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Lake Nona wins Tavistock Cup, now let the real games begin

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By Michael Williams

GolfWRX Staff Writer

Some of the best players in the world took some time off to do what most of us would do on an off day; play some golf.

The occasion was the 2012 Tavistock Cup, the ninth edition of the two-day tourney that features the residents of the some of the world’s most exclusive golf communities in a pitched battle of the “Haves” against the “Have Mores”. Six-man teams of tour professionals from four exclusive golf clubs competed for cash, prizes and bragging rights. The team from Lake Nona, led by Graeme McDowell and Gary Woodland, won the competition on its home course over rival Isleworth and two other clubs to claim a winners’ purse of $600,000 to be split amongst the team members. Queenwood and Albany finished in third and fourth place, respectively. Els (Albany), Roger Allenby (Isleworth), Retief Goosen (Lake Nona), Ross Fisher(Lake Nona),  and Thomas Björn (Queenwood) tied for low individual score honors, shooting 5-under on the second and final day of the competition.

The competition was spirited, and with luxury cars and private jets as hole-in-one prizes, the players were competing as much for pride in ownership as pride alone. Among the most entertaining facets of the competition is the long drive contest, where Gary Woodland beat out fellow bombardier Bubba Watson with a mammoth 309 yard dive into a stiff wind. Notable among the competitors were Woods (Albany) and Goosen (Lake Nona); both were last seen wincing in pain in their last competitive outings just a few days ago. Both somehow recovered enough to play, albeit not with particular distinction. Woods pattern of good ball-striking and dubious putting continued; one could only wonder what could have motivated Goosen after suffering back pain so severe just two days ago that he decided to take platelet rich plasma injections (PRP).

Known affectionately in some circles as the U.S. Closed, the PGA Tour-sanctioned competition originated in 2004, as the Orlando-based golf pros that lived at Isleworth (Tiger Woods, Mark O’Meara, Lee Janzen, et al.) started talking smack to the pros at Lake Nona on the other side of town (Ernie Els, Nick Faldo, Sergio Garcia, et al.). Before a West Side Story-style turf battle broke out, a nice gentleman from Tavistock, the investment company that owns both enclaves, suggested they do their fighting with their clubs, not with their fists; before someone got clocked with a 7-iron, he further explained that he meant they should play golf, not hit each other with golf clubs. And thus the Tavistock Cup was born. In the inaugural competition Lake Nona negotiated the ultimate “sucker bet” when they boasted that they could beat Isleworth “even with a girl on our team”. That girl happened to be Annika Sorenstam, and Lake Nona began their domination of the won competition with a 14.5 to 9.5 romp.

The Tavistock Cup has expanded over the years and now includes Albany from the Bahamas (which is featured in the James Bond thriller “Casino Royale”), and Queenwood in the United Kingdom (if the Queen is in the name, it’s got to be good, right?). The vision is to have the competition become the World Country Club Championships, which means that having the The Donald as a part of the action cannot be far over the horizon.

The event raises a lot of money for charity, and raised a lot of questions about the participants as they prepare for this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Masters in two weeks. Clearly Woods is struggling with his putting, and he will have to somehow channel memories of the 62 he put up in the final round of the Honda Classic in order to challenge this week and at Augusta. Els faced similar putting nightmares last week, and must finish amongst the Top 50 ranked players in the world after Bay Hill or win the Shell Houston Open the following week. He got some positive reinforcement at Tavistock, draining several of the ticklish short- to medium putts that are requirement for scoring at Augusta.

One thing is for sure; the time for fun is decidedly over. The first major of the year is almost here, and everyone knows that the only club jacket anybody wants is that sporty green number they give out just up the Interstate. Let the games begin.

Click here for more discussion in the “Tour Talk” forum.

Michael Williams is the contributing editor of Newschannel8 Capital Golf Weekly and Bunkershot.com, as well as a member of the Golf Writers Association of America.

You can follow Michael on twitter — @Michaelontv

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Williams has a reputation as a savvy broadcaster, and as an incisive interviewer and writer. An avid golfer himself, Williams has covered the game of golf and the golf lifestyle including courses, restaurants, travel and sports marketing for publications all over the world. He is currently working with a wide range of outlets in traditional and electronic media, and has produced and hosted “Sticks and Stones” on the Fox Radio network, a critically acclaimed show that combined coverage of the golf world with interviews of the Washington power elite. His work on Newschannel8’s “Capital Golf Weekly” and “SportsTalk” have established him as one of the area’s most trusted sources for golf reporting. Williams has also made numerous radio appearances on “The John Thompson Show,” and a host of other local productions. He is a sought-after speaker and panel moderator, he has recently launched a new partnership with The O Team to create original golf-themed programming and events. Williams is a member of the United States Golf Association and the Golf Writers Association of America.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Casey Morris

    Mar 21, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    You said Goosen received back injections for the Masters. Do you know that he is not in the field at the Masters currently?

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Monday’s Photos from the 2018 Farmers Insurance Open

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2018 Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla, California.

Tiger Woods, who has won eight times at Torrey Pines, will make his first start in a full-field PGA Tour event since his spinal fusion surgery. The last we saw of Woods was in the 18-player Hero World Challenge where he finished T9, and showed that he could be healthy for 72 holes.

Jon Rahm, who’s now ranked No. 2 in the Official World Golf Rankings, is the defending champion at the Farmers, and he also won last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge. He’s joined in the field by notables Hideki Matsuyama (No. 5), Justin Rose (No. 6), Rickie Fowler (No. 7), Jason Day (No. 14) and Phil Mickelson.

Enjoy our photos from the 2018 Farmers Insurance Open below!

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Tour Rundown: Rahm gets win No. 2 and goes to world No. 2

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Week two of the 2018 calendar season added events on the PGA Champions and European tours. The PGA caravan left Hawaii for California and found its first playoff of 2018, just as the Champions Tour reached the islands. The Euros teed it up in Dubai, and the Web.Com Tour stayed in the Bahamas for a second week. With an Asian Tour event in Singapore, the globe’s eyes were once again on professional golf. Time for Tour Rundown at warp speed!

Rahm continues to build career with win at CareerBuilder Challenge

For all of the final round, it looked like Jon Rahm would pull away for a 4-stroke victory. His driving was impeccable and his irons were dialed in. His putting stroke looked sound, but some of the birdies simply did not nest. Throughout the four-hole playoff with Andrew Landry, it seemed as if Rahm was destined to lose. Somehow, he persevered and won.

Rahm’s patience pays off with second PGA Tour win 

How many edges of holes were singed with putts and chips by Jon Rahm down the stretch? At least four, not counting the playoff. Fortunately for the Basque, only Andrew Landry made enough of a move to track him down temporarily. Rahm played like the 3rd-ranked player should, and now he’s the world No. 2 player. Perhaps the fact that he couldn’t or didn’t separate himself from his pursuers, yet had enough weaponry to pull out a victory, mattered more than a runaway triumph. Yet golf is a funny game. The only fairway Rahm missed in extra time came on the 4th hole. Despite that errant tee ball and his misses on the first three playoff holes, Rahm was able to drain the only birdie of the playoff and walk away a champion.

See the clubs Jon Rahm used to win

Landry and others made the most of their opportunities

Andrew Landry showed more gumption than anyone anticipated. The 2016 first-round leader of the U.S. Open stayed around even longer this week. A 72nd-hole birdie brought him to 22-under par and a tie with Rahm. The Arkansas alumnus drove the ball straight and far on each of the playoff holes, and never once sniffed a bogey. His irons brought him within birdie range but, like Rahm, he could not find the proper combination of line and speed. In the end, Landry missed last and settled (if such a term might be used) for a runner-up finish.

Fleetwood greets 2018 with title defense at Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Tommy Fleetwood looks for all the world to be a millenial hipster with his free-flowing hair and his strands of beard. In absolute contrast, he is equal parts passion and cold blood. When opportunity beckons, he doesn’t look away. Given the slightest opportunity to defend his 2017 Abu Dhabi title, Fleetwood assented and took charge.

How Fleetwood dispatched Fisher and the rest

Through 9 holes of Sunday’s final round, the tag for Tommy Fleetwood’s title defense percolated as He gave an admirable effort. Nine holes and six birdies later, that tag line had changed to How in the name of all that is known did he defend his title? And yet, there was Fleetwood with the fourth European Tour title of his career and third in the past dozen months. When Fleetwood needed a great drive, he got it. When he didn’t hit a great drive, he came through with a stellar approach. When his approach was off, he drained a long putt. And for good measure, he hit a wonderful pitch at the 18th, nestling the ball 5 feet for birdie, and made that. The end result was a 2-stroke margin of victory over the runner-up, Ross Fisher.

What is it about Ross Fisher?

Ross Fisher is eternally composed. Not like his countryman Colin Montgomerie (more on him later), who wore every disappointment like a Halloween mask. Yet, the two share a certain sad penchant for missing opportunities. Last October, Fisher wasn’t going to catch Tyrell Hatton in St. Andrews, but he was chasing immortality. He had a 25-foot putt for the first 59 at The Old Course…and missed. He had a 4-foot putt for the first 60 at the Old Course…and missed. He broke the course record with his 61, but, you know. Fisher has an 0-5 record in European Tour playoffs. On Sunday, he was victimized by Fleetwood’s marvelous back 9 of 30 strokes, but by his own inability to gather the fruits of opportunity. Case in point: Fisher made a long and testy putt for bogey on the par-5 10th, a hole that many birdied. Rather than use it as a springboard to return to his coach on the birdie train, he floundered with four pars and one bogey over his next five holes.

Kelly wins at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

Jerry Kelly earned the 2017 PGA Tour Champions rookie of the year award, on the strength of consistent play and his first two tour titles. On Day 3 of the 2018 season, he added to his victory total with a 1-stroke win over Colin Montgomerie. A 2-stroke swing on 18 decided the fate of both…here’s how!

How Kelly klaimed the championship

For fans of Hideki Matsuyama and his deceptive reaction to fantastic shots, Mr. Kelly is guilty of the same on well-struck putts. He drops his putter from one hand and slumps his shoulders after mid-range putts. All the while, the ball is tracking toward the hole, and usually drops. Kelly played a fine round on Saturday, with 5 birdies and 1 eagle. It might have been the sole bogey of the round, on No. 16, that ignited his hockey-bred fire. The miscue allowed Colin Montgomerie to take a 1-shot lead into the final 2 holes, but Kelly’s birdie on No. 18 brought him the title. How’s that?

How Monty lost his opportunity

We forget how difficult it is to hold a lead in any event, at any juncture. Colin Montgomerie never figured the recipe out in major championships on the regular tour, but he had it down, for the most part, in regular tour events. On the Champions Tour, he has been quite solid, winning six times as a senior in the U.S. and five times in Europe. In the third round at Hualalai, Monty’s most reliable club betrayed him at the least opportune time. A drive into a fairway bunker at the last hole left him 100 yards to the green. He flew the putting surface with his approach and played an indifferent flop shot to 7 feet for par and a playoff. His effort was off the mark and the title slipped from his grasp.

Sergio’s Singapore Open

Despite this unexpected result, Sergio Garcia opened the 2018 season with a victory in Singapore. We’ll run down what he did right.

Sergio and Singapore on a Sunday

The #SingOpen2018 and @TheSergioGarcia made a perfect match on an extended final day. Wet weather forced a last-day completion of Round 3, and most golfers played more than 20 holes on the final day. Garcia stormed from behind with 66-68 over those final 36 holes to wrest the lead from Danthai Boonma of Thailand. Nine birdies and 1 bogey over that stretch of two rounds finished the task for the Spaniard, who looks to defend his 2017 Masters title in the spring.

See the clubs Sergio used to win

The battle for second ended in a tie

With Garcia separating himself from the peloton, attention turned to Boonma and cast for the runner-up resolution. After three stellar rounds (70-68-65), Boonma stumbled in Round 4 with 73, finishing in a tie for 4th with countryman Jazz Janewattananond. Satoshi Kodaira of Japan and South Africa’s Shaun Norris each birdied the final hole to finish tied for second at 9-under, 5 blows behind the champion.

Hello, World for Sungjae Im at Web.Com Opener

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How Im became I’m The Champ

Im entered the final round of the Great Exuma Classic in a tie with Ortiz, but eyes were on proven winners like Rhein Gibson, Steve Marino and Erik Compton. Sungjae Im went out in Round 4 and played perfect golf. He had 4 birds on his outward half, then seized the trophy by both handles with 3 more chirps on holes 14 to 16. Simply put, there was nothing that Ortiz or any other entrant could do, beyond bow and salute the victor.

How Ortiz and the others took the shock

Carlos Ortiz did what he had to do during Tuesday’s final round. He played a solid round, minus-3 with 5 birds and 2 bogies. He stayed ahead of Gibson and all the others, but would have needed to turn his bogies into birdies to tie Im atop the board. Rhein Gibson began round four like a boss, with birdies on 5 of the first 6 holes. He reached 8-under and looked like the eventual winner. The engine sputtered, and it was 1-birdie-1-bogey-10-pars the rest of the way. Gibson would have needed 10-under on the day to tie for the trophy, but with a few more birdies along the way, would he have frightened Im? Who knows!

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Lexi Thompson signs multi-year endorsement deal to play Bridgestone ball

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Lexi Thompson, who currently plays Bridgestone’s Tour B X ball, will now do so in an official capacity. The company announced today it inked the 22-year-old to a multi-year deal.

The eight-time LPGA Tour winner had been playing Bridgestone’s B330-S for the past two seasons.

“I’ve used Bridgestone for years and the new Tour B product is shockingly good,” said Thompson. “It gives me tremendous distance off the tee without sacrificing any performance around the green. What’s more, I feel confident hitting any type of shot the situation calls for.”

“When I’m testing a golf ball, I look for three things – distance, accuracy and feel,” said Thompson. “For me, the new Tour B delivered in spades. I’ve never played anything that has responded so positively to any situation the golf course throws at me.”

Bridgestone’s Tour B Series includes four models–X, XS, RX and RXS (each $44.99). The company leveraged data from more than three million consumer ball fittings, as well as third-party insights and Bridgestone’s own resources, to create the four-ball lineup.

RELATED: Bridgestone’s Tour B balls were designed with the player in mind

Bridgestone’s professional staff includes, among others, Tiger Woods, Brandt Snedeker, Matt Kuchar, Fred Couples, and Bryson DeChambeau.

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