Posted on: February 28, 2012 9:17 am
Edited on: February 28, 2012 9:34 am
 

Trump company completes purchase of Doral

The famous Blue Monster at the Doral Golf and Spa Resort. (Getty Images)

By Shane Bacon


Good news if you’re one of the many golf fans that love seeing the Doral Golf and Spa Resort at its absolute best, because the Trump Organization, run by that wacky man with the crazy hair, completed a purchase of four of the five courses on Monday.

Trump bought the resort for a reported $150 million, and plans to spend the next two years renovating the resort to make it, as he says, “the finest resort and golf club in the country.”

Why the purchase? Because Doral was struggling, filing for bankruptcy in February of 2011, and Trump swooped in to help get it back to the great resort it once was.

What does this mean for golf fans? Just that another great staple on our golfing map will once again be in as incredible shape as possible, and continue to attract some of the best golfers in the world for their annual hosting of the CA Championship. 

And honestly, who doesn’t love a little Trump with their golf?

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Category: Golf
Posted on: February 27, 2012 6:18 pm
 

Do high ratings mean Rory is the new Tiger?

By Shane Bacon

The ratings for the Accenture Match Play finals between Hunter Mahan and Rory McIlroy were the highest non-Tiger final since the tournament started in 1999. The numbers could have been for a few reasons (no real sports competitor with the rainout at Daytona and the NBA being on All-Star weekend), but what if it was simply because we've found the next Tiger Woods? 

Now I'm not one of those guys that sits here and searches for that person. Rory McIlroy will never be 100 percent of Tiger Woods. Tiger changed the game of golf forever, and his ability to transcend sports was exactly why he was such a big deal. But eventually someone was going to come along to be the successor of Woods. A talent that wins early, wins by a lot, and does so in the big events. 

Sure, McIlroy has fallen on his face as many times on the big stage as he has won (see 2011 Masters and the Accenture), but that many people coming to watch Rory play means that something is up, and it's a great thing for the game of golf.

If Rory can bring that many views to something like the Accenture, playing against Mahan, imagine what would happen if he found himself going head-to-head with a HUGE name in golf on the biggest stage? If Rory was to face Tiger, or Phil, or Lee or Luke in the final round of the Masters, we'd really see what the McIlroy movement would do. 

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, 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 11:19 pm
 

Winners and losers from a great match play week

Hunter Mahan leads our list of winners from the Accenture Match Play. (Getty Images)

By Shane Bacon

The Accenture Match Play is our first really big tournament of the season, and with so many talented people involved, it brings us our first winners/losers of 2012. So who killed, and who tanked? Read on and see ...

Winners

Hunter Mahan -- Obviously. Mahan played some incredibly inspired golf, beating some big names in the game and stepping up to Rory McIlory, who was playing for something much bigger than just the Marana trophy. Also, with his recent Presidents Cup success, Mahan has shown he’s a match play titan, and is music to Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III’s ears. 

Ping Golf -- They had three of the top four finishers rocking their new equipment, and the talk of the week was Mahan’s new Nome putter that seemed to help Hunter knock in just about any big putt he needed to make. 

Mark Wilson -- This guy needs to be known more than he is, and this week showed that no matter how short he hits it off the tee, his iron play and short game are second to none. Wilson has won three PGA Tour events in just over 13 months. People need to start acknowledging him as an A-class player in golf. 

Sang-Moon Bae -- Look at the list of players Bae knocked off before losing to Rory Mcilroy; Ian Poulter, Charl Schwartzel, and John Senden. Sure, the last wasn’t the biggest name possible, but Bae made McIlroy sweat, and showed that he’s a name we must remember when major championship week rolls around. 

Losers

Rory McIlroy -- Yes, he made it to the finals, and yes, he nearly became the top dog in golf, but if McIlroy wants to be The Man, he must close these types of tournaments out. He has played some incredible golf over the last few months, but winning is everything, and his game in the finals seemed shaky at best. 

Tiger Woods -- Anytime Tiger isn’t in the hunt he’s considered a loser, but boy did he look lost this week with his golf swing. When the season started I thought Woods was close with his game. Now? I’m not so sure even he could be convinced he’s ready to win a PGA Tour tournament. 

Luke Donald -- You’re the number one ranked golfer in the world, and no matter who you’re playing, you can’t lose in the first round of a tournament you’re defending. Donald showed that while the rankings say he’s the best, his game might not agree. 

Rickie Fowler -- Another week, another disappointment. I think Fowler is a good player, but it seems his name rings louder than his game. Fowler lost in the first round to a veteran that admitted after his match that he’d spent the last week away from golf. Not the best endorsement for Fowler’s time to win PGA Tour events. 

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow Shane Bacon and Eye On Golf on Twitter.
Posted on: February 26, 2012 2:53 pm
 

Mahan finding home with the Nome

By Steve Elling

MARANA, Ariz. -- For a putter carrying the same name as a town in Alaska, Hunter Mahan has been anything but freezing cold.

Mahan switched this week from a Ping Anser putter, an iconic, legendary club with an offset clubhead, to a more contemporary putter.

All he's done is scrape a tournament-best 28 birdies into the hole in his five matches en route to the Accenture Match Play final on Sunday at Dove Mountain.

Mahan is using a Nome, more of a mallet-headed club, with far less of an offset clubhead. He said he had tests run with a laser device and learned, to his shock, that with his old stick, he was aiming off-line, and not at the hole. 

"Pretty amazing, everything was aiming left," he said.

It's been an amazing performance since. Now we'll see if he didn’t use all the magic before facing world No. 2 Rory McIlroy in the final.

Category: Golf
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 25, 2012 8:09 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2012 11:09 pm
 

Mahan victory could be a 'short' story

By Steve Elling

MARANA, Ariz. -- Rest assured, America, Hunter Mahan has heard you.

Plenty of folks recall how much trouble the popular Yank had in the final match of the 2010 Ryder Cup, where his short-game shortcomings all but decided the clinching point for the European team.

He remembers it, too, with great clarity. It's something he's been trying to rectify for quite some time.

"Four years ago, I made my first Ryder Cup team, and I couldn't chip it from me to you," Mahan said Saturday.

After as many years of trying to remedy the situation, Mahan's finally got his wedge play and short game where it needs to be, which surely is a major reason why he's advanced to the semifinals Sunday in the Accenture Match Play Championship.
 
Mahan went to see a short-game coach a few months back, but it only made the problem worse, he said. His chipping and pitching were so bad, he and caddie John Wood had to find alternatives -- like putting as often as possible from off the green.

"Sometimes you can putt instead of chipping, which I did a lot," he said, laughing. "Sometimes I would be, 'All right, what can we do here? We have to get creative,' just because I didn't feel good about my chipping."

That mercifully began to change in the second half of 2011. Once a player with a terrific short game, it had seriously eroded, though not for a lack of trying to patch it up.

"I kind of remember how it happened," he said. "I saw a guy, because I was curious, 'Boy, I was a good chipper and all of a sudden I kind of lost it.' I remember I went and saw somebody and it didn't work out."

That's just the start of the story.

"At the end of the day, it made it worse," he said. "I saw people, but people can give you all the advice in the world and you have to trust it, believe it and you have to do it over and over and over again until it clicks. If you put the work in, it will. It's not rocket science."

Dustin Johnson has heard some of the same complaints about his short game.

"It's not like people say, it's not like D.J. is going to be a bad [chipper] or he just can't get good at it, I don't believe that. Anybody that's good at chipping or driving or iron play, there's usually a reason for it, it's not just luck. You just have to find those reasons why and work on it and try to do better."

Mahan said he finally turned the corner last year, though it was very gradual.

"I would be inconsistent one day, the next day would be good, and the next day not so good," he said. "Then I put it together back to back. I put some work in in January and I felt like the first tournament at Torrey Pines it was great. I kind of hit the corner, probably mid-January, is when I started feeling it when I practiced, I could do it like every day.

Mahan has been a fixture in the world top 25 for a couple of years, despite his admittedly shaky short-game issues over the majority of that period. How the heck did he pull that off?
 
"Well, it's not just a contest of skills," he said. "It's a contest of getting the ball in the hole. We talk about, 'D.J. can't chip or hit his wedges,' well, I don't know, he's pretty good. He could have a couple of majors in his pocket.  It's about getting the ball in the hole."

Now he's doing all of it better, not to mention faster.

Posted on: February 25, 2012 7:46 pm
 

Kuchar's comment a pain in his own neck

By Steve Elling

MARANA, Ariz. -- As his past American teammates in international cup competitions can attest, Matt Kuchar can apply the verbal tourniquet as well as any player in golf. Even Phil Mickelson, a master of the craft, has openly expressed his admiration for Kuchar's needlework.

Kuchar's quick wit, displayed in a very public fashion, created a lively bit of discourse for a few moments after he was pummeled by Hunter Mahan, 6 and 5, in the quarterfinals of the Accenture Match Play Championship on Saturday.

Broadcast analyst Nick Faldo had expressed on the air Friday night that he felt long putters gave players an advantage, and after Kuchar raked the ball all over Dove Mountain in his loss, three-putting from everywhere, he said he wanted to whack "Faldo in the neck."

Of course, minus the context, some wondered whether he was serious. Kuchar immediately sought out the six-time major winner to explain himself.

It was a joke that misfired about as badly as his putting stroke. He was trying to suggest that, given the way he putted Saturday with his long model, it was reason enough not to ban the long sticks.

"I think I have a chilly sense of humor," Kuchar explained later. "It was meant to be funny. Nick’s a big boy [physically]. I don’t want any piece of him. I thought it might be funny. 

"It was funny in my mind. I don’t know if it was funny in anybody else’s mind."

It could be worse. A few years ago, an angry girlfriend, Brenna Cepelak, whacked the front of Faldo's Porsche. She wasn't kidding.

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