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Tag:Lee Westwood
Posted on: March 8, 2012 11:08 am
Edited on: March 8, 2012 12:03 pm
 

What would a win mean for each of these players?

Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood pose in China. (Getty Images)

By Shane Bacon

The WGC-Cadillac Championship kicks off this Thursday, and all top-50 players are in the field for the stacked event. And while all of the guys in the field have a chance, we decided to give you an idea of what a win would mean for some of the bigger names in the field. 

Rory McIlroy (World Ranking: 1) -- A win would really cement all those “next Tiger” stories, and show that while he’s happy to win events like Honda Classic, he isn’t exactly content with one win early in his season. Rory probably has the most pressure this week because he has to back up a big performance at the Honda, and if he can pull a victory out at Doral, it would really show his internal fortitude. 

Luke Donald (WR: 2) -- Lost in all this McIlroy-Woods chatter, we must remember that Donald was the No. 1 player in the world before Rory took it from him, and still has tons of game. A win by Donald would show that he’s tougher than we think, and is really ready to fight against the best for big wins. 

Lee Westwood (WR: 3) -- Talk about lost in the shuffle, Westwood closed with a final round 63 at the Honda Classic, but barely anybody remembered it because of Tiger’s 62. He has barely won anything on American soil, but his game is sharp, and if he won it would mean that he is finally ready to claim victory at events with all the big names in them.

Phil Mickelson (WR: 12) -- You never know what you’re going to get from Lefty these days, but his win at Pebble Beach showed he is still hungry to win, and a victory at Doral this week would show that 2012 might be another year that Mickelson goes wild. He’s the type of player that can still win four or five events a season, and if he won at the Blue Monster, we’d all have to put him first on our Masters prediction lists.

Tiger Woods (WR: 16) --  A win for Tiger? It would mean everything. He could stop answering questions about how close he is. He could finally get a real tournament monkey off his back (unlike the small field at the Chevron). He would show that he can play well back-to-back weeks and would tell the rest of the golfing world that he isn’t exactly ready to hand over the game to the younger generation. 

Check out the Eye on Golf Facebook page and follow Shane Bacon and Eye On Golf on Twitter. 
Posted on: March 5, 2012 11:29 am
Edited on: March 5, 2012 12:14 pm
 

MMSC: Rory, Tiger, and the art of closing

Rory McIlroy reacts after his final putt drops at the Honda Classic. (Getty Images)

By Shane Bacon

Golf is probably the hardest sport in the world to play, and play well, so it makes total sense that everyone is a critic, and that’s what we’re going to do here at Monday Morning Swing Coach. Cover just the PGA Tour? Nope. We're going to try to expand this Monday feature to anything and everything that happened the past weekend. 

Rory and Tiger most impressive at closing

A lot of things will be made about what happened on Sunday at the Honda Classic. Tiger Woods’ charge up the leaderboard. Rory McIlroy winning and becoming No. 1 in the world. 

But the thing that impressed me the most? How both were able to finish their rounds. 

So many times pro golfers will play great until the end, see what they are doing, and lose focus. You saw that with Brian Harman on Friday, when a holed bunker shot would have landed him in the 59 club, but instead of making the shot, he hit it three feet and then missed the putt for a 60. Sure, 61 is great, but that focus was lost for a second and a shot was dropped that would have allowed him his first top-10 finish on the PGA Tour. 

Tiger has been struggling mightily in recent events he was in contention in with actually closing the round. The tournament that comes to mind first was the Masters a year ago, when Tiger made a run early in his round only to struggle on the holes he usually dominates. 

Not this Sunday. Tiger put together a fantastic round in swirling winds, and finished it with a birdie-eagle finish. 

McIlroy was no different. His scrambling and bunker play on Sunday reminded me of Retief Goosen back in 2001 at Southern Hills, but Rory kept missing his golf shots in the right spots, and kept hitting unbelievable chip shots in short range of the cup to give him chances at par, which he converted. 

The comparisons of Tiger and Rory are plentiful after Sunday, but the thing that Woods used to do that separated himself from the pack was play well with a lead, and Rory did just that on Sunday, closing his round out with solid pars when he knew that was all he needed. A less steady McIlroy might have let the Tiger charge ruin him. The new Rory didn’t, and his ability to make the important putts down the stretch allowed him to breeze up the 18th hole with a two-shot lead and an easy run at par and the win. 

A confidence boost week

There are so many names that will be looking back at the Honda Classic with positive thoughts. 

The easy ones are Rory and Tiger, both using this week as a springboard for the rest of the season, but look down the leaderboard and see all the big names that played well at the Champions Course. 

Tom Gillis almost quit golf at one point, but played steady all week, even in the final round, and made a clutch birdie on the last hole to tie for second with Tiger and earn some serious dough he can put towards his 2013 card. 

Lee Westwood was paired with Woods early in the week, and while Tiger always outshines the rest of the field, we shouldn’t forget that Lee fired a final round 63 before Tiger finished to jump 23 spots for a fourth place finish alone. 

And then comes Rickie Fowler. I had a discussion early in the week about the state of Fowler’s game and we decided the kid was regressing and maybe needed a swing change to get to more consistent. 

Maybe I was completely wrong. Rickie shot 66 on Sunday for his first top-10 finish of the season and showed he isn’t completely lost out there. 

The Nationwide Tour’s U.S. Open?

This past weekend, the Nationwide Tour headed to Panama City for an event at the Panama Golf Club, and I’m just going to toss this out there; you might want to avoid that golf course if you want to keep your pride in tact. 

The winning score was 4-under, courtesy of Edward Loar, but he shot a final round 74 to win the event and only six players all week finished in red figures. 

Check out the new Eye on Golf Facebook page and follow Shane Bacon and Eye On Golf on Twitter. 
Posted on: February 27, 2012 7:29 am
Edited on: February 27, 2012 6:10 pm
 

MMSC: Mahan, McIlroy and The Question Mark

Hunter Mahan showcases his newest hardware. (Getty Images)

By Shane Bacon

Golf is probably the hardest sport in the world to play, and play well, so it makes total sense that everyone is a critic, and that’s what we’re going to do here at Monday Morning Swing Coach. Cover just the PGA Tour? Nope. We're going to try to expand this Monday feature to anything and everything that happened the past weekend. 

A Mahan masterpiece or a McIlroy mulligan? 

The crazy thing about match play format is the fact that a lot of the times you don’t get the best “TV matchup” when you get down to the final four players. We hardly ever get the two best players in the world going against each other, and a lot of the times one of the people in the finals isn’t exactly warranting views, but it was a nice surprise when Rory McIlroy and Hunter Mahan ended up being the final two men standing in Marana. 

Mahan is a talented American who has always been a golfer to watch, and has had marginal success on the PGA Tour. McIlroy, of course, is Tiger 2.0, a kid with curly hair, a desirable golf swing and the swagger to become the best at a very young age. 

And while we didn’t really pick this as one of our hopeful matches to begin the week, it was definitely satisfying. Mahan had played some of the best golf heading into the finals and McIlroy was searching for something that would have made all the headlines if it happened. But did it turn out to be Mahan’s victory of Rory’s defeat? 

McIlroy admitted after his finals loss that grinding out a win against Lee Westwood in the semifinals might have taken more out of him than he initially thought possible, but I’m not so much into buying that as I am to think that he simply got beat by a guy playing better golf.

Mahan seemed to keep hitting the shot he needed at the right time, rolled in some clutch putts and would have beat McIlroy even worse if not for a nasty lip-out on the 16th green. Rory is the type of player that could go on Tiger-like runs with his game, but it sure doesn’t seem like he’s there quite yet.

For now, we can all enjoy the fact that an American with an equally impressive golf swing and flat-brimmed custom caps took down an incredible field and did it on his own terms. 

McIlroy will have his chance to win this tournament when he’s ready. For now, Mahan notched his third PGA Tour win in as many years, and second World Golf Championships trophy. 

The Question Mark rookie

There is something incredibly brilliant about a good nickname in sports, and a rookie that outlasted a tour vet in an eight-hole playoff at the Mayakoba Classic might have the best nickname of them all.

John Huh is a big-time player, and in his fifth career PGA Tour event, won after Robert Allenby did just about everything in his power to give Johnny Question Mark the event before a playoff even ensued. 

Allenby had a two-shot lead standing on the 18th tee, but knowing that it’s 2012 and no lead is safe, hit driver into the trees and carded a double-bogey.

Ten holes later, Huh was the champion and Allenby was left wondering how the heck he didn’t get his first PGA Tour win since 2001. 

Note to just about everyone with a big lead on the final hole; it’s okay to hit an iron off the tee. Nobody is going to make fun of the way you win if you win. Anything goes if it means you leave with the trophy. 

One Last Tiger Note

I got a lot of messages from people that mentioned something about Tiger Woods not really looking into his matches this week at the Accenture. A few people mentioned that it almost seemed like he was just working on some stuff and getting ready for this week’s Honda Classic. 

But in our Tiger Vernacular Handbook, wouldn’t that go against everything he has ever said when he talks about playing? He stays true to certain phrases, and “coming here to win” is one of his favorites. If he has some things to work on, that’s fine, but I don’t think Tiger is heading to a big event like the Accenture in hopes of practicing and “finding” something for the next week’s event.


That isn’t Tiger, and I’d be surprised if he believed that is the way to go about things. 

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

Posted on: February 26, 2012 12:26 pm
 

Lee Westwood's drive ends up in fan's sweater

Lee Westwood's drive ends up in a tough spot. (Twitter)
By Shane Bacon

A lot of the game of golf revolves around where your ball ends up. It could be in a bunker, a cactus, a divot or in the hole. 

For Lee Westwood in his semifinals match against Rory McIlroy, one of his drives was very, very unplayable. On the 13th hole, Westwood missed his tee shot left, only to find it in the sweater of a fan watching the action. 

The photo to your right, taken by the AP’s Doug Ferguson, shows just what kind of shot Westwood faced when he walked up to his ball. 

Westwood’s caddied joked to the lady, “Would you mind walking 250 yards further” before getting a drop and making a par which lost him to the hole to McIlroy, but one fan will always have the memory of how the heck a golf ball ended up in her sweater. 

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

Posted on: February 24, 2012 12:09 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 12:21 pm
 

Lee Westwood provides quote of the week

Lee Westwood smiles on his way to a second round win. (Getty Images)

By Shane Bacon

One of the best things Twitter has shown us over the last two or three years is just how much fun a lot of the European PGA Tour players have. They poke fun at just about anyone (themselves included), and will jump on people way earlier than even critics would. 

One of the best at this? Lee Westwood, who has played some of the best golf of his career the last two years but is still haunted by an inability to claim that first major championship. Westwood is playing at the Accenture this week, an event he has never found himself out of the first round until his win on Wednesday, and while still alive heading into Friday, gave the world the golf quote of 2012 so far. 

Westwood had a horse racing in Dubai, and when asked how it finished, dropped this gem.

Via the AP ...

“I had a horse running in Dubai about an hour before I teed off," Westwood said. "Rerouted. It's a good horse, just doesn't win. At least it came in second, which I can sympathize with to a certain extent."

That’s good stuff, Lee. Westwood takes on Nick Watney this Friday at the match play. 

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


Category: Golf
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.  

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