Tag Archives: golf

Weekend musing – Jordan Spieth, Faf Du Plessis, big changes in the Aussie Test team…..

Sfan OB6I watched the end of the Australian Open golf tournament last Sunday and it was no surprise to see Jordan Spieth in contention. He nailed some crucial putts and made it into the play-off with Ashleyspieth Hall and Cameron Smith. He then proceeded to birdie the first play-off hole and win the tournament. He has now competed in the Australian Open on three occasions for two wins and a second. For anyone, that is a phenomenal record, but for a 23 year old it is amazing. Aaron Baddeley won in 1999(am) & 2000 as an 18/19 year old which was amazing at the time, but he has probably not gone onto the heights predicted at that time.

It was noted with interest that Faf Du Plessis was found guilty of ball tampering in the second test and was then fined his match fee. As the captain of the team, with a history of ball tampering, this has got duplessisto be an inadequate penalty. I understand the previous penalty was three years ago and records are wiped clean after two years, but the man still has a history. A penalty such as the match fee is no deterrent to future indiscretions by anyone let alone the captain. The test started yesterday and Du Plessis clearly made the most of his reprieve with a not out century.

Sticking with the cricket, the Australian team needed a shake up and we got that with five changes from the team that was embarrassed in Hobart. Accepting that changes had to be made, I still felt a bit sorry for Callum Ferguson. He has probably deserved a chance at fergusontest cricket for some time, but when his form has warranted selection he has either been injured or no places have been available. He finally gets a chance at 32 years of age and loses his place after one test. That is probably the end of the road for Ferguson which is a bit of a shame as he probably deserved more of an opportunity. Joe Mennie also lost his place after one test, however, he is only 27 and therefore still young enough if good enough. I thought Mennie was lucky to get a spot for Hobart ahead of Jackson Bird on his home track, so maybe not so deserving in the first place.

Greg Miles announced his forthcoming retirement during the week milesand while he has had a few hiccups in the last few years I have always regarded him as one of the best race callers I have heard. He probably lacks the impact of a Bill Collins, but for someone listening to a race and wanting to know where your horse is placed I think he has had few peers. A great career.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Tour de France, British Open, Arsene Wenger and England

Chris Barwin HillsI commented last week on a number of topics including the Tour de France, the England soccer team’s poor display in the European Championships and the British Open.

It looks like I was on the money picking Chris Froome as the winner of the race. With 19 stages complete and only a couple to go Froome froome
seems to have the field covered. Great display by Aussie Richie Porte in the tough mountain section but looks like he will just fall short of a podium finish. Certainly looks like a rider to watch for the 2017 Tour.

As much as I was on the money with the Tour de France, I was way off in my assessment of the British Open. I didn’t see Swede, Henrik 1363998228672Stenson winning. Stenson and Phil Mickelson showed a mastery of the Royal Troon course that the rest of the field struggled with. Mickelson at 17 under had an 11 shot buffer between he and the third placed golfer. The leading Australian was world number 1, Jason Day at one over par tied for equal 22nd. My selection of Adam Scott was poor as he finished at 5 over par. Our golfers need to improve their performances in major tournaments!

My suggestion for the English soccer team is to go all out for Arsene Wenger. They could do a lot worse. He is the shot in the arm that thealexis-sanchez-arsenal-burnley_3223813 English need and his time at Arsenal is limited. It would be a good move for England, Arsenal and Wenger.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – AFL bye rounds, European Cup, Tour de France, British Open….

Chris Barwin HillsRound 17 of the AFL season started on Thursday night and these Thursday night games have been aptly called ‘Pie night’ games by Fox Footy. The games are largely only possible due to the bye rounds where only six games are played each round across three weekends. Many people do not like the 6 x 6 x 6 way of having a bye, but in my opinion, I think it is fine. Igunston would rather that method than a complete break in the mid-season. It affords every side a break, there is still a good number of games for each weekend and it allows for the introduction of these Thursday night games which appear to have attracted good crowds and TV ratings. I have heard some in the media saying the bye rounds mean the AFL season loses momentum. I do not agree or see it as a problem. After all, if you think about it, the old VFL competition only had six games a week and we thought that was plenty back then.

The round also started with another Hawthorn escape and I think the Swans would be ruing the three 50 metre penalties which resulted in two goals in a game that was decided by five points. The HANNEBERY50 metre penalties were there, but it is massive penalty for innocuous incidents that had little to no impact on the play. There was also a big disparity in the free kick count, especially up to 3/4 time. The Hawthorn free kicks were probably there, but there were a lot of free kicks not paid to Sydney that should have been paid. Again, in a tight game it makes a difference.

In the Euro Cup, Portugal continued the run of outsiders winning big competitions this year and without a meaningful contribution fromronaldo Cristiano Ronaldo. The highlight of the tournament though still has to be Iceland’s defeat of England. One wonders how such a result could occur when one considers the disparity between the two nations in population and football history. Clearly England need to re-invent themselves if they wish to seriously challenge for major silverware in the future.

froomeThe Tour de France continues on and I must say even with the halfway mark just reached, it looks like Chris Froome will again be in front at the end. He seems a cut above the rest and barring some unfortunate accident he is over the line.

The British Open continues to be a major Championship that eludes Australian golfers even now that we have some of the top golfers inscott the world. Greg Norman ‘was our last winner and that was a very long time ago. I see our best chance with Adam Scott, but I am far from confident that any Aussie will be lifting the claret mug this year.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Essendon FC and the #1 draft pick, US Open, Jason Day

Chris Barwin HillsThere has been heated discussion over recent weeks as to whether Essendon should get the number one draft pick should they finish on the bottom of the ladder. Speaking from a purely one eyed position, surely if they finish last they get the number one pick. Hasn’t the Unknownteam been punished enough? three years of investigations combined with the most severe penalties ever dished out to a club….and all this when the Tribunal could not establish clearly that banned substances had been administered. Personally, I would prefer they didn’t justify the number one pick as the club has not won the wooden spoon since 1933 which is well before I was born, so in my life time I have not experienced the ignominy of finishing last. In 1933 there was only twelve teams, so they would be finishing six places lower this time!

I also noted with interest the comments from Mark Thompson during the week regarding the Essendon style of play. Bomber is watsonpart of the media and certainly entitled to his opinion, but I must say apart from the last two weeks I think their progress has been quite good. Even in the big loss to Fremantle, the Bombers won the last quarter. The loss to Hawthorn was certainly on the cards and I picked the Hawks to win by 100pts so I was not far off. One thing I will say about Mark Thompson’s comments is that they weren’t vindictive like Mick Malthouse’s continued comments about Collingwood. I think Bomber’s comments at least showed that he still cared.

OK, Essendon rant over for now.

The US Open is on at the fearsome Oakmont course. I was surprised to hear that Jason Day is feeling weighed down by the number one 1363998228672tag. That is unfortunate as surely that is what every sportsman strives for. His form has certainly dropped off since getting to the number one spot. I can’t get excited about the Aussie contingent this time around. Adam Scott is talking a good talk but his confidence seems to be lacking. I think the most likely winner is the home grown Jordan Spieth.

Have a great weekend!

Friday musing – limited overs cricket a lesser version of the game…..

Chris Barwin HillsLate last year I lamented the decline of West Indian cricket and the impact on world cricket and now we have the West Indian men’s team, women’s team and the men’s U19 team being the current windiesWorld T20 champions. While I think that is great for West Indian cricket and it should engender significant more people wanting to play cricket in that region, I hope that first class and test cricket is not overlooked. Whilst it might be my age and what I grew up with, test cricket is still the pinnacle of the sport in my opinion and the limited overs competitions are lesser versions of the game. Do you agree?

I was a little disappointed to see Jason Day drop down the leader Dayboard at the Masters on the first day. He got off to a great start, but a triple bogey late in his round brought him back to even with the card. He is still in contention, but it would be good to see Spieth, McIlroy and Day in the final groupings on Monday morning.

I tuned in to watch a little bit of the Footy Show last night to see how Rebecca Maddern fitted in to the format. She was clearly nervous which is understandable and some of her material was obviously maddernrehearsed/scripted to get her into the program, but I think she acquitted herself quite well and should be a welcome addition to the show which now has a very strong Geelong flavour. I don’t think her addition to the show will make me want to watch the show more often, but it is good see a bit of diversification and Rebecca is obviously a big footy fan which is essential.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – AFL, Sheffield Shield, Peter Moody, Jason Day

Chris Barwin HillsWell Easter must be one of the most diverse periods for sport in Australia, we had the start of the AFL season, the Stawell Gift, the bellsBells Beach Surfing Classic, the Sheffield Shield Final and some big horse races from Sydney. We also had soccer World Cup qualifiers either side of Easter.

It was great to have the football back despite Essendon not having much to look forward to. The debut of Patrick Dangerfield for Geelong was clearly the difference that got them over Hawthorn and Dangerfieldif he had of kicked straight they would have won by more. Collingwood and Fremantle were very disappointing, but I think both sides will perform a lot better this week. The Bombers first half was probably as expected, but their second half was a bit better. Given the number of new players due to the supplement scandal outcome it might take a while for the team to gel, but the wooden spoon still is theirs for the taking!

Also great to see Victoria win the Sheffield Shield away from home. A couple of weeks ago I was going to comment about the demise of Cameron White as a cricketer and while he has not put himself backsheffield in the frame for Australian selection, he has redeemed himself. When he lead Victoria to the Shield win just after David Hookes died I thought he was a future Australian Test Captain and while he did play a couple of test matches, he was mainly a ODI and 20/20 player, but his star had dimmed in recent times to the point where he missed selection for Victoria.

I was sad to see Peter Moody retire from racing and he has now sold moodyoff all his gear to resist the temptation to return to the sport, but I think, once his suspension is over, he will come back and establish a smaller boutique stable just to keep his hand in. It is very hard for real horsemen to simply walk away from the sport it is too ingrained in their DNA.

Also good to see Jason Day back to the world number 1 position in golf and I just hope he maintains his form going into the Masters.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Golf, Cricket, Soccer……..

Chris Barwin HillsWell not only is Jordan Spieth the number one golfer in the world, he is also the number one tipster in the world having tipped Matt Jones to win the Australian Open title last weekend. Knowing that Jones is a jonesfriend of his and that he had tipped him to win, it got me thinking if Spieth had allowed Jones to win, not necessarily consciously, but maybe unconsciously. Watching the final hole with an eagle chance to put him into a play off, Spieth’s putt looked a little unconvincing. Putting aside my conspiracy theory, a great effort by Jones holding off the world number 1 in Spieth and a former world number 1 in Adam Scott.

The final test against the Kiwi’s in Adelaide last weekend nevillbreathed some life into the cricket despite it only going for three days. Finally the ball carried sway with the top score of only 66 being made by Peter Nevill the Australian keeper. The day/night concept was an undoubted success, but common sense should dictate that not every Test should be played in that format.

The Kiwi’s continued to fair badly with the DRS with Nathan Lyon getting a reprieve. The ICC has since come out and advised that the decision was wrong, however, the third umpire has to be absolutely sure if he is going to overturn the officiating umpires decision and 1440188864611there was certainly some doubt in my mind. The other decision which I think requires some review was the decision to send Mitchell Starc out to bat in the dying stages of the game. I had no problem with Starc going out there and trying to belt a few boundaries, but why not send him in before Peter Siddle and not when there was one ball to go in the over. Fortunately it didn’t matter and Australia got home.

Melbourne City have strung together two 5-1 results in a row in the mooyA-League and they should make hay before the January transfer window, because if Aaron Mooy is not picked up by a European side I would be very surprised. He appears to be a class above his opponents and deserves a chance for higher honours.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday musing – golf, Peter Senior, Matt Jones, AFL,Wylie Buzza

Chris Barwin HillsThe performance of Peter Senior at the recent Masters should not pass without a mention. It is a credit to him that he has now won the three most prestigious Australian tournaments after he turned fiftysenior years of age. He has always been a good golfer, but never Australia’s best golfer, but he keeps winning. It may have been a reflection of the standard of the field, but he still won. It was also interesting to see that despite the win, he didn’t feature in the favourites for the Australian Open. I bet if Adam Scott had won I am sure he would have started favourite for the Open.

While on golf, what a great finish to the Australian Open on the weekend. The future of Australian golf looks good with Matt Jones jonesand Jason Day both emerging this year. Jones consolidated himself on the US circuit and won the Australian Open on the weekend. Day broke through for his first major win in the US PGA championship. Adam Scott after a couple of bad days came home like a train on the last day and was probably unlucky not to force a tie after 72 holes. Good to see World number one, Jordan Spieth make the trip to Australia to play in one of our feature events.

Well another AFL Draft has come and gone and every club seems to be happy with their selections. Wylie Buzza, who was taken by Geelong with pick 69 has drawn some media attention because of his name and hair style, but he grabbed my attention for a completely different reason. Here we have a home grown product of Queenslandbuzza and yet neither of the Queensland clubs picked him up. Surely with the “go home factor” and trying to grow the game in Queensland there is an imperative for those clubs to select Queensland draftees. Brisbane Lions could be forgiven as they picked up two Academy players, but the Gold Coast did not select any local player. I hope it doesn’t come back to haunt them, like the Sydney Swans not picking John Longmire and Wayne Carey and more recently passing on Mark McVey and Lenny Hayes.

Have a great week!

Friday musing – Second Test, Socceroos & Aussie Masters

Chris Barwin HillsWell the 2nd Test in Perth petered out to a draw with some monumental batting displays from both teams. Steve Smith was criticized for the timing of his declaration not dangling enough of a smithcarrot for the Kiwi’s to chase. I thought the timing of the declaration was based on the fact that his bowlers had toiled in the stifling heat for two days and could not be expected to front up again “full of beans” unless they got a decent break. In the end, the Australians held the whip hand and I would be more critical of the defensive fields set by Brendan McCallum instead of Steve Smith’s declaration. In his defence, it also should be remembered that Steve Smith has declared in each of Australia’s innings so far this series.

The second Test also saw the last match for Mitchell Johnson and while he has been a great servant for Australia I don’t think we ever Unknownsaw the best of him for long enough. A lethal unplayable bowler one series and cannon fodder the next. I am a fan, but not with blind faith and I think he chose the right time to go. James Pattinson has been chosen to replace him and I am a fan of his, but I do feel a bit sorry for Peter Siddle. Siddle was Australia’s best bowler in the last Test in England and has not bowled badly in the Sheffield Shield so far this season and can count himself as unlucky. I can’t wait to see Mitchell Starc, Patrick Cummins and James Pattinson in full flight bowling for Australia.

Good to see the Socceroos go to the top of their group in the World Cup qualifier during the week. Tim Cahill was on fire with a hat trick cahillbefore half time. With Jordan losing and Australia still with two games at home, the Aussies should finish on top of this group and progress to the next stage quite comfortably.

Finally, good to see Adam Scott away to a good start at the AustralianMasters. He has had a poor year to date by his standards and needs a scottwin to build his confidence going into 2016. Given the field, it would be a big disappointment if he couldn’t end up leading at the end of day four.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Jason Day, Fifth Test, James Hird……

Chris Barwin HillsWe should start with the good news – it was great to see Jason Day salute in the US PGA early on Monday morning. I had predicted that he would win a major in 2014, but unfortunately he had a hand/wrist injury that upset his season and then when in contention for this
year’s US Open he had an attack of vertigo. A most deserved win and it was also refreshing to see the good sportsmanship displayed by Jordan Spieth. Spieth suggested that it was the best loss that h1363998228672e had ever had and I suppose if second place takes you to number one in the world, you cannot really complain. After his amazing win in the Australian Open I understand he has had the lowest total for all 4 majors ever. With Day, Spieth and Rory McIlroy at the top of the world rankings the golf should be pretty interesting over the next 5 to 10 years.

Continuing the good news theme it was great to see some application from the Australian batsmen in this test. I went to bed with the score at 0-82 on the first day and was pleased to wake and find they had moved to 3-287 which put them in a good position to 1440188864611push for a victory in Michael Clarke’s final test match. After the second day’s play, the Aussies have strengthened their hold on this test by having the English 8 for 107 at stumps. With Peter Siddle’s excellent bowling performance one can only ask the selectors why he wasn’t in the team before now!

I had previously stated that I would not discuss the Essendon supplements saga again until the WADA case outcome was known, however, the events of the week with James Hird’s departure from the club does change the situation somewhat. I read an article written by Tracey Holmes titled “The siren has sounded on Hird and 1384012800000all that is left is sadness” and I think it about sums up my views on the events of this week. As an Essendon supporter a lot of people asked me my for my views on Tuesday and my immediate response was sadness. It was also clear from the players that flanked Hird on Tuesday that most of the players were emotionally struck by what had happened as well. There are a lot of James Hird haters out there and I am sure they will get around Caroline Wilson and congratulate themselves on a job well done, they finally got their man.

Have a great weekend!