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.