IN THE BUNKER WITH MICK THE GRIP MAY 2012
The absence of Donald, Westwood and McIlroy at Finca Cortesin, Malaga, this weekend adds up to a golden opportunity for hopefuls such as Paul Lawrie, Graeme McDowell, Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose and defending champion Ian Poulter.
The Volvo World Matchplay Championship, once a staple of the autumn calendar at Wentworth, boasts just one member of the world’s top ten, Martin Kaymer, so the race is on to make the automatic qualifiers for Europe’s Ryder Cup team. Poulter is currently 12th in the points table, McDowell and Garcia stand 8th and 9th – the top ten are guaranteed the trip to Medinah in September.
After Matt Kuchar won the Players Championship at Sawgrass one of his little sons ran onto the 18th green. Kuchar hugged him, then turned to shake hands with his opponent Kevin Na, apologising for grabbing his son before formally completing the round. Nice to see the courtesies observed. It’s embarrassing when the winner bursts into tears leaving his opponent standing there looking like a lemon.
Perhaps Kevin should have gone to recover at Ian Poulter’s new house at Lake Nona, Orlando; so enormous it is nicknamed “The Hotel.” It took three years to build and could probably accommodate the entire PGA Tour. Poulter is now shopping for a Ferrari Enzo to put in the drive. It’s tough at the top.
Peter Alliss, who has been inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame along with “Phil the Thrill” Nickelson, Sandy Lyle and others, is regarded by most of us as a national treasure. However, The BBC's voice of golf for the past 40 years, and former European Tour winner tends to make the Americans nervous with his humorous commentary, and caused sharp intakes of breath when he ended his induction speech with a expressive gesture!!!!!! to the former headmistress who said that he would never get anywhere.
It's not like Donald Trump to trumpet (much) but he did promise that his new links course near Aberdeen would be "the World's Greatest Golf Course." Some feel now that Donald might have been a trifle overenthusiastic. "The dunes are apparently superb, and the views beautiful,” says a review, “but the general feeling is that the Trump International Scotland Course” shows a lack of truly outstanding design, and the numerous small bunkers are often placed without elegance or strategic merit. More bizarre still is the 200-foot man-made wonder— the “Crystal Falls”—which dumps champagne into a pond behind the 18th green. Pete Dye would never have thought of that.
“The Quiet Eye” technique was invented in Canada by Joan Vickers, a professor of kinesiology, and monitors the eye movements of golfers as they putt by using a helmet fitted with an external camera. It shows that in the seconds before a stroke, the average golfer’s eye tends to dart around, while elite players control their gaze.
Neural processes associated with the “Quiet Eye” help the brain organize the body to make a good stroke, while overriding competing processes responsible for distractions and anxiety. Vickers's advice is that when you are ready to putt, gaze steadily at the hole for three counts, bring your eyes back to the ball in one count and fix your eyes on the top of the ball for two counts. Then make the stroke and continue to gaze at the ground, where the ball was, for one more count. (I’ve lost count.)
Following Bubba Watson's win at Augusta, PING announced they will sell 5000 all-pink G20 drivers, (Retail £339 if you want one) with 5% of the proceeds going to charity. Watson started using the pink-headed version of the G20 to raise money for good causes - for every drive he makes over 300 yards, PING will give $300 to the "Bubba Long in Pink Driven by PING” campaign. Well done Blubba (sorry, Bubba.)
In The Bunker With Mick The Grip JUNE 2012
By now the winner of the U.S. Open will be placing the trophy on his mantelpiece. Whoever it is I can’t help feeling that based on Tour results so far this year, the 2012 American Ryder Cup team is looking a touch formidable.
No one played more holes to win a U.S. Open than Billy Burke in 1931 at Inverness, Ohio. He tied with George Von Elm, leading to a 36-hole playoff. They tied again, and had to play another 36 holes the next morning before Burke won by a single shot. They actually played two Opens, a total of 144 holes.
Royal Lytham & St. Annes, where Darren Clarke will be looking to defend his Open title next month, has decided to overturn the 2007 ban on mobile phones. A spokesman says: “While we know it will not be easy for marshals, we are allowing mobiles back on the course based on trust. Also, we are hoping there will be peer group pressure if people do use the phone in places where they shouldn't." U.S. players will not be happy, they complained at the Memorial about ‘cellphone’ distraction. It is likely to remain a bone of contention(or dog and bone).
The Lancashire course is used to making controversial decisions. In 1926, when the Open was held there for the first time, they introduced regional qualifying, changed the Open from two rounds to three, and were the first to charge an admission fee.
Just as golfers are recovering from seeing pink drivers, Cobra Puma have collaborated with Italian supercar giants Ferrari to launch a driver in the famous Ferrari red. Technicians worked with Ferrari’s aerodynamics experts to create a more efficient head shape for less drag and more clubhead speed. The driver features a grip and headcover made from the top-quality Italian leather used in Ferrari cars. Price: £1250. Other accessories in the luxury leather range include golf shoes at £400. Available from Ferrari outlets (wherever they might be) from July 1st. Shame, just missed my birthday!