Top 5 US Masters long shots

As the 2015 season gets under way, the golfing world’s focus is already looking forward to the first major of the year at the Masters in April.

While the likes of Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and defending champion Bubba Watson will be the focus of much of the betting public’s interest in the build-up to the event at Augusta, there will be a lot of players being overlooked that have more than enough talent to win the tournament.

These long shots might not always come off, but the Masters has shown in recent years that players can come from nowhere to win the famous green jacket.

Mike Weir’s victory in 2003 surprised a lot of fans, but not as much as Trevor Immelman’s 2008 success.

It has been a few years since a shock winner took the Masters title, but there are some real contenders in 2015 that could start the tournament with some very long odds.

Martin Kaymer

With odds of around 50/1 with some bookmakers, including betfair online, Martin Kaymer could well be one of the most overpriced players at Augusta in April. While the Masters is by far the German’s least successful of the four majors, it wouldn’t be a massive shock if Kaymer was in contention come the final round this year. The two-time major winner has a best finish of 31st at Augusta but victory in last year’s US Open showed he has the ability to succeed in a tournament he has previously struggled in.

Luke Donald

Donald’s current betting odds are a reflection of a dismal 2014 but the Englishman will know he has the tools to prove a lot of people wrong this year. The former world number one might not have been at his best over the past couple of seasons but the 37-year-old still has plenty of time to turn things around. After missing the cut at the Masters and US Open in 2014, Donald failed to impress in the remaining two majors of the season. Recent form aside, Donald is still a name that many feel will one day win a major, and the Masters looks as likely as any. Continue reading “Top 5 US Masters long shots”

Rory McIlroy Set For US Open Bid

Rory McIlroy goes into the 2014 US Open at Pinehurst Resort as the Betfair favourite to claim his third major championship and his second in this tournament.

The Northern Irishman has already tasted victory in 2014 as he was successful in the BMW PGA Championship last month at Wentworth. That win in England marked his first European Tour win since November 2012. It was also his first tournament since he officially announced to the public that he had split from his girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki.

Rory McIlroy will be hoping to join the elusive list that includes players that have all won the US Open on multiple occasions. The 7495-yard course is expected to suit his long-hitting game which will be tested this week in California.

European golfers have been successful in three of the last four runnings of the US Open. Justin Rose is the defending champion as he came out on top in 2013 at Merion Golf Club to reward Betfair backers.

Rose has yet to prevail so far in 2014 but he has had four top 10 finishes. In his latest outing, the Englishman missed the cut in the Memorial Tournament in Ohio.

Graeme McDowell was the other European to lift the US Open trophy in recent years. He won with a winning score of E in 2010 as conditions were tough at Pebble Beach four years ago.

World number one Adam Scott has finished in the top 10 off all the major championships but the US Open. The best the Australian has achieved is a tie for 15th which came in 2012.

Scott has been drawn to play with fellow major winners Bubba Watson and Charl Schwartzel on the opening two days of the tournament. The former Masters winner is the near the top of the outright for the event with Betfair.

Rory McIlroy ready to step up at The Masters

Rory McIlroy has insisted he is ready to take the role of Tiger Woods at this year’s Masters and be the man to watch at Augusta in the first major of the year. Woods was forced to withdraw from the Masters following surgery on his back, opening the door for McIlroy to step into the limelight left by the absent world number one.

After his victories at the 2011 US Open and then the 2012 US PGA Championship, McIlroy won his first two majors at a younger age than Woods, but the Northern Irishman has so far failed to add to his collection. While Augusta holds some dark memories for McIlroy following his famous final round meltdown in 2011, the 24-year old will still head into the first major of the year as the Betfair favourite for the title.

With the first major of the year fast approaching, McIlroy has admitted he is looking to use the tournament as a chance to establish himself as a dominant force in the sport, knowing victory at Augusta would be the best way for him to prove to Betfair fans that he is the man to beat this year.

“You are getting so many different winners and there are not as many guys dominating the sport like in the past with Tiger, Vijay and Phil,” said McIlroy.

“I’d like to establish myself as that sort of player and someone’s got to step up, so I’m trying to be that person and it would be a great place to start next week.”

Following on from a dismal 2013 season, McIlroy has found himself down in seventh in the world rankings and some way away from where he wants to be. But a morale-boosting victory in December ensured McIlroy didn’t end the year without a title to his name and now the 24-year old will be hoping to re-establish himself as top dog in Tiger’s absence.

Rory McIlroy ends season on a high

Rory McIlroy pipped Adam Scott to win the Australian Open and claim his first tournament victory of 2013, with the Northern Irishman clinching the victory on the final hole at Royal Sydney. After a season in which he has failed to produce anything like his best golf, McIlroy was delighted to have recorded a tournament win before the end of the year.

After starting the tournament as the strong favourite with Betfair.com, home-favourite Scott looked on course to win the Australian ‘Triple Crown’ by holding onto his lead during the final round. While McIlroy produced some impressive golf in Sydney, it was Scott who looked to be on his way to victory up until the dying moments of the tournament.

Despite a wobbly few moments on the back-nine that may have worried those who backed the Aussie with Betfair before the tournament, Scott managed to keep McIlroy at bay up until the 18th which he begun a shot clear of the former world number one. A club selection error on the final hole of the tournament saw Scott finish with a bogey while watching McIlroy notch up a birdie to steal the title from under the Aussie’s nose.

The Northern Irishman was obviously relieved to have secured the victory, admitting he had targeted winning a title before the end of a tough year.

“To be able to play your best golf when you need to, when you’re under pressure, you can’t ask for more. The perfect scenario was to achieve a win before the end of the season and thankfully I have done that,” admitted the world number six.

With the monkey now off his back before the end of the 2013, McIlroy will be able to head into the new season with some genuine belief that he can get himself back up the rankings and in the minds of Betfair customers ahead of the Masters.

Rory McIlroy ends season on a high

Rory McIlroy pipped Adam Scott to win the Australian Open and claim his first tournament victory of 2013, with the Northern Irishman clinching the victory on the final hole at Royal Sydney. After a season in which he has failed to produce anything like his best golf, McIlroy was delighted to have recorded a tournament win before the end of the year.

After starting the tournament as the strong favourite with Betfair.com, home-favourite Scott looked on course to win the Australian ‘Triple Crown’ by holding onto his lead during the final round. While McIlroy produced some impressive golf in Sydney, it was Scott who looked to be on his way to victory up until the dying moments of the tournament.

Despite a wobbly few moments on the back-nine that may have worried those who backed the Aussie with Betfair before the tournament, Scott managed to keep McIlroy at bay up until the 18th which he begun a shot clear of the former world number one. A club selection error on the final hole of the tournament saw Scott finish with a bogey while watching McIlroy notch up a birdie to steal the title from under the Aussie’s nose.

The Northern Irishman was obviously relieved to have secured the victory, admitting he had targeted winning a title before the end of a tough year.

“To be able to play your best golf when you need to, when you’re under pressure, you can’t ask for more. The perfect scenario was to achieve a win before the end of the season and thankfully I have done that,” admitted the world number six.

With the monkey now off his back before the end of the 2013, McIlroy will be able to head into the new season with some genuine belief that he can get himself back up the rankings and in the minds of Betfair customers ahead of the Masters.

Ryo Ishikawa Has A Birthday… and Earns His 2014 PGA Tour Card

Several years ago he was known as the Bashful Prince, a talented teenage golfer who stormed to the summit of fame in his native Japan and delighted fans everywhere with his sweet, shy smile.

Ryo Ishikawa played his first PGA Tour events in 2009.  Trailed by a constant crowd of Japanese journalists, his abilities impressed many as he lit up the fairways with a whimsical candy-colored wardrobe.

Expectations for the precocious phenom were stratospheric. By the Spring of 2010 more than a few golf scribes were looking for one of golf's alliterative young guns… Rory, Rickie or Ryo… to quickly become that mythical entity known as "the next Tiger".  In retrospect those predictions seem somewhat silly; here we are in waning months of 2013 and Tiger's just captured both the PGA of America's Player of the Year Award and the Vardon Trophy… for the 11th and 9th time, respectively. Even the most committed Tiger detractors seem to accept that we probably won't see "the next Tiger" any time in the forseeable future. Ever.

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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.

Nike Anoints Rory As Its Future Golf Hero

Many people noticed the chummy relationship Tiger was forging with Rory last year. Some speculated that Tiger was buttering him up to join Team Nike. Well, the rumors and speculation were true as Nike announced last week that it signed Rory to a mega 5-year $100 million endorsement deal.

Rory is now bathed from head-to-toe in Nike apparel. Like a superhero donning a costume to shield his identity, Rory wears a costume covered in swooshes. But the surprising aspect of Rory’s deal is the equipment. Usually a golfer of Rory’s stature adopts a new manufacturer’s equipment gradually so it doesn’t adversely affect the golfer’s performance on the course. After all, nothing is worse for a golf company than a golfer playing worse with its equipment for all the world to see. Tiger has followed that path with his deals with Titleist and Nike.

However, Rory has dived right into the Nike armory replacing all of his 14 clubs and ball with Nike’s offerings. Whether it’s supreme confidence or young naïveté, his move is certainly a bold one. It remains to be seen whether it was the correct move, but Rory’s first outing with the new gear at last week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship in many ways was a bit of a stumble. This is a tournament that he finished in the top-3 for the last 3 years. This year, Rory misses the cut due to wayward shots and putts. Predictably, he attributed his poor performance to lack of practice. However, the fact that Rory bailed out on his Nike METHOD putter in favor of his old Titleist Scotty Cameron after only one round of play is not a sign of confidence in his gear.

I hope that Rory figures out his new equipment soon and returns to his #1 in the world form. If he doesn’t, he may join Johnny Miller, Nick Price and Corey Pavin on the list of great golfers who have had their careers derailed due to equipment changes.

McIlroy makes a duck hook look easy: video

Think you’ll never play like a pro?
For completeness, we bring you Rory McIlroy’s duck hook during his opening round of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship. He and Tiger make quite a pair. Woods topped a tee shot during the same round.

Nike golf ad featuring Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy appear in new ad for Nike.

Nike have just officially announced that Rory McIlroy is now part of the team in a deal supposedly worth $200 million. As part of the announcement, they’ve released this new advertisement featuring McIlroy and long time Nike staff member, Tiger Woods.

I cringed a little at this, but the comment Tiger makes about Rory’s hair is funny.

McIlroy signs five-year deal with Nike

World number one golfer Rory McIlroy now sponsored by Nike.

In a not-so-surprising announcement made today, Rory McIlroy is now officially sponsored by Nike, a deal supposedly worth close to $200 million over five years.

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McIlroy arrives in Brisbane, to watch girlfriend play tennis

So it doesn’t take a boatload of cash to get the world’s number one golfer down to Australia after all.

According to reports, world number one golfer Rory McIlroy arrived in Brisbane today accompanying girlfriend and professional tennis player Caroline Wozniacki at the Brisbane International tournament that begins on Sunday.
No doubt organisers of Australia’s largest golf tournament will have taken a break from their Christmas holidays to have a chat to McIlroy about spending a little time accompanying his golf clubs in Australia next time. They’ll be new golf clubs too, as McIlroy joins Woods in the Nike stable in 2013.
Rumours abound of an engagement between the star duo as Wozniacki was sporting a ring as she flew in. No word via McIlroy‘s or Wozniacki’s Twitter accounts as yet though – a medium the pair aren’t afraid of  regularly using.

Tiger and Rory chat about their bromance: video

The most talked about blossoming relationship in the golf world right now is the bromance between Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, and here they chatted to CNN about their friendship and the need to pace their careers to avoid burnout. (Video is slow to load).

 

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.

Wanna see Rory v Tiger streamed straight to your computer?

Here is something straight from the departments of 'modern technology' and 'cash grab golf'.

Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods are going head-to-head in a made for TV internet event in China. Dubbed the "Duel at Jinsha Lake". The event kicks off at 3:30pm (AEST) this afternoon from Jinsha Lake International course, near Zhengzhou in China and we can all watch the duel by paying $4.95 and having it streamed directly to our computers.

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McIlroy eats broccoli for breakfast, wins $50 off McDowell

McIlroy wins $50 by eating broccoli and yoghurt for breakfast.

Rory McIlroy is reportedly on the verge of signing a $250 million deal with Nike but doesn't look in the least bit anxious about it.

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Grand Slam of Golf – What You Need To Know

With the megabucks FedEx Cup and the dramatic Ryder Cup consigned to golfing history, discounting the European Tour’s lucrative Race To Dubai, there’s very little left of note in the 2012 golfing calendar. However, one event which is growing in stature is set to take place in a week’s time, and it features all four of this year’s major champions. The PGA Grand Slam of Golf has taken place since 1979, and this year’s event promises to be a lot of fun for the golf fan suffering from withdrawal symptoms after the Ryder Cup’s end.

Every event features the four major winners over the past year, and this tournament is no different. The four participants this year are big-hitting Masters champion Bubba Watson, US Open holder Webb Simpson, South African veteran Ernie Els, who won the Open in dramatic style and World No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who holds the USPGA Championship. All of them big names for some reason, this year’s event, which takes place at the Bermuda and Port Royal Golf Course from the 22nd-24th October, should generate a lot of interest.

Played over three days, like most golf tournaments, each participant will play 18 holes, with the winner the player who posts the lowest score. However, as there’s only a field of four players, the possibility of one player running away with the title is more likely, especially when it comes to form. The 2004 event was proof that it could happen, as eventual winner Phil Mickelson shot a round of 59 en route to lifting the title.

As far as prize money is concerned, from the $1.3m prize fund, the winner picks up a useful $600,000 cheque as well as the trophy. Although it’s not the most lucrative prize in golf, it’s still a lot of money compared to the prizes on offer in some PGA and European Tour events. It’s unlikely that any of the year’s foursome are to pull out, so it will make for compelling viewing.

This post was provided by Ladbrokes Sport.

McIlroy’s Ryder Cup celebrations: video

More Ryder Cup celebrations… 

Here is a video courtesy of Team McIlroy that gives us an up close look at the post-round celebrations and the utter disbelief in trying to comprehend what just happened.

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

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