Power down under
Australia has produced it share of golfing greats over the years
International players have played a big role in the history of the PGA Tour, going back as far as Bruce Crampton, a 14-time winner in the United States and David Graham, a six-time Tour winner in the 1960s and '70s.
Seventy-five international players from 24 countries have playing privileges on the PGA Tour this year. But there is little doubt as to where the power base lies when it comes to international strength: Down Under.
Twenty-three Australians are listed as Tour-eligible, although some have limited eligibility.
Go to the top of that list, however, you'll find some of the best players in golf: Adam Scott, Mark Hensby, Robert Allenby, Stuart Appleby, Peter Lonard , Nick O'Hern and Aaron Baddeley.
Greg Norman is undoubtedly the most recognizable and most successful Aussie golfer, as evidenced by the fact that both Aaron Baddeley (winner of 2006 Verizon Heritage last week) and Adam Scott (winner of the 2004 Players Championship) mentioned following in Norman's footsteps as they accepted the winner's trophies.
A year ago, Lonard won the Verizon Heritage, his first win on the PGA Tour and Baddely joined that club Sunday. Baddeley joined the Tour in 2003 as a Nationwide Tour graduate, and until he tamed Harbour Town Golf Links, the best he'd done was cracking the million-dollar mark in earnings in 2005 and finishing second twice. He also won the 2001 Greg Norman Holden International.
He had struggled badly this year, missing three of seven cuts with only one top-25 and was 158th on the money list.
"I wouldn't say (winning is a) relief, but it's a dream," Baddeley said. "It's a goal that's been reached. So it's very satisfying."
Australians have had particular success at the Heritage with Baddeley joining Graham Marsh, Norman and Lonard.
"I was talking with a friend of mine about trying to keep the trophy in Australia because Peter Lonard won it last year," said Baddeley. "It's fantastic. It's great to keep it in Australia."
In addition to having elite-level games, the Australians as a group are some of the longest players on Tour. Appleby has the second-longest drive of the year on Tour, 426 yards, but all the others are not slouches with the long ball. You can find them mentioned 11 times in the top 100 drives of the season.
GREAT AUSSIE GOLFERS FROM THE PAST
Ian Baker-Finch won British Open in 1991
Bruce Crampton - 14-time PGA Tour winner, runnerup in 4 majors.
David Graham - 6-time PGA Tour winner, including PGA Championship and U.S. Open Championship.
Graham Marsh - 6-time Champions Tour winner, including Senior Open.
Kel Nagle - won British Open in 1960.
Peter Thomson - 5-time British Open champion.
INTERNATIONAL REPRESENTATION BY COUNTRY
Argentina -- 1
Australia -- 23
Canada -- 3
Colombia -- 1
England -- 6
Fiji -- 1
France -- 1
Germany -- 2
India -- 1
Ireland -- 1
Japan -- 4
Mexico -- 1
Namibia -- 1
New Zealand -- 3
Northern Ireland -- 2
Norway - 1
Paraguay -- 1
Scotland -- 1
South Africa -- 8
South Korea -- 2
Spain -- 2
Sweden -- 7
Trinidad & Tobago -- 1
Zimbabwe -- 1
TAKING ENOUGH CLUB
Let's say you have an approach to a green that requires you to go over a pond. You have a yardage that tells you it's 140 yards to the front of the green, 146 to the pin. The amateur should play to 160 yards, long is always better than short, especially in this instance. Don't fall into the mental trap of seeing a yardage and then pulling a club that when you hit it perfectly, that's the yardage it goes. Most guys try to do things they're not capable of doing.
The Heavy Putter, which lives up to its name as a putter with more weight, has been embraced by golfers of all skill levels as a way to calm putting strokes and deal more efficiently with the dreaded yips. It also features the Weight Management System, a 250-gram weight in the grip section that raises the balance point 75 percent higher than conventional putters. This weight cuts down on wrist breakdown and creates greater stability and consistency during the putting stroke. It also has adjustable tip weights, allowing for an optimal release through impact. Boccieri Golf, the manufacturer of the putter, unveiled the Heavy Putter Matte Series earlier this year. This new series is finished in sleek, dark gray and is combined with a satin shaft and midsize grip. The Matte Series putter retail for $229.