Women's British Open: Gulbis Hot, Wie Not

The Women's British Open will take place this Thursday through Sunday at St. Andrews' Old Course. However, the demeanor of two of the LPGA's most popular players contrasts greatly. Natalie Gulbis, fresh off her first victory last week at the Evian Masters, said, "It's been on the schedule for a couple of years now and we're really excited about coming over here and having an LPGA event and a major here at St. Andrews, the players have been excited all year. This is one of those golf courses where you're not sure you're going to get the opportunity to play."

Gulbis, along with the rest of the Women's British Open field, will play her first competitive round at St. Andrews. The Old Course is playing host to the event for the first time in its history, making it the fourth course in the world to host a PGA and LPGA sanctioned event.

On the other hand, Michelle Wie is not looking forward to the competition this week. The 17- year-old has already decided to take a defensive game plan this week, saying, "My goal is just to stay out of the pot bunkers, I never realized that almost every tee shot on the front nine is a blind tee shot. You keep on having to play to different fairways. I've been doing that by accident."

Wie has continued to complain about her nagging wrist injury, which has prevented her from playing decent rounds this season. Because of her low ranking on the LPGA Tour, Wie made it into this week's field via a sponsor's exemption.

ZealousGolfer.com Course Reviews: Bobby Jones Golf Complex's British Course

When most golfers think of a municipal course, thoughts of numerous bad lies, overly-simple layouts, and slow as molasses greens come to mind. However, the Bobby Jones Golf Complex in Sarasota, Florida trashes the municipal golf course stereotyped, complemented by a history most courses in the state of Florida.

Bobby Jones, legendary amateur golfer, was also a legendary real estate agent of sorts within the Florida market. With a famous name, potential buyers flocked to Jones, as those who have seen Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius would remember. Having helped to populate the Sarasota/Bradenton area, the facility was built to commemorate Jones's Grand Slam. In fact, Jones personally dedicated the facility on February 13th, 1927.

Of course, Jones did not design the course himself. Donald Ross, designer of Pinehurst No. 2 and many other famous courses, had that honor. Additionally, a famous "young lad" from the area happens to still hold the scoring record: former Open champion Paul Azinger.

The Complex features 45 holes: an 18 hole "American Course", an 18 hole "British Course", and a 9 hole Executive Course. Additionally, the course has a small rubber mat driving range and two practice putting greens.

The British Course is split into two nines: St. Andrews and Hoylake. The front nine, "St. Andrews", commemorates Jones's British Amateur victory with Hoylake commemorating his British Open victory the same year. The course itself has a very linksy style, flat, but with more trees than most links courses. The British was the Complex's original course, with the touches of Donald Ross still maintained. With most Ross designs, look for the numerous dome shaped greens.

Also, the course features wide fairways, but with less water hazards than its sister American course.

The British plays 6,536 yards from the Blue tees and 6,184 yards from the course's White tees. From OobGolf.com:
Golfers interested in taking on the British Course while in Sarasota can call (941) 365-GOLF(4653) or can make tee times online. During the off time of the year (May 1 through November 15), golfers can play either course with a cart for $26.00. The price during that time for afternoon rounds is $18.50. For the rest of the year, greens fees are $28.35 during the morning and $17.10 in the afternoon. Plus, the carts at Bobby Jones are equipped with a color GPS system with hole displays and yardage information.

Fore Inventors Only Enters Field Test

One Golf Channel show which has caught my attention over the past few weeks is "Fore Inventors Only", which gives inventors a chance to sell their product in Golfsmith stores. For the first three episodes, all appearing on Tuesday nights at 10 P.M. EST, the three-man panel would vote for whether or not each product would move on to the "Field Test" portion of the competition.

The panel, which functioned much like American Idol's, consisted of Stina Sternberg, Billy Harmon, and Fulton Allem. With three days of judging down, the show will move to the "Field Test" segment tonight.

However, a slight twist in the show will put the inventions of hopefuls in the hands of former members of the Big Break.

So far, the show has included several cool products, such as the Z Factor Perfect Putting Machine and the Hill Shot.

While the first three episodes were interesting and funny, especially when bizarre/radical inventions were unveiled, I'm interested in seeing how the Field Test ends up going. Check it out at 10 EST on TGC.

Bargain Basement: Taylormade Rescue Mid Hybrid

As a new feature, ZealousGolfer.com will share with the golfing world some of the best bargains on the market right now.

Among these is the Taylormade Rescue Hybrid. Any player who has been relatively interested in golf clubs over the past few years has witnessed the birth of the hybrid, a club to replace long irons and woods. Hybrids combine the best features from both the iron and the wood, leading to a club which is much easier to hit with a higher launch. The benefits of taking out the 3 iron, 4 iron, 5 iron, and more are numerous. As a major fan of the hybrid, the club honestly can be used from any place on the course. Hybrids are spectacular off the tee on tight holes, great from the fairway, unbelievably easier to hit from the rough, and can chip from greenside rough with more accuracy than the average iron.

Aside from the reasons why you should use hybrids, the Taylormade Rescue Mid Hybrid would make a great addition to your bag. Currently, the hybrid retails for $99.00 at Golf Galaxy brand new. With an ultralight graphite shaft and a moderate offset, the Rescue Hybrid is extremely easy to hit.

Personally, I feel the Taylormade Rescue Hybrid's technology is at least equivalent to the new Taylormade models, such as the Burner Hybrid or Rescue Dual.

The Rescue Mid comes in 2 iron (16 degrees), 3 iron (19 degrees), and 4 iron (22 degree) replacements. Also, the club originally retailed at $179.99.

Natalie Gulbis Takes First LPGA Title in Playoff

LPGA Tour star Natalie Gulbis made headlines this weekend after capturing her first victory ever on the LPGA Tour. Gulbis, who has gained most of her fame from her annual swimsuit calendar, has been considered to be golf's Anna Kournikova.

However, Gulbis came through on Sunday at the Evian Masters in France with a 70, good enough to match South Korea's Jang Jeong for a 72 hole total of 284, 4 under par. In the first hole of the playoff, the 24 year old American birdied to knockout Jang.

Gulbis's Official Website was quick to add the "2007 Evian Masters" title to the site, which is likely the high point of her career. She has spent 6 years on the LPGA Tour, but has been unable to come through for her first victory despite generally good seasons. Fortunately, Gulbis has been an extremely marketable character with deals with Taylormade-Adidas, Winn, and others. Additionally, Gulbis was the star of the Golf Channel's "The Natalie Gulbis Show", a reality style program.

Gulbis, like Michelle Wie, enter the professional golf world at a young age. She became the youngest player to qualify for an LPGA event at age 14, later broken by Michelle Wie when she was only 12. Best of all, Gulbis was the former girlfriend of the NFL's greatest quarterback, Pittsburgh Steeler Ben Roethlisberger.

Furyk Dominates Canadian Competition

The World's third ranked player, Jim Furyk, rode an astounding fourth hole ace at Angus Glen to his second consecutive victory at the Canadian Open. A Sunday 64 was enough to beat former World number one, Vijay Singh, by a single stroke.

Singh, who beat Mike Weir in an amazing Sunday performance several years ago, finished with a 3 under final round, which was not enough to oust Furyk.

While the 2008 Canadian Open could be played the week after the Open Championship again, Furyk said, "I'll be here, I always think you should come back and defend a championship. [...] I felt a lot of support out there."

George McNeill and Ryan Palmer shot matching Sunday rounds of 5 under par to tie together for third place.

Furyk took a healthy $900,000 back to the States.

Steward Ginn Leader after Round 3 at Senior British Open

Stewart Ginn has a one shot lead over Tom Watson at the Senior British Open at Muirfield.

Dennis Durnian had a hole-in-one on the par 3, 231 yard No. 4 hole. He won 231 bottles of wine -- one for each hole. It was the second such award this week. John Chaffee, an American, had a hole-in-one on Thursday and earned 191 bottles of wine.

Faldo Shares Lead at Senior British Open

Nick Faldo admitted to being uncertain about his ability to play at a competitive level since most of his energy is now spent on commentating for CBS. However, his first round performance in the Senior British Open Championship at Muirfieldwas extremely successful.
He shot a 3-under par 68 and is tied for the lead with fellow golfers Dave Stockton, Nick Job and Gordon J. Brand. On the first hole of the first round, he hit his ball in the rough and ended up with a bogey. But by the third hole, his nerves, possibly, had settled, and he had three consecutive bogeys.
Only one stroke behind the leaders are six other players.

Snake Frightening away Memphis' Duffers

The Links at Galloway in Memphis, Tennessee is probably having a harder time attacting players since lost pet ads have been posted.

Dana Shields has lost her pet, Fluffy. Fluffy is a five foot boa constrictor. She says Fluffy is an affectionate pet who enjoys snuggling into Dana's thick hair (?????? -- creepy!!!!). He also likes to stand up on his tail, like a cane, and watch the traffic whizzing by the window !!

Shields lives close to the golf course and is anxious to find Fluffy. She said that folks needn't worry as he won't squeeze anything too big to eat.


Nick Faldo to play Senior Golf

Nick Faldo, who turned 50 on July 18th, will play at the 21st Senior British Open at Muirfield. He is paired with Tom Watson and Mark O'Meara.

Faldo won three Open Championships in the past; two of them at Muirfield. Faldo competed in last week's Open Championship at Carnoustie, but failed to make the cut. He is a commentator for CBS and has said this is the first time in a year that he has played two weeks in a row. Faldo hasn't won a tournament since the 1997 Nissan Open.
Wayne Grady, who turns 50 on Thursday, the opening day of the Senior British Open, will also play in the event.

Next Up: 2007 Canadian Open

Despite making a shift in the PGA Tour schedule from its usual September date to late July, the 2007 Canadian Open has managed to attract some star power. While most high-profile golfers will be taking a break after the Open Championship, some will be heading back to tournament golf.

Among these players is Jim Furyk, who captured last year's Canadian Open, who will lead the stars entered in the Open. However, the Canadians will surely be rooting for countryman Mike Weir, winner of the 2003 Masters. On the other hand, the only other golfers in the Official World Ranking's Top 50 are former World No. 1 Vijay Singh and former Canada resident Stephen Ames.

This year, the event will be played at Angus Glen for the first time since 2002. At Hamilton last season, Furyk closed with rounds of 65 and 67 to take the title and pass Phil Mickelson as number two in the World Rankings.

The tournament offers a purse of $5,000,000.
The course was redesigned for the tournament by PGA Tour pro Davis Love III. DL3 thinks the course won't give way to a Birdie Fest, especialy if the wind blows or the course is firm.

2008 PGA Championship Tickets on Sale

If you are planning to go to the 2008 PGA Championship at Oakland Hills near Detroit, tickets went on sale this week.

The event will be played August 4 - 10, 2008. Practice round tickets cost $30 each and include complimentary parking and shuttle service. Individual tickets for the competition will not be available. A weeklong Executive Club ticket that comes with special privileges, such as indoor and outdoor seating near the 16th hole, goes for $700.

Tickets are on a first come, first served basis.

Volunteer opportunities are available as well.

Kimberly Kim Leads Jr. Girls Championship

Hawaiian Kimberly Kim set a lot of records on Monday in a round deemed by one golf official as "amazing."

The 15 year old shot a 62 at the national championship at Tacoma Country and Golf Club. Her closest competitor is six strokes behind her. Kim had 10 birdies and no bogeys in perfectly played golf. The score tied the lowest score by a US Junior Girls player. She set a new record, by three strokes, for a Tacoma women's competitive course. Kim tied the men's casual course record. Kim recorded her best score to date (by 3 strokes).

Bob Holister, Overlake Golf and Country Club general manager and former manager of Tacoma, walked all 18 holes of Kim's record as a rules official. He said, "I don't remember a round of golf this good in my life. It was incredble. I've never seen a man or woman do that."

Cheyenne Woods, Tiger Woods' 17 year old neice, shot a 77 and is in danger of not making the cut.

Woods to compete at Girls' Championship

17 year old Cheyenne Woods, niece of Tiger Woods, will compete in the 59th US Junior Girls Championship at Tacoma Country and Golf Club from July 23 - July 28. Cheyenne Woods lives in Phoenix and will soon begin her senior year of high school. She is currently ranked 74th in the amateur girls' rankings.

Cheyenne is the daughter of Earl Woods, Jr., half-brother of Tiger Woods. Her dad is a machinist and divorced from her mom, Susan. Her paternal grandfather, Earl Woods, Sr., played a huge role in helping to shape the game of the teenage golfer. Prior to his marriage to Tiger's mom, Earl Woods, Sr. was married and had three children. The oldest of the three was Cheyenne's dad.

As a 3-year-old in her grandfather's garage, she watched her Uncle Tiger putt and take practice swings. It is where she first picked up a golf club. Her grandfather supported her financially in her endeavors to compete. More importantly, he supported her emotionally. He gave her chipping lessons. Tiger has tutored her as well. She says his advice has been, "Just kick butt and have fun."
Cheyenne shares many things with her uncle -- but maybe not the same powerful drive to win. She has publicly stated her goal is to be in the top five. Her uncle has been ranked #1 for more than nine years.

FedEx Cup Point Standings

There was no change in this week's TOP FIVE in the FedEx Cup Point Standings. Although he has only played in 11 events, far less than anyone else, Tiger Woods remains in the #1 position. Followed by Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson, K.J. Choi and Zach Johnson, respectively.

Jim Furyk now sits in the sixth place. He is followed by Charles Howell III, Rory Sabbatini, Adam Scott and Steve Stricker.

The biggest mover is, of course, The Open Championship winner, Padraig Harrington. He goes from #79 last week to #19. Another huge jumper is Sergio Garcia who was 22 last week and sitting at #11 this week.

Paddy in, Garcia out. Harrington wins Claret Jug

Irish star Padraig Harrington (left) beat Ryder Cup teammate Sergio Garcia in a playoff on the fourth day of the 2007 British Open. Harrington entered the 18th hole with a one stroke lead over the leader of the first three rounds, Garcia. However, Harrington limped out of the hole with an unfortunate double bogey. At least, Harrington was able to one putt the hole and give himself some hope of a playoff if Garcia was to falter.

So it was. Garcia entered the final hole needing only a par to capture the Claret Jug. Despite the tremendous pressure, Garcia was able to smash a long iron to the center of the fairway. His approach shot was not quite Van de Velde-esque, but still poor. However, Garcia left himself a great lie in the bunker with a good shot out. The bunker shot was adequate for a decent chance to win, but Garcia was unable to convert with an unlucky lip out.

Thus, Garcia and Harrington were tied at 7 under par. The two Europeans entered a four hole playoff, which came down only to the first when Harrington started strong with a birdie while Garcia bogeyed. After all was said and done, Garcia trailed Harrington by two giving Paddy his first major championship victory.

While Garcia was always the first to come up in discussions of the "best player never to win a major", Harrington could hardly be left out of the conversation. Having captured numerous prestigious European Tour titles, Harrington has been poised to take the big one for some time.

Garcia's (right) final round could scar him for the rest of his career. Sure, he has destroyed numerous high-pressure rounds in the past, but today's failure is a whole new level. Garcia had the opportunity for a dominant wire-to-wire victory, set up with a three stroke lead entering the final round. On a day relatively easy for scoring, a two over par 73 simply doesn't cut it. Who knows if Garcia will be able to overcome this effort in the future?

Regardless, Europe now holds a major championship trophy for the first time in nine years.

It's Official: British Open comes down to Sergio Garcia vs. Padraig Harrington

Following a disappointing bogey on the 18th by Spaniard Sergio Garcia, he and Ireland's Padraig Harrington will head to a playoff. The British Open's playoff will consist of four holes in stroke play.

Both players finished 72 holes at 7 under par, but both finished the 18th of their rounds poorly. Harrinton found water and double bogeyed, relying on a tough one put after a magnificent recovery shot. However, Sergio Garcia smashed a spectacular long iron to the dead center of Carnoustie's 18th fairway. From there, Garcia put his approach into a bunker, but received a great lie. Unfortunately, Garcia was not able to make the putt after a decent out from the bunker.
Both players are searching for their first major championship, but no matter who wins, Europe will have its first major championship in nine years.
Personally, having had the opportunity to work in Harrinton's group during the 2007 U.S. Open at Oakmont, I will be rooting for Paddy.

Sergio's Sunday at Carnoustie

After years of struggling to win a major championship, the 27 year old Spaniard may finally be ready. Sergio Garcia has the 2007 Open Championship locked up. Players dream for situations like this: one schmuck from Wisconsin 3 strokes back, and a whole slew 6 strokes behind.

At this point, there is only one person who can steal the 2007 Open Championship away from Garcia and his funky red pants. A hint: it isn't Tiger. Garcia would have no excuse is he was to, hypothetically, lose the British Open. Sure, he's had many in the past. One way or another, the monkey on his back has always been pressure. Proof of Garcia's ridiculous temper tantrums:

On Sundays, Garcia's putting stroke has melted in the past like ice in the sun. Of course, most of the pressure in previous chances could be credited to Tiger and the crowds he brings with him.

On the other hand, 2007 may be different for El Nino. His major struggle in the past has been with his short game, but his 2007 putting statistics have been generally decent. Moreover, Garcia is entering Sunday with a new stick: the belly putter. While David Fehrety would protest the use of such a putter (alluding to his Crowne Plaza commercial), Garcia may have some new confidence with the long stick.

One way or another, Sunday at Carnoustie will likely define Garcia's career. Who knows? This round could be the turning point for the still young Spaniard allowing him to contend in future majors without fear.

The Playoffs: Crunchtime

Maybe the new FedEx Cup Playoff series isn't creating much excitement within the golf community. However, the season is reaching golf's new "post-season", so who will likely not be playing late in the year?

In case you were wondering, the top 144 players in FedEx Cup points will make the first tournament, but the number will be filtered down until the TOUR Championship.

Name Place Points

On the Bubble:

Greg Owen - 144th - 1,321


John Daly - 163rd - 935
*Long John has earned 15 sponsor's exemptions this season, but has frequently failed to convert. He is trailing big time, but had an opportunity for a solid performance at the British Open. Unfortunately, old habits causing inconsistency continue to nag Daly.

Paul Azinger - 168th - 782
*Paul Azinger was able to earn his TOUR Card back last season, but he will always broadcast more than play from now on. So, it isn't looking good for seeing 'Zinger playing deep into this season.

Ryan Palmer - 186th - 520
*Palmer won the FUNAI Classic at the Walt Disney World Resort three years ago, but has failed to make cuts with an over-par scoring average. Palmer won't have a shot at the Cup unless something changes fast.

David Duval - 207th - 287
*The bigger they are, the harder they fall. While Duval's presence on TOUR is rarely felt, he has made 3 of 5 cuts. Luckily for Duval, he probably is not concerned with playing high level professional golf right now. On the other hand, Duval is one spot behind Tom Watson, which is pretty embarassing. I'd recommend making another cut, so he can avoid joining the old-greats at the bottom of the list.

Todd Hamilton - 215th - 201
*Well, he has two PGA Tour titles, one of which is the British Open. However, when your standing is higher than your point total, you know your career is in the toilet.

Fred Couples - 221st - 163
*Freddie has played in only three events this season, but made the cut at the Masters (T30). He'll join the Champions Tour soon, so is not concerned with the PGA at this point. Unfortunately, he won't be playing in front of crowds in this Cup.

In case you were wondering, Tim Herron leads at U.S. Bank

In a highly overshadowed tournament, Tim Herron currently leads after three rounds at the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee. Herron, currently ranked 116th in FedEx Cup points and fighting for his TOUR Card, has a one stroke lead at 12 under par after shooting 65 on Saturday.

However, Herron is trailed by several strugs and memorable names. At one back, South African Tim Clark and second round leader Joe Ogilvie sit at 11 under par. Ogilvie is also fighting for his 2008 TOUR Card at 118th place in FedEx Cup points.

Other players of note in contention:

Kenny Perry is in fourth place with a three stroke deficit to Herron.

Billy Mayfair, a five time champion on the PGA Tour, is in seventh at five strokes back.

Colombia's Camilo Villegas (right) shot himself out of contention with a round of one over par. With other players bombarding the course with birdies, Camilo must make up seven strokes on Sunday.

Garcia "Serging" to win the Open Championship

Sergio Garcia continues to dominate the Open Championship by shooting a 3-under 68 to maintain his lead. If he wins tomorrow, Garcia would finally shed his long-term "Best Player Never to Win a Major Championship" title.

However, the big news of the day was Wisconsin's Steve Stricker (left). Stricker moved up 18 spots to sit alone in the #2 spot by shooting a 7-under 64. He set a course record for the Open and was only one stroke off the tournament mark. Stricker had nearly given up on his golf career only a short time ago. In 2005, he had lost his tour card. However, he has won three times on the PGA Tour during his long career. In 2006, he was voted PGA Tour Comeback Player of the Year following arguably his first spectacular season.

K.J. Choi shot one over par and sits in contention at third place -- six strokes behind the leader. Early favorites, Ernie Els (right) and Padraig Harrington are tied with Choi along with three other players.

Tiger Woods shot a 1-under 69 and seems unlikely to win due to a 8 strokes deficit. On the sixth hole, a woman was hit in the head with Tiger's ball and required two stitches to close the wound. Jennifer Wilson, 63, of Northern Ireland was treated by medical staff. Fortunately for her, Woods gave the woman an autographed glove. Woods was able to recover with par on the hole.
Also, University of Florida graduate Chris DiMarco put up an amazing 66 to join the leaders in third place. DiMarco, who has struggled this season as a result of a shoulder problem, fired matched 33 nine hole scores during the third round on Saturday. With the 66, DiMarco is still six strokes back of El Nino.

Tough day for Tiger at British Open

Everyone knows that when Tiger is on, he's on. If Tiger is smiling, everyone else in the field is certainly in trouble. Yesterday, Tiger added another astounding shot to his long list of spectacular swings:

However, on day two of the British Open or Open Championship, Tiger's drive on the first tee joins his list of worst strokes.

Instead of smiling, Tiger inserts a very noticeable F-bomb while the ball is in the air. Luckily, Tiger will have a chance to redeem himself on the weekend if he puts up a show of shots similar to the one in the first video.

Garcia hangs onto lead at Carnoustie

Sergio Garcia's second round at The Open Championship was not a repeat of his impressive first round. Garcia shot even par in rougher conditions. However, the par round was sufficient to keep his lead on the rest of the Open field. Over the past two days, Garcia's past putting woes have apparently disappeared. The secret: Garcia switiched to a belly putter last week. Whether the effect is physical or psychological, Garcia will have a chance to test his new game under major championship pressure in order to potentially capture a wire-to-wire victory. Garcia start Saturday with a two stroke lead, but will likely not enter another Sunday battle with Tiger.

K.J. Choi fired a terrific 69 which was good enough to put him in second place and two shots out of the lead. Choi is coming off arguably the best season of his career, which would be even more impressive if a major championship could be added to his resume.

The best round of the day belonged to Canadian Mike Weir who shot a 68 and is tied for third. Weir, who has struggled ever since winning his first and only major championship, made the switch to the "Stack and Tilt" this year with teachers Mike Bennett and Andy Plummer.

Also in third, Miguel Angel Jimenez fired an impressive round, which included several spectacular shots. On the 246 yard, 16th hole, Jimenez put his tee shot only inches from the hole -- nearly capturing a hole in one.

Tiger Woods is currently trailing Garcia by seven strokes and finds himself tied for 20th place. No one is counting him out, though, as he attempts to win his third British Open title in three years. Tiger himself is refusing to give up, as he said in interviews, "I am one over par for the tournament, but still not out of it."

Phil Mickelson missed the cut and is headed back to the United States to prepare for next week's WGC Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone in Akron, Ohio. Mickelson is now officially out of sync, having now missed his last two cuts in major championships.

Zach Johnson, this year's Masters winner, made the cut -- barely -- he is 4 over and sits tied for 53rd place with 18 other players. However, Johnson has to be pleased considering his missed the cut in last week's John Deere Classic, which was carded as Johnson's home event and comprised of numerous cupcake players.

Tom Pernice, Jr., the final alternate to make the Open field, did not make the cut. On the other hand, Lucas Glover, who was the next to the last man to make the field in one over for the tournament and is tied for 20th place.

Weather forecasts are calling for rain for the third round, which should continue to cause Carnoustie to yield few low scores.

McIlroy to win Silver Medal

Irish teen sensation, Rory McIlroy, had a rougher second round than first round. Nonetheless, the 18 year old will still accomplish his goal. He wanted to win the Silver Medal at The Open Championship which is awarded to the best amateur contender. Five amateurs started the event. McIlroy will be the only one to make the cut thus guaranteeing he will be at the trophy presentation on Sunday.
He was followed by an audience that included his girlfriend, his parents, 70-odd members of his golf club, hundreds of spectators and television cameras.
He recorded a bogey-free first round of 68 and a second round 76.
McIlroy admitted he did not really feel nervous. He just felt the adrenaline that comes with accomplishing something very few in the world ever do.

Mickelson unlikely to make cut at The Open Championship

For the second Major in a row, it appears that Phil Mickelson will not make the cut.

With the majority of players finished after the second round, the projected cut is 5 over and Lefty is 6 over and apparently going home.

He won't be alone. Joining Mickelson will be Geoff Ogilvy, Stuart Appleby, Davis Love III, Rory Sabbatini, John Daly (who at one point in the first round was #1 on the leaderboard), Aaron Baddeley and Nick Faldo among many others.

18 year old has only Bogey-free round at The Open Championship

Rory McIlroy turned 18 in May, but hasn't turned pro yet. He may regret that decision since he is playing in the high stakes Open Championship and competing well. After the first round, he shot a 3-under 68 and has a one stroke lead over Tiger Woods. He was the only player on the first day of play to shoot a bogey-free round.

In 2004, McIlroy helped Europe win the Junior Ryder Cup. Using a sponsor's exemption, he made the cut this year at the Dubai Desert Classic. He qualified for The Open Championship by winning the European Amateur Championship last August.
He is a native of Hollywood, North Ireland and his story seems like something written for Tinseltown.

His goal is to make the cut at the Open and win the silver medal as the lowest-scoring amateur. He very well may do better than the silver medal -- he just may win the Claret Jug. McIlroy believes that he will turn pro in September after the Walker Cup.

Nearly 150 journalists attended his press conference and McIlroye remained poised. He admitted that he has become used to being interviewed. His first interviews were when he was 7 or 8 years old and interest in the teen sensation has grown since then.
Photo by Getty Images

Woman has 16 holes-in-one in 2007

A few months ago, I wrote about Jacqueline Gagne, who had an uncanny run of luck -- at that time she had had 11 holes-in-one in 2007. I ran a google check of her today to see if her luck continued.

Despite falling out of public interest for a short time, Gagne is now at sixteen aces.

Sweet Sixteen came last week (July 13th) on the 7th hole at Cobra-Malibu Country Club. It is a 153 yard hole and she was using a 5 iron.

Gagne is 46 years old and started playing golf regularly in 2003. The odds of her achieving this are 133 sextillion to one. Every hole-in-one has been authenticated by other players. More than 50 people have been witness to her skill.
In early July, Gagne was playing at Eagle Falls Golf Course in Indio, CA. While she did not have a hole-in-one that day, she shot a women's course record of 66.

She is now writing a book to be published by summer's end called Turning up Aces.

World Golf Rankings

The old saying says, "The more things change, the more they stay the same."

Thru the week of August 3rd, 2007, Tiger Woods remains #1 in the World Golf Rankings. He has held the #1 position for 454 weeks. That is nearly 9 years!!!! What has changed in 454 weeks? 9 years ago, children -- and many adults -- didn't own cell phones. 9 years ago, TIVO didn't exist -- and neither did satellite radio. 9 years ago, wireless laptops were not available. 9 years ago, was before 9-11 and our security-enhanced world. 9 years ago, folks were worried about Y2K.

Others included in the top ten are:

Jim Furyk is #2
Phil Mickelson, #3
Ernie Els, #4
Adam Scott, #5
Padraig Harrington, #6
Vijay Singh, #7
Sergio Garcia, #8
Henrik Stenson, #9
Geoff Ogilvy, #10

One things stays the same: Tiger remains #1.

Round 1 of Open Championship Concludes

The first day of the 2007 Open Championship began in cold and rainy conditions. With the course playing much fairer than in the 1999 Championship, low scores were quite a possibility.

Notable first rounds include:

Sergio Garcia showed his long-known talent by firing an amazing 7 birdies and only one bogey to finish the day as the leader of the 2007 Open Championship. However, Garcia has always struggled when near the top, especially when paired with Tiger Woods during the weekend. Garcia has never won a major and looks to shed his BPNTWAM status. Of course, his putting has always been his downfall when in contention, but his putting numbers have been solid during the 2007 season.

Paul McGinley shot a 4-under 67 and finished the day in second place. It seems unlikely that he will ultimately win the British Open as his best finish was sixth place at the 2004 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.

Tiger Woods had arguably the best shot of the day, sinking a 100-foot putt for birdie on the 16th hole. He finished the day with a 2-under 69 and deemed it to be, "a good, positive start." He is tied with 5 other players including K.J. Choi and Padraig Harrington for 8th place and four strokes from the leader.

Phil Mickelson looks probable to make the cut, finishing at even par with two birdies and two bogeys on the day, which was good for 25th place.

Angel Cabrera, winner of the 2007 US Open at Oakmont, is tied with four other players for third place.

K.J. Choi is continuing his strong play, shooting a 69. Choi has already captured two titles in 2007, most recently Tiger AT&T.

John Daly played a game that epitomized his professional career. Of course, Daly won the Open in 1995. He played the first eleven holes of round one well, capping #11 with an eagle. Following the tremendous eagle, Daly found himself at the top of the leaderboard. Suddenly, as huge crowds amassed, Daly finished his round with two pars, three bogeys, one double bogey, and one triple in the final seven holes of the first round. The disappointing finish to the round gave him a 74, good for 83rd place. Unfortunately for Long John, he has gone from a contender for the championship to a fighter to make the weekend.

Carnoustie 2.0

The R&A's setup of Carnoustie for the 1999 Open Championship faced criticism and controversy comparable to that of the USGA's constant design battles. The major problem: Paul Lawrie won. The course set up in a manner promoting luck over skill, as few fairways could be viewed from the tee box, and the area around the greens offered no reward to talented short game artists.

Thus, the Open allowed less skilled players to enjoy the top scores as the bigger names struggled. Of course, Jean van de Velde's epic 18th hole struggle will always be remembered, but similar struggles existed all over the course. To some extent, the course was simply not fair.

In 2007, many of the tee boxes have been changed to allow for easier tee shots. Additionally, the fairways have been widened, and the danger around greens scaled back. While Carnoustie will continue to be a tough test of golf, at least this time the stars will shine.

Carnoustie Dinner Troubled by Racist Jokes

PGA.com is reporting that Graham Brown, a Royal & Ancient Golf Club rules official, presented at a Tuesday night dinner at Carnoustie. He began by doing a fantastic impersonation of Seve Ballesteros and then the talk was greatly diminished by a series of racial and ethnic jokes.

Brown was the guest speaker at the Association of Golf Writers dinner held at Carnoustie. Top golf officials were in attendance, including Royal & Ancient Golf Club CEO Peter Dawson. Dawson distanced himself from the comments but stated that Brown would not be asked to resign.

His comments included remarks about a Japanese golfer and a black caddie at Augusta National.

Class of 2007 for World Golf Hall of Fame

The Class of 2007 for the World Golf Hall of Fame has been announced. Inductioin ceremonies will take place on November 12 in St. Augustine, Florida.

This year's class includes Curtis Strange, Hubert Green, Se Ri Pak, C.B. Macdonald, Kel Nagle and Joe Carr.

Trump is running back to Running Horse

Donald Trump certainly knows the art of the deal.

Two weeks ago, he walked away from purchasing Running Horse Golf and Country Club for $40 million. He could not agree with current owner Mick Evans on how to classify legitimate operational expenses after the property sale.

14 days later, Trump is getting the property for $30 million cash. Even better, he won't have to share the profits.

Two Americans added to British Open Field

American Tom Pernice, Jr. was in Scotland hoping to join the Open Championship field as the first alternate. His wish came true when Jose Maria Olazabal withdrew due to an unnamed injury.

The 41-year-old Spaniard, Olazabal is a two time Masters champion. He won in 1994 and 1999. He has finished third two times at the British Open including two years ago.
Pernice has played in 20 events this year and placed in the top ten one time. He is #455 on the Money List.

Lucas Glover has also been added to the field due to Shingo Katayama withdrawing due to knee and back injuries.

College 101: Wie to become a Cardinal

Maybe professional golf will not end up working out for Michelle Wie. At this point, at least, she may be taking the David Duval route and living off of large Nike checks. However, Wie luckily has the education option as she is set to become a Stanford Cardinal.

Stanford University, ranked as America's fourth best college by U.S. News and World Report for "National Universities", admitted Miss Wie with 11% of the applicant pool.

New Cardinals are set to arrive on September 19th and will start classes on the 25th.

Wie, of course, will not play for the Stanford Women's Golf Team having forfeited her amateur status and a chance to play for big bucks as a professional. Again, her contract with Nike was likely worth that.

As Wie prepares to join some of World's brightest students, what advice would you give Wie to get the most out of her college experience? In the future, she'll probably need it...
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British Bookmakers Hot on Harrington

The favorites, according to British Bookmakers, to win the British Open: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els or Padraig Harrington.

Ranked 10th in the world, Harrington has twice won the European Tour's Dunhill Links championship which is played over three courses including Carnoustie. Harrington played last at the Irish PGA Championship on a difficult links course similar to Carnoustie. He won the title in a playoff with Damian McGrane.

Harrington has never won a major title.

Having watched Harrington closely at this year's US Open, he is focused, determined, and
definitely, enjoying the ride.
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Lefty Loses in Playoff

The good news: it appears that Phil Mickelson is a contender again. The bad news: Mickelson lost the Scottish Open on the first hole of a playoff with Frenchman Gregory Havret.

In the final round, Mickelson bogeyed 18 with a bad drive. History repeated itself in the playoff and he had a bad drive and bogeyed the hole again. Havret parred the hole. He won $1,005,950 and a spot at the British Open. Havret has played in 200 tournaments and has won only one other time: 2001 Italian Open.

The second place finish means Lefty is now ranked #2 in the world, behind Tiger Woods and ahead of Jim Furyk (right).

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Stevie Williams to stay with Tiger

While Stevie Williams may not have Tiger-like fame, he still has lived like a top professional over the past few years. As the caddy for the world's best player, New Zealand's Stevie Williams consistently would have been near the top of the PGA Tour Official Money List based on the cut of Tiger's paychecks he makes.

Surprisingly, rumors surfaced this month about Williams retiring after this season. However, Williams has made his first statement denying these claims:
"A rumor started last week that I was to retire at the end of the year and there's no truth to that rumor. If I was to retire, Tiger would be the first one to know."

The rumors apparently surfaced after Tiger approached Darren Clarke's caddy about potentially looping for him in the future. At this point, it looks like Tiger, Frank, and Stevie will still stick together.
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