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.