The begining of golf

I do not think anyone really can say when the game of golf was first played, but there are many stories about the start, Robin Williams has a great story about the start of golf.

The Scott’s who are given credit for the game, organized a club in St. Andrews, Scotland in 1754 and called it the Society of St. Andrews Golfers.

Some 70 years of developing and expanding the game, King Willam 1V  became a patron of the club, and the name was changed to The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews.

I had an opertunity to see this golf club and it is really a historic place.

Stewart Cink falters and Sean O’Hair Wins the PODS Championship.

Sean O’Hair felt as if he was doing everything required of a winner except winning.

Despite long hours on the practice range, he found himself toward the bottom of the leaderboard, if he even made the cut. A weekend off at the Honda Classic last week gave him ample time to visit with his father-in-law, and the message finally got through.

“He told me how he believed in me, how he felt I was on the right track, and if I started believing in myself, everything would happen,” O’Hair said Sunday after winning the PODS Championship.

“I didn’t believe him. But I guess he was right.”

It required solid play, two good pars and a birdie putt that O’Hair described as the best of his career. But he also needed a meltdown from Stewart Cink, who lost four shots in four holes and couldn’t figure out what he did wrong.

 
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The 25-year-old O’Hair took advantage of a collapse by Cink to energize his young career with his second PGA Tour victory, closing with a 2-under 69 for a two-shot victory that earned him a trip to the Masters and a spot in the US$8 million World Golf Championship at Doral.

“This is not going to hurt my confidence,” said O’Hair, who finished at 4-under 280. “I’m looking forward to the rest of the year.”

Cink had a tee shot stop next to a tree that led to bogey on a par 5, missed a 4-foot birdie on the next hole, then followed that with a tee shot into the water at the 16th. He wound up with a 74 to finish in a six-way tie for second.

“I’m a little shell-shocked and a little bit angry,” Cink said. “I’m extremely frustrated after this. What happened to me – what I allowed to happen to me – is going to make me a better player in the future. But I’ve got some soul-searching to do.”

For O’Hair, a big celebration is in order.

He hadn’t won since 2005, when he was a rookie and golf felt easy. He had fallen to No. 75 in the world and had no plans the second week of April. But his victory moved him into the top 40 in the world, making him eligible for Doral and Augusta National.

“When I won (the first time), it just kind of happened,” O’Hair said, wiping tears from his eyes. “I didn’t really appreciate it. I thought I was good enough to do this every year. But it’s been such a struggle to get to this point again. This is awesome, and I’m going to enjoy it.”

Cink suffered a loss perhaps even more devastating than the Accenture Match Play Championship blowout against Tiger Woods.

Cink had a four-shot lead after birdies on the first two holes, and he still had the lead going to the back nine. But he missed a simple birdie on the 12th, three-putted from long range on the 13th, and looked up to the sunny skies in utter disbelief when he found his ball nestled up against a pine on the 14th.

“I didn’t feel like I made any real mistakes,” Cink said. “When I saw my ball up against the tree on 14, I was starting to wonder if this wasn’t my day. I was a little bit shocked. But I put myself in that position.”

He made a 50-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole that allowed him to join a six-way tie for second.

John Senden closed with a 67 and was a runner-up for the second straight year, both times finishing about an hour before the leaders. He tied for second with Cink (74), Ryuji Imada (68), George McNeill (69), Troy Matteson (69) and Billy Mayfair (72).

Cink is winless since the 2004 Bridgestone Invitational. This was the third time in five tournaments he has played in the final group.

The Copperhead Course played nearly two shots over par, making it the toughest track on tour this year. O’Hair’s winning score of 280 was the highest ever at Innisbrook. But he was the only player to shoot par or better all four rounds, and he saved his best for Sunday.

He got into the mix with a birdie on the opening hole. His chip from behind the 11th green to tap-in range for birdie pulled him within one shot. Then came a couple of par putts in the 4- to 5-foot range, to stay in the lead.

After a 7-iron to 30 feet below the cup on the 15th, O’Hair raised his arm when it dropped in the centre of the cup.

“One of the best putts I’ve ever hit in my life,” he said. “With 10 feet to go, I knew it was in the hole. From there, I was just trying not to throw up on myself.”

O’Hair is among only seven players in their 20s with multiple PGA Tour victories, and his future again looks bright.

For Cink, he could only wonder when the lessons would pay off. He is 1-8 with at least a share of the 54-hole lead.

“That’s not a coincidence,” he said. “I tend to be less aggressive with my putting. It’s like I’m a little bit tentative.”

Tiger Woods led a trio of Americans into the semifinals of the Accenture Match Play Championship

 Getting on track with a chip-in eagle and easing pastK.J. Choi, 3 and 2.

Woods had time for lunch and a quick session on the practice range before playing defending champion Henrik Stenson, who won his 10th consecutive match when Woody Austin gave away consecutive holes to lose momentum and eventually the match on the 18th hole.

Stewart Cink took out U.S. Open champion Angel Cabrera, 3 and 2, to reach the semifinals for the first time, where he will play Justin Leonard, at No. 50 the lowest seeds still around at Dove Mountain.

“Bracket buster,” Leonard said as he walked off the 18th green after beating Vijay Singh, who narrowly pulled off another escape.

Woods made 12 birdies in 20 holes and needed them all to beat Aaron Baddeley in the third round, a match of the highest calibre. Choi, meanwhile, had advanced over Paul Casey despite making nothing better than par over the final 11 holes.

 
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Their quarter-final match was of the par variety.

Woods again hit an opening tee shot into the desert and gave away the opening hole, only to square the match with a 15-foot birdie. They halved the next seven holes, although this is where Choi essentially lost his chance to beat the world’s No. 1 player.

He had a putt to win the hole six straight times and missed them all, three of those putts from inside 12 feet. Woods was scrapping along with pars, throwing his club at the bag on a few occasions.

But it all changed at the turn.

Woods came up just short of the par-5 10th green, but chipped in for birdie and lightly pumped his fist. Choi was still 15 feet away for par on the 12th when Woods dropped a 30-foot birdie to go 2-up, and he had control the rest of the way.

“K.J. put a lot of pressure on me with his ball-striking,” Woods said. “I just had to hang in there.”

So did Leonard in the most fascinating match of the quarter-finals.

For much of the back nine, Leonard had a 1-up lead, Singh failed to hit a single shot that put pressure on Leonard, yet the Texan appeared to be under enormous pressure.

“It wasn’t a clean match,” Leonard said.

But when he holed an eight-foot birdie putt on the 11th to win his second consecutive hole, Leonard went to 3 up and looked strong. Even after Singh drove onto the par-4 12th green, Leonard was determined to beat him with his wedge, and hit a beautiful pitch to four feet.

But his birdie putt lipped out, and that one short miss went a long way in affecting the mood of the match.

With Singh in the bunker on the 13th, Leonard misjudged the wind, came out of his shot and had 80 feet for birdie. He three-putted for bogey to lose another hole.

Singh looked like Houdini for the second straight match. He was 2 down with two holes to play against Pampling in the third round, won the last two holes, then in 25 holes. This was headed in the same direction.

Singh’s approach on the 15th bounced hard off the left side of the green and appeared headed into the desert when it hung up in the lush green grass with only a foot to spare. Singh hit a poor chip and was lucky to stay on the green, then holed a 12-foot par putt to halve the hole. On the par-3 16th, Singh went after a sucker pin and landed in the right rough, the toughest spot from which to save par.

But that’s what he did, chipping six feet by and making it.

Singh finally squared the match with his power advantage, hitting seven-wood to 20 feet for a two-putt birdie.

Leonard played the 18th hole for the first time all week, and he played it to near perfection. Leonard hit his approach to 10 feet, and Singh hit his a foot outside him.

Singh missed – he didn’t have a single one-putt birdie all round – and Leonard’s winning up curled in the right side.

“I deserved that one,” he said.

Cabrera made it through the week as the only player not to reach the 18th green, which was bad news Saturday morning for the Argentine. He couldn’t keep up with Cink’s birdies, and Cink closed him out with a birdie on the 16th.

Stenson, meanwhile, is the marathon man of Dove Mountain. All four of his matches have gone the distance, and he played 25 holes Thursday to beat Trevor Immelman. He made sure his match against Austin didn’t get past the 18th hole, hitting an approach to two feet for his 2-up victory.

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