Golf News Digest – 01.02.08

Paul Azinger gets desperate with eight months to go, while Wales starts to reap the benfits of being chosen to host the Ryder Cup in 2010, Samuel Ryder's putter gets sold and much, much more. Welcome to our round-up of all the week's top golf news.

Azinger Changing Cup Format

The US Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger is going back to what works for the American side this year. He is switching from fourball matches back to foursomes for the opening session of this year?s competition. This is the same thing that was done back in 1999, which happens to be the last time that the US team took the cup on American soil.

Azinger feels that playing morning foursomes will slow down the fast starts that the European side has been getting out to in the last few Ryder Cups. After morning play the European team has had at least a one-point lead in the last three Ryder cups.

Also, since the last time the American team has won they have been outscored 13-11 in fourballs and 16-8 in foursomes.

This year?s Ryder Cup will take place at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky on September 19-21.

Ryder Cup Wales Announces Challenge Tour Invitees

Up and coming Welsh golfers Llewellyn Matthews, Rhys Davies and Craig Smith have been awarded the maximum number of invitations for Challenge Tour events in 2008 as part of the Ryder Cup Wales programme.

Ryder Cup Wales is working in partnership with the Sports Council for Wales to showcase some of the best young talent in Wales.

?The Sports Council for Wales and the Ryder Cup Wales work together to maximise the help and support available for the best young Welsh golfers and announcing these invitations for the Challenge Tour is great news for the players who I am sure will do their very best to take full advantage of this exceptional opportunity,? said John Jermine, Ryder Cup Wales chairman.

Matthews, winner of the St Andrews Links Trophy and two-time Welsh Amateur champion, has just announced his intention to turn pro.

Ryder Cup Wales Helps with Club Renovations

Ryder Cup Wales has decided to use some of the £2 million it received following the successful Ryder Cup bid to develop Tredegar Park Golf Club. The club will receive £82,128 to improve its facilities.

Some of the additions will include a beginner?s 9-hole course that will encourage the less experienced player to come out and play, and a 10-bay driving range that will double up as a teaching facility.

Club officials feel the popularity of the Ryder Cup and upgrades like the one at Tredeger Park, will bring more people out to the course and raise the interest level of golf in Wales.

Reality Winner in Ballantine?s Championship

The inaugural Ballantine?s Championship will have an unlikely participant as it has awarded a spot to a reality TV show winner. Kim Young Kyu, a little known Korean pro will join a field with stars such as fellow countryman KJ Choi, Open champion Padraig Harrington and Wold Cup winner Colin Montgomerie at the tournament that will take place on March 13-16 at Pinx Golf Club on the island of Jeju.

Kyu won this opportunity by making a birdie on the final hole of the ?Road to the Ballantine?s Championship? TV shootout which took place at the same course where the tournament will take place.

The tournament which has a purse of ?2 million will be the first European Tour event to be held in Korea.

Barclay?s Leaving Westchester

The PGA Tour FedEx Cup playoff event The Barclays will be leaving Westchester Country Club in suburban New York for the first time in 41 years. The tournament, which will take place on August 21-24, will be played at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, New Jersey.

The PGA feels that is will be best if the Barclays is played at rotations sites all in the New York area. The Barclays will return to Westchester sometime before the year 2012. In 2009 the tournament will be played at Liberty National in Jersey City, New Jersey.

The move is being made after Westchester drew small galleries and poor television rations last year.

Samuel Ryder?s Putter Sold

The namesake to the Ryder Cup had one of his putters sold this past weekend at Bonhams Golfing Memorabilia sale. Samuel Ryder?s putter was sold for £18,000. The cub was a 1910 mallet shaped putter designed by Robert Forgan.

Crocodile Allowed to Stay on Course

A crocodile has made a home for itself on the 14th hole of Willows Golf Club near Townsville, Australia. The wild animal made its way to the course during massive flooding last week.

The crocodile is being allowed to stay because it has been determines that it is of no threat to the players. Wildlife officials feel that since the crocodile has access to the Bohle River, it will leave soon.

For everyone?s sake let?s hope we do not have another Happy Gilmore on our hands.

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