WESTWOOD DOMINATES IN BANGKOK

Lee Westwood wasn’t on holiday for long before his season started all over again, this time in Bangkok for the Thailand Golf Championship, at the Amata Spring Club.

This inaugural event was sanctioned by the Asian Tour which makes the tournament an important (and rich) one.
Westwood arrived early at the event, and flew in from Dubai. He attended a charity auction in order to raise money for the Thailand Flood Relief, helping to raise more than sixty thousand pounds to help all the innocent victims of the disastrous floods.

On the course, Westwood started off being paired with with Ryo Ishikawa and Thongchai Jaidee. He had a great opening round, managing five birdies and an eagle, on the opening nine holes, to card an impressive twelve-under-par sixty, and top spot on the very first day. His nearest rival was John Daly, a full 5 shots adrift. On this kind of form Westwood has to be one of the favourites on the US Masters betting online markets.

Westwood’s second round started at half past seven the next morning, and went on to produce another top class round of sixty four, leaving him twenty-under after 36 holes and eleven shots in the lead.

This perfomance should obviously come as no surprise, given that Lee won four tournaments in 2011, and held the World number One position for a brilliant thirteen weeks. He eventually finished a good fifth in the prestigious Race to Dubai, and finished the year as the World Number two – no mean feat.

MCDOWELL DISTANCES HIMSELF

US Masters champion Graeme McDowell has defended himself in the press after being accused of helping his manager to poach fellow Irishman Rory McIlroy.

McIlroy recently switched agencies from Andrew ‘Chubby’ Chandler’s ISM stable (which also looks after Lee Westwood) to Dublin-based Horizon. It was widely believed that best-friend McDowell may have had something to do with it, perhaps encouraging Rory to sign for Horizon too, but McDowell has played down these reports.

“I’ve heard I’m supposed to have enticed Rory, well I purposely took a back seat in it all,” McDowell said.

“Rory makes his own decisions. I certainly wasn’t going to sway him.”

Rory himself has put it down to needing a fresh view on business. “I am now keen to move onto the next stage of my career and I feel this will be facilitated by a fresh view and a new structure around me.

“Chubby and his team have played a very important role in my success to date. I have made great progress under their management and for that I will always be grateful.”

MCILROY AIMS TO BEAT WOODS

Rory McIlroy will become the next Tiger Woods if he carries on with the same pace in the golf. McIlroy went above and beyond his potential by shooting extremely low. Sixteen under par to be exact, a 72-hole record at the U.S. Open. The PGA tour’s version of Justin Bieber couldn’t have had a more dominating first major victory.

Everyone else was just playing for second – they wern’t even worth wasting a free bet on! Every player that Bob Costas interviewed could not avoid the round of statements putting McIlroy on a pedestal. And every player had nothing but rave reviews for their bunker buddy.

The Congressional has never seen such a performance in the tournament’s 111-year history, that’s for sure. What’s not certain is how golf will react to a new Grand Poobah. No Tiger, big problem.

WORLD GOLF TOUR REVIEW

The World Golf Tour has been recently reviewed and been given a positive rating by many. You start by painlessly setting up your account, for free, and picking your own avatar to represent you on the courses. You’re then put into the game on your own in a tutorial of sorts, which you can opt out of any any point, where you learn how to putt and in turn put the lessons to practice. By your 18th hole you’ve already learned the gist of what to do, and all that’s left is to fine-tune it.

As you play you also learn to factor in other things, such as wind strength and direction, how far your target is versus how far you can potentially hit the ball, and which club you should use. The game sets you up for each shot with the club it recommends, but you can always change it. Using a timed meter at the bottom of your screen, you must time your ‘shot’ as close to the target spot as you can in order to make the perfect shot.

The game is shown in the third person, with your avatar front and centre. If you want to see the course from different angles the choices are limited, but are available, via pre-designated camera angles you can choose on the map. These are extra handy for tricky shots, where you need to factor in slopes on the green to aim your shot well.

You can also customise your player to give him the latest Ping golf clubs, Titleist balls, and even a FootJoy glove.

OOSTHUIZEN WINS AFRICA OPEN

Louis Oosthuizen added another Open to his list of victories when he won the Africa Open after a three-man playoff at the East London Golf Club on Sunday – that tuition at golf lessons stockport is really paying off!

Oosthuizen birdied the first hole of a sudden-death playoff to beat England’s Chris Wood and Spain’s Manuel Quiros to the title, which is his third on the European Tour and signalled a welcome return to top form after he struggled with an injury towards the end of 2010.

The South African had been tied for the third round lead with Markus Brier, but the Austrian made a storming start, with three consecutive birdies to take the sole lead. However, a lost ball on the sixth saw Brier slip back and he never recovered.

Oosthuizen, meanwhile, kept at it and tied for the lead on the 15th with an eagle, causing all sorts of problems for golf betting sites who had lengthened his odds. He needed a birdie on one of the three remaining holes to take victory, but managed only pars to set up the playoff. Luckily for him, he found the birdie he needed at the first extra hole.

EUROPEAN TOUR CONFIRMED

The 2011 European Tour schedule will feature 50 golf tournaments, two more than this year, on 29 courses, with new events in Bahrain, Malaysia and the Italian island of Sicily.

The 2011 tour starts next month in South Africa and ends with the Dubai World Championship next December.

The European Tour said in a statement that from 2012 the schedule will be contained within the calendar year, starting in January and ending in December. The 2010 tour ends on Sunday.

Sicily will host a European Tour event at the Donnafugata Golf Resort in the south of the Italian island and Malaysia will host a second tournament, the Iskandar Johor Open, which has previously only been sanctioned by the Asian Tour.

The 2011 tour starts with four consecutive tournaments in South Africa, immediately followed by four in the Gulf as part of a desert swing. It includes the Volvo Golf Champions event in Bahrain. The Sicilian tournament will be the first to be held in Europe, in late March.

The Scottish Open, traditionally the last event before the British Open, will not be held in the town of Loch Lomond and a course has yet to be found. A new links course near the town of Inverness, Castle Stuart Golf Links, is reported to be favorite to host the event in 2011.

The tour leaves Europe in November and heads to China for the HSBC Champions event in Shanghai, followed by more Asian events in Singapore, Malaysia, China and Hong Kong.

WESTWOOD TEACHES WOODS A LESSON

Lee Westwood just can’t get enough of one-upping Tiger Woods. First, the Englishman overtook the former No. 1 for the top spot in the world golf rankings, and then he schooled Woods on how to use Twitter.

Tiger’s Twitter flop. @TigerWoods made a huge splash last week when he tried to use Twitter as a prop in his media blitz to repair his reputation and promptly proved his online game was not up to par. Meanwhile, the guy who unceremoniously dumped Woods from his perch atop the golf world, @WestwoodLee, showed Tiger the line with his first-ever Twitter post on Wednesday.

“Couldn’t let [Ian] poulter have all the fun on here,” Westwood tweeted. “And when tiger joined I couldn’t let it just be just him and tiger!”

He was cheeky enough to then later tweet Tiger some adidas coupon codes!

What would Cink tweet? The emperor of tweeting, @stewartcink (1.2 million followers and counting), might take exception to Westwood’s view of golf’s Twitterati, but perhaps the Brit was just dissing U.S. golfers the way he and his fellow Euros have ditched the PGA Tour.

In any case, Woods posted his “Hello, world!”-ish tweet, typed a couple more insignificant tidbits and then disappeared into the Twit-o-sphere. Westwood, who’s attempting to hold on to his top ranking in Dubai this week, showed he’s got game off the course as well when he cyber-jousted with fellow competitor, Poulter.

Tweeting with Poults. “Not a bad start to the week,” Westwood said after carding an opening-round 3-under 69T in the Dubai World Championship. “Only trouble now is I have to play with the king of Twitter on tour! Poults! I’ll be quizing him for tips!”

Meanwhile, back on the golf course, Poulter and Westwood shared fifth place with a handful of other golfers after Thursday’s first round. They were four off the pace of leader Robert Karlsson’s 7-under.

GOLF SHOE GLOVES?

What are those things on Oliver Wilson’s feet? They are Vibram FiveFingers golf shoes, but they sure look like gloves for the feet.

Speaking to Wimbledon Tickets magazine, Patricia Hannigan wrote that the shoes give “each toe … its own individual pocket. The resulting look is slightly reptilian … with a cartoonish quality.” But Patricia calls them “more whimsical than horrible.”

Wilson wore the “glove shoes” during the Dubai World Championship, and even he said, as quoted by the UK Press Association, “They look horrific.”

But some golfers are more adventurous than others, and Wilson is clearly one of the more adventurous.

Fisher explained to the UKPA why he was wearing them:

“I’ve had them for the last three weeks after my trainer turned up wearing a pair. I practise barefoot sometimes and swing it better, so I’d thought I’d give them a go.”

How’d it work out? Wilson finished at even-par 288 in Dubai, tied for 35th place.

The Vibram FiveFingers Web site explains the rationale behind “glove shoes”:

“Like the rest of the body, to keep our feet healthy, they need to be stimulated and exercised. That’s why we recommend wearing FiveFingers for exercise, play, and for fun. Stimulating the muscles in your feet and lower legs will not only make you stronger and healthier, it improves your balance, agility and proprioception.”

I’ll guess that most of you reading this wouldn’t dare show up on a golf course wearing “glove shoes.” Unless, that is, you were convinced they’d help your game. Golfers are willing to look all kinds of foolish if we think doing so will save a stroke here or there.

If you want to look good on the course (regardless of you’re shot playing) forget golf glove shoes and simply buy Galvin Green golf clothing!