What was the biggest surprise last week in golf — Curtis, Tseng, Wie, or Rio?

I was watching Ben Curtis win the Valero Texas Open yesterday and the thought went through my head that he was a “surprise” winner.  He had not won since the Booz Allen tournament in June 2006.  The surprise about the lack of wins between 2006 and 2012 is fueled by the fact that Curtis is a “Major” winner (he won the British Open at Royal St. George in 2003.)  Curtis won just a few years after turning pro and then did not live up to the expectations of a “Major” winner.  Expectations that now Bubba Watson will have to live up to in the coming years.

But was Ben Curtis the biggest surprise?  If we look at the LPGA tour, we could list the fact that Yani Tseng did not win (she finished tied for 10th at the Lotte Championship in Hawaii.)  But it is not a big surprise to me because I may just be the one person on the planet that does not believe Tseng will win every tournament she enters.

Is the bigger surprise the fact that Michelle Wie missed the cut again (making it three missed cuts in a row?)  I don’t think so.  She has missed three in a row in previous years.  The expectation some folks had that she would come out of Standford University and suddenly be great was ridiculous.  Every top golfer in the world talks about the focus it takes to be at the top of their game.  Wie is struggling because she has not been focused on golf in the last few years and it is clearly showing on the course.  Give her time to get mentally “back into the game.”

I think maybe the biggest surprise for me this week was not how well or poorly a professional golfer played; but the announcement that the site selected for the golf course for the 2016 Olympics is under a land dispute in Rio.  According to an Associated Press article it threatens the ability for the golf course to be ready because if they can’t use the land, they have to start from scratch for the golf course design.  This is a big deal given the designer has stated plans to “break ground” in October 2012.

The article goes on to say that “Elmway Participacoes has been trying to claim ownership of the land for the past three years.”  Really?  You would think the city/organizers of the Olympics would not pick a plot of land that someone has been trying to claim ownership of for three years.  But who knows what is really going on behind closed doors.  But the article also stated that this is not the first time a land dispute caused delays for another major sporting event (world soccer) in Brazil.

Bottom line, I want to see my favorite sport in the Summer Olympics — after all, the last time it was part of the Olympics was 1906 — and I would hate to see “a land dispute” keep it from happening.  Let’s hope the golf course designer, Gil Hanse, doesn’t face too many more surprises.

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Fantasy Golf Results: Match Play and Mayakoba

Most of my players did not do well this week but the one heartbreak was when Rory McIlroy lost in the final round of match play against Hunter Mahan.  Mahan is an excellent golfer, but up until now he is probably better known as one of the “golf boys,” so it was fun to see him win.

WGC Accenture Match Play Championship

(1) Luke Donald — Number one player in the world taken out in the first day by Ernie Els (a player that only got into the tournament because Phil Mickelson went on vacation with his family).

(2) Ben Crane — So much for being the number one putter on tour (based on PGA Stats.)  He was taken out by Bubba Watson on day one.

(3) Rory McIlroy — My favorite European player.  If he had won in the final match he would have been the new number one player in the world but it did not happen.

(4) Tiger Woods –Tiger did not have his “A-game” this weekend and lost in the second round to Nick Watney.

Mayakoba Golf Classic

You have to love the name of the winner of the Mayakoba — John Huh.  Fans are already wearing T-shirts with Huh? on the back.  Not only is his name a good “story” but his year so far is a good story.  He qualified for the tour via Q-School and he has made every cut in the 5 tournaments he has played — culminating with a win this weekend.  It was not an easy win — he won in an eight-hole playoff against Robert Allenby.  My picks, on the other hand, ended the weekend very far down on the leaderboard.

(1) Johnson Wagner  — Tied for 30th with a final of four under par.

(2) Brian Gay – Tied for 54th place with one over par.

(3) Jerrod Lyle — Tied for 37th with two under par.

(4) Cameron Beckman  — Tied for 63rd place shooting a 4 over par.

These are awful scores given the leader was at thirteen under par.   I had good reasons for these picks but you never can tell how players will perform from week to week.

Fantasy Golf: Match Play and Mayakoba

There are two PGA tournaments going on this week.  The Mayakoba Golf Classic in Cancun Mexico and the World Golf Championships (WGC) Accenture Match Play Championship.

This is an interesting week because of the WGC Accenture Match Play.  Basically the top 65 players in the world play in head to head matches.  If a player loses his match, he goes home.  So day one —  65 players in the field, day two — 32 players, etc. Until it is down to the final two players on Sunday.  Match play is exciting to watch because anything can happen but it is really hard to pick for fantasy golf.  But, here it goes.

WGC Accenture Match Play Championship

(1) Luke Donald — He is the number one player in the world.

(2) Ben Crane — He is the number one putter on tour (based on PGA Stats.)  Match play is supposed to be “won or lost” in the putting game so that is why I pick Crane.

(3) Rory McIlroy — My favorite European player.  He did not do that well last year but I think he has what it takes to win it all.

(4) Tiger Woods — He loves match play and did well at the Presidents Cup.

Update on match play — the first round is over and Luke Donald and Ben Crane are out.  I can’t believe the number one player in the world is out.

Mayakoba Golf Classic

So none of the top players in the world are in this tournament so it gives other players a chance to make their name. 

(1) Johnson Wagner  — He is the defending champion and is playing well this year so I am hoping for back to back wins.

(2) Brian Gay – Won Mayakoba in 2008 and was tied for 5th last year.

(3) Jerrod Lyle — Tied for 5th last year at Mayakoba.

(4) Cameron Beckman  — Tied for 12 last year at Mayakoba.  He is my “What the heck” pick this week.

Golf Boys – Not Your Father’s Golf Professionals

Most people think of golf as an “old boys” sport and there is some truth to that view if you only look at the demographics which indicate a lot of middle-aged and older men play golf.  However, if you do follow golf you know times are changing. There is a new breed of golf professional who sometimes wield social media as well as they do a golf club.

Watching various interviews, you can tell the younger golf professionals (or “young guns”) are very respectful of the traditions of golf, are in awe of golf legends, and want to be part of golf history.  But they are also part of the online generation and some of their off-course antics are anything but traditional. The best way to show you that these golfer’s are not your father’s professionals is with the video of the Golf Boys starring Ben Crane along with Bubba Watson, Hunter Mahan, and  Rickie Fowler.  The video is “Oh, oh, oh” by the Golf Boys.

The video came out last year and was sponsored by Farmer’s Insurance (during the Farmers Insurance Open).  Not only did Farmer’s Insurance promote the video but they also tied it to charity by stating that they would donate $1,000 for every 100,000 views. Now, I’m not sure if there was a time frame for the viewing/donation but the number of views to date (January 25, 2012) on YouTube is well over 2.8 million.

So why write about the Golf Boys video today?  Well, this week is the 2012 Farmer’s Insurance Open and a new video was released.  This time it is just Ben Crane in a video titled “The Lost Love.”  What is also interesting is that the YouTube caption states “For every 100,000 views, Farmers will donate $1000 to charity on behalf of Ben Crane up to $5000.”  Interesting to see a limit set. My guess is either Farmers got caught off guard last year with the success of Golf Boys or a corporate attorney reviewed the YouTube caption this year. To be honest, not sure they have much to worry about because the new video is not as good as the Golf Boys.

Bring back the Golf Boys in 2013!