Martin Kaymer

My picks for the Players

by Derek on May 11, 2011

in PGA Tour

Adam Scott

This week the world’s best (well except for Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy) are gathered at the TPC Sawgrass for the so called “fifth major”, the Players Championship.  Like many others, I think the “fifth major” label is stretching it a bit, but if you just went by the coverage on the Golf Channel, you’d think the US Open was being held this week.

That said, the Players Championship is always a fun tournament to watch and the notoriously difficult island green on the par-3 17th is one of the most exciting holes in golf.  So who do I think will emerge victorious on Sunday?

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Tiger Woods

With Martin Kaymer missing the cut 78-72, the #1 world ranking is officially up for grabs this weekend at the Masters.  Lee Westwood (#2), Phil Mickelson (#3), Luke Donald (#4), and Tiger (#7) could all take over the number 1 spot depending on how the other contenders finish.  Graeme McDowell (#5)  missed the cut and because of the math, Paul Casey (#6) can’t move to #1 even if he wins.

You’d have to be a statistician to figure out all of the possible scenarios, but thankfully the Golf Channel’s Randal Mell has laid out the possibilities for the rest of us:

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Phil Mickelson World Rankings ahead of Tiger Woods

Phil Mickelson’s win on Sunday at the Shell Houston Open moved him into 3rd place in the world golf rankings (from 6th) while Tiger, who didn’t play, slid from 5th to 7th.  This is the first time that Mickelson has led Tiger in the world rankings in 14 years (since the 1997 Masters).

Many golf fans probably asked themselves today if Hell had finally frozen over.  Ok, that’s a bit dramatic, but after Mickelson was unable to move ahead of Woods on 15 separate occasions last year, it seemed like it would never happened.  However on Sunday, Mickelson finally pulled out a big win when he needed it and vaulted past Woods.

Mickelson is now just over a point behind world #1 Martin Kaymer.  I’m not sure exactly how the math works out, but if Phil wins at Augusta this week, he would have to be very, very close to the #1 spot.  Last week, I would have told you that it meant he had no chance of winning.  This week, well, I’m not so sure anymore.

It’s official.  People that bet on golf are idiots.  Tiger Woods is currently 10-1 to win the Masters this week.  He was the odds on favorite to win this week until Phil Mickelson won in Houston over the weekend.  He dropped from 8-1 to 10-1 while Phil did the reverse.

Seriously, what the hell are people thinking?  I’m not saying that Tiger should be 100-1, but 10-1?   That’s nuts.  Tiger hasn’t done anything recently that would warrant those odds.  If he had finished well at the Bob Hope, I could see it.  But a T24 performance doesn’t bode well for his chances at Augusta.

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Last year, Bubba Watson was all that stood between Martin Kaymer and his first major.  Kaymer defeated Watson in a 3-hole playoff to claim the PGA Championship.  Yesterday, Watson was all that was standing between Kaymer and the #1 world ranking.

It took just a little bit longer (a full 18 holes), but after Kaymer won the 16th hole to go dormie, he seemed destined to displace Lee Westwood on top of the world golf rankings, a spot that Westwood has held since Oct 31st.

I’ve stated a number of times that I think Martin Kaymer is currently the best player in the world.  Nobody else has matched his performance over the past year and now the rankings have finally caught up to reality.

Kaymer will now face Luke Donald in the final match of the WGC-Accenture.  The number 1 spot is secure, but I’m sure that Kaymer would love to put an exclamation point on it with a win.  That’s going to be a tough task, as Donald has birdied 13 of his last 27 holes.  But he can’t stay that hot forever can he?


Defending champion Ian Poulter wasn’t feeling to good about being knocked out in the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play yesterday.  Given that he wasn’t the only upset, he proposed a match with Tiger this weekend, and suggested that Paul Azinger could provide commentary.  Steve Stricker might want in on this thing too.

Honestly a Poulter/Woods grudgematch would probably draw ratings as high as any other match left to play this weekend.

And on a side note, how good did Martin Kaymer look yesterday?  If he keeps playing like that, it’s only a matter of time before the world #2 finds himself in the #1 spot.

Tom Watson

The title kind of says it all.  How unusual is it that any given week’s PGA Tour event the 3rd most interesting golf tournament taking place?  Yes, “Johnny Vegas” is doing his thing at the Bob Hope Classic this week and could grab his first PGA Tour victory in just his fifth start.  But despite that, I honestly think both the European Tour and Champions Tour events are more exciting.

On the Champions Tour, we have Tom Watson shooting a 65 on Saturday to make it into the final pairing for Sunday.  I generally don’t follow the Champions Tour, but if Watson is in contention, I’m probably going to tune in.

And in Abu Dhabi, we’ve got the best player in the world showing his stuff. No, not world #1, Lee Westwood.  I’m talking about the best golfer in the world right now, Martin Kaymer.  When you look at his swing, you wonder why he doesn’t win every single event he enters.  He’s only made 1 bogey this week and is 3 clear of the field.  And if he wins, I believe that he will move past Woods into the #2 world ranking spot on Monday.  If that happens, the #1 ranking seems like just a matter of time.

So what do you guys think?  Am I way out in left field on this one?

[Image Flickr/Keith Allison]

US vs Europe Rematch

by Derek on November 11, 2010

in International Golf,PGA Tour

PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem w/ his Golden Goose, Tiger Woods

We all know that the Euros got the best of our last encounter at the Ryder Cup. I thought we were going to have to wait 2 years to see a rematch, but the PGA and European Tours are giving us a bit of a rematch less than 2 months later. Over the last few weeks there have been a series of escalating actions/reactions that have the potential to create dramatic lasting impacts on the landscape of professional golf.

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Shanghai Showdown

by Derek on November 3, 2010

in International Golf,Tiger Woods

SHANGHAI, CHINA - NOVEMBER 02: Tiger Woods of the USA (L) and Lee Westwood of England cross swords during the 2010 WGC-HSBC Champions Photocall at The Peninsula hotel on The Bund, Shanghai on November 2, 2010 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Crouching Tiger Hidden… Westwood?

All of the big boys are out to play this week in Shanghai at the HSBC Champions.  15 of the top 20 players in the world are competing including Tiger, Phil, Kaymer and Westwood.  Tiger, Phil and Kaymer all have an opportunity to grab the #1 ranking with a win.

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Lee Westwood is now officially the #1 golfer in the world, which I think also technically makes him the best player in the world to have never won a major.

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