No complaints from Tiger’s caddy
While Tiger Woods continues to recover from his back surgery his caddy Joe LaCava has admitted that he hasn’t been short of offers of work.
There is no return date pencilled in for Woods but LaCava won’t be out on Tour any time soon.
“A couple of guys approached me, I don’t want to name any names, but I [politely] said no,” he told ESPN. “My plan is to wait for Tiger to get back. I’ve told them I just want to work for Tiger and nobody else at this point. They were all nice about it. They didn’t know what my situation was. I’ve elected to wait things out with Tiger and that is my plan going forward.”
The pair did meet up for Tiger’s 40th birthday bash and to watch the New York Giants-Miami Dolphins and LaCava, the long-time caddy for Fred Couples, played down any fears that he will be on the breadline soon.
“I understand what you are asking and what I’ll tell you is this: Tiger has been great to me since day one. And he continues to be great and very generous with me.”
Annika in line for Solheim captaincy
Annika Sorenstam is now interested in being Europe’s
Solheim Cup captain which basically means that the Swede will lead us against the Americans in Iowa next year.
Sorenstam has submitted her name to the LET selection committee – the thinking was that if she did take the job it would be for an away match – and she would come up against Juli Inkster. Nobody has won more matches for Europe than Sorenstam in Solheim Cup history and nobody has won more for the Americans than Inkster.
They played six matches together but only went head-to-head twice in matches, with Inkster winning both times, a fourball in 2004 and a singles in 2000.
“I would love to be the European Solheim Cup captain and 2017 has been my goal for years,” Sorenstam said. “We officially put my name in, and we’ll see what happens.”
Lefty driver plan backfires
One of the delights of the Masters is to see what is in Phil Mickelson’s bag. Previously he has rolled into Magnolia Lane with two drivers while he has attempted to take on Torrey Pines, at over 7,600 yards, for the US Open with a strong 3-wood.
And he has been at it already this season. Last week he finished T11 at TPC Scottsdale but, in a move to get more run with his Callaway driver, he changed to a newer version and immediately regretted his tinkering despite opening with a four-under 68 at Spyglass.
“Well, like an idiot I switched drivers, and I hit a few shots that I haven’t hit,” Mickelson said. “I hit some shots I didn’t care for. So I’ll go back to my other driver.”
Big names sign up for Castle Stuart
Mickelson has confirmed that he will play in this year’s Scottish Open at Castle Stuart, the venue of his victory in 2013 the week before he triumphed at Muirfield.
Henrik Stenson is also in the field, as is Graeme McDowell, and the Swede was the leader by two shots going into the Sunday in 2013. He eventually finished third before coming second at the Open.
Mickelson said: “I’m always excited about returning to Scotland, and particularly to Castle Stuart. I believe winning there in 2013 was key to my success the next week at the Open Championship.”
“I would love to be the European Solheim Cup captain and 2017 has been my goal for years,” – Annika Sorenstam Porteous strips off
First up David Howell whipped off his shirt at the South African Open, now Haydn Porteous did likewise at the Tshwane Open.
After four bogeys around the turn the winner of this year’s Joburg Open found a hazard at the 4th and stripped down to just his trousers. His clothes might have remained intact but his card took another blow as he made a double bogey.
Four holes later he had to remove his shoes again but this time there was a happier ending as his chip struck the flag to leave a tap in. He eventually signed for an up-and-down 70 after four late birdies.
Tour slowcoaches named and shamed
While Jordan Spieth’s ’monitoring penalty’ might have captured all the headlines in Abu Dhabi he was joined in the proverbial hall of shame by four other players during the recent Desert Swing.
Ninety-five groups were monitored in the Middle East and Spieth, Daniel Brooks (Abu Dhabi), Benjamin Hebert (Abu Dhabi), Eddie Pepperell (Dubai) and Gavin Green (Dubai) were handed penalties. Which means no money changes hands but, if it happens again, they will be fined, with the fines increasing for each subsequent monitoring penalty thereafter.
As for the general speeding up of play there were some encouraging noises. In Abu Dhabi, the new policy helped reduce the average round time by five minutes for rounds one and two compared to 2015. In Qatar the average times for rounds 1 & 2 were 10 and four minutes quicker compared to 2012. And the last group times for rounds 1 & 2 were 19 minutes and 14 minutes quicker meaning an earlier finish time. There were similar findings from Dubai.
Chief Executive Keith Pelley’s pledge is to try and reduce round times by 15 minutes which would help to extend the fields.
Garcia and Valderrama a potent pairing
Valderrama will host the Spanish Open for the first time this year with Sergio Garcia’s Foundation hosting the tournament on April 14. The event goes back to 1912 but it has never been to the home of the 1997 Ryder Cup and what was the season-ending Volvo Masters.
The €2 million tournament will be the first tournament of the 2016 season with Garcia as tournament host. He joins a growing list of players who are putting their names to events. Others to put a bit back are Ernie Els, who hosted the BMW SA Open in January; Rory McIlroy, who will front the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation in May; Paul Lawrie who will stage the second Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Match Play in August; and Luke Donald, who will take over from Ian Poulter as host of the British Masters supported by Sky Sports in October.