Montys Momentum Wave

By Tom AbbottSeptember 14, 2010, 9:16 pm

European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie must be pretty happy. For the past five tournaments on the European Tour schedule, the winners have all been members of his team, a stretch which dates back to Martin Kaymer at the PGA Championship and includes Peter Hanson, Edoardo Molinari, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Kaymer again last week in Holland. Furthermore, Monty managed to dodge an embarrassing bullet when Paul Casey faltered to Dustin Johnson at the BMW Championship on the PGA Tour. Casey was a glaring omission from Montgomerie’s wild-card selections. Add to this the silencing of some potentially embarrassing allegations surfacing in the British papers, and Monty is going full speed ahead to Celtic Manor.

Surely it won’t be that easy, and I’m not buying the fact that Europe is such a huge favorite. On paper, yes the European team is stronger, but when the first tee shots are struck, scrunch-up that paper and throw it in the rubbish bin. All 24 of these players are tournament tested, and for that matter potential major winners on any given week. The things the Europeans have on their side:  all of them have been to Celtic Manor at least once in their lives and most have experienced some good, old-fashioned, nasty British weather. I am not a fan of the matches being played so late in the year, and I’m a little disappointed in the choice of venues. The decision these days seems to rest with money and logistics rather than quality of golf course. I just hope the European Tour and the British PGA, the two organizers of the matches on European soil, don’t get caught with their pants down, so to speak, if the heavens open, the wind blows and the players are left trudging around a saturated golf course in wooly hats and drab waterproofs.

The home side may have an advantage, but it's not really doing much to attract you, the potential golfing tourist, to visit Wales. It is a beautiful country. Drive north from Celtic Manor into the Brecon Beacons, through some of the old mining valleys, and you’ll see breath-taking views coupled with interesting historical sights. There are quite a few more authentic golf courses to experience as well. Take Royal Porthcawl, Southerndown and the Rolls of Monmouth, to name a few. We still have a few weeks left before Ryder Cup week begins, and, at present, the sun is shining for captain Monty. In South Wales, at least the for the next week or so, many people across the pond will be keeping their toes and fingers crossed that it stays that way.
On his way to the Walker Cup in 1995, there was a very good possibility Tiger Woods drove down the M4 motorway right past the entrance to Celtic Manor. It was during that event that England’s Gary Wolstenholme pulled off one of the biggest moments in his career. Short- and straight-hitting Gary beat the man that would ultimately become the most famous sportsman in the world, 1-up, in the Saturday singles. It's easily forgotten Woods recovered the day day, winning 4 and 3.

Sneak ahead 15 years, and we find that both are now professionals. Wolstenholme joined the paid ranks late in life having put together one of the best amateur careers in the history of the game. Professional life hasn’t been as easy. A satellite tour win is his only highlight. But in August, life took a turn for the better. His 50th birthday signaled new opportunity, and two weeks ago in his European Senior Tour debut, Wolstenholme placed T-3 at the Travis Perkins Senior Masters. This finish catapulted him to 64th on the money list and gave him a chance of gaining full privileges for the 2011 season without having to go through the dreaded senior Q-School. Wolstenholme is back in action this week at the Casa Serena Open in the Czech Republic. He is seeking another top-10 finish to give him a spot in the Cannes tournament in October to creep into the magical top 30 on the money list and gain a full card for next season. The week of the Ryder Cup, the seniors have the week off, but chances are he’ll be watching Woods, thinking more about his future than one of the great moments of his past.
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Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.

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Rose: T-2 finish renewed my love of The Open

By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 9:00 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Justin Rose made the cut on the number at The Open and was out for an early Saturday morning stroll at Carnoustie when, all of a sudden, he started putting together one great shot after another.

There was no pressure. No one had expected anything from someone so far off the lead. Yet Rose shot 30 on the final nine holes to turn in 7-under 64, the lowest round of the championship. By day’s end he was five shots behind a trio of leaders that included Jordan Spieth.

Rose followed the 64 with a Sunday 69 to tie for second place, two shots behind winner Francesco Molinari. His 133 total over the weekend was the lowest by a shot, and for a moment he thought he had a chance to hoist the claret jug, until Molinari put on a ball-striking clinic down the stretch with birdies on 14 and 18.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I just think having made the cut number, it’s a great effort to be relevant on the leaderboard on Sunday,” said Rose, who collected his third-career runner-up in a major. He’s also finished 12th or better in all three majors this year.

In the final round, Rose was well off the pace until his second shot on the par-5 14th hole hit the pin. He had a tap-in eagle to move to 5 under. Birdie at the last moved him to 6 under and made him the clubhouse leader for a few moments.

“It just proves to me that I can play well in this tournament, that I can win The Open,” Rose said. “When I’m in the hunt, I enjoy it. I play my best golf. I don’t back away.

“That was a real positive for me, and it renewed the love of The Open for me.”