Saturday, 28 November 2015
Sunday, 15 November 2015
IN THE BUNKER WITH MICK THE GRIP
IN 2002 JUSTIN ROSE took the British Masters trophy, narrowly beating his friend Ian Poulter, with whom he was staying at the time. Poulter quipped: “I still made him dinner afterwards, I’m not sure why!”
This month Poulter hosted the eagerly awaited return of the British Masters to the European Tour at Woburn, his home club. The tournament, founded as the Dunlop Masters in 1946, used to be regarded as one of the most prestigious in Europe, with venues such as Wentworth and Sunningdale, but it was pulled from the Tour in 2008 due to lack of sponsorship.
Past winners include Tony Jacklin, who created history in 1967 on Kent’s Royal St George’s with the first live television coverage of his hole in one on the 165 yd 16th. Lee Trevino triumphed in 1985 on Woburn’s Dukes course, finishing with an unforgettable eagle. Seve Ballesteros won there in 1986 during his magical year of six European Tour victories, and Faldo did quite well in 1989, winning the Masters at Augusta and the PGA at Wentworth before his British Masters victory at Woburn, with a 21 under 267.
This year 21 year old Matt Fitzpatrick triumphed with a 68 on the Marquess course, pocketing £671.000 prize money, (slightly better than the £300 each given to Bobby Locke and Jimmy Adams who shared the 1946 prize.) Poulter was far down the field, and this week won’t have made him feel any more cheerful. Justin Rose won the Hong Kong Open, and Poulter was 29th. He may have to trade in one those Ferraris for a Ka.
ANDY SULLIVAN from Nuneaton cruised to a nine shot victory in the Portugal Masters at Vilamoura, 23 under par. Sullivan also won the South Africa Open in January and Joburg Open in March, after failing to win in his first 84 appearances on the European Tour. As my old scoutmaster used to say after my umpteenth attempt at a Sheepshank: “You’ve got to stick at it!”
LEE WESTWOOD is leaving the PGA Tour, and Brooks Koepka is giving up his European Tour card. Martin Kaymer will miss the PGA Tour next season after failing to compete in the required number of tournaments, but says that with the Olympics and Ryder Cup he’s not bothered. Paul Casey would miss the Ryder Cup if he leaves the European Tour, but Casey, like his compatriots, is weary of trying to be everywhere at once in a season that never really ends.
Rory McIlroy is committed to the European Tour for three years due to hosting the Irish Open. He has mentioned leaving it at some point, but says: “I'm enjoying the life I lead, so I'll do it for a while.'' He’d better put in some putting practice then.
CANADIAN KEITH PELLEY, the tough new CEO of the European Tour, has announced that it is withdrawing sanction of next year’s WGC Bridgestone International. The date of the Bridgestone was changed by the PGA to accommodate the Olympics, causing it to clash with the French Open, a flagship European Tour event celebrating it’s centenary in 2016. Pelley want a good turn-out. Of course, if the European qualifiers want to go to the Olympics instead of the French Open he could have problems, and he’s certainly ruffled feathers across the pond.
Pelly has also announced closer ties with the Asia Tour, and was behind the string pulling so McIIroy could be in the Race to Dubai despite playing insufficient tournaments. (Those Mounties always get their man!)
GLEN BERGER from Florida has made $15,000,000 over the past 15 years scuba diving for golf balls and selling them. I must look out my old mask and snorkel.
Until next time: happy golfing. And if you can pop your loose change in the poppy boxes this month, it will be very much appreciated.
Call Mick for your regripping and repairs. Tel. 638 859 475.
Thursday, 15 October 2015
IN THE BUNKER WITH MICK THE GRIP
ROSE HALL, on Jamaica’s Montego Bay, is a world renowned golf course with a grim history. A 6,000 acre sugar plantation in the 19th century, it was the home of Annee Palmer, the infamous “White Witch of Rose Hall” who, according to legend, cruelly abused her slaves; practised voodoo and murdered all three of her husbands. Her spirit is said to haunt the estate. The par 71 course, with 16 of the 18 holes exposed to crashing waves and the tradewinds, is scary enough without a ghostly Annee Palmer drifting across it, but it’s beauty, like Annee’s, is said to be unforgettable.
THE 2015 PRESIDENTS CUP (Oct. 8th) will be played in Asia for the first time at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club, Incheon, South Korea, with defending champions America fielding a strong team including Zach Johnson, Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler. Phil Mickelson is making his 21st consecutive appearance in international team competition, Jordan Spieth is making his third. The 2013 Presidents Cup rookie now has a star on his dressing room door. That’s show business.
In the other camp Jason Day, although on brilliant form, can’t win the whole thing on his own. Branden Grace and Danny Lee have been good but no cigars and neither Adam Scott nor Charl Schwartzel have made banner headlines this year. Without Rory or Justin the International team are going to need Ryder Cup type inspiration to win this one.
AFTER BEING PIPPED at the post by America in the Solheim Cup at Baden Wurttemberg, the European ladies could have headed a couple of hours down the road to Munich to drown their sorrows at the Octoberfest, which begins, oddly enough on September 19th. Originally held in October to mark a royal Bavarian marriage it was moved to the warmer nights of September. Suzann Petterson might have cheered up after a Stein of the strong local brew. Alternatively, after two or three she might not have felt quite so apologetic.
NOT MANY GRANDFATHERS win on the PGA Tour, but 51 yr. old Davis Love III shot a triumphant 64 at the Wyndham Championship, playing the first six holes in 5 under par, and making two eagles during the round. Love, the 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup team captain who will assist Jay Haas at the Presidents Cup said: ‘It’s fun to still hang in there with the guys.” There’s still hope for us old’uns.
BROOKS KOEPKA (25) from Florida, provides a great example of the grounding the European Tour offers. When he turned pro in 2012 he travelled to Europe to compete on the Challenge Tour. His objective: ‘To become a more rounded player.’
“Going to Europe toughened me,” he admits. “Learning to travel, manage my time, handle myself on the course, play links golf. It’s important to be able to perform in different conditions.” European Tour players have to contend with temperatures ranging from the humid Far East to chilly Scotland, while PGA Tour players can spend much more time in their own comfort zone. Unfortunately the PGA tour offers the most ranking points and the biggest prizes, but at least Koepka can cope with whatever most courses throw at him.
TAYLOR MADE say their best drivers begin with an ‘R’ so I don’t know why they have called their latest release the ‘M1.’ They can’t be aware it sounds to us like a 1960’s road, in other words, clapped out.
The new Cobra King LTD driver, on the other hand, sounds much more fun. The first ever see-through driver, featuring a transparent ‘Spaceport’, it has a 16gm removable weight in the head. A key opens the Spaceport so you can see the innards of the clubhead (should you wish to.) Alternatively, you can keep your sandwiches in it. Taylor Made really should keep up.
Until next time, happy golfing.
Contact Mick for your regripping and repair requirements: 638 859 475.
Saturday, 19 September 2015
Tuesday, 15 September 2015
Monday, 14 September 2015
Friday, 4 September 2015
IN THE BUNKER WITH MICK THE GRIP
THE OLYMPIC COURSE. “It will be a Masterpiece,” says an excited IOC spokesman. Steady on. At least it’s green. (A bit greener than Nov 2013, see below)
The men’s Olympic golf (11-14th August) is playing havoc with the 2016 PGA summer schedules, with 8 tournaments in 8 weeks, including 3 Majors. The PGA Championship will be in July, the WGC Bridgestone, moved to June, will now clash with the French Open, a tough decision for the European Tour players needing Race to Dubai and Ryder Cup points. The Travellers Championship and John Deere Classic, moved to August may be without their defending champions Bubba and Jordan, who, like Fred and Ginger, could be Flying Down to Rio.
ROYAL LYTHAM & ST ANNES hosts the 45th Walker Cup on 12/13th September. 26 matches will be played, with two forms of match play, singles and foursomes. The GB& I amateurs were victorious at Royal Aberdeen in 2011, beating a brilliant USA team including Jordan Spieth (wonder what happened to him?) but they were trounced 17 to 9 at Long Island in 2013, in what was called the ‘Nightmare in New York.’ Captain Nigel Edwards says: “We lost in 2013 despite having an experienced team. This year they are untried for the most part but dead keen to get that trophy back.” The Walker trophy is named after the great grandfather of George W. Bush. Never mind, they still want it.
CALLAWAY’S NEW Great Big Bertha driver, unlike it’s 1990’s ancestor, incorporates 21st century design features. They include a sliding weight that can be positioned for varying degrees of draw, fade or neutral, and OptiFit hosel technology which gives eight loft and face angles. So why is it a greater Big Bertha? Well, if you accept the explanation, it is because it echoes the ground breaking nature of the original GBB. In that case I can't wait for the re-release of the Greatest Big Bertha.
WHISTLING STRAIGHTS must be one of Pete Dye’s most scenic courses, not that players in the PGA Championship could take time off to admire the view, with the hole a bus ride away and a couple of yards off the fairway meant either deep rough or Lake Michigan. It’s the host course for the 2020 Ryder Cup, which should be fun, and is one of the few American Major courses people can actually play, providing they have steady nerves and $385.
ONE OF THE FIRST players to recognize Jordan Spieth’s mental strength was Phil Mickelson. Spieth and Steve Stricker beat him in one of his beloved practice round money games in 2013 although Mickelson, who knows every trick in the book to rattle his opponents, tried them all on Spieth, who just smiled innocently at him. Mickelson ground his teeth, but afterwards suggested Spieth be included in the 2013 Presidents Cup.
KINGS DON’T ALWAYS relinquish their crowns gracefully. In 1922 Walter Hagen, the ‘King of Gamesmanship’ won the Open, but was beaten in the U.S. Open and USPGA by 20 yr. old Gene Sarazen. There was no love lost between the two; Hagen thought Sarazen a young upstart, and Sarazen thought Hagen should treat him with more respect. When they played each other in a challenge match later that year Hagen tried to get under his opponent’s skin. Sarazen complained: “He kept calling me ‘Kid’ and I didn’t like it.” Sarazen had the last laugh, winning 3 and 2.
WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY is the latest buzzword. In one example, a small GPS tracker is fixed to the belt, with flat sensors placed on each club. The location of every shot is marked, and the golfers monitor their performance with a glance at their smartphones.
As used in practice by Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, and even President Obama, all of whom could use a little help at the moment, but maybe not from Wearable Technology. Still, it’s reassuring the most powerful man in the world has some idea where his shots are going.
Until next time, Happy Golfing.
Contact Mick for your regripping and repairs. Tel: 638 859 475.
Thursday, 27 August 2015
Tuesday, 25 August 2015
Monday, 24 August 2015
Thursday, 30 July 2015
IN THE BUNKER WITH MICKTHE GRIP
FRIDAY AT ST. ANDREWS: A deluge of rain cascading onto the Old Course caused delays of more than three hours, despite the herculean efforts of the green’s staff. Young Paul Dunne’s caddie stopped offering him advice and offered to give him swimming lessons. Saturday was worse with the wind causing havoc. As an esteemed golf correspondent once said, they really should consider playing this major in summer.
OPEN WINNNER Zach Johnson’s strict Christian upbringing stood him in good stead on the 18th green when microphone waving interviewers charged up asking inane questions like: ‘What does this moment mean to you?’ He managed to choke out a polite response, but must have wished, briefly, that they would go forth and multiply.
AFTER WINNING The Greenbriar Classic 24 yr. old Danny Lee confided that he just wanted someone to celebrate his $1.2 million prize with; preferably a girlfriend. After playing eight tournaments in nine weeks he said he was tired of coming back to an empty hotel room. I imagine the next sound was his hotel door being flattened as 5,000 potential girlfriends arrived.
THE RICOH Womens’ British Open (July 30th to August 2nd) will take place at the much Trumpeted Trump Turnberry Resort, Scotland. Mo Martin, the 2014 champion will be defending her title against a star studded international field, including New Zealand’s Lydia Ko, U.S.A.’s Stacy Lewis and a great many ladies from South Korea.
FORMER WORLD NO. 1. Tiger Woods arrived at the Greenbriar Classic in his private jet after cruising the Bahamas in his yacht. However Tiger has not had a top 10 finish since his tie for 2nd at the 2013 Barclays Championship. Down to World No. 258, he needs tournament starts to improve his world ranking; so low that he is ineligible for next month’s Bridgestone Invitational, which he won eight times. But his earnings alone total well over $100 million, so there’s no need to pawn the yacht just yet.
IT’S UNUSUAL to change Swingweights from mid to long irons in a set, but the new Ping GMax Irons do just that, becoming progressively lighter from the mid irons up to the long. Ping know that golfers likely to use the GMax lose club speed in longer shafted clubs, particularly in the long irons, so Ping made the clubs lighter to help them square the face at impact, increasing ball speed and promoting straighter shots. Reviews have labelled them clunky, but you can’t have everything.
IN 1960 ARNOLD PALMER was “The Man.” He had won a second Masters that year and the U.S. Open at Cherry Hills. After 54 holes at St. Andrews he was four strokes behind the leader, Australian Kel Nagle. As he teed off on the 17th in the final round he still trailed by two.
The infamous Road Hole was then a 483 yd. par 5. In each of the first three rounds, Palmer was on in 2, then three putted for par. But now he had a birdie 4. When a roar went up for Palmer’s birdie 3 on the 18th Nagle was hunched over a birdie putt on the 17th. He holed it to maintain his one stroke lead, then parred the 18th to win.
Palmer lost the Open, but not his sense of humour. His caddie Tip Anderson later told how on the first three rounds Palmer had hit a 6 iron to the 17th green. In his desperation to catch Nagle in the final round, he hit a 5 iron onto the road behind the green.
“He made a great recovery and got a 4,” Anderson said. “Walking to the 18th tee, he says to me, ‘Tip, you’ve cost me the Open championship.’ I was stunned. ‘What have I done?’ I asked. He looked at me sternly for a moment and then he starts to laugh. ‘You gave me the wrong club all week.’ ”
Until next time: Happy Golfing.Contact Mick for all your regripping and repairs. Tel: 638 859 475.