Australian Open A President’s Cup Teaser

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If you want an early taste of the 2011 President’s Cup then you’ll have to look no further than the Australian Open in Sydney at the start of November.

As it stands there are half a dozen United States team members confirmed for the Australian Open feature as well as at least five Internationals.

Bill Haas

Bill Haas will make it seven US President's Cup team members playing in the Australian open.

The latest Americans to confirm their presence are world number nine Matt Kucher, world number 11 Nick Waney and world number 19 Hunter Mahan.

That joins a list which already includes Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson and Tiger Woods.

It’s also expected that Bill Haas the PGA Tour Championship winner will also travel to Sydney for the Open meaning seven of the 12 in the USA team will play at the same event.

For the internationals their brigade will be headed by Robert Allenby who makes his first return to the Australian Open since the now notorious 2008 event.

At that tournament he was heckled by drunks at the final hole with comments made in relation to his dead mother.

At the time it caused massive outrage and resulted in changes to the setup at the Open in future years.

The other Internationals to play the Australian open will include world number seven Jason Day and world number eight Geoff Ogilvy with Aaron Baddeley also expected to line up in Sydney.

In a nice bonus both captains will also be at the event, Greg Norman and Fred Couples out to prove they’ve still got it.

The major opposition to the Australian Open is the $US6 million Singapore Open which is likely to attract half of the internationals.

The vast number of entries creates an interesting aspect in terms of pairings with the one everyone wants to see being Tiger Woods and Adam Scott.

Woods old caddy Steve Williams made headlines after publicly attacking Woods following his first victory since teaming with Scott.

Gold Australia tournament Director Trevor Herden said though it was very unlikely to occur.

”I could almost guarantee that you will not see them paired together because [in Scott and Woods] we have two huge drawcards that have to be spread through the field,” he said.

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Allenby & Baddeley Score President’s Cup Starts

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The home course advantage and home captain advantage has paid off for Robert Allenby and Aaron Baddeley who have received the call up from Greg Norman for the International’s President’s Cup squad.

Norman always hinted that he was likely to favour an extra Australian presence, going one further and picking two Victorian’s with intimate knowledge of the Royal Melbourne golf course.

Robert Allenby has long held a good relationship with the layout of the course and he was widely tipped to get the first position.

It was the second that was up for debate and there’s little doubt Baddeley scraped through by the skin of his teeth.

Aaron Baddeley just scrapes into President's Cup squad with final wild card.

In fact it’s unlikely he’d even have been considered were it not for a spectacular season ending performance in the Tour Championship in Atlanta last weekend where he fell one short of entering the playoff.

Of those to miss out on the President’s Cup squad there’s no doubt South African Louis Oosthuizen would be the most disappointed after finishing in 11th spot on the money list, just one place out of automatic entry.

For the American’s Tiger Woods was named as one wildcard earlier this month while the final spot went to FedEx Cup Champion, (the man who beat Baddeley by a shot), Bill Haas.

“I actually put in a call to both Aaron Baddeley and John Senden at the start of the Tour Championship out of courtesy,” Norman said.

“Also on the list was Vijay Singh and Camilo Villegas and obviously Louis Oosthuizen.

“But knowing that we are playing in the backyard of Australia, I wanted to hopefully load up the team with as many Aussies as I possibly could.

“So Aaron put in a tremendous performance there, and had a chance of winning the golf tournament, played extremely well and has played very, very well for a few years now.”

The last time the President’s Cup was held in Australia was 1998, a time when Baddeley was a mere spectator making his call up all the more special.

“For an Aussie to play in the Presidents Cup, it really does not get any better than that, and especially with Greg being the captain, because . . . I know, for me, Greg was the man I looked up to growing up,” Baddeley said.

“I always got up early to watch TV, to watch Greg; and to have him captain the team in Australia, to me, that’s an absolute dream come true.”

It’s a sentiment reflected by Allenby.

” Obviously Melbourne is my home. I’ve been playing at Royal Melbourne since I was 12 years old,” he said.

“I’ve had some success there and the relief was humongous. Greg will tell you himself how happy I was, and you know the first thing I said was that you’ll get 12 billion per cent out of me.”

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Australians Hit Form Ahead Of Presidents Cup

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In what could be an ominous sign ahead of the upcoming President’s Cup the Australian contingent on the PGA Tour appear to be hitting form at the right time.

All up there were four Aussies with credible finishes in the season ending Tour Championship and three who had very realistic chances of winning the event.

The most realistic of them belonged to Aaron Baddeley who seemingly threw away victory with some miscalculated putting on back nine.

In the end take nothing away from American victor Bill Haas though who defeated Hunter Mahan on the third sudden death playoff hole to not only win the tournament but also the FedEx Cup itself.

His win was worth a total of $US11.44 million and it could well earn him the final captains pick on the US Team to face the internationals in the President’s Cup at Royal Melbourne in November.

If he does so he’ll likely meet the same Australians that were nipping at his heels throughout the final round of the Tour Championship.

Aaron Baddeley falls just short in Tour Championship finale

Baddeley started the final day with a share of the lead but missed a long putt on the final hole to fall short of getting into the playoff.

It was the same story for compatriot Adam Scott who charged home with two birdies on the back nine but also let a birdie chance slip on 18.

Scott was still ruing his third round though where he shot a 74 making things more difficult than they needed to be today.

Arguably the most consistent Australian of the past few months Jason Day was again there abouts, this time only a further shot back in a tie for sixth.

He had his chances as well in the final round and should he have won the tournament he would also have picked up the overall prize.

Rejuvenated veteran Geoff Ogilvy rounded out the Aussie contenders coming home nicely in 11th spot after only just edging his way into the season ending finally.

For Baddeley this tournament was absolutely crucial and he is lamenting some missed opportunities.

“Two short misses on the back nine cost me,” Baddeley said. “That was the golf tournament. Make those two short ones, I win.”

It was something Day reiterated after letting Haas off the hook when he bogeyed the second last hole.

“I was looking at the leaderboard, seeing what I needed to do, I was calculating,” Day said.

“It actually wasn’t that hard of a shot, I hit it a little high on the golf club and hit the tree and took a little sting out of it.”

It was his 10th top 10 finish of the season but the world number seven once again couldn’t break through for a tournament win.

He’ll be hoping to change that when he returns down under for the Australian Open which leads into the 2011 President’s Cup.

“I’m looking forward to getting down to Australia,” he said.

“I really want to win the Australian Open, it will be huge, and then I have my first Presidents Cup. I hope the Australian people are as excited as I am.”

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Ogilvy’s Late Run Earns Him President’s Cup Start

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Geoff Ogilvy has continued his tremendous late season revival not not only qualify for the third round of the season ending Fed Ex Cup series, but also sneak into the President’s Cup field.

Ogilvy finished third in the BMW Championship pushing him up to seventh in the standings for the Internationals Presidents Cup team, enough to guarantee automatic entry.

He joins compatriots Jason Day and Adam Scott as the Australian reps for the tournament to be played at Royal Melbourne from November 17-20.

“The fact that we go to Royal Melbourne in Australia this year, we’ll have the crowd on our side,” Ogilvy said.

“It’s my hometown, and on a golf course I grew up right next door to and played quite a lot of times. It’s going to be pretty special.”

Geoff Ogilvy cut finger

Geoff Ogilvy has forced his way into the President's Cup squad with a strong finish in the BMW Championship.

There could be one or even two more Australians added to the team as well with Greg Norman allocated two wildcards and the likes of Robert Allenby, Aaron Baddeley and John Senden all in contention.

Baddely and Allenby are only just outside the automatic selection window while Senden is playing his best golf late in the year after finishing second in the BMW Championship.

Other players expected to be considered by Norman include Louis Oosthuisen, Vijay Singh, Rory Sabbatini and Camilo Villegas.

“Greg would probably have been hoping that every Australian that he wanted on the team would qualify automatically so he didn’t have to pick them,” Ogilvy said.

“There’s Robert, who’s won multiple golf tournaments at Royal Melbourne, Aaron, who’s played pretty well this year and Vijay is not far away. I wouldn’t want to be in Greg’s shoes.

“He’s got some great players to pick from, and I don’t think any players he picks are going to be wrong.”

Ogilvy said Norman would be wise to show a little bit of favouritism to the Australians given the tournament will be played on a home course.

“If everything else is equal you’d probably pick the home country guy,” he said.

“The hometown advantage or the home country advantage is quite a big thing.

“But someone like Vijay has played every single Presidents Cup, so he brings a lot of experience. That all has to be weighed up.”

The International team is Jason Day (Australia), Adam Scott (Australia), Charl Schwartzel (South Africa), K.J. Choi (South Korea), Kyung-tae Kim (South Korea), Retief Goosen (South Africa), Geoff Ogilvy (Australia), Ernie Els (South Africa), Y.E Yang (South Korea) and Ryo Ishikawa (Japan), plus two captain’s picks to be added.

The United States team will consist of Matt Kuchar, Steve Stricker, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Nick Watney, Webb Simpson, Bubba Watson, David Toms, Hunter Mahan and Jim Furyk while Tiger Woods has already been confirmed as one of two captain’s picks by Fred Couples.

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Pairings for third round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship

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The third round of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship is set to begin. The Golf Channel will televise live play from 12-2 p.m. ET with NBC providing live coverage from 2-6 p.m. ET.

Groups we’re watching:
Tee Time Players
1:50 p.m. ET
No. 1
Hunter Mahan, Martin Kaymer
In this Ryder Cup rematch, Mahan can exact some revenge — if he continues to hit the ball straight as he has all week.
1:20 p.m. ET
No. 1
Rory McIlroy, Aaron Baddeley
Baddeley won earlier this year, while McIlroy is seeking his second career title in the U.S. Will either emerge?
1:10 p.m. ET
No. 1
Adam Scott, Dustin Johnson
Scott might look funny with the long putter, but he’s rolled it well all week long.
10:30 a.m. ET
No. 1
Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelon
Both players have struggled with their putting and for the third time this eeek, they’ll be paired together.
MORE ROUND 3: Tee times | ROUND 2: Wrap-up | Scores | TOUR Report notes

STORYLINES FOR SATURDAY:
• Hunter Mahan will have a second chance against No. 1 Martin Kayer
• Devastation in Japan has hit home at Doral.
• Tiger Woods continues to struggle, this time with his putter.

Saturday weather forecast
Clear conditions
Temp: 74 high/58 low
Sunny, with Northeast wind between 6-10 mph.
.
ShotLink player notes
Here are some of the players you’ll see on Golf Channel’s and NBC’s coverage of Saturday’s play
Hunter Mahan
Mahan is the 36-hole leader for the first time in his PGA TOUR career this week. Mahan’s previous best position through two rounds was a tie for second at the 2008 Travelers Championship where he went on to tie for second.
Mahan has been solid with his irons this week, hitting 78 percent (T5) of the greens in regulation and averaging a field-leading 28 feet on all approach shots (1st in the field for proximity to the hole). Mahan’s 28-foot average with his irons is nine feet closer than the field average of 37 feet.
Martin Kaymer
World No. 1 Martin Kaymer has been solid on and around the greens of TPC Blue Monster this
week. He was one of just three players without a bogey Friday (D. Johnson, F. Molinari). In fact, Kaymer has just one bogey in his first 36 holes this week (tied for fewest in the field with F. Molinari) thanks in large part to his performance around the greens.
Kaymer has successfully salvaged par or better on 9 of 10 missed greens this week (2nd in
the field for scrambling). On the greens, he’s gone a perfect 27 for 27 when putting inside six feet through two rounds.
Francesco Molinari
Molinari has been extremely solid with his irons this week hitting 81 percent of the greens in regulation through two rounds (T-2nd in the field) compared to the field average of 61 percent. Of the seven greens missed, Molinari has successfully salavaged par or better six times, ranking him third in the field for scrambling.

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Thompson adds new equipment and instructor on way to winning on the Nationwide tour

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Kyle Thompson

Kyle Thompson

Kyle Thompson doesn’t have to be reminded how fast time goes by.

It wasn’t that long ago when he was a fresh-faced pro in his early 20s hoping to make waves on the Nationwide Tour. Now he’s 31 and in his eighth year on Tour, he sees things through a different lens.

“I used to kind of hang out more and maybe not take care of myself as well I should have,” said Thompson, a 2001 graduate of South Carolina. “But I’ve got a family now so I can’t hang with the guys as much.”

Thompson and his wife, Emmi, have a daughter, Sophie, who will be 2 soon and another baby on the way that’s due in August. They live in Greenville, S.C. and whenever possible the entire family travels together to tournaments.

“I’ve really tried to take it more seriously and it’s just maturity,” said Thompson, a two-time winner on the Nationwide Tour in 2007 when he had his best season. “I really hit the weights hard in the off-season trying to get stronger because if there’s a trait out here for the guys that move on to the PGA TOUR it’s that they all bomb it.”

Thompson was hoping to get off to a good start last week at the Panama CLARO Championship. He says he accomplished that goal with a tie for 10th with rounds of 68-65-71-70 to finish at 6 under for the tournament.

The Nationwide Tour will move to the Pacific Rubiales Bogota Open Presented by Samsung this week.

Thompson made several off-season changes from equipment to clothes to and hooked up with Dale Lynch, an instructor who works at The Cliffs in South Carolina. Lynch works with several players including Geoff Ogilvy, Aaron Baddeley and Mathew Goggin, who wound up winning the Panama CLARO Championship on Sunday.

The biggest thing that Lynch has helped Thompson with is his set up, which tends to waver at times.

“He’s helped me with some little things like with my set up and with my putting,” Thompson said. “I just wanted to hit the re-set button for this year and that’s kind of what I did and I’m looking for a fresh start.”

Thompson was a regular on the Nationwide Tour from 2003 until 2007, when he won twice in ’07 and did finished high enough on the money list to earn his PGA TOUR card for 2008. He’s won more than $1 million on the Nationwide Tour, which he says is both good and bad. He ranks 15th on the career money list of the 22-year-old Nationwide Tour.

“It’s nothing to be ashamed about,” he said about earning just a little more than $1 million in 186 career tournaments (100 cuts made).

When he played on the PGA TOUR in 2008 he made 26 starts but made just eight cuts. He had one top 25 finish with a tie for 15th at the Puerto Rico Open. He finished a distant 211th on the PGA TOUR money list with just over $150,000.

Because Thompson had a taste of the PGA TOUR he is hoping to get back there, and knows that every top-10 he can get this season will help him achieve that goal.

Last season was a comeback season for Thompson as he finished 49th on the Nationwide Tour money list. In 2009 he suffered what he called the “worst year of his life” on the course where he plummeted to 148th on the money list.

He has trouble explaining what went wrong in 2009, and while he fell short of his goal in 2010 of making the PGA TOUR, again he was thrilled with how he rebounded.

“That’s why I really feel good about this year,” Thompson said. “This is the best I’ve ever felt and with the changes I’ve made I’m really looking forward to seeing how everything goes.”

With his first top 10 already in the books, Thompson says that bodes well for how the rest of his season might look like.

As a wily veteran of the Nationwide Tour he can draw on his experience each week.

“It’s definitely an advantage knowing the courses even though this first week the conditions were different from years past,” Thompson said. “It’s usually pretty firm but they had a lot of rain and the course played soft so that was an adjustment.”

While some players try not to think too much about the PGA TOUR, Thompson is a little different.

“I think about every day because if you want it bad enough you have to keep working hard,” he said.

Thompson joked that one perk of the PGA TOUR is the daycare that’s provided at most tournament stops.

“I guess that’s another reason to try and get back there,” Thompson said laughing.

He’s hoping for another shot at the TOUR, but it’s about more than his growing family.

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Woods and others just make it in field for World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship

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Cadillac Championship

Cadillac Championship

Two important qualification deadlines ended today as more of the world’s best players became officially qualified for the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship through the Official World Golf Ranking and the European Tour’s Race to Dubai standings. The 2011 Cadillac Championship returns to Doral Resort & Spa, a Marriott Resort, March 9-13 and will feature the best players from across the globe through a variety of qualification criteria.

Nine players who were not previously qualified for the event via last year’s FedExCup, Race to Dubai or other Federation requirements have now qualified for the Cadillac Championship via the top 50 in the OWGR. These players include six-time Cadillac Championship winner Tiger Woods, Anthony Kim, Rickie Fowler, Ryo Ishikawa, Yuta Ikeda, Y.E. Yang, Bill Haas, Vijay Singh and 2011 standout Mark Wilson.

Two players finished in the top 10 of the European Tour’s 2011 Race to Dubai standings who were not otherwise qualified: Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn and India’s SSP Chowrasia.

Players have one final opportunity to gain entrance into the Cadillac Championship field this week. On Monday, March 7, players in the top 10 in the 2011 FedExCup standings and any players moving into the top 50 in the OWGR, will qualify for the event. Notable players who would seem to be a lock via the FedExCup standings are Jhonnatan Vegas, D.A. Points, Aaron Baddeley and Jonathan Byrd.

Here is a quick look at the players on the bubble of the OWGR who are playing this week with a chance to make the field for the second World Golf Championships event on the season (players in bold are already qualified):

Name Country Playing this week
Anders Hansen Den No
Hiroyuki Fujita Japan Yes — Honda Classic
Matteo Manassero Italy Yes — Honda Classic
Sean O’Hair USA Yes — Honda Classic
Stewart Cink USA Yes — Honda Classic
J.B. Holmes USA No
Ryan Palmer USA No
Kevin Na USA No
Jeff Overton USA Yes — Honda Classic
Charley Hoffman USA No

“The field for this year’s World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship is shaping up to be one of the strongest, diverse and most complete group of golfers that this tournament has ever hosted,” said Eddie Carbone, Executive Director of the Cadillac Championship. “This weekend will put the finishing touches on what will be a gathering of the best players from around the world.”

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Stroud makes eight birdies and takes three stroke lead into Sunday at the Mayakoba Golf Classic

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Chris Stroud

Chris Stroud

Chris Stroud made eight straight birdies — one off the PGA Tour record — and shot a 63 on Friday to take a three-stroke lead at 11-under 131 after the second round of the Mayakoba Golf Classic.

“You can never get ahead of yourself,” Stroud said. “Tomorrow is another day. I’ve got to come out and do the same thing tomorrow and look for a consistent routine and stick to my process, and whatever happens at the end of the week is where I end up.”

Winless in five seasons on the PGA Tour, the 29-year-old Stroud birdied Nos. 9-16. Mark Calcavecchia set the record of nine straight birdies in the second round of the 2009 Canadian Open at Glen Abbey.

“I was just trying to stay out of my own way,” Stroud said. “I wasn’t really thinking about it. I really had two good chances on 17 and 18, had about a 25-footer up the hill and then probably an 18-footer on 18.

“Seventeen, I left it a little short and I told myself, `Let’s just hit a good putt.’ I hit a pretty good one, but it didn’t break.”

Kevin Stadler (66), Cameron Percy (66) and Sunghoon Kang (67) were tied for second on the Greg Norman-designed El Camaleon course south of Cancun on the Caribbean coast. Johnson Wagner (66), Fredrik Jacobson (67), Jarrod Lyle (66), Billy Horschel (65), William McGirt (67), Kent Jones (68) and Spencer Levin (67) were 7 under.

Stroud began the birdie run with an 8-foot putt, made a 10-footer on No. 10, and added an 18-footer on 11. On the par-4 12th, he lipped out a 6-iron approach and holed a 6-footer. He made a 4-foot putt on the par-5 13th after hitting a 2-iron just short of the green and chipping.

The former Lamar player made a 25-footer on 14, hit an 8-iron to 2 feet on the par-3 15th, then made another 25-footer on 16 for his final birdie.

“Everybody knows it out here, it’s all putting,” Stroud said. “Most of us hit it pretty well, and a lot of days when you don’t hit that well and you putt and chip well, you’re still going to make a pretty good score.”

He missed the cuts in his last three events, shooting 74-73 last week at Riviera.

“I’ve actually been playing pretty well,” Stroud said. “This is my fifth event this year. I played pretty well in California, only made one cut out of four, and that just goes to show you how difficult the PGA Tour is. You can play well and not make a cut.

“I knew if I just hung in there and was patient this week, and everything sort of clicked over nine holes. I made all the putts I’ve been missing for the last four weeks all at once.”

David Toms, tied for the first-round lead after a 66, had a 70 to drop into a tie for 12th at 6 under. Defending champion Cameron Beckman was at 5 under after a 70.

Aaron Baddeley, the Riviera winner, missed the cut with rounds of 74 and 71. Bob Hope Classic champion Jhonattan Vegas was 3 under, following an opening 74 with a 65, and John Daly missed the cut, shooting 73-75.

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Here is how the experts size up the top contenders at the Mayakoba Golf Classic this week

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The PGA TOUR travels to El Camaleon Golf Club in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico for the Mayakoba Golf Classic this week. Here’s how the PGATOUR.COM experts sized up the top contenders:

EXPERT PICKS
How it works: Our experts from PGATOUR.COM select the player they think will win this week’s event. By using a draft process, no two picks can be the same. The player who wins the previous week picks last the following week.
MORE: Power Rankings | Inside the Field | Inside the Course | FANTASY GOLF: Play our game — FREE!
Expert picks: Mayakoba Golf Classic
Expert Pick order Player selected
Brian
Wacker
JHONATTAN VEGAS. He’s had three finishes inside the top 12, including a win and a tie for third. Vegas is also coming off a final-round 66 at Riviera in the Northern Trust Open. The dream season will continue in Mexico.
John
Swantek
BRIAN GAY. The 2008 Champion finished 20th in his title defense the following year. He missed last year’s event because he qualified for the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship but is back on a track that he thrives on.
If Swantek had the top pick … Gay
Ryan
Smithson
J.J. HENRY. Good start to the 2011 season for this big hitter who finished second here in 2009. Tied for ninth last week in the Northern Trust Open after a 66 on Sunday. Hasn’t yet missed a cut this year. Translation: I just jinxed him.
If Smithson had the top pick … Gay
Helen
Ross
AARON BADDELEY. I can’t pass this Aussie up, not after his gutsy performance on Sunday at Riviera Country Club. The win at the Northern Trust Open was a long time coming — why not make it two in a row?
If Ross had the top pick … Baddeley
John
Schwarb
JERRY KELLY. He started the season well with a T9 at the Sony Open in Hawaii and T13 at the Bob Hope Classic. At the Mayakoba, he hasn’t finished lower than 28th in three starts, including a T6 in ’09.
If Schwarb had the top pick … Kelly
Lauren
Deason
SPENCER LEVIN. I’m going to go with our Power Rankings and select Spencer Levin, who is currently 21st in the FedExCup standings. He tied for 28th at Mayakoba last year and has already notched a T4 and a T12 this season.
If Deason had the top pick … Vegas
Chris
Dunham
BRINY BAIRD. He’s getting limited starts as he fights to regain full status, and has a big opportunity in Mexico, where he has three consecutive top-15 finishes. Maybe it’s the hat. Maybe it’s his flamingo putting. But I like the guy’s style.
If Dunham had the top pick … Henry
Anne
Szeker
CHARLES HOWELL III. Howell has a pair of top-15 finishes this season and has played decently at this event in the past. He posted a two rounds in the 60s in last year’s Mayakoba Golf Classic to finish tied for 20th.
If Szeker had the top pick … Henry
Mike
McAllister
CAMERON BECKMAN. When in doubt, take the defending champion. Beckman was the only player in the field with four rounds in the 60s last year. He’s played well in three of five 2010 starts, so he should tee off Thursday feeling good about his chances.
If McAllister had the top pick … Vegas
Standings after Week 5
LAST WEEK: Mike McAllister again picks No. 9 after tying Anne Szeker for the best week at the Northern Trust Open.
Position Name Wins Top-5s Top-10s Top-25s FedExCup points
1 Mike McAllister
Managing Editor, PGATOUR.COM
0 3 3 5 834.88
2 Lauren Deason
Editorial Coordinator, PGATOUR.COM
0 3 4 4 643.50
3 Brian Wacker
Site Producer, PGATOUR.COM
0 1 3 5 571.60
4 Ryan Smithson
Site Producer, PGATOUR.COM
0 2 3 3 358.57
5 Anne Szeker
Site Producer, PGATOUR.COM
0 1 2 3 330.38
6 Chris Dunham
Editorial Coordinator, PGATOUR.COM
0 0 3 3 322.66
7 Helen Ross
Chief of Correspondents, PGATOUR.COM
0 0 2 3 280.40
8 John Schwarb
Site Producer, PGATOUR.COM
0 0 0 3 238.00
9 John Swantek
Host, On The Tee
0 0 1 2 194.00

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Baddeley wins Northern Trust Open at Riviera

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Aaron Baddeley wins Northern Trust Open

There were so many great storylines and lessons that all golfers could take from this past week’s Northern Trust Open at Riviera. I could have written about how ageless good golf can be, as it was great to see Corey Pavin and in particular, Fred Couples, up near the top of the leaderboard all week. I could have written about how Riviera is a shotmakers course, and that distance is not as important as the ability to work the ball – something all of us could probably work on a little more. And I could have written about how difficult it can be, for even the world’s best players, to maintain focus when weather and pace of play means lots of downtime between shots.But to me, the most intriguing part of the week and most applicable lesson for amateur golfers was the resurgence of Mr. Aaron Baddeley. Many golf fans and teachers have long recognized the talent Baddeley has had, and it was just a matter of him finding his own personal comfort zone in order to flourish on the PGA Tour.

Aaron went through a well-publicized break from his long-time swing coach a few years ago and had mixed results with a couple of different philosophies. However, he struggled on the final day of the 2007 U.S. Open when he entered the final round with a lead and he ultimately went back to his childhood coach, Dale Lynch.

This week’s “A Lesson Learned” is not about what swing philosophy is better than another, it’s about the fact that there are multiple swing philosophies because there are multiple ways to play good golf. One of the things that we all – teachers and students – need to remember is that the purpose of golf instruction isn’t to make a perfect swing, it’s to lower scores.

It’s important that you find a teacher that you feel comfortable with, whose philosophy makes sense to you, and that you can remain patient and committed as you two work through several elements of golf that will make you a better player.

Baddeley’s success this week is not a testament for or against a particular type of instruction. It’s an example of what commitment, dedication and patience can do for a golfer who is willing to put in the work with a teacher they believe in.

Kirk Oguri is a PGA Professional at Spring Rock Golf Center in New Hyde Park, NY. He is also the Equipment Expert/Specialist/Tester at Pete’s Golf Pro Shop, Mineola, NY. Oguri has played on professional golf tours around the world and is President and owner of A-Balance Inc., a golf product company. You can follow Kirk on twitter at @kirkoguri.In fact, I don’t like the term “swing instructor” so much as I do “golf coach.” I’ll help you swing better, but that’s a means to the real goal, making you play better golf, lower your scores and enjoy your time on the course more.

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