Tag:Shane Bacon
Posted on: February 23, 2012 2:55 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 3:18 pm
 

Video: LPGA leader hits 'amateur' like shot

By Shane Bacon

There aren’t a lot of times when you are watching a professional golf event and see a shot that gives you flashbacks of your Saturday foursome group, and when you do see terrible shots, they aren’t normally from the leader of an event.

But Angela Stanford, leading the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore did just that on Thursday. Standing over her second shot on the par-5 9th, her final hole of the day, Stanford cold-topped it about 80 yards down the fairway. Don’t believe me? Watch the video.

The craziest part? She went on to make birdie on the hole, finishing at 6 under to take the lead by two shots. Normally when I hit the ball with the bottom of my golf club, I make a number most quarterbacks wouldn’t even wear on their jerseys. 

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow Shane Bacon and Eye On Golf on Twitter.  

Category: Golf
Posted on: February 22, 2012 6:27 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 10:19 am
 

The biggest surprises on Wednesday at Accenture

Luke Donald takes a drop during his match against Ernie Els. (Getty Images)

By Shane Bacon

Unlike March Madness, the Accenture Match Play is easily the biggest toss up in sports. Rankings? They’re meaningless, and anything can happen. That said, we give you our five biggest upsets of the first round of play. 

Ernie Els defeats Luke Donald -- It wasn’t that Donald was a top seed and Els came in the rugged vet holding a 16 seed, but it was a guy most had forgotten about beating the defending champion and world number one in the world! Els played great, and could definitely make a run here after gaining some confidence by smoking past Donald 5 and 4. 

Miguel Angel-Jimenez defeats Sergio Garcia -- Most thought Sergio, coming off a final round 64 at Riviera to tower up the leaderboard, would be a good pick to possibly upset Rory McIlroy in their side of the draw, but he couldn’t even get out of the first round, falling to his fellow Spaniard. The bright side of things? At least his blue shoes looked good.

David Toms defeats Rickie Fowler -- No, the seeds weren’t far apart (No. 8 vs. No. 9), but Toms openly admitted he hasn’t spent much time on his golf game. That didn’t stop him from taking out fan-favorite Fowler 1-up and giving himself a shot at Martin Kaymer in the next round. 

Ryo Ishikawa defeats Bill Haas -- It isn’t easy coming to an event like this after a gutsy win like Haas had last week, but it seemed like he’d roll Ishikawa after being 3-up with five holes to play. Ryo won four of the next five holes and advanced in the one PGA Tour event he seems the most comfortable in. 

Sang-Moon Bae defeats Ian Poulter -- There aren’t a lot of guys you’d call match play specialists, but Poulter is one of them, so to have him fall to such an unknown like Bae is a head-scratcher.

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow Shane Bacon and Eye On Golf on Twitter. 
Posted on: February 22, 2012 5:23 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2012 6:27 pm
 

Tiger Woods 'survives' in every sense of the word

Tiger Woods survived a tough first round match at the Accenture. (Getty)

By Shane Bacon

If you ever wanted a view of where Tiger Woods’ golf game has been the last two and a half years, you needed to spend a few hours watching his first round match at the Accenture Match Play on Wednesday.

Luck had always been on Tiger’s side for so many years, but the first hole showed that wasn’t really the case anymore. His opponent, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, a man that said Tiger was beatable before the match began, had a short birdie putt on the first hole that went on a victory lap before falling in to put the rather unknown 1-up. Tiger lost the next hole as well, and while he steadied the ship, and eventually won, it was anything but pretty.

Missed opportunities when it seemed like Fernandez-Castano was giving him the hole, powering birdie putts past the hole forcing him to mark and re-putt and looking fairly lost with his golf swing, the greatest thing you can say about Tiger’s Wednesday is he’s lucky he played a guy that didn’t seem ready to slam the door on the 14-time major winner.  

But, he did win, and that’s what this is all about. Tiger made a mess of the 18th hole after missing a fairly routine birdie putt on the 17th hole, but a clutch par save on the last gave him the win, and he advances to the second round to play a red-hot Nick Watney.

Tiger’s game plan on Wednesday seemed off. He had opportunities to play match play golf against someone that might not know exactly how to win these type of matches, but he continued to hit the hero shot and didn’t seem to get away with hit. His drive on No. 2 was just the start, but a few other decisions weren’t exactly right for the format. 

The strangest shot might have come on the final hole, when all Tiger really needed was to find the green and force his opponent to make birdie off a slippery slope, but Woods missed it in the toughest place he could have to leave a nasty up-and-in from the greenside bunker.

He got it, gave a muted fist pump, and is on to Thursday. Was it his best stuff? No, not by a long shot. Is advancing the only thing that matters at Marana? Absolutely, and we will see another freshly pressed Nike shirt in the second round. 

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow Shane Bacon and Eye On Golf on twitter.  

Category: Golf
Posted on: February 22, 2012 11:50 am
Edited on: February 22, 2012 2:05 pm
 

Man sues golf club for lowering his handicap

Thomas Talbot is suing Hermitage Golf Club for lowering his handicap. (Irish Independent News)

By Shane Bacon

There are only two ways to live with a golf handicap; always wanting to work on your game, redefine the things that aren’t that good, and lower that number each year. Or you can just enjoy ballooning that number so it’s easier to gamble against your friends, always claiming you’re a 15 when really you’re a solid 12.4. 

The latter is a 75-year-old man in Ireland who is so mad about his handicap going down that he is suing his home club for 10 million euros for lowing his handicap. 

According to the Irish Independent, Thomas Talbot is stating damage to his reputation for the club lowering his handicap 7.7 shots from 1999 - 2004. 

Yes, the man is so mad that his handicap went down that he is suing his former course, Hermitage Golf Club, and the handicap secretary. 

Now I know that sports are serious business. I know that competition is a big thing and wanting to win in a passion that some have and some don’t. But going eight figures on a place that felt that lowering your handicap was the right thing to do because of your talents? Wow.

I have read and seen a ton of crazy golf stories over my life. People getting in fights on courses. Robbery. Drunk driving a cart home. But this one might take the cake. 

I feel for the man because he obviously feels like this is something he’s so passionate about he wants to take it to court, but maybe, just maybe, post a couple of high rounds and call it a day. 

That’s what what everyone else in this world does when they’re sick of a low handicap. 

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow Shane Bacon and Eye On Golf on Twitter. 
Category: Golf
Tags: Shane Bacon
 
Posted on: February 21, 2012 6:33 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2012 1:23 pm
 

Matches we'd love to see at the Accenture

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy shake hands earlier this season in Abu Dhabi. (Getty Images)

By Shane Bacon

We know, we know, predicting things in golf is absolutely impossible, but the interesting nature of match play has us thinking ahead. What are the best possible matches that COULD happen this week at the Accenture? These are our favorite possible matchups. 

Nick Watney vs. Tiger Woods (second round) -- Any match Tiger is in will be featured, but I’d love see a player like Watney go up against him Tiger in a fairly even match.

Graeme McDowell vs. Hunter Mahan (second round) -- I’m fairly certain Mahan would love a piece of McDowell in match player after what happened at the 2010 Ryder Cup, and it would be the featured round of Thursday.  

Sergio Garcia vs. Keegan Bradley (second round) -- I’d like this just for the pre-match ceremony where Garcia hands over the “Incredibly Long Pre-Shot Gold Medal.” He’s held it for so many years!  

Adam Scott vs. Dustin Johnson (third round) -- I just like the idea of zero University of Arizona girls going to class on Friday so they can head out and see Mr. Scott vs. Mr. Johnson. 

Lee Westwood vs. Tiger Woods (third round) -- A clash of titans before the quarter-finals? Yes please.  

Rory McIlroy vs. Sergio Garcia (third round) -- Probably the best chance for McIlroy to get upset out of his bracket, Garcia is headed in playing some seriously good golf, and two of the bigger names in the game would bring tons of attention to the Gary Player bracket. 

Martin Kaymer vs. Bubba Watson (third round) -- I think just about everyone would be excited to see this rematch of the 2011 semi-finals, just as long as Kaymer leaves the scarf at home. 

Rory McIlroy vs. Jason Day (quarter-finals) -- I have a feeling this will happen, and I’m absolutely jazzed about it. 

Ben Crane vs. Kevin Na (quarter-finals) -- Can an entire match be put on the clock? Can even the guy putting people on the clock be put on the clock? No chance this isn't the final match of the day. It has to be!   

Rory McIlroy vs. Tiger Woods (semi-finals) -- Do I really need to explain why this would be awesome? 

Luke Donald vs. Tiger Woods (finals) -- Because I’d really like to see Tiger get his first win in something like this, over a bunch of big names, the last being the world number one. I think that would really show just where he is with his golf game, and give the guy about a 400 percent boost, confidence-wise. 

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow Shane Bacon and Eye On Golf on Twitter.  

Posted on: February 21, 2012 1:09 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2012 1:17 pm
 

Does golf need more match play events?



By Shane Bacon


Admit it, you love match play. Absolutely love it. It takes golf to another level. Instead of playing the usual format (you versus everyone else including the golf course) you are HEAD-to-HEAD against one guy, loser jumps on the phone with their travel agent.

It used to decide one of the majors, is the format to the best in both men’s and women’s golf (Ryder and Solheim Cups) and is what us regular folks play everyday when competing against friends on the links.

So, why in the world is it only once a year?

I know the reason why we only see it in one big event each season. Match play is feast or famine for networks, because if Tiger Woods plays Phil Mickelson in the finals, and all the matches before that, eyes will be glued to the television. If the finals are Ian Poulter and Paul Casey (like in 2010), it will be me, Elling and Nick Faldo watching on Sunday. 

But just once could we forget about the money and viewers and advertisers and all that and just make match play more relevant? It’s a beautiful format that changes the way professional golfers play the game. It brings in a whole new edge to the golf world, and as we’ve seen in the past, some are good at it, and some aren’t (Good? Geoff Ogilvy, Poulter, Tiger, and Casey. Bad? Vijay Singh, Vijay Singh and Vijay Singh). 

If your opponent hits his drive into a Jumping Cholla, you can hit iron off the tee and let him battle with the cacti. If your opponent drives the green, you are most definitely pulling out the big dog to try and answer his feat. Putts are just as much about strategy as they are about the line, and the whole goal is to win that shot, that hole, and honors. 

It gives golf an almost tennis feel. Rafeal Nadal talks in his book about just the point he’s in, and how neither the point before or the point after matters. That’s very similar in match play. Sure, when you play stroke play the shot you’re playing is the only thing you have control over, but it’s your whole round that matters. In this format, you can play the entire hole backwards in your mind, figure out exactly what you plan on doing, and execute it that way in hopes your opponent won’t have the same game plan.

Match play is beautiful, simple and exciting. It mixes golf with the shootout of hockey, the overtime of the NFL and buzzer beaters in basketball. It makes us think of March Madness (the best sports time of the entire year) and has a side comedy factor that one minute some millionaire golfer is out playing to win, and the next he’s figuring out how to get out of the rental agreement on his mansion in the foothills of Dove Mountain. 

I just wish we had it more than once a year. I wish the PGA Championship still went with this format because I think one major should be decided by match play, but I guess for now, enjoying the week and being excited about all the outcomes is the way to go. 

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow Shane Bacon and Eye On Golf on Twitter. 
Posted on: February 21, 2012 11:35 am
Edited on: February 21, 2012 3:18 pm
 

Tiger Woods' opponent says 'he's beatable'

Tiger Woods sighs after missing a putt at Pebble Beach. (Getty Images)

By Shane Bacon

There are a few rules in sports trash talking that everyone should know. Don’t predict a big victory unless your name is Joe. Don’t say anything you don’t have to say if you’re a superstar, just go do it.

And don’t push Tiger Woods’ buttons the week of a match-play event. 

Stephen Ames knows this. Back in 2006 at at this same event, a smile crept across his face when he mentioned, “Anything can happen when [Tiger’s] hitting the golf ball.” Woods went on to beat the man 9 & 8, the biggest defeat in the history of the tournament.

This week, Tiger is no No. 1 seed, but he is still playing a rather unknown in Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, who broke our third rule of trash talking already.

When asked about his first-round match this week with Tiger, Fernandez-Castano said he thinks he could take him. 

"I think he’s beatable,” Fernandez-Castano said. "Of course, I need to play good. That’s all I can think about and that’s all I’m going to try on Wednesday, just try playing my best game and hope that he doesn’t play his best."

Now, it isn’t the smartest thing to get Tiger riled up at his best format. Sure, Woods isn’t the same golfer as he was when he treated Ames like a pro-am partner, but I think match play is something that could really work for Tiger. It allows him to have a loose hole or two, and he could still make a bunch of birdies and advance far in this tournament. 

That said, would anyone be totally surprised if this Spaniard, who has never finished in the top-30 of a major, beat him? Is that something that would floor the golf community? I say no. 

Tiger’s golf game is unpredictable, and if anything, those words Ames spoke six years ago ring true even more today. Anything could happen when Tiger is swinging the club, good or bad. 

At this event, it’s more about the actions of Woods than the words of his opponent.

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow Shane Bacon and Eye On Golf on twitter. 

Category: Golf
Posted on: February 20, 2012 3:29 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2012 11:38 am
 

The winner of the week was really this guy

By Shane Bacon

Yes, Bill Haas won an incredible playoff this weekend, and yes, Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley both deserve recognition for some remarkable putts they made to force the sudden death holes, but the real winner was this guy in this video.

No, not Phil, the guy in the white shirt that had a near panic attack when Mickelson's 30-foot birdie on the 72nd hole found the bottom of the cup. Seriously, just watch and be amazed. I have no idea who he is, but he is definitely in the running for golf's 2012 meme.  

 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com