IN THE BUNKER WITH MICK THE GRIP
THE 208 Yd. par three 17th at Pebble Beach, site of some memorable golf shots. Jack Nicklaus's one iron cutting through fierce winds to tap in distance and Tom Watson's miraculous chip in from left of the green come to mind. Stopping on that shallow putting surface must be a nightmare, with the Pacific Ocean threatening. Brandt Snedeker, whose no nonsense style has been compared to Watson’s, made it look easy this month when he won the AT&T National Pro-Am. Nice to see that he did it without histrionics as well. James Hahn, who played the final round with Snedeker reported that “The guy is world class on and off the course.” More shades of Watson?
With a win, two seconds and a third this year Snedeker has moved up to No. 4 in the world. Good news for his caddy. Caddies have to meet their own expenses and their rate is negotiable, but in general it’s 10% of their player’s prize for a win, 7% for the top ten and 5% for everything else. This season Scott Vail has earned $300,000, and it’s only February.
SCOTLAND RIGHTLY lays claim to the origins of the modern game of golf; it was played there in the 14th century until King James II banned it for interfering with archery practice. However, China has unearthed illustrations of a remarkably similar 10th century game called Chuiwan played by the nobility with jade inlaid sticks, and a Ming Dynasty scroll dated 1368 shows a member of the Imperial Court swinging something resembling a golf club at what looks like a hole in what looks like a green. Is nothing sacred? Speaking of which, St. Andrews is partially altering nine holes on the Old Course before it hosts the Open in 2015. It is causing howls of protest from Traditionalists, who claim it is like painting a moustache on the Mona Lisa.
ON THE U.S. PGA Tour the number of players employing long putters rose to 15% last season, and college coaches have been advocating them to young golfers as the putter of choice. The PGA is still undecided whether or not to enforce the anchor ban. It’s odd that when anchor putters were used only by the aged and infirm and players with the yips nobody worried about them, it’s only since three out of the last five majors were won using long putters that the controversy started.
GOLF SHOES ARE getting lighter. On the heels (excuse pun) of the Adidas Adizero Tour which weighs in at 10.6 ounces comes the revolutionary “M” Project range from Footjoy. The minimalist movement in golf footwear stems from the idea that having the feet as close as possible to the ground improves stability, control and lower body movement throughout the swing, so the shoes feature extra front space to let toes spread out and increase grip, and a highly flexible sole. Featuring an exclusive ‘stealth’ cleat for the ‘ultimate in low profile performance’ the lightweight shoes retail at up to £115. The “M” stands for Maximum feel Minimum construction (or More Money Less Shoe.)
MIGUEL ANGEL JIMENEZ will miss up to two months of the season after breaking his leg skiing in Andalucia. “I lost control going downhill, these things happen,” he commented philosophically. Jimenez, 48, who became the oldest victor in European Tour history when he won the Hong Kong Open in November, underwent surgery and had two pins inserted just below the knee.
Graeme McDowell is opening a bar/restaurant close to the Lake Nona Golf and Country Club in Orlando, where his ‘Dream Home’ is also under construction. Whenever he wins a tournament Graeme rings home to Rathmore Golf Club in Northern Ireland and tells them the drinks are on him. He has promised to introduce the custom in his latest acquisition, so I would imagine his thirsty customers will be rooting for him!
Until next time, happy golfing.
Call Mick for all your regripping and repair requirements: 638 859 475.