phil Mickelson, who blew away the field this past weekend to snag the Shell Houston Open. Phil's 63, 65 scores on the weekend imply his game's in peak form for Augusta. Birdies in bundles is a great thought to have when being fitted for another green jacket.

As of press time, 99 players will tee it up on Thursday. It had been an even 100, but for the withdrawal of Bernhard Langer, the victim of an ill-timed bicycle crash. We'll use Ladbrokes' current odds and handicap the limited field. Though it's the smallest major field by a long shot, handicapping golf is still a crap shoot when you take into consideration all the variable factors over four days and 72(+) holes.  With that disclaimer in mind, lets' go.....

Phil Mickelson, 7/1 - Defends. Hot, hot after winning this past weekend. Tons of course knowledge. Obviously could win. Deserved favorite.  

Tiger Woods, 11/1 - Odds too low based on recent performance. Should be more like 15/1. Still, loves it here, past wins mean possibly could win. Not solid enough to bet on though. Low return value.

Lee Westwood, 16/1 - Solid choice. 2nd last year. Decent value. Very well could win.   

Nick Watney, 16/1 -  Won Cadillac Championship against great field. 7th here last year. Can win? You bet!

Martin Kaymer, 20/1 - Missed cut here in all four attempts. Doesn't have a draw shot in the bag needed to win here. Stay away.   

Dustin Johnson, 25/1 - 72.6 scoring average in 3 Masters' starts. Doesn't have the discipline needed to win here. Won't happen.

Hunter Mahan, 25/1 - T8 last year. Has the chops. Low round of 66 here. Outside shot. Worth the 25/1 odds.

Luke Donald, 25/1 - 4 of 7 Masters' cuts made. 73.0 scoring average. Peaking this year after match play win. Possible, but doubt it.

Rory McIlroy, 33/1 - 1 for 3 cuts made here. Nothing of note so far. Expect better play from Rory this time, but no win.

Paul Casey, 33/1 - Decent enough odds to take Casey. 4 of 7 cuts made here. Long shot, but hot putter could go far. True of everyone I guess.

Justin Rose, 33/1 - T5 is best here. Game and confidence rounding into form. Shares teacher with Woods. Like him at these odds. Could win.

Matt Kuchar, 33/1 - Mr. Steady. Fairways and greens. Nice quality for this track.  Not a great history here, but his game's peaking. Possible, but not likely.

Graeme McDowell, 40/1 - Rather large odds for world #4. Just 1 for 4 in cuts here. Still, it's a lotta player for 40/1. Worth a flier.

Padraig Harrington, 40/1 - T5 last year. Latest round of swing changes may be showing results. Like him at 40/1.

Bubba Watson, 40/1 - T20 best here in just 3 tourneys. Can shape shots, big bonus. Best chance he's ever had at Augusta. Doubtful, but possible.  

Best of the rest.....

Ian Poulter, 50/1 - Hot putter could return value with the peacock.   
Steve Stricker, 50/1 - Just starting his season from up north. T6 in '09 best finish.
Anthony Kim, 50/1 - Owns single round birdie record here at 11. 3rd last year. Great value at 50/1.
Ernie Els, 66/1 - Hey, he's still Ernie Els. 2 career seconds. 72.02 scoring average.

Average Golfer's 2011 Masters Picks...

1. Phil Mickelson
2. Justin Rose
3. Nick Watney

Dark horses....  Tim Clark, Rory Sabbatni, Vijay Singh

Top amateur...... Peter Uihlein

There you have 'em. Bet early and often.   

Swing hard, look up,