IN THE BUNKER WITH MICK THE GRIP
ERIN HILLS WISCONSIN. The 117th U.S. Open is back in the Midwest on 12th June. One of only six public courses to hold the US Open, and specifically designed for that purpose, Erin Hills is a wild prairie raked by 30 mph winds, with waving fescue grass, undulating fairways and roughly-cut bunkers. Golfers who have played it recently ($280 dollars plus caddie) say it’s a long walk. Seven tee boxes per hole allow the USGA a number of choices so the course can be played anywhere from 6,000 to 8,000 yds.
115 miles from Chicago and the Great Lakes, the course can be on the chilly side, but the Irish contingent who qualify will find a cosy home-from-home at The Lodge, which resembles an old Irish Country Inn complete with Guinness-serving Irish pub.
IN THE RECENT GOLF SIXES at St. Albans the shot clock used on the fourth hole got the thumbs up from players. 40 seconds were allowed for hitting shots in the first two group matches and 30 seconds for the remaining sessions. Andy Sullivan said afterwards: "Everyone was quicker because they knew the consequences. It shows that you really don't need 40 seconds, everyone can play that quickly when they know they’ll be penalised otherwise.”
On the whole the inaugural Golf Sixes was voted a success, ending with Denmark beating Australia, with Scotland pipping Italy for third place. The next step being considered is floodlit golf in big city venues to attract the crowds. (Can you bear to wait?)
RORY McILROY has signed a 10-year clubs/ball/staff bag deal with TaylorMade and a 10-year extension to a clothing deal with Nike worth squillions. Rory (28) had better win something soon although he may not be bothered; a good incentive to winning tournaments is to be hungry, and Rory isn’t even peckish. What with cracked ribs and his recent nuptuals his appearances this year have been slightly less frequent than those of the Male Passenger Pigeon, and that’s extinct.
SWING COACH PETE COWEN says: “ Louis Oosthuizen was never tempted to change the awesome swing that won him the Open at St. Andrews in 2010. It's the same basic swing that impressed me when he was an amateur. There's always a voice whispering to players they can be even better if they just change one thing. It can be disastrous, but thank goodness Louis never heard that voice. When I began working with Henrik Stenson he had a preset movement with his shoulders I didn't care for. I decided he should get rid of it and he followed my direction exactly, although it took him a very long time to work through it. As it turned out, it was worth it, but I decided I should think carefully in future before recommending changes.” Cowen may be right, Luke Donald’s radical swing change with coach Chuck Cook didn’t turn out too well.
IN 2014 BERNHARD LANGER secured his second Senior Open Championship title at Royal Porthcawl. Wales’s first Senior Major Championship was voted a great success. More than 43,000 spectators lined the fairways in blazing sunshine to watch Langer produce one of the outstanding performances in the history of senior golf, finishing 13 shots clear of 2010 Ryder Cup Captain Colin Montgomery.On 27th July Langer will be hoping to repeat the performance and secure a third title. To hope that he will once again win it in blazing sunshine is pushing his luck.
A DUBLIN PUNTER obviously knew something about 21-year-old Si Woo Kim nobody else did when he placed a €200 bid on the 500-1 South Korean to win the Players Championship. On the Sunday, he demonstrated the luck of the Irish and netted over €60,000!
TAYLORMADE CEO David Abeles sent an emotional email to employees notifying them that Adidas has sold the company. “Today’s announcement marks the next step in our journey together, a stepping stone towards realising our mission and vision, and for all of us, an exciting new chapter.”
(No mention of a raise so they probably couldn’t give a toss.)
Until next time: Happy Golfing.
Contact Mick for your regripping and repairs. 638 859 475.