Page 1

VOLUME 2 | ISSUE 10

FEBRUARY 2018 `150

THINK YOUNG | PLAY HARD

RNI NO. HARENG/2016/66983

TIGER

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exclusive first look at his new swing

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yearbook 2017

HOW GOLF WORKS IN INDIA GLOBAL EARNINGS OF INDIAN GOLFERS + INTERVIEW WITH JUSTIN ROSE AND TOMMY FLEETWOOD

IIFL WEALTH-FALDO SERIES INDIA QUALIFIERS


New Shades of Thai Golf

The golf courses in Thailand are open to everybody and have diverse shades. Every golf course has its own uniqueness. You will enjoy an assorted mix of sceneries and galaxy of services in each golf courses. There are a million shades of Thailand waiting for you to discover. We are open, are you?

Tourism Authority of Thailand New Delhi: (91 11) 4674 1111, tatdel@tat.or.th | Mumbai: (91 22) 22020264 /65, tatmumbai@tat.or.th www.tourismthailand.org | www.tourismthailand.in (India)


CONGRATULATIONS INDIAN CONTINGENT FOR FALDO SERIES ASIA FINAL, VIETNAM 1st to 3rd March, 2018

Winners Surya Kumar K (Boys U-21) Rahul Ajay (Boys U-18) Harshjeet Sethie (Boys U-16) Tanirika Singh (Girls U-21) Pranavi Urs (Girls U-16)


*condition Apply.

Š 2018 Taylor Made Golf Company, Inc.


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how to play. what to play. where to play.

l l

Contents 2/18

ArgentinA l AustrAliA l Chile l ChinA l CzeCh republiC l FinlAnd l FrAnCe l hong Kong l IndIa l indonesiA l irelAnd KoreA l MAlAysiA l MexiCo l Middle eAst l portugAl l russiA l south AFriCA l spAin l sweden l tAiwAn l thAilAnd l usA

NUM

S EDI T ION | Shubhankar Sharma became the youngest Indian winner on the European Tour

44

46

63

Newsmakers Update On Indian Golfers Around The World Junior Golf IIFL Wealth-Faldo Series India Qualifier

50

Club Round-Up

51

Grow The Game

52

Business Of Golf

54

Corporate Digest MercedesTrophy

64

PGA Tour Tournaments Set Charitable Donations Record

Fleetwood Wins Seve Ballesteros Award

66

The Average European Tour Pro In 2017

68

Jazz Janewattanond: From The Temple To The European Tour

Interview with Justin Rose and Tommy Fleetwood

70

Bjørn Guides Europe To EurAsia Cup Victory

73

Growing From Strength To Strength by joSh bURack

by Rohit bhaRdwaj 61

5 Decades That Transformed Golf In USA

74

Madappa, Rai Earn Playing Rights On Asian Tour

14 golf digest india | february 2018

23

Global Earnings Of Indian Golfers Vs Shuttlers

28

How Golf Works In India Golf Digest India decodes how indian golf is run and administered in the country by rohit bhardwaj & karthik swaminathan

36

A Year Of Phenomenal Storylines Golf Digest India looks back at five moments that stood out in 2017... by karthik swaminathan

40

On The Wishlist 5 potential talking points that golf aficionados will look forward to in 2018

42

Hot Dates 2018

Features 76

Cover Story: Exclusive Look at Tiger’s New Swing by Ron kaSpRiSke, with analySiS by jim mclean

85

How Tiger Chooses His Equipment The 14-time major champion brings a meticulous approach to club testing. by e. michael johnSon

86

58

Workmanlike Worldwide Indians won 9 titles across tours in 2017 to cap the most successful season in a decade, promising more glory in 2018 by rohit bhardwaj

SSP Chawrasia successfully defended his Indian Open title

India Digest

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Shiv Kapur capped a fabulous 2017, winning 3 titles on the Asian Tour

What Made Tiger Great? Nicklaus, Player, Trevino, Miller and Faldo on going from good to transcendent. by jaime diaz

100 Undercover Tour Pro

A guide to private-jet life. with max adleR

101 Solid and Far

Made Simple Keys to a repeatable swing and finding the sweet spot. by geRina pilleR

104 Eliminate Three-Putts

Become automatic from long distance.

by bUtch haRmon 105 Art of Exaggeration

How to feel a proper release. by david leadbetteR

106 Keep It Down

Never clank one off a branch again.

by tom watSon 109 New Looks

Five ways to rethink your wedge game.

by mike StachURa 118 Closeout

Your 2018 golf horoscope. by max adleR

Cover photograph by Walter Iooss Jr.


Editor’s Letter W Dear Readers,

GOLF DIGEST USA EDITORIAL

e were pleased to find that 2017 was a super year for India’s top pro golfers as 12 of them earned their Asian Tour cards for 2018 and won over US$ 5 million in prize money globally with 9 international victories, the most ever in history for Indian golf! Further, Anirban Lahiri consolidated his position on the US PGA Tour and Aditi Ashok earned full playing rights on the LPGA Tour. We hope 2018 will see both of them recording their maiden victories on those two tours which represent the pinnacle of the sport for men and women.

ChAirMAn & eDitor-in-ChieF Jerry Tarde exeCutive eDitor Mike O’Malley CreAtive DireCtor Ken DeLago MAnAGinG eDitor Alan P. Pittman Deputy eDitor Max Adler

2018 is important because its an Asian Games Write to me at rishi@teamgolfdigest.com or year and India, which has been out of medals on Twitter @RishiNarain_ for the past 2 editions, needs to really step up to compete with powerhouses Japan, Korea, China, Thailand and Taiwan. We intend to focus on the health of junior golf in India as the future of the game squarely rests on our juniors. At the IIFL Wealth-Faldo Series India qualifier held at KGA this January, the plethora of talent on show combined with the passion of parents and juniors alike made us realise that the game in India is in good hands. However, to fulfil its potential, we need to adopt best practices from other countries and channel a lot of resources and effort into helping kids tap into their potential. The 7th Annual edition of India Golf Expo has gained considerable stature with the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews confirming their delegation and presentations at the show. The Expo represents the only opportunity for golf club decision makers, governing bodies and industry members to chalk out a strategy for the growth of the game. It was at the 2017 Expo that the inaugural “India Learn Golf Week” initiative was launched by the Golf Industry Association (GIA). The show, being held in Bengaluru on April 19 and 20, is open to anyone with an interest in golf and readers are free to register online, attend and contribute their views at the event. Look forward to bringing you more updates in the months ahead! Happy Golfing!

Rishi Narain

TEAM GOLF DIGEST INDIA Editor & Publisher Rishi Narain Managing Editor Rohit Bhardwaj rohit@rnsportsmarketing.com

Contributing Editor Karthik Swaminathan karthik@rnsportsmarketing.com

Assistant Art Director Guneet Singh Oberoi

Marketing & Advertising Nikhil Narain nikhil@rnsportsmarketing.com +91-9999990364

Subscriptions Monika Chhabra subscribe@teamgolfdigest.com Phone: +91-9999868051

Krishna Kant Dubey kk@rnsportsmarketing.com

Published and Printed by Rishi Narain on behalf of Rishi Narain Golf Management Private Limited and Printed at Thomson Press India Limited, 18-35 Mile Stone, Delhi-Mathura Road, Faridabad-121 007, Haryana and published from 501, Sushant Tower, Sector - 56, Gurgaon - 122101, Haryana. Phone Number - 0124-2841370, 1371, 1372. Editor: Rishi Narain. Contains material reprinted by permission from Golf Digest® and Golf World®. Golf Digest India is a monthly publication of Rishi Narain Golf Management Private Limited.

16 golf digest india | february 2018

GOLF DIGEST INTERNATIONAL EDITIONS AND EDITORS-IN-CHIEF GD ArGentinA Hernán SimÓ, Jorge R. Arias AustrAliAn GD Brad Clifton GD Chile Rodrigo Soto GD ChinA Echo Ma GD CzeCh republiC Robin Drahonovsky GD FinlAnD Sami Markkanen GD FrAnCe Henry Trouillet GD honG KonG Echo Ma GD inDonesiA Irwan Hermawan GD inDiA Rishi Narain GD irelAnD Linton Walsh GD KoreA Eun Jeong “EJ” Sohn GD MAlAysiA Patrick Ho GD MexiCo Rafa Quiroz GD MiDDle eAst Robbie Greenfield GD portuGAl João Morais Leitão GD russiA Fedor Gogolev GD south AFriCA Stuart McLean GD spAin Óscar Maqueda GD sweDen Oskar Åsgård GD tAiwAn Jennifer Wei GD thAilAnD Chumphol Na Takuathung GD usA Jerry Tarde

ARTICLES eDitoriAl DevelopMent DireCtor Craig Bestrom senior eDitor Ron Kaspriske senior writers Bureau Jaime Diaz, Dave Kindred, Tim Rosaforte, Ron Sirak, Guy Yocom AssoCiAte eDitor Stephen Hennessey AssistAnt eDitor Brittany Romano eDitor-At-lArGe Nick Seitz writer-At-lArGe Dan Jenkins ContributinG eDitors Dave Anderson, Peter Andrews, Tom Callahan, Bob Carney, Marcia Chambers, David Fay, John Feinstein, Peter Finch, Thomas L. Friedman, Lisa Furlong, Matthew M. Ginella, John Huggan, Dean Knuth, David Owen, Steve Rushin, Dave Shedloski, Roger Schiffman, Geoff Shackelford INSTRUCTION senior eDitor Peter Morrice senior writer Matthew Rudy plAyinG eDitors / pGA tour Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson, Rickie Fowler, Justin Leonard, Phil Mickelson, Nick Price, Jordan Spieth, David Toms plAyinG eDitors / lpGA tour Paula Creamer teAChinG proFessionAls Rob Akins, Todd Anderson, Chuck Cook, Sean Foley, Hank Haney, Butch Harmon, Hank Johnson, David Leadbetter, Jack Lumpkin, Jim McLean, Tom Ness, Renee Powell, Dean Reinmuth, Randy Smith, Rick Smith, Dave Stockton, Josh Zander proFessionAl ADvisors Amy Alcott, Dr. Bill Mallon, Gary McCord, Randy Myers, Judy Rankin, Lucius Riccio, Ph.D., Dr. Bob Rotella, Ben Shear, Ralph Simpson, Frank Thomas, Stan Utley EQUIPMENT senior eDitor Mike Stachura equipMent eDitor E. Michael Johnson AssistAnt eDitor Keely Levins teChniCAl pAnel John Axe, Ph.D.; Martin Brouillette, Ph.D.; Thomas E. Lacy Jr., Ph.D.; David Lee, Ph.D.; John McPhee, Ph.D.; Dick Rugge; George Springer, Ph.D. GOLF COURSES senior eDitor / ArChiteCture Ron Whitten ContributinG eDitor Topsy Siderowf GOLF DIGEST INTERNATIONAL GROUP senior DireCtor, internAtionAl Develop Ment & strAteGy Angela Byun ContributinG eDitor, internAtionAl Ju Kuang Tan


Our Contributors JACK NICKLAUS Regarded as the greatest player of all time Winner of a record 18 GRAND SLAMS

TOM WATSON World’s #1 ranked professional golfer from 1978 to 1982 8-TIME Grand Slam Champion

BUTCH HARMON Considered as the #1 rated golf instructor in the world Best known as TIGER WOODS’s coach (1993-2004)

DAVID LEADBETTER The most celebrated golf instructor in history Changed golf instruction for all future generations from guesswork to science

Golf Digest India is the exclusive official media partner to:

The World's Richest Tour 18 golf digest india | february 2018

Covers 27 countries, with approximately US$210 million in prize money

The region's pre-eminent Tour covering 21 countries, with around US$115 million in prize money


On The Web

SMS

WHAT’S

SMS

TRENDING

This section showcases trending social media posts published by Golf Digest India

Connect with us 20 golf digest india | february 2018

@golfdigest.india

@IndiaGolfDigest

@GolfDigestIndia


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2017 REVIEW

l workmanlike worldwide l global earnings of indian golfers vs shuttlers l how golf works in india l a year of phenomenal storylines l on the wishlist l hot dates 2018


WORK

MANLIKE

WORLDWIDE

G

olf Digest has been at the forefront of educating Indian fans about the latest happenings and trends in the sport. In keeping with our endeavour to popularise the game in the country, we have reviewed the performances of Indian golfers in the year gone by. If 2016 was the ‘Fairytale Season’, I must gleefully admit that 2017 is easily the most successful year for Indian professionals globally in past 10 years. Not only did our golfers win 9 titles in workmanlike fashion across Tours, an improvement of 2 trophies from 2016, they also pocketed US$ 982,165 (approx. Rs. 6.23 crore) for the silverware collected. In all, Indians won more than US$ 5 million (approx. Rs. 32 crore) internationally, including a creditable US$ 275,113 (approx. Rs 1.76 crore) by talented women’s professional Aditi Ashok. Interestingly, the topmost earner in badminton, World No. 3 Kidambi Srikanth, fell short of the prize money collected by Aditi in 2017. Srikanth pocketed US$ 236,423 from 17 events. Aditi also towers above shuttling sensations PV Sindhu (US$ 157,325), the World No. 3 no less, and World No. 10 Saina Nehwal (US$ 34,915) with her third Ladies European Tour (LET) crown at the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open pushing her to 81st spot in the Rolex World Rankings.

22 golf digest india | february 2018

Shiv Kapur collected three titles in 2017 on the Asian Tour, including the Royal Cup (below), to cap a brilliant season that also saw him undergo liver surgery

Indians won 9 titles across tours in 2017 to cap the most successful season in a decade, promising more glory in 2018 B y R o h i t B h a r d wa j


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S EDI T ION |

anirban lahiri 27

kidambi srikanth earnings (us$) 2,244,924

rank

events played

3

17

earnings (us$) 236,423

best finishes — t-2nd at the memorial, t-5th at the cj cup @nine bridges

4 wins — french open, denmark open, australian open, indonesia open

ssp chawrasia

p.v. sindhu

rank

events played

217

29

earnings (us$) 615,042

1 win — hero indian open

events played

201

21

rank

events played

3

18

earnings (us$) 157,325

3 wins — india open, korea open, syed modi international

shubhankar sharma rank

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despite badminton being the more popular sport in the country, there’s a huge disparity between the global earnings of indian golfers vis-à-vis shuttlers in 2017

events played

0 17

international earnings of indian golfers vs shuttlers

rank

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b. sai praneeth earnings (us$) 392,173

1 win — joburg open

rank

events played

16

17

earnings (us$) 48,685

1 win — thailand open

shiv kapur

h.s. prannoy

rank

events played

204

23

earnings (us$) 323,906

rank

events played

10

19

3 wins — yeangder heritage panasonic open india royal cup

1 win — us open

aditi ashok

saina nehwal

rank

events played

82

25

earnings (us$) 275,113

1 win — fatima bint mubarak ladies open (ladies european tour) Source: PGA Tour/Asian Tour/European Tour/LET/LPGA/OWGR

earnings (us$) 42,700

rank

events played

10

22

earnings (us$) 34,915

1 win — malaysia masters Source: TOI/BWF/tournamentsoftware.com

Note: Shuttlers’ prize money includes earnings from Badminton World Federation (BWF) ratified events only; Does not include sponsorship money

february 2018 | golf digest india

23


Kapurthala hotshot Gaganjeet Bhullar lifted the US$ 500,000 Macao Open trophy for the second time in his career

no. of international wins by indians in past 10 years 2017*

7

2016*

4

2015

7

2014

4

2013 2012

4

2011 2010

2

6 6

2009 2008

9

7

* Includes wins by Aditi Ashok (2 in 2016, 1 in 2017) PGA Tour regular Anirban Lahiri led the global earnings charts with US$ 2.24 million (approx. Rs 14.38 crore) from 27 events, which included 6 top-10 finishes. Kolkata pro SSP Chawrasia was top grosser on the Asian Tour with a haul of US$ 440,747, helping him finish fifth on the Order of Merit. But D elhi lad Shiv Kapur was comfortably the most happening story of the year with 3 trophies in his bag after he ended his 12-year-long title drought on the Asian Tour with victory at the US$ 300,000 Yeangder Heritage in Taiwan. He then went on to wow his home fans by clinching the US$ 400,000 Panasonic Open India at the Delhi Golf Club in November. The luck brought by his newborn daughter Veda continued till the end of the year, with Kapur lifting the invitational Royal Cup on December 31 in Pattaya, Thailand. Chandigarh pro Ajeetesh Sandhu made

24 golf digest india | february 2018

Total Global Earning Of Indians In 2017

US$ 5.08 million (approx. Rs 32.5 crore)

titles indians won by tour (2017)

1

1

Japan Challenge Tour

Ladies European Tour

2

European Tour

Note: Does not include sponsor money and prize money from PGTI and WGAI events

5

Asian Tour


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SSP Chawrasia became the 1st Indian to defend a Euro Tour title when he clinched the 2017 Hero Indian Open top indian earners on

(2013-17)

year tour rank

player

earnings (â‚Ź)

2017

109 133 173

ssp chawrasia anirban lahiri shiv kapur

2016

89 91 160 161

anirban lahiri ssp chawrasia jeev milkha singh shiv kapur

2015

20 113 126

anirban lahiri ssp chawrasia shiv kapur

2014

87 139 148

shiv kapur gaganjeet bhullar ssp chawrasia

302,647 140,008 120,890

2013

102 133 145

gaganjeet bhullar jeev milkha singh ssp chawrasia

259,804 156,643 117,447

top indian earners on

(2013-17)

year tour rank

player

427,085 235,908 103,872

2017

5 7 10

ssp chawrasia shubhankar sharma shiv kapur

440,747 392,173 288,873

353,942 348,664 96,723 95,303

2016

6 9 17

ssp chawrasia gaganjeet bhullar rahil gangjee

517,467 368,737 187,275

2015

1 4 14

anirban lahiri ssp chawrasia chiragh kumar

1,139,084 343,272 187,275

2014

2 10 11

anirban lahiri rashid khan ssp chawrasia

602,833 243,249 235,085

2013

3 5 10

anirban lahiri gaganjeet bhullar shiv kapur

517,030 479,978 289,871

1,558,111 240,803 180,490

earnings (us$)

february 2018 | golf digest india

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Chandigarh pro Ajeetesh Sandhu scripted his breakthrough Asian Tour triumph at the Yeangder Tournament Players Championship

Aditi Ashok pocketed her third Ladies European Tour crown in Abu Dhabi

a statement by clinching his breakthrough Asian Tour win at the US$ 500,000 Yeangder Tournament Players Championship in Taiwan followed by his maiden Japan Challenge Tour victory at the Taiheiyo Club Challenge just a week later. Kapurthala hotshot Gaganjeet Bhullar lifted the US$ 500,000 Macao Open trophy for the second time in his career to stamp India’s authority on the Asian Tour. Indians collected a total of 5 Asian Tour titles and 2 European Tour trophies in 2017 to prove their mettle in overseas competitions. Interestingly, they are marginally behind Thailand when it comes to keeping their cards for the 2018 season. 12 Indians qualified for this season, just one behind Thailand, thereby proving their rising stature in golf on the Asian continent. 21-year-old Gurgaon pro Shubhankar Sharma scripted a runaway victory at the US$ 1.07 million Joburg Open to become the youngest Indian ever to claim a European Tour title. On the women’s side, it was Aditi Ashok who kept the country’s pride aloft by completing a dramatic victory in Abu Dhabi. In all, it was a remarkable year for our golfers who announced their arrival of sorts on the world stage in an emphatic way. All the best to each one of them for a fabulous 2018!

26 golf digest india | february 2018

countrywise break-up of top-60 players on asian tour (2017) malaysia – 4

australia – 5

philippines – 4 usa – 7 south korea – 3 south africa – 2 spain – 2 india – 11*

chinese taipei – 2 japan – 1 zimbabwe – 1 canada – 1 bangladesh – 1 china – 1 france – 1 brazil – 1

thailand – 13 *Chikkarangappa S. earned a full card for Asian Tour 2018 season despite finishing 61st on the 2017 Order of Merit, making it 12 Indians in all Images: Asian Tour/European Tour/Ladies European Tour


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indians in top-60 of yearend asian tour order of merit

Shubhankar Sharma became the youngest Indian ever to win on the European Tour

2013

9 players

2014

7 players

2015

9 players

2016

11 players

2017

11 players

indians at the panasonic open (2013-17)

indians at the hero indian open (2013-17) year

prize money

in top 10

made cut

2017

$1.75 million

2

15

2016

$1.66 million

5

21

2015

$1.5 million

2

15

2014 2013

no event $1.25 million

— 4

— 22

ssp chawrasia (1st; earning $291,660) ssp chawrasia (1st; earning - $276,660) anirban lahiri (1st; earning - $250,000) — anirban lahiri (2nd; earning - $106,429)

prize money on offer at top national tours across asia korean pga

year

in top 10

made cut

2017

9

49

2016

9

40

2015

6

29

2014

4

35

2013

6

32

highest rank

highest rank

japan golf tour

china golf association

no. of events

44

1,395,000,000 krw

3,594,680,000 yen

us$ 3,697,716

`83.11

`201.25

`23.44

`26.12*

`44

crore

crore

crore

crore

total prize money

21

pga tour of australasia

19 crore

15

professional golf tour of india

shiv kapur (1st; earning - $72,000) mukesh kumar (1st; earning - $72,000) chiragh kumar (1st; earning - $72,000) ssp chawrasia (1st; earning - $54,000) shiv kapur (4th; earning - $15,000)

15 aud 8,767,421

Source: From the official calendar of the respective Tours; *PGTI prize money includes 3 Asian Tour/European Tour co-sanctioned events

ALL STATS: Rohit Bhardwaj

february 2018 | golf digest india

27


A view of the 16th green at DLF Golf & Country Club

28 golf Image: Tristan digest Jones/Ladies india | february European 2018 Tour


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HOW GOLF WORKS IN INDIA S EDI T ION |

B y R o h i t B h a r d wa j & K a r t h i k S wa m i n at h a n

GOLF DIGEST INDIA DECODES HOW INDIAN GOLF IS RUN AND ADMINISTERED IN THE COUNTRY february 2018 | golf digest india

29


INDIAN GOLF UNION (IGU) The Indian Golf Union is the apex body of golf in India and is responsible for the promotion and development of the sport. An endeavour which started with all of 6 golf clubs has burgeoned to 194, with more being planned. The IGU oversees India’s junior and amateur golf.

Key responsibilities include :

• Organising 75 amateur tournaments including sub-junior, junior, men’s/women’s events • Organising Referee Certification Courses throughout the year • Organising Greenkeeper and Course Superintendent training programs • Conducting certification programmes for teaching professionals at the National Golf Academy of India (NGAI)

• Providing equipment for training at grassroots level • Selection, funding and training national squads for international tournaments like Asia Pacific and World Amateur Team events for both men and women selecting and facilitating teams for Asian Games and Olympic Games

INDIAN GOLF UNION – ORDER OF MERIT TOPPERS FOR 2017 rank

name

points

city

junior boys a category (16-18 years) 1 harshjeet singh sethie 2 yuvraj singh 3 saurav rathi

403 346 312

new delhi kapurthala gurgaon

junior boys b category (14-16 years) 1 raghav chugh 2 arjun bhati 3 mandaar prashar

431 308 299

new delhi uttar pradesh chandigarh

junior girls a category (16-18 years) 1 anika varma 2 sifat sagoo 3 diksha dagar

371 353 324

noida new delhi new delhi

junior girls b category (14-16 years) 1 anika varma 2 khushi hooda 3 pranavi urs

400 338 322

noida delhi mysuru

gentlemen merit list 1 kshitij naveed kaul 2 kartik sharma 3 yashas chandra

294 292 289

delhi delhi mysuru

ladies merit list 1 diksha dagar 2 anika varma 3 sifat sagoo

365 341 339

new delhi noida new delhi

IGU Governing Body President Wg Cdr Satish Aparajit Director General Maj Gen Bibhuti Bhushan (Retd) Hon. Secretary Lt Gen AKS Chandele Council Members East Zone - Farzan Heerjee, Dr. Satbinder Singh, Ranjit Chaudhri; West Zone - Devang Shah, S K Bhatia, Sameer Sinha; North Zone - CSR Reddy, Sanjeev Rattan, Col H S Baidwan; South Zone Dilip Thomas, C S Subramanian, Ishwar Achanta; Army Zone - Lt Gen AKS Chandele (Retd), Lt Gen Mukesh Sabharwal (Retd), Lt Gen Sarath Chand, Lt Gen Abhay Krishna, Lt Gen MM Naravane Founder Club Members Gaurav Ghosh (Royal Calcutta Golf Club), Maj Gen KMS Shergill (Delhi Golf Club), Akshay Kilachand (Willingdon Sports Club), Brijinder Singh (Bombay Presidency Golf Club), G Suresh (Madras Gymkhana Club) IGU Ladies Committee Chairperson - Pauline JM Singh Vice Chairperson - Nandita Rao

aman raj shot rounds of 70-71-67-70 for a total 278 to finish

5th

in 2015 nomura cup

diksha dagar carded a total of 221 to finish

17th in 2016

queen sirikit cup

first olympians - anirban lahiri, s.s.p. chawrasia and aditi ashok represented india at the 2016 rio olympics 30 golf digest india | february 2018


tied 31

2014

udayan mane feroz garewal manu gandas

tied 29

2012

chikkarangappa s. khalin joshi angad cheema

tied 24

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E aalaap il arjun prasad kshitij naveed kaul

S EDI T ION |

2016

espirito santo trophy

udayan mane recorded the best individual finish ever by an Indian

position

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A biennial tournament organised by the International Golf Federation (IGF), WATC comprises 2 trophies – Eisenhower Trophy for men and Espirito Santo Trophy for women. From India, IGU sends a 3 member team (both men and women) to compete against teams from 70 countries.

year

0 17

WORLD AMATEUR TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS (WATC) eisenhower trophy

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13th

year

women team

2016

tvesa malik gaurika bishnoi diksha dagar

2014

aditi ashok gurbani singh astha madan

2012

aditi ashok gurbani singh gursimar badwal

at 2014 eisenhower Trophy

3

no. of international amateur wins by aditi ashok in 2015. st rule trophy, ladies’ british amateur & thailand amateur championship

position 31

tied 17

34

ASIAN GAMES Golf was introduced at the Asian Games for the first time in 1982, hosted by India in New Delhi. Every four years, IGU sends 4 men and 3 women to participate in the event. With the 18th edition of the event scheduled from August 18 to September 2 in Jakarta, Indonesia, Indian golf fans will be banking on top amateurs Kshitij Naveed Kaul, Kartik Sharma, Yashas Chandra and Dhruv Sheoran to bring the first team gold medal since 1982. Among the girls, all eyes will be on the trio of Diksha Dagar, Anika Verma and Sifat Sagoo to record a podium finish this time.

indian team performances at the asian games (2002-14) year

men team

2014

udayan mane 6 feroz garewal samarth dwivedi manu gandas rahul bajaj 2 (silver abhijit chadha medal) rashid khan abhinav lohan gaganjeet bhullar 2 (silver joseph chakola medal) chiragh kumar anirban lahiri shiv kapur 4 (individual gold medal for shiv kapur) manav das keshav misra narender prasad gupta

2010

2006

2002

position

year

women team

2014

aditi ashok gurbani singh astha madan shreya ghei vani kapoor gurbani singh vaishavi sinha meghna bal sharmila nicollet

2010

2006

position 8

9

6

delhi golfer shiv kapur won the second indiviual

GOLD medal in asian games

in busan, south kore a

First Asian Games Team Gold Medal: The four-member team of Lakshman Singh, Rajiv Mohta, Amit Luthra and Rishi Narain won the team Gold medal for India at the first-ever golf event at the Asian Games in 1982 (Delhi). India also won individual gold (Lakshman Singh) and silver (Rajiv Mohta) medals


ASIA-PACIFIC AMATEUR

Rayhan Thomas

It has been conducted under the aegis of the Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation (APGC) since 2009, among its 40 national associations, with the support of The Masters organising committee and R&A (Scotland). The winner gets a direct entry into the year’s first Major at Augusta National, while the runner-up earns a spot in the final qualifying event for the British Open.

indians at the asia-pacific amateur year

made cut

2017

4

2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011

5 2 4 4 6 6

2010 2009

4 3

best finish rayhan thomas and priyanshu singh (t-35th) viraj madappa (t-26th) samarth dwivedi (42nd) rigel fernandes (t-15th) trishul chinnappa (t-34th) chikkarangappa (12th) honey baisoya, chikkarangappa (t-46th) khalin joshi (t-9th) rashid khan (t-18th)

khalin joshi scripted the best finish by indians

T-9

in 2010 edition

NOMURA CUP

QUEEN SIRIKIT CUP

The Nomura Cup, also known as Asia-Pacific Amateur Golf Team Championship, is organised by Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation. 2017 marked the 28th edition of the biennial tournament. India first participated in the event in 1969 and her only victory came in 1973 in Indonesia where the team of RK Pitamber, PG Sethi, Vikramjit Singh and Laksman Singh emerged the winners. Every two years, IGU sends a team of 4 amateur golfers to compete against 16 to 18 nations.

Inaugurated in 1979, Queen Sirikit Cup is also known as Amateur Ladies Asia-Pacific Invitational Golf Team Championship. 2017 marked the 39th edition of the annual event. The Queen Sirikit Cup ranks among the top amateur team tournaments in the world, having produced several World No. 1 LPGA stars over the years. Since inception, IGU has been sending a 3-member team to compete for the title against 14 countries.

year

team

2017

rayhan thomas varun parikh kshitij naveed kaul aalaap il

10

aman raj samarth dwivedi rahul ravi harimohan singh

9

viraj madappa saqib ahmed trishul chinnappa vikram rana

10

2015

2013

year

team

2017

diksha dagar pranavi s urs tvesa malik

7

2016

diksha dagar gaurika bishnoi tvesa malik

10

gauri monga registered the best ever indiviual finish

2015

ridhima dilawari gaurika bishnoi nishtha madan

12

by an indian

2014

ridhima dilawari aditi ashok gaurika bishnoi

9

position

3rd

in 2011 queen sirikit cup

position

only indian to win two european tour titles in a year anirban lahiri (malaysian open, indian open: both in 2015) 32 golf digest india | february 2018


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Board Members: HR Srinivasan, Deepak Talwar, Digvijay Singh, Amardip Sinh Malik, Manav Jaini, Gurki Shergill, Angad Cheema, Rudresh Sharma Website: www.pgtofindia.com

2018 will see PGTI become an Open Tour, allowing foreign players, thereby ensuring events carry World Ranking Points. It means greater competition and potentially more sponsorship.

pgti order of merit (oom) winners (2013-17) year

oom winner

2017 2016 2015 2014 2013

shamim khan rashid khan chikkarangappa shankar das rashid khan

new events added in last 5 years 2017 1. chittagong open 2. kensville open 3. jaipur open 4. ongc masters 5. bengaluru open 2016 1. kolkata classic 2. bti open 3. pune open 4. take solutions classic 5. chennai open golf championship 6. take open

prize money (rs) 51,64,233 44,79,880 48,87,440 54,32,067 46,38,284

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President: Gautam Thapar

Under Thapar’s strategic leadership, PGTI gained recognition from the European Tour and the Asian Tour and its prize money grew by over 250% in its first three years! It has also been inducted as a member of the prestigious ‘International Federation of PGA Tours’ and is recognised worldwide as the official sanctioning body of professional golf in India.

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PROFESSIONAL GOLF TOUR OF INDIA The Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) completed 11 years in September 2017. Avantha Group Chairman & CEO, Gautam Thapar, is the president of PGTI. With over 300 members today, PGTI has a governing board comprising leading Indian golf professionals and corporates as patrons. The Tour’s objective is to promote professional golf in the country, and create more competitive playing opportunities for its members.

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highest grosser in last 5 years on PGTI

`54.3 L Shankar Das

2015 1. the hemisphere pgti masters 2. golconda masters 3. western india oxford masters 2014 1. pgti cochin masters presented by cial golf & country club 2. j & k bank pgti pahalgam masters 3. pgti kashmir masters 4. chief minister’s meghalaya open golf

shamim khan won the pgti order of merit

2nd

time in 6 years

domestic prize money in last 5 years

`7.80 cr

2013

`9.10 cr

2014

`9.85 cr

`10.50 cr

`8.22 cr

2015

2016

2013 1. sri lanka ports authority open 2. jaypee greens open 3. dialog enterprise international

2017

Note: Does not include events co-sanctioned with Asian Tour and European Tour

february 2018 | golf digest india

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WOMEN’S GOLF ASSOCIATION OF INDIA

Governing body Patron in Chief Pawan Munjal

The Women’s Golf Association of India (WGAI) was established in 2004 as a nationwide non-profit organization. The WGAI enables women to compete in an organized professional tour i.e. Hero Women’s Professional Golf Tour and serves as launch pad for greater honours worldwide once Indian amateurs reach the age of 18. The WGAI has received tremendous support from Hero MotoCorp, which lent much needed impetus, and it was rechristened Hero Women’s Professional Golf Tour (HWPGT). The Tour has over 25 members, including India’s top lady professionals. The HWPGT conducts 12-18 tournaments a year across India with the largest being the US$ 400,000 Hero Women’s Indian Open, an event co-sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour (LET) since 2015. 2016 was a breakthrough season when five WGAI members earned playing rights on the LET. 2017 saw the Tour and LET conduct a 2-day Achievers’ Camp during the 2017 Women’s Indian Open.

indians at the women’s indian open (2013-17) year

prize money

in top 10

made cut

2017

$400,000

1

4

2016

$400,000

1

4

2015

$400,000

0

4

2014

$300,000

2

10

2013

$300,000

1

10

GCS & MAI The Golf Course Superintendents and Managers Association of India (GCS & MAI) is the premier body espousing the cause of greenkeepers and managers of golf courses in India. The association aims to assist all course developers and organizations running golf courses by providing them useful and professional advice that will help them overcome challenges in improving the standard of golf courses in the country.

highest rank

vani kapoor posted the best finish by an indian

6th

vani kapoor (tied 6th; $11,630) at the 2017 hero aditi ashok women’s indian open (1st; earning - $60,000) aditi ashok (tied 13th; earning - played as an amateur) vaishavi sinha (5th; earning - $14,400) gauri monga (t-5th; earning - played as an amateur)

Patron Anjani Desai President Kavita Singh Vice President (Exec. Committee Member) Devin Narang Vice President (Invitee) Nonita Lall Qureshi Secretary General & Exec. Committee Member Champika Sayal Treasurer Latika Khaneja Chairperson Players Division Saaniya Sharma Members Madhushree Birla, Ritika Modi, Rudratej Singh, Monica Jajoo, Anil Malhotra, Wg Cdr Satish Aparajit (President, IGU), and IGU representatives Lt Gen AKS Chandele (Retd) and Maj Gen Bibhuti Bhushan Website: www.wgai.co.in

President: GS Mani Vice President: Mohan Subramanian Secretary General: Col Pravin Uberoi (Retd) Treasurer: Vijit Nandrajog Website: www.gcsmai.com

The organization endeavours to improve the technical knowledge and knowhow of golf course superintendents and managers by conducting timely meetings and seminars.

aditi ashok became the 1st indian to win a let event

1st

at the 2016 hero women’s indian open

aditi ashok participated in the 2013 asian youth games, 2014 youth olympics, 2014 asiad & 2016 olympic games, making her the first indian to compete in 4 multi-discipline games 34 golf digest india | february 2018


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• Promote golf in India through researched information dissemination to all levels of the government and the public

Director General: PK Bhattacharyya

• Educate and inform members through annual conferences, targeted training opportunities and professional industry interaction

Patrons: Anil Seolekar (Oxford Golf Resort), Aakash Ohri (DLF G&CC)

• Assist in promoting the Indian golf industry by running golf expos such as the India Golf Expo. The 2018 edition of India Golf Expo will be held in Bengaluru on April 19 and 20.

Directors: Brandon de Souza (Tiger Sports Marketing), Rakesh Sharma (Alert Golf Mgmt. Services), Ravi Garyali (Irrigation Products International), Phil Ryan (Pacific Coast Design), Mohan Subramanian (Rain Bird Products & Services), Karan Bindra (K&A Golf), Anit Mehrotra (Silverglades Golf Development Company), Deepali Shah Gandhi (Zaverchand Sports), Vijit Nandrajog (Golf Design India), Vinit Mathur (Surge Systems), Varun Oberoi (Rain Bird Products & Services), AK Singh (ex-officio, Indian Golf Union)

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Special Invitees: Rishi Narain (RN Sports Marketing), Pravin Uberoi (GCS & MAI)

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Golf Industry Association (GIA) is a non-profit industry association formed by golf industry groups to carry out three core activities:

Website: www.igia.co.in

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GOLF INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION (GIA)

Late in September 2017, GIA – in partnership with IGU, WGAI, GCS & MAI, and the PGA – initiated the “India Learn Golf Week”, a programme aimed at nurturing the next 1,00,000 Indian golfers. The move received great acclaim from all corners.

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GOLF RECORDS First Win On PGA Tour: Arjun Atwal won the 2010 Wyndham Championship, held at the Sedgefield Country Club, North Carolina, USA, making him the first Indian golfer to win on the PGA Tour Most International Titles: Jeev Milkha Singh has won 14 tour titles spread over three tours , the most by any Indian golfer to date — 4 on European Tour, 6 on the Asian Tour and 4 on the Japanese Tour Most Wins: Rohtas Singh, who turned professional at 17 in 1976, achieved over 100 victories-the most wins by an Indian golfer to date during his career Best Finish in a Major: Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri, who currently plays on the PGA Tour and select events on the European Tour and Asian Tour, finished tied-fifth at the 2015 PGA Championship in Whistling Straits, Wisconsin USA with a score of 13-under 275, the highest finish in a Major by an Indian

india learn golf week

7,000 individuals took first lesson

ALL STATS: Rohit Bhardwaj

Best World Ranking: Jeev Milkha Singh was placed 28th in the Official World Golf Ranking List in 2009 - the highest ranking achieved by an Indian golfer till date Source: Limca Book Of Records

february 2018 | golf digest india

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In his first competitive event since February 2017, Tiger Woods finished the Hero World Challenge tied ninth – easily surpassing most expectations 36 golf digest india | february 2018


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A YEAR OF PHENOMENAL STORYLINES Golf not only welcomed a few new stars to the fairways but also witnessed pleasant surprises at the Majors. There were other talking points too, of course, which gave aficionados reasons aplenty to follow the sport on television. Golf Digest India looks back at five moments that stood out in 2017... b y k a r t h i k s wa m i n at h a n karthik@rnsportsmarketing.com

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TIGER OUT IN THE OPEN

hat clearly was one of the most awaited moments in 2017 did not disappoint as 14-time Major titlist Tiger Woods made his return to competitive action at Albany for the Hero World Challenge. Arguably one of the most complete golfers of all time, the 42-year-old put on a show as he drove with aplomb, chipped the ball from dire positions and even sunk 50-foot putts.

In his first competitive event since February 2017, the 79-time winner on the PGA Tour finished the tournament he hosts tied ninth – easily surpassing most expectations – and gave his World Ranking a significant boost (from 1199 to within 700). What awaits the decorated champion in 2018, then, one muses. He ended ties with swing coach Chris Como and announced his

intentions to play the full PGA Tour season and later committed to begin playing at the Farmers Insurance Open. Athletes of his stature are known to find a way to return to the top as the 2017 men’s pro tennis season indicated: Tiger’s good friends Rafa Nadal (who, incidentally, was present at Albany and followed the action from close quarters) and Roger Federer defied time, age and naysayers to finish atop the rankings. february 2018 | golf digest india

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some close shaves

Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Masters after coming close on three previous occasions

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sergio garcia has 23 top-10 finishes in 74 major championship appearances masters finish year site 1 2017 augusta national t-4 2004 augusta national 8 2002 augusta national t-8 2013 augusta national

GARCIA THE NEW MASTER ack in April 2012, a deflated Sergio Garcia bemoaned that he was “not good enough” to win a Major. He left Augusta three-over-par 75 and, with him, everyone wondered if the talented Spaniard would ever hold aloft one of golf’s four prestigious titles, leave alone all four. Was success, even for someone with his skill, a perennial mirage? To possibly understand the intertwining strands of emotions in sport, one only needs to go back a couple of years, albeit to another discipline: with the Rod Laver Arena and the world watching in the beginning of 2010, Britain’s Andy Murray fought back tears in his runner-up acceptance speech. “I can cry like Roger [Federer]. It’s just a shame I can’t play like him.” Fast forward to 2012, and incidentally soon after Garcia’s own disappointment, Murray cut a forlorn figure at Wimbledon. And how. Quivering and wincing, as he spoke, “I’m getting closer...” Four defeats from four Major finals. Of course, while the Scot faced down more disappointments, he did go on to

savour Olympic, Grand Slam and world ranking glory. Garcia, however, still had to bide his time. Cut to February 2017. Following his betrothal with Angela Akins at the start of the year, Garcia completed a wire-to-wire victory at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. It was his first European Tour title in more than 3 years and he was quoted saying, “Hopefully it will be the beginning of a great year.” He couldn’t have been more prophetic. Five years on from that Masters disappointment, El Niño finally broke his Major duck. It was but poetic that the moment came at Augusta National, as the Spaniard holed his birdie putt to beat Justin Rose in a sudden-death playoff. Garcia would go on to win his third title of the season at the Andalucía Valderrama Masters a fortnight later. The 38-year-old was fittingly named European Tour Golfer of the Year. With the Ryder Cup coming up, one perhaps imagines Sergio Garcia encouraging himself with a Vamos!

u.s. open t-3 4 t-5 t-7 t-10

2005 2002 2016 2011 2009

pinehurst no. 2 bethpage black oakmont congressional bethpage black

open championship *2 2007 carnoustie t-2 2014 royal liverpool t-5 2005 st. andrews t-5 2006 royal liverpool t-5 2016 royal troon t-6 2015 st. andrews t-8 2002 muirfield t-9 2001 royal lytham t-9 2011 royal st. george’s t-10 2003 royal st. george’s * lost playoff to padraig harrington pga championship 2 1999 t-2 2008 t-3 2006 t-10 2002

medinah no. 3 oakland hills medinah no. 3 hazeltine national

FLEETWOOD’S SURGE TO RANKING SUMMIT

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Englishman Tommy Fleetwood had a stellar European Tour season which saw him bag the Race to Dubai title

38 golf digest india | february 2018

asily his best season to date, Tommy Fleetwood savoured some of the finest highs of his career in 2017. The signs were there towards the end of 2016 when his consistency stood out – Fleetwood made 11 successive cuts commencing with the Czech Masters right till the finale in Dubai. Unsurprisingly, success followed soon after as the Englishman triumphed at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship before tasting further success at the HNA Open de France (his maiden victory at a Rolex Series event). In between, he finished runner-up at the WGC-Mexico Championship and at the Shenzen International.

Fleetwood also recorded his best performance at a Major when he finished fourth at the US Open. While victory in France took him to the top of the Race to Dubai, the resurgence of Fleetwood’s compatriot Justin Rose meant that the pair took the battle for the European Tour ranking to the season-ending event in Dubai, the DP World Tour Championship. Rose’s birdie at the par five 18th, when he needed an eagle, meant it was Fleetwood who clinched the European Tour Order of Merit. Collecting the Race to Dubai title, Fleetwood said, “My ultimate goal in life is to be the best player in the world.” He clearly is on the right track to becoming just that!


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A triumphant Team USA after beating Team International 19-11 in the 2017 Presidents Cup at New Jersey

USA’S STRANGLEHOLD OVER PRESIDENTS CUP

T

here have been 12 editions of the Presidents Cup since the inaugural event in 1994 and Team USA have won on all but two occasions. Team International won in 1998 and the two teams fought to a tie in 2003. In short, the head-to-head reads 10-1-1 in favour of USA (who have, also, never lost at home). That’s not just dominance, that’s a stranglehold! And 2017’s event wasn’t even close as America were already within a point and a half of sealing victory on what was just Day 3 of the 4-day tournament.

Of course, while it helped that the Americans had in their ranks the likes of Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler, among others, it would be naïve to put down the result to just the chasm – in terms of player profile or talent pool – between the sides. 11 of the 12 American golfers in their team had qualified for the Tour Championship and 6 of them were in the top-12 (Official World Golf Ranking). To even make a match of it, the

Internationals had to hit the ground running but as it transpired, their leading players – Hideki Matsuyama and Jason Day – were far from their best. Sunday’s singles was the only leg that the Internationals led, and eventually won 7½-4½, thereby making the final score line, a 19-11 defeat, less lopsided. But even that pales into significance if one looks at the other, starker, reality: USA had as many as 10 players who notched up two or more wins each, while Team International had just one in Louis Oosthuizen!

Justin Thomas

CONSISTENT THOMAS CROWNED FEDEXCUP CHAMP

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orld No. 4 Justin Thomas can look back at his 2017 season on the PGA Tour with a sense of pride. The American racked up 5 titles, the PGA Championship being the highlight, and 7 other top-10 finishes. Thomas commenced the year with victory at the CIMB Classic, and followed that up with titles at the SBS Tournament of Champions and at the Sony Open in Hawaii. A lull followed between February and August when he missed the cut in 6 of the 14 tournaments he entered in that period, besides 3 other top-10 showings. However, the Louisville resident more than made up for it by winning his first Major title at the PGA Championship. He

would also hoist the Dell Technologies Championship before finishing runnerup (to Xander Schauffele) at the seasonending TOUR Championship. Thomas was, undisputedly, the PGA Tour No. 1 and took home the FedEx Cup trophy and a US$10 million bonus. For a long time, Thomas seemed to be in the shadow of compatriot, fellow 24-year-old and World No. 2 Jordan Spieth, but – given his breakout year – he will be confident that this may well not be the case going forward. Victory at the CJ Cup, which is the third event of the 201718 season, seems to be pointing in that direction. Team US, meanwhile, has yet another talent to call upon as they prepare for this year’s Ryder Cup.

february 2018 | golf digest india

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ON THE WISHLIST

Given the highs 2017 brought with it, 2018 promises even more excitement. Golf Digest India highlights five potential talking points that golf aficionados will likely be hooked to as the year unfurls… EXPECTING BETTER SHOW FROM TEAM EUROPE

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he Americans might have won the last edition of the Ryder Cup, but European golfers struck a rich vein of form in 2017, with Sergio Garcia reigning at Augusta National, Tommy Fleetwood clinching the Race to Dubai (closely followed by compatriot Justin Rose) and the rise of young Jon Rahm (current World No. 3). United States has never won in Europe since 1993 and has, in fact, triumphed on just three occasions since (1999, 2008 and 2016). Besides, 2018 will also see the return of Rory McIlroy. All said therefore, with 8 months to go for the duel at Le Golf National, Paris, the fans have every reason to expect a better display from Team Europe.

MCILROY’S STRONG COMEBACK

N

ot long ago, Rory McIlroy seemed to be destined for great things. Instead, he has battled injuries for close to two years, invariably leading one to wonder if the Irishman’s best playing days are behind him. He finished 2017 ranked 11th in the world and it was the first time, since 2008, that McIlroy had failed to end the year inside the Top-10. It will help that he isn’t even 29 yet, leave alone 30, and can always look to the Tour for inspiration. The four-time Major champion only needs the Masters to join the select league of golfers who have at least one title at each Major. McIlroy also took 3 months off to prepare for 2018 – time will tell what else awaits the former World No. 1.

ROSE’S CAREER SLAM ASPIRATIONS

J

ustin Rose has been outspoken about his ambitions. He made the 2016 Olympics his focus, publicly, and went on to win gold – his biggest triumph since clinching the 2013 US Open. The 37-year-old went on to win the WGC-HSBC Champions and the Turkish Airlines Open in 2017, apart from recording

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a handful other top-10 finishes (including a runner-up finish at the Masters), and also gave countryman Tommy Fleetwood a run for his money in last season’s Race to Dubai. Not long ago, Rose talked about the other boxes he wants to tick over the course of his career and it included accomplishing a Career Slam. Given the form he has been working himself into, one wouldn’t put the feat beyond him in future, commencing 2018.

MATSUYAMA BREAKING INTO WORLD TOP-3

F Clockwise from left: Team USA celebrate their 2016 Ryder Cup victory; World No. 1 Dustin Johnson began the new year winning Sentry Tournament of Champions; Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama completed two PGA Tour triumphs to move into top-5 of the World Rankings; Olympic gold medallist Justin Rose aims to record a career slam in the coming 2 seasons; Injury-plagued Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland will be hoping for a memorable 2018

or a brief while in 2017, following his runner-up showing at the US Open to be precise, Hideki Matsumaya rose to World No. 2. He finished the season as the fifth best golfer in the world – the second time in as many years that he had finished in the Top-10 of the global rankings (he ended 2016 ranked sixth). Already a superstar in Japan, the 25-year-old’s stock would soar further should he win a Major (would be a first, for Japan). Another realistic goal would be finishing the season within the Top-3. He is, of course, only too aware of the expectations. “All I can do is my best”, Matsuyama said following his win at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. And try he will.

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A DOMINANT JOHNSON

ith victory at the 2016 US O p e n , D u s t i n Jo h n s o n looked set for more glory. The American started 2017 with wins at the Genesis Open, WGC-Mexico and WGC-Dell Technologies but a twist of fate ahead of the Masters – he suffered a freak injury to his back on the eve of the tournament – not only ruled him out of Augusta but also blunted his season overall. Johnson returned to winning ways later, collecting The Northern Trust (August) and Sentry Tournament of Champions (last month) titles. Not one to doubt himself, the 33-year-old sounded typically upbeat in a recent interaction with The Associated Press’s Doug Ferguson, “I definitely think I can [record an 8-win season]. There's a lot of really good players out here on tour, and for me to do that, I’m going to have to play some really good golf. But I’m definitely capable of it.” february 2018 | golf digest india

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major championships date

tournament

venue

april 5-8 june 14-17 july 19-22 august 9-12

masters tournament us open british open pga championship

augusta national, georgia shinnecock hills gc, new york carnoustie gc, scotland bellerive cc, st louis

Playoffs

prize purse (us$) 11,000,000 12,000,000 10,250,000 10,500,000

Live on

date

tournament

venue

prize purse (us$)

august 23-26 august 31- sept 3 sept. 6-9 sept. 20-23

the northern trust dell technologies championship bmw championship tour championship

ridgewood cc, new jersey tpc boston, massachusetts aronimink gc, newton square, pa eastlake gc, atlanta

Tommy Fleetwood

9,000,000 9,000,000 9,000,000 9,000,000

Tiger Woods

world golf championships

Live on

date

tournament

venue

march 1-4 march 21-25 august 2-5 october 25-28

wgc-mexico championship wgc-dell technologies matchplay wgc-bridgestone invitational wgc-hsbc champions

club de golf chapultepec, mexico city austin country club, texas firestone cc (south), ohio sheshan international gc, shanghai

42 golf digest india | february 2018

prize purse (us$) 10,000,000 10,000,000 10,000,000 9,750,000


Hideki Matsuyama

Jordan Spieth

Justin Rose

Anirban Lahiri

Dustin Johnson

sept. 28-30 le golf national, france

may 10-13 tpc sawgrass, florida

Live on date

tournament

venue

prize purse (us$)

may 24-27 may 31-june 3 june 28-july 1 july 5-8 july 12-15 nov. 1-4 nov. 8-11 nov. 15-18

bmw pga championship italian open hna open de france irish open scottish open turkish airlines open nedbank golf challenge dp world tour championship

wentworth club, surrey, england tbc, italy le golf national, paris, france ballyliffin gc, republic of ireland gullane gc, east lothian, scotland regnum carya golf & spa resort, antalya gary player cc, sun city, south africa jumeirah golf estates, dubai

7,000,000 7,000,000 7,000,000 7,000,000 7,000,000 7,000,000 7,500,000 8,000,000

Justin Thomas

Live on date

tournament

venue

prize purse (us$)

jan. 12-14 jan. 18-21 feb. 1-4 feb. 8-11 march 8-11 april 19-22

eurasia cup smbc singapore open maybank championship isps handa world super6 perth indian open panasonic open championship

glenmarie golf and country club, malaysia sentosa golf club, singapore saujana golf and country club, malaysia lake karrinyup country club, australia tba ibaraki country club (west course), japan

4,800,000 1,000,000 3,000,000 1,250,000 1,750,000 1,370,000

(Provisional calendar – full calendar to be released in due course)

february 2018 | golf digest india

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Newsmakers

PLAYERS IN THE NEWS Professional Golf Tour of India

Shubhankar Upstages Rashid For Year-end Title Shubhankar Sharma prevailed over Delhi’s Rashid Khan by one shot in a classic encounter to claim the season-ending Rs. 1.5 crore McLeod Russel Tour Championship title at the revered Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC). The 21-year- old from Chandigarh, who recently became the youngest Indian to win on the European Tour, ended his dream season, which saw him collect 3 trophies, on a high. Trailing by two shots till the 14th hole, Shubhankar turned it around in the final stages to end up with a round of 68 and a winning total of 17-under 271. He thus took home his sixth professional trophy and the winner ’s cheque worth a whopping Rs. 22.50 lakh. The 26-year-old Rashid (71) finished with a total of 16-under-272. Seasoned pro Shamim Khan bagged his second PGTI Order of Merit title after finishing tied fourth at 8-under 280. Shamim, who had earlier won the title in 2012, closed the 2017 season with earnings of Rs. 51,64,233 to finish No. 1 in the money list by a fair distance. He also won 3 titles during the season.

Golfers pour champagne on Shubhankar Sharma to celebrate his McLeod Russel Tour Championship triumph

“I WAS REALLY CALM THE WHOLE DAY. DESPITE TRAILING THE LEADER, I NEVER LET THE PRESSURE BUILD ON MYSELF. I WAS A BIT UPSET AFTER MISSING A THREE-FOOTER FOR BIRDIE ON THE NINTH BUT BOUNCED BACK WELL WITH SOME GOOD SHOTS ON THE BACK-NINE… I READ THE LINE WELL AND SAW IT THROUGH.” —SHUBHANKAR SHARMA

Women’s Golf

Vani begins season on a winning note

Vani Kapoor played a flawless back nine to carve out a win in the first leg of the 2018 Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour at the Kalhaar Blues & Greens, Ahmedabad. Vani, who won 4 titles in 6 starts in 2017, carded an even par 72 to finish 5-over 221 and edge out Saaniya Sharma by two shots. Saaniya shot one-over 73 which included a costly double bogey on par-5 14th hole. She also had a bogey earlier on 11th hole. Gursimar Badwal finished third in a tie with Tvesa Malik at 226. Vani started the final day one shot ahead of Neha Tripathi and opened bogey-bogey. She however steadied herself and dropped only one more shot on the front nine on eighth. Birdies on the 12th, 14th and 18th ensured she finished strongly with a 33 on the back nine. The 24-yearold’s aggregate of 221 gave her a two-shot win. Vani picked up a cheque of Rs. 1,26,000 while Saaniya earned Rs. 1,02,000 for her effort.

44 golf digest india | february 2018

Vani Kapoor receives her prize from Navratna Group MD Devang Shah in Ahmedabad


Junior Golf

BRAGGING RIGHTS FOR PAKISTANI BAIG In-form Ahmed Baig outgunned his rivals with an outstanding display of front-running as he swept to victory in the seventh Faldo Series Pakistan Championship. Baig assumed control of the 14th leg of the 2017-18 Faldo Series Asia season with a bogey-free, opening six-under-par 66 at Defence Authority Country and Golf Club and never looked back. His three-day aggregate of 11-under-par 205 was no fewer than 19 strokes ahead of his closest pursuer, enabling Baig to record one of the biggest winning margins in Faldo Series Asia history. “I really wanted this trophy in the bag in my last year as an amateur,” said the 19-year-old, who had twice before been close to winning the Faldo Series Pakistan Championship. “If I keep playing at amateur level, I’ll lose the form I’m in. At this moment, I’m on top of my game and believe I can really push on.”

Pakistan’s Ahmed Baig won the Faldo Series Pakistan Championship by a record 19 strokes

Teenager Rai Retains Nepalese Title Sukra Bahadur Rai will not be resting on his laurels after retaining his title in the sixth edition of the Faldo Series Nepal Championship. Rai, a former caddie who has risen to emerge as one of his country’s finest golfers, posted a three-stroke victory in the 11th leg of the Faldo Series Asia season at Gokarna Forest Golf Resort. Despite the pleasure of winning the tournament and securing a second successive trip to Laguna Lăng Cô in Danang, Central Vietnam for the 12th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final in March, 2018, Rai was far from satisfied with his performance. Indeed, Rai’s overall aggregate of 11-over-par 227 was no fewer than 12 shots worse than his winning score over the same course in 2016. Sukra Bahadur Rai (R) receives his Faldo Series Nepal Championship title

Faldo announces Major Champions Invitational Sir Nick Faldo announced the inaugural Major Champions Invitational, to be played March 12-14, 2018 at Bella Collina in Montverde, Florida. Hosted by World Golf Hall of Fame member Faldo, the 2018 Major Champions Invitational will be supported by Major winners providing juniors, male or female, with a one-of-a-kind competition experience. An extension of the Faldo Series, the Major Champions Invitational will embody the same overall mission; to give opportunities to young people through golf, and help identify the next generation of champions. Former World No. 1s Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth have made a commitment to support the event besides Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, John Daly, Ernie Els, Henrik Stenson and Jerry Pate.

Rathi lifts coveted Salwan Cup Saurav Rathi returned an impressive 4-under 284 to claim the Salwan Cup School Golf Championship at ITC Classic Golf & Country Club in Gurgaon, beating Kaustubh Mishra by a commanding 12 strokes. The tournament is recognised by the Indian Golf Union (IGU) and is aimed at broad-basing junior golf participation across schools in the country. A total of 97 students played in the event with 21 kids participating from 11 Salwan Schools in Delhi NCR. In Category B, Aditya Sood finished on top by seven strokes over second-placed Rachit Poddar, while Sukhman Singh took home the Category C title. Among the girls, Ritika Raina took home the Category A title with Serena Singh taking home the Category B title. Saumya Nehra was the Category C winner.

Saurav Rathi with the 2017 Salwan Cup trophy

february 2018 | golf digest india

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Junior Golf

NEXT STOP FOR INDIANS: VIETNAM BY VARUN MENON

F

ollowing the 3-month buildup, the IIFL Wealth Golf Invitational Faldo Series India culminated at Karnataka Golf Association (KGA), Bengaluru, in enthralling fashion. The fairways were in good shape and the lightning greens were a test for young golfers. Sifat Alag (Girls Under-21), who represented India last year at the Faldo Series Asia Final, commented that the conditions at KGA were very similar to the Laguna Lang Co Golf Club — host of the Asia Final — perhaps indicating that this would serve as a great prelude to the main event in March. Windy conditions in the morning did not make it easy for golfers on Day 1, but they acclimatised and returned with better scores on Day 2. It all boiled down to who managed to keep their composure on the final day. In the Boys

L-R: SuryaKumar K (Winner Boys U-21), Pranavi Urs (Winner Girls U-16), Rahul Ajay (Winner Boys U-18), Tanirika Singh (Winner Girls U-21) and Harshjeet Sethie (Winner Boys U-16) after completion of the IIFL Wealth Golf Invitational Faldo Series India Qualifiers

Siddhart Krishna (L) and Aryaman Mohan

Neeharika Thangamma (L) and Ananya Garg

46 golf digest india | february 2018

L-R: Chitrangada Singh, Amikul Panaich and Serena Vikram Singh

Viren Thapar

IIFL Wealth Chief Client Experiences Officer Rounak Seth


Junior Golf

Varun Shetty of Invictus Performance Lab emphasised the importance of proper diet, nutrition and good rest

“I went with a mindset of winning the tournament and the outcome was great. This is the first time I am going for the Asia final and I think it is a great opportunity for me to do well and try to win.”

—Harshjeet Sethie

Dr. Shree Advani, brother of leading cueist Pankaj Advani, explained the importance of mental strength and visualisation

“Going into the tournament, my form was not great but things worked out well for me on the course. It is a great feeling to represent the country and I am going to give my best for the Asia Final.” —Surya Kumar K Under-18, Rahul Ajay — who came through the club selection round at Hyderabad — held his nerves in the back nine to secure victory against seasoned opponent, and the country’s No.2 Amateur, Kartik Sharma. The excitement, however, was in the Girls Under-16 category where Pranavi Urs was up against Anika Varma. Requiring a par on the final hole, nerves got the better of young Pranavi who had to settle for a bogey instead, thereby taking the match to a sudden death play-off. The playoff came down to pure adrenaline and hunger as the pair played with the composure of professionals. Pranavi made par to Anika’s birdie, which gave the Mysuru teenager the win and made her the official qualifier to represent

India in Vietnam. The par also gave Pranavi the award for the best golfer with the lowest score over the 3 days outclassing the boys. Tanirika Singh (Girls Under-21), Surya Kumar K (Boys Under-21) and the near 6’4” Harshjeet Singh Sethie (Boys Under-16) were winners in the other categories. Besides the golf, special sessions on mental toughness and fitness were organised for children and teachers. Dr. Shree Advani, brother of cueist Pankaj Advani, spoke about the importance of mental strength and visualisation. The second session was conducted by Varun Shetty from Invictus Performance Lab who emphasised and explained the importance of proper diet, nutrition and good rest.

february 2018 | golf digest india

47


Junior Golf

»“It was the first time I was playing the tournament and it feels good to win. The course was in great condition and I completely enjoyed playing. My plan for Vietnam now is to focus and prepare well for the Asia Final.” —Rahul Ajay » “It felt great to win the tournament and I was happy to start off the season by winning. I am looking forward to Vietnam and I hope I make the country proud.”

—Pranavi Urs

L-R: Golfers Sifat Alag and Pranavi Urs in conversation with RNSM MD Rishi Narain

Sifat Alag Runner-Up Girls Under-21

Anika Varma receives the Girls Under-16 Runner-Up prize from Madhavi Manthani

Sunhit Bishnoi receives his Boys Under-18 Runner-Up prize from KGA president Sandeep Madhavan R.

48 golf digest india | february 2018

Saurav Rathi receives his Boys Under-16 Runner-Up award from Nitin Sood of IIFL Investment Managers


Junior Golf

IIFL Wealth Golf Invitational Faldo Series India Qualifying Legs

WINNERS - MUMBAI LEG GIRLS UNDER-16

ANANYA GARG

GIRLS UNDER-21

CHELSEA THAKKER

BOYS UNDER-16

SUDAAY CHALOO

BOYS UNDER-18

JAY VORA

BOYS UNDER-21

VEERJEET SANDU

WINNERS - DELHI LEG GIRLS UNDER-16

SERENA VIKRAM SINGH

GIRLS UNDER-21

SHWETA MANSINGH

BOYS UNDER-16

PURNAYUSH MANGAL

BOYS UNDER-18

VAIBHAV NAIR

BOYS UNDER-21

KARAN MEHTO

WINNERS - KOLKATA LEG GIRLS UNDER-16

CHITRANGADA SINGH

BOYS UNDER-16

SOUVIK NAYAK

BOYS UNDER-18

ARMAAN PARIKH

BOYS UNDER-21

M. ROHIND SINGH

february 2018 | golf digest india

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Across The Country

CLUB ROUND-UP

To share news on your club or updates from across the country, please email karthik@rnsportsmarketing.com

Bengaluru

Sadom Outplays Pandya At KGA For Amateur Crown Thailand’s Sadom Kaewkanjana scored a crushing 8&7 victory over Jay Pandya to annex the 1 17th All-India Amateur Golf Championship title at Karnataka Golf Association, Bengaluru, on December 10. In the 36-hole finale, the 19-year-old Thai golfer hardly looked in trouble against his Indian rival. Sadom came with his guns blazing, going 4-up after the ninth hole. Pandya, 18, raised visions of a fightback when he won the 10th and 11th holes to reduce the deficit. Sadom, who won a pro title on the Thai Tour early this year, won three holes on the trot from the 14th, two of them with fine birdies, to push the Indian onto the backfoot.

Pandya won the 18th hole to go into the break four down. Sadom, ranked No. 44 in the world and who plans to turn pro soon after the Asian Games in Indonesia, won the fifth, sixth and seventh holes in the second session to take a 7-up lead. The writing was on the wall for Pandya, who needed to come up with something sensational to stem the tide. The turnaround never came as the Thai amateur won the 10th hole with a birdie to move closer to the title, leading 8-up with eight to go. Sadom closed out the final with a win on the 11th hole with a par. Result: Sadom Kaewkanjana (Thailand) bt Jay Pandya Runner-up Jay Panda (L) with All-India Amateur winner Sadom Kaekanjana of Thailand (India) 8&7

Bengaluru

New Delhi

Eagleton Hosts All-India Ladies Meet South Africa’s Danielle du Toit upped her game when it mattered to annex the 101st All-India Ladies Amateur Golf Championship crown at Eagleton Golf Resort, Bengaluru, on December 24. In an evenly-matched 36-hole finale, the 18-year-old South African scored a gritty 2&1 win over Malaysia’s Ashley Lau Jen Wen. Despite playing only her second tournament in six months – she was busy with her High School examinations – there was no rustiness in Danielle’s game. Result: Danielle du Toit (South Africa) bt Ashley Lau Jen Wen (Malaysia) 2&1. Danielle du Toit

50 golf digest india | february 2018

DGC’s Sanjeev Mehra honoured

SAARTHAK CHIBBER WINS ALL INDIA JUNIORS

Harvard University announced that the 23rd endowment of a head coaching position, The Bobby Jones ‘24 Coach for Harvard Men’s Golf’, was endowed by one of the oldest members of the Delhi Golf Club Mrs Prem KK Mehra and her son Sanjeev Mehra. “We are very grateful to the Mehra family for their generosity. This endowment will allow our men’s golf programme to pursue excellence in a matter that is consistent with our mission of ‘educating through athletics’ and in the context of our Ivy League principles,” Director of Athletics Bob Scalise said in a statement. The Mehra family made this philanthropic contribution in September 2017.

Mumbai

Putting Under Floodlights Willingdon Sports Club, Mumbai, hosted a putting competition under floodlights for its members and guests from other local golf clubs on November 3, 2017. Golfers, in groups of 4, teed off 6:30pm onwards. There were 108 participants in all from various Mumbai clubs with some interesting prizes to be claimed such as ‘Oldest Fourball’, ‘Best Team Name’, and ‘Best Dressed Team’. The ‘Best Dressed Team’ at Willingdon Sports Club’s putting event


FD E • G O L I G E ST I ND

G AM

GAM

When Golf Runs Within The Family

• ITATIVE GROW THE N I IA

IA I

Ahmedabad

E • GO L F DI GE S T I ND

Promoting Golf

TIVE • GRO W T NITA HE Navsari

CERTIFICATE COURSE IN TURF-GRASS MANAGEMENT AT NAVSARI

Grandfather Rajan Harivallabhdas (R) and Abhinav Patel (C) after their win in the ‘Champion Family’ event at Gulmohar Greens

Gulmohar Greens Go Golf 2018 teed off with its first event, ‘Champion Family’, on January 6-7, 2018. The unique concept, a brainchild of Gulmohar Greens Golf & Country Club in Ahmedabad, engages a team of 2 golfers from 3 generations in a family in one of three available categories. The tournament received high acclaim and witnessed participation from 7-yearolds to 70-year-olds hailing not only from Ahmedabad, but from Rajkot, Bharuch and the Air Force as well. Rajan Harivallabhdas (a grandfather) and Abhinav Patel (his grandson), both from Gulmohar Greens, teamed up to win in the Open Category. The 11-14 years category was won by sisters Rishwa Shah and Riya Shah from Gulmohar Greens, while the 7-10 years category was won by the father and daughter pairing of Suneet Wadhera and Ridhima Wadhera, also from Gulmohar Greens. The spot prize for ‘Best Looking Pair’ was won by Subroto Roy and Lina Roy.

Turf-based sports (golf, cricket, hockey, football, badminton and tennis) are gaining popularity in India and large corporate and industrial houses come with very large acreage. As a result, premium quality sport fields have grown phenomenally. At the same time, however, the number of qualified turf managers has not matched the said growth spurt and the country still requires competent personnel. Sensing this requirement for skilled and qualified candidates, Navsari Agricultural University (NAU), Gujarat , has taken initiatives to develop and offer a certificate course in turf-grass management - the first of its kind in India. The programme is designed to sharpen the skills required to maintain modern turf facilities. Fur ther information on the curriculum can be found on NAU’s website, http://www.nau.in/

OXFORD GOLF RESORT ORGANISES CADDIE MATCHPLAY EVENT

To share news about initiatives to promote golf across the country, please email karthik@rnsportsmarketing.com

february 2018 | golf digest india

51


Business of Golf

Thai Golf Passport Launched For Indians

W

Tourism Authority of Thailand Director Isra Stapanaseth (L) and leading women’s professional Vani Kapoor unveil the Thai Golf Passport

“Thailand is my favourite destination and I travel a number of times every year. I love the hospitality, food, facilities and of course golf. Thailand is truly amazing,” said Vani Kapoor, leading Indian women’s professional golfer

hen it comes to h o s p i t a l i t y, no country comes closer to perfection than Thailand offering something for everyone irrespective of their interest, age and budget. Amazing Thailand also has around 200 golf facilities with different geographical locations. Top quality courses, reasonable green fees, friendly caddies. From beach resorts in the south such as Phuket to the mountainous surroundings in the north, or the bustling cities of Bangkok and Pattaya, there are courses to suit every preference. To cater to the golf traveller, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) launched the Thai Golf Passport in association with Indian Golf Travel Association (IGTA), leading tour & travel operator Cox & Kings and top equipment manufacturer – Callaway. Thai Golf Passport is a reward points loyalty program which will offer Indians a seamless golf experience in Thailand. Organisers announced that a number of golf courses, resorts and hotels have come together for this initiative.

Leading Indian pro Vani Kapoor, also a Thai Tourism ambassador, unveiled the program along with Tourism Authority of Thailand Director Isra Stapanaseth. Also present on the occasion were IGTA Vice President Gajendar Panwar, Cox & Kings Associate VP Rohan Prakash and Callaway India GM Prashant Singh. “For Thailand, India is a leading market. Keeping this in mind and ensuring value added services we have launched Thai Golf Passport. This will help individuals to enjoy golf in their favourite destination and help us in connecting with the golfing fraternity in India. The initiative will also keep the golfers updated on new courses, special offers and various events,” said Isra Stapanaseth. “Thailand is my favourite destination and I travel a number of times every year. I love the hospitality, food, facilities and of course golf. Thailand is truly amazing,” said Vani Kapoor, who was the best finisher (Tied 4th) in the recently concluded Hero Women’s Indian Open.

GOLFING UNDER THE BUDDHA’S GAZE Golfplan is set to unveil its new 18-hole design in the Silver Lake region south of Pattaya this spring. Chee Chan Golf Resort will debut its flamboyant new layout in the significant shadow of the Chee Chan Buddha, the 110-meter spiritual anchor to an existing resor t complex that already includes a water park, winery and shopping district. “Golf cultures in Asia develop on different tracks, some on the American model, some on the British model -- but Thailand is unique because it has created its own distinct culture, its own model,” says Golfplan partner David Dale, who directed the project. The terrain in Pattaya along the Gulf of Siam is generally quite flat, but Chee Chan Golf Resort is a glorious anomaly boasting fully 25 meters of elevation change, just the right amount to create a challenging, visually dramatic

Golfplan will be unveiling an 18-hole course in Pattaya this May

and walkable resort course that measures more than 7,200 yards from the championship tees. The property’s perimeter is further accented by a series of enormous,

52 golf digest india | february 2018

partly vegetated escarpments, some standing 150 meters high. It is here, on one of these massive rock faces that the Buddha

looms large. His serene visage is visible from multiple points on the property, including the entire opening hole.


Business of Golf

SMARTRON SIGNS ANIRBAN LAHIRI India’s first global OEM and IoT brand Smartron welcomed ace Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri as a brand endorser. Smartron signed a 5-year deal with the 30-year-old as main sponsors for all his tournaments and will support him as he continues making India proud at a global stage. Commenting on the partnership, Mahesh Lingareddy, Founder and Chairman, Smartron said, “We are delighted to welcome Anirban to the Smartron family, yet another Indian story that has been making global headlines. Anirban has gained a lot of popularity outside India as well including USA and Europe and make s a strong fit with Smar tron’s brand promise of an Indian technology company with

global ambitions. He represents ‘a pioneering spirit’ and ‘self-confidence’ with ‘Indianness’ which is core to Smartron’s brand ethos.” An enthused Lahiri said, “I am excited to be partnering with Smartron, an innovative India based tech giant with a global vision. Was ver y impre sse d with the products, tronX platform, the whole ecosystem they are building and ideas for the future.” The brand had earlier brought Sachin Tendulkar on board as brand ambassador and strategic shareholder.

“I am excited to be partnering with Smartron, an innovative India based tech giant with a global vision. Was very impressed with the products, tronX platform, the whole ecosystem they are building and ideas for the future,” said Anirban Lahiri, World No. 70

TaylorMade launches Twist Face Drivers

T

he new TaylorMade M3 and M4 family of woods are led by a pair of drivers that seek to change the technology landscape of the category. But unlike others who have stretched the boundaries of new materials and construction techniques and mass properties, these new drivers are looking to mine something potentially deeper: data. Research has led to faces with multiple curves for shots that work back toward the centreline. Both the M3 and M4 feature a unique multicurved face design, what the company is calling “Twist Face.” Most drivers feature consistent curve from heel to toe (bulge) and from crown to sole (roll). The idea of bulge and roll is that the negative effects of spin and launch on off-centre hits are counteracted by the proper face curvature. This is particularly true for bulge, which curves toe and heel shots that are launching with sidespin back toward the centreline for increased accuracy. Or so went conventional thinking.

National Golf Day Set for April

WE ARE GOLF – a coalition of the game’s leading associations and industry partners – has announced that the 11th annual National Golf Day will be held on April 25 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. National Golf Day celebrates the game’s nearly US$70 billion economy, nearly US$4 billion annual charitable impact and many environmental and fitness benefits. Industry leaders will meet Members of Congress, the Executive Branch and federal agencies to discuss golf’s 15,000-plus diverse businesses, 2 million jobs impacted, tax revenue creation and tourism value.

Hero MotoCorp Extends Title Sponsorship Of Indian Open Hero MotoCorp, the world’s largest t wo -wheeler manufacturer, has extended its title sponsorship for the prestigious Indian Open for an undisclosed period, a statement said. The company has been sponsoring the most lucrative golf tournament in the country since 2005. The Indian Open will also return to DLF Golf & Country Club in Gurgaon for the second consecutive year from March 8 to 11. The Hero Indian Open will be promoted for the first time this season by the national federation, Indian Golf Union (IGU), after liquidation proceedings were initiated by the Bombay High Court last year against previous promoters Iconic golfer Tiger Woods Nimbus Sport, sister concern of Nimbus with Hero MotoCorp CMD Pawan Munjal Communications. Last year, the tournament enjoyed a memorable debut on DLF’s Gary Player course as home favourite SSP Chawrasia successfully defended the title to claim his fourth European Tour win. Pawan Munjal, Chairman, MD & CEO, Hero MotoCorp, said, “We have been associated with various disciplines of sport over the past two decades, but our association with golf is especially gratifying because of the overarching growth the sport has seen during the past decade. We are pleased to extend our association with the Hero Indian Open, which we have now sponsored for the past 12 years. Brand Hero is now a major supporter of golf on all the three Tours – Asian Tour, European Tour and the US PGA Tour. With a very strong line-up expected once again this year, I am sure the fans have a lot to look forward to at the Hero Indian Open 2018.” Keith Waters, Chief Operating Officer of the European Tour, said: “The involvement of Hero MotoCorp has helped this tournament to go from strength to strength. Our thanks go to Mr. Pawan Munjal and his team for their continued support of Indian golf and in particular this event, which has proved to be of real benefit to emerging local golfers who have had the opportunity to grow their careers on the European Tour. We are delighted to return to the wonderful surroundings of the Gary Player course at DLF Golf & Country Club for the second year, and we look forward to seeing some of the stars of both the European Tour and the Asian Tour vie for the coveted Hero Indian Open title.” IGU President Satish Aparajit said: “The Hero Indian Open has become a very important stop on the European and Asian Tours. Besides attracting global stars, it has been a platform for upcoming juniors not only from all over Asia and Europe but also India. We once again look forward to some very exciting golf. We greatly appreciate the support we have received over the years from Hero MotoCorp.” february 2018 | golf digest india

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Corporate Digest

MercedesTrophy

MercedesTrophy 2018 A Golfing Spectacle PUNE

Mercedes-Benz India MD & CEO Roland Folger

Pune winner Sachin Gangal

Winner Rajiv Pusalkar

BY DANNON MARTIS

I

ndia’s largest amateur golf tournament, the MercedesTrophy, teed off at the majestic Oxford Golf Resort in Pune. The opening leg was a two-day affair and was conducted on January 4-5, 2018. From among 200 golfers who staked their claim to win the two national finals spots on offer, Sachin Gangal, who carded a nett score of 70.6, and former naval officer Rajiv Pusalkar qualified. Oxford Golf Resort will also host the National Final to be held from April 4-6. From Pune, the tournament moved to the pristine Kalhaar Blues & Greens for the Ahmedabad leg on January 6. 96 golfers teed off to try and win the sole qualifying spot with Amit Shah emerging victorious, carding a nett score of 73.6. A delighted Shah said, “It is the best day of my life and winning a MercedesTrophy qualifier means a lot to me. I didn’t think I was going to win this but by god’s grace it

54 golf digest india | february 2018

Action during the golf clinic held at Oxford Golf Resort, Pune

Bollywood star R. Madhavan was a Category B winner in the Mumbai leg of the MercedesTrophy

Pune Leg Winners: Sachin Gangal, Rajiv Pusalkar


MercedesTrophy

Corporate Digest

AHMEDABAD

Winner Amit Shah with Roland Folger

Ahmedabad Leg Winner: Amit Shah

L-R: Bhavin Oza, Amit Shah, Karna Patel and Nirman Jhaveri

A golfer tees off at the Kalhaar Blues & Greens

MUMBAI

Cat B winner Rajesh Natarajan with Roland Folger L-R: Actor R. Madhavan, Mugdha Datar, Suzanne Folger and Roland Folger

L-R: Michael Jopp, Amit Kumar, Eszter Jopp and Gargi Sandu at the BPGC in Mumbai

was my day and I played well.� Bombay Presidency Golf Club (BPGC) hosted the Mumbai leg from January 1012, with two qualification slots on offer on each day, and the venue saw as many as 300 golfers participate. Day 1 winners were Bollywood star R Madhavan and Aman Tarangi, who turned in nett scores of 69.6 and 70.2 respectively. Paresh Kapashi (68) and Rajesh Natarajan (71.8) were the victors on Day 2, while Jaideep Singh (68.4) and Jaysinh Dave (72) clinched the last two qualifying spots on Day 3. The event will next head to Bengaluru, followed by Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Kolkata, Chennai, Chandigarh, Delhi and Jaipur. This year, MercedesTrophy aims to give back to the society. Mercedes-Benz India and Laureus Foundation have joined hands to raise money to help shape the future of underprivileged children. The players’ donations will be matched by Mercedes-Benz India and the proceeds will be used to fund development programmes by Laureus-supported India-based NGO, Magic Bus.

Mercedes-Benz India Vice President Michael Jopp and Cat B winner Jaysinh Dave

Mumbai Leg Winners Cat A (Handicap 0-18): Aman Tarangi, Paresh Kapashi, Jaideep Singh Winners Cat B (Handicap 19-24): R. Madhavan, Rajesh Natarajan, Jaysinh Dave

MercedesTrophy India 2018 Schedule DATE 2018

CITY

VENUE

Jan 4 & 5

Pune

Oxford Golf Resort

Jan 6

Ahmedabad

Kalhaar Blues & Greens

Jan 10 - 12

Mumbai

Bombay Presidency Golf Club

Jan 17 - 19

Bengaluru

Prestige Golfshire

Jan 24 & 25

Hyderabad

Hyderabad Golf Association

Jan 27

Coimbatore

Coimbatore Golf Club

Jan 31, Feb 1

Kolkata

Royal Calcutta Golf Club

Feb 15

Chennai

TNGF Cosmo

Feb 21, 22 & 23

Chandigarh

Panchkula Golf Course

Feb 27 & 28, March 1

Delhi

ITC Classic Golf Resort

March 7-9

Delhi

Jaypee Greens Golf Resort

March 11

Jaipur

Rambagh Golf Club

Pune

Oxford Golf Resort

National Final April 4 - 6

Completed legs at the time of going to press

february 2018 | golf digest india

55


Hi-Life Lifestyle

To share news on your products or updates on new launches, please email karthik@rnsportsmarketing.com

EQUIPMENT

A DRIVER FOR THE DRIVEN 2 years under development, Mizuno has finally taken the wraps off the new MP series driver and it looks solid. The Type-1 is 435cc and it’s the lower spin, more workable forward and more shallow CG design of the two. The Type-2 is 460cc with a mid-trajectory still and low spin designed for straight shots. The JPX 900 is designed to create a high draw, The MP Type-2 will produce a mid-trajectory straight shot. The MP Type-1 will produce a low trajectory straight shot. It is also adjustable. One can adjust the adapter to change the loft from 7.5 to 11.5 in the Type 2 and 8.5 to 10.5 in the Type-1. It contains Mizunos Harmonic Impact Tech - this is why all MPs feel soft and spongy at impact. The MP series comes with an awesome cover, dedicated wrench and the standard shaft is the Tour AD J-D1 with many other great options shafts to be had as well through the Yoro dept. Price: Rs. 39,990

FASHION

CRAFTED FOR THE PASSIONATE GOLFER Mizuno, the Japanese golf equipment manufacturer long renowned for its beautiful, industry-leading forged golf clubs, also boasts a long and rich heritage in footwear and recently launched Wave Cadence for Spring/Summer 2018. Wave Cadence is the ultimate long-distance golf shoe, designed to go 36 holes and beyond. Based on Mizuno’s award-winning running platform, it blends the comfort and support of a high-end running shoe, with the lateral stability and traction needed in golf. Mizuno’s headline Wave platform technology provides a unique midsole design that delivers both cushioning and stability. Its unique shape, which is inspired by nature, helps to absorb and disperse the forces as the foot hits the ground, producing a smoother, more cushioned feel on every step. Price: 11,990 onwards

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Lifestyle GADGETS

UPPING THE LIFESTYLE GAME ON THE GO Wooing two distinct consumer segments, Samsung India launched two new smartphones in January: the stylishly high-spec Galaxy A8+ and the shopper-friendly Galaxy On7 Prime. Flaunting an Exynos octa-core processor and 6GB memory, the Galaxy A8+ is a performance powerhouse. It boasts other flagship-esque features too, such as a 6” Full HD Super AMOLED, Always On Infinity Display (18.5:9 display ratio), IP68 certification, Samsung Pay support and a 16 megapixel f/1.7 rear camera, besides the 16MP+8MP f/1.9 dual front camera – a first for Samsung. The metal-and-glass finish gives the phone an ergonomic build. The device is also the first in the A series to support Gear VR. Given the design and a price tag of INR 32,990, it is clear that the A8+ will directly compete with OnePlus’s 5T. Commenting on the launch, Aditya Babbar (General Manager, Mobile Business) said, “Galaxy A8+ comes with flagship features, never before seen on a smartphone in this price segment. It defies the ordinary and challenges the status quo. It is a phone with attitude, in all aspects.”

Albeit not as mighty as the A8+, the On7 Prime is no slouch either. The slim, all-metal unibody device packs a 5.5” Full HD screen along with 13-megapixel f/1.9 front and rear cameras, an Exynos octa-core processor and 4GB (or 3GB) memory. While these specifications seem a minor improvement on other Samsung mid-rangers, such as On Nxt and J7 Prime, the On7 Prime also comes pre-loaded with the company’s latest “Make for India” innovation – Samsung Mall. Apart from listing products from Amazon, Jabong, Shopclues and Tata CLiQ (with more partnerships on the way), the app builds on technological advancements to enhance the user’s search experience. All one has to do is click a picture of the desired item and let Samsung Mall search it out. “Samsung Mall does all the smart work and exactly finds out the product within five seconds. It makes use of Ar tificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) for doing this,” said Sanjay Razdan, Director (Product Planning).

SPECIFICATIONS

SAMSUNG Galaxy A8+

On7 Prime

Display

6.0” Infinity Full HD

5.5” Full HD

Camera Front

Dual 16/8MP f1.9

13.0 MP f1.9

Camera Rear

16MP f1.7

13.0 MP f1.9

Memory RAM/ROM

6GB/64GB

4GB/ 64GB 3GB/ 32GB

Price

Rs. 32,990

Rs. 12,990 onwards

Bollywood actor Kriti Sanon with the Galaxy On7 Prime

ACCESSORIES

CARTIER REIMAGINES ITS CLASSIC WRIST WATCHES

It’s no secret that Cartier is the queen of jewelry watches, and this year they have released five entirely new watches collectively called the Libre Collection. But these aren’t your average jewelry watches – they are all numbered limited editions, making them a little more special. Each of the models has something different to offer, but they all focus on the disruption of a classic Cartier shape – the oval. Price: US$ 40,700 to 209,000 february 2018 | golf digest india

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On the PGA Tour

English Duo Aim For More Glory Olympic Gold Medallist Justin Rose and European No. 1 Tommy Fleetwood Spoke Exclusively To Golf Digest India About Their Goals For The New Season

Exclusive 58 golf digest india | february 2018

Tommy Fleetwood (L) and Justin Rose shake hands after completion of the third round of the Hero World Challenge in Albany, Bahamas


On the PGA Tour Justin Rose celebrates winning the Olympic gold medal in Rio de Janeiro in 2016

Know Rose Born – Johannesburg, South Africa Date of Birth – July 30, 1980 (37 years) Residence – London and Albany (Bahamas) World Ranking – 6

BY ROHIT BHARDWAJ AT NASSAU, BAHAMAS

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ne created history by becoming the firstever Olympic gold medallist for Great Britain and the other became a runaway European No. 1 last year. One is more athletic in his looks and the other, with flowing hair and stubble, seems an avant-garde model. However, one thing that is common between the English duo of Justin Rose and Tommy Fleetwood is their unflinching determination to excel on the world stage and making 2018 the most memorable season for themselves. And how? Justin Rose and Tommy Fleetwood battled for the Race to Dubai title during the season-ending DP World Tour Championship and they played two rounds together at Albany’s Championship Course in Nassau (Bahamas) for the US$ 3.5 million Hero World Challenge. While Fleetwood ended tied3rd along with former World No. 1 Jordan Spieth, Rose had a tied-5th finish in the PGA Tour invitational.

“THE HERO CHALLENGE IS A GREAT ADDITION ON A TUESDAY NIGHT. THE WAY THEY ORGANISE IT WITH LIGHTS AND FIRE BURSTS, IT LOOKS COOL. BUT I AM A TRADITIONALIST AND BELIEVE THAT GOLF IS BEST PLAYED 72 HOLES STROKEPLAY. I UNDERSTAND THERE IS A NEED TO BRING NEW FORMATS TO INTRODUCE PEOPLE TO THE GAME. BUT YOU KNOW TEST CRICKET – 5 DAYS, MANY GUYS LOVE THAT, SAME WAY IS 4-DAY GOLF.” —JUSTIN ROSE, WORLD NO. 6 GOLFER AND OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALLIST Asked what keeps him motivated, having achieved

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Golf Digest India had featured Justin Rose on the cover of the Olympics Special in September 2016

individual Olympic gold in Rio de Janeiro, Rose told Golf Digest India: “Every day I wake up, I try to do little things well. I try to take care of my body, work on my mental side, try to take care of my technique and put it together in tournament golf. There’s still a lot of things to achieve for me. A career Grand Slam in the Majors will be just my ultimate dream or goal. There’s three Major Championships I haven’t won, that keeps me motivated.” Rose had won the US Open,

International Wins – 19 PGA Tour – 8 (2010 Memorial, 2010 AT&T National, 2011 BMW Championship, 2012 WGC-Cadillac Championship, 2013 US Open, 2014 Quicken Loans National, 2015 Zurich Classic, 2017 WGC-HSBC Champions) European Tour – 7 (2002 Dunhill Championship, 2002 Victor Chandler British Masters, 2006 MasterCard Masters, 2007 Volvo Masters, 2014 Scottish Open, 2015 UBS Hong Kong Open, 2017 Turkish Airlines Open) Japan Tour – 1 (2002 The Crowns) Asian Tour – 1 (2017 Indonesian Masters) Sunshine Tour – 1 (2002 Nashua Masters) Other Wins – 1 (2004 Bilt Skins Game) Major Record – 1 win (2013 US Open) 13 Top-10 Finishes

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On the PGA Tour Tommy Fleetwood tees off on the 18th hole at the Championship Course in Albany during Round 3 of Hero World Challenge

“I WILL BE STARTING OFF ON TOP OF GOOD BUILDING BLOCKS, SO I LOOK TO IMPROVE AND SEE WHAT GOALS I CAN MAKE. I AM GOING TO PLAY MORE ON THE PGA TOUR.”

Know Fleetwood

—TOMMY FLEETWOOD, REIGNING EUROPEAN TOUR NO. 1 one of the Majors, in 2013 and aims to go past 6-time Major champion and English legend Nick Faldo in the future. Faldo was World No. 1 for 97 weeks which saw him pocket 3 Masters and as many British Open titles. “If I did that (Career Slam) I will try to chase down Nick Faldo’s record of 6 Majors. But right now I am just focusing on improving and winning more regularly. You can’t force it to happen. You got to trust your skill sets and make it happen,” added Rose, who clinched 3 international titles in 2017 along with 12 other top-10s. Being an Albany resident like tournament host Tiger Woods, Rose insisted that the golf superstar will spring some great surprises in 2018. “The golf world still wants to see Tiger Woods play golf. For me, he moves the needle. People are already interested in his journey, his story. It’s fantastic to have him back. I think he looks good and he is playing really well. I just enjoy seeing him smile and feeling good. He is hitting the ball well on the range and driving the ball far. The fact he is out of pain means that he has a lot of opportunities going

forward. I think everyone needs to be patient and not think of him coming out of the gates and winning. Knowing him I am sure he is going to surprise us all,” the 8-time PGA Tour winner said with a smile. Rose’s sentiments were echoed by compatriot Fleetwood. “For me and guys in my generation, we have been watching him do those amazing things. Everyone knows what he brings to tournaments, the hype etc. Hopefully he can stay fully fit now and keep improving and you never know what he’s capable of doing. Golf is very grateful to have Tiger back,” Fleetwood said. For professional golfers, managing injuries has always been a big issue as long flights, less time for relaxation and to u r n a m e n t p re s s u re a l l combine to force an injury. Rose had also encountered a big blow to his spine just before the Rio Olympics, pretty similar to Tiger Woods. “I struggled in 2016 just before Rio Olympics. I really had a tough time playing. I had the same kind of lower back trouble. Blew out my L-4, L-5 disc and

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had time away. Even though I won the gold medal in Rio still 2016 was a really hard year. You never quite know with an injury. It can affect your confidence too, you can’t practice as much as you used to,” Rose revealed. 2017 was an eventful year for Fleetwood. He left respected coach Pete Cowen and returned to his childhood teacher Alan Thompson. He then hired his best friend Ian Finnis to be his caddie and even tied the knot with longtime partner Claire Craig in the Bahamas just after the Hero World Challenge. So what are his hopes for 2018? “At the start of the year, I felt that my game had improved and one of the goals was to win a tournament again. I won the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and later the HNA Open de France. The Race to Dubai was never the goal at the start of the year. I kind of excelled this year and I want to keep rolling the same way in the new season. “2017 was a clean slate. I will be starting off on top of good building blocks, so I look to improve and see what goals I can make. I am going to play more on the PGA Tour and some of my

Date of Birth – January 19, 1991 (26 years) Residence – Southport, England World Ranking – 18 Turned Pro – 2010 International Wins – 4 European Tour – 3 (2013 Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, 2017 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, 2017 HNA Open de France) Challenge Tour – 1 (2011 Kazakhstan Open) Major Record – 1 Top-10 (T-4 at 2017 US Open) goals will be revolving around that. 2018 is also the Ryder Cup year and will have to see how to balance my calendar,” the 26-year-old added. With the Ryder Cup being staged in Europe, at Le Golf National in Paris, the Englishmen will look to wrest the trophy back from Team USA, who had excelled in home conditions at Hazeltine in 2016. Interestingly, USA have not won the Ryder Cup in Europe since 1993.


On the PGA Tour The TPC Sawgrass clubhouse in Boston, Massachusetts

5 Decades That Transformed Golf In USA

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n December 13, 1968, professional touring g olfer s who had been members of the PGA of America, issued their Statement of Principles and their intent to split from the PGA of America, which was an organisation primarily for golf course and club professionals. The players’ plan was to form an organisation for players who play tournament golf for a living. In other words, they were forming the modernday PGA Tour. The statement read, in part, “A Tournament Players Division will be immediately organised within the PGA. Its membership shall include all ‘Tournament Players’ as defined by the PGA Constitution and all Approved Tournament Players and graduates of the recent APG (Association of Professional Golfers) Qualifying School.” And that simple paragraph described how the current PGA

Tour came into existence, how the best players in the world slowly moved away from the organisation to which it had belonged for 52 years. After years of wrangling, the touring pros—the players who went from town to town playing in tournaments—had been attempting to separate themselves from the other professionals in the PGA of America, the pros who work at golf courses and teach lessons and sell. Quite simply, they wanted their own organisation that helped them do their jobs and allow them to make more money in avocations that were distinctly different from their club-pro counterparts. While confusing, two organisations sharing the same distinct three letters—PG-A, for Professional Golfers Association—the PGA of America remained intact, essentially the same as it had since its inception in 1916, only without

the touring pros. The American Professional Golfers, or the APG, as it was known during the split, would eventually become the PGA Tour. It has now been close to 50 years since that occurred, the actual anniversary about 11 months from now. Although this move in 1968 had been months—even years—in the making, the Tour came into being on November 18 and 19, 1968, at a law office in New York. Tour players Gardner Dickinson, Jack Nicklaus, Billy Casper, Dan Sikes, Doug Ford, Frank Beard, Don January, Arnold Palmer, John Murchison and Davis Love, Jr. were present, as was, among others, Deane Beman, chairman of the Young Players Advisory Council. Everything from that November meeting had to do with how the two organisations would officially separate. One of the first things that occurred

was the Tour establishing a temporary office on Park Avenue in New York, a great distance from the PGA of America’s offices in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. A few months later, in 1969, the Tour hired Joe Dey as its first commissioner. Dey led the players in the early year and handled the new organisation’s business and competition interests. He also guided the Tour when it moved its offices to Washington, D.C. Dey remained as commissioner until March of 1974. Beman succeeded Dey, and in 1979 the Tour moved to the warm weather of Florida, settling in the beach enclave of Ponte Vedra Beach, an area familiar to Beman because of the Tour’s annual visit to the Jacksonville area for the Greater Jacksonville Open and the home to the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club, the first golf course in the area. The Tour finally put down roots and has remained there since.

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On the PGA Tour

TOUR SNIPPETS JANUARY FOR JARROD The PGA TOUR launched a fundraising effort in early January called “January for Jarrod” to help Jarrod Lyle and his family meet the significant costs he faces after undergoing his third bone marrow transplant for acute myeloid leukemia on December 6. Lyle, 36, and currently a member of the Web.com Tour who has also been a PGA TOUR member on five occasions—between 2007 and 2016—suffered a third leukemia recurrence in July 2017. Doctors performed the surgery in Melbourne, Australia, about 90 minutes from his home in Torquay. There is no timetable for Lyle’s return to golf, with Lyle focusing exclusively on his rehabilitation at this time. “It’s of utmost importance for the PGA Tour family and the golf community to come together and help Jarrod and his family both spiritually and financially during January for Jarrod month,” said PGA Tour Executive Vice President Andy Pazder.

Jarrod Lyle

Mackenzie Tour Captures Second Aruba Cup Having lost the inaugural edition of the Aruba Cup - a Presidents Cup-style competition that features one day of foursomes, one day of four-ball and one day of singles matches – to PGA Tour Latinoamerica in 2016, the Mackenzie Tour – PGA Tour Canada sought revenge. T.J. Vogel provided the exclamation point for the third straight day as Team Mackenzie Tour – PGA Tour Canada prevailed 10.5 to 9.5 in a thrilling finish to win the second annual Aruba Cup at Tierra del Sol Resort and Golf in Aruba. “It feels amazing,” said Mackenzie Tour Team Captain Ben Silverman, who saw his team begin the day with a three-point

PGA Tour Canada players celebrate their Aruba Cup victory

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lead but quickly found his side trying to hold off a late rally. “The Latinoamérica Team really pushed hard at the end, and you’ve got to give them a lot of credit for the way they fought back today.” “It was a lot closer than we anticipated, but a win’s a win and I’m just happy for the guys,” said Vogel, who added that his experience early in the week helped him come through in the clutch again. Robby Shelton and Vogel both went 2-0-1 in their three matches to lead the PGA Tour Canada side, while Hank Lebioda, also at 2-0-1, had the best showing for PGA Tour Latinoamerica.

Lee McCoy

MCCOY IS WEB.COM TOUR MEDALLIST

After an injury prevented Georgia alum Lee McCoy from playing his Second Stage site in 2016, the 23-year-old made the most of his opportunity, posting rounds of 65-67-63-65–260 at the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament in Chandler, Arizona, to finish at 28-under. In so doing, he earned medalist honors and a fully exempt status for the 2018 Web.com Tour season. Victory did not come easily for McCoy, however, who edged South Korean Sung Jae Im by 2 strokes. The pair entered Sunday tied for the lead at 21-under and quickly turned the Whirlwind Golf Club’s Cattail Course into their own battlefield. “I think it was Jack Nicklaus that was famous for saying that most of the tournaments he won, he didn’t really win, other guys lost,” McCoy remarked. “That was not the case today. I had to go out there and win. We had a great battle out there today. Every time I thought I had gotten far enough ahead and could start playing conservative, he would roll in a 20-footer and it was a little frustrating at times, but it’s nice to be able to push yourself that hard in a big spot and come out on top.” Images: PGA Tour/Getty Images/TGR Live


On the PGA Tour

Prize Money Increase Set for Canada Tour

Billy Horschel Bubba Watson

The Mackenzie Tour – PGA Tour Canada announced January 9 that Tournament prize money will increase by Canadian $25,000 at every 2018 event. Regular, fullfield Tournaments will offer purses of $200,000, with the season-ending, limited-field (60 players) Freedom 55 Financial Championship providing a $225,000 purse. “Thanks to the hard work of our Tournament host organizations and our sponsors, who have helped establish and grow each Tournament in their respective communities, Mackenzie Tour players will now be competing for more money as they aim to make their way to the Web.com Tour in 2019,” said Mackenzie Tour President Jeff Monday. The 2018 season will begin at the Freedom 55 Financial Open at Point Grey Golf and Country Club in Vancouver, B.C. May 31-June 3 and conclude at the Freedom 55 Financial Championship at Highland Country Club in London, Ontario, September 10-16, with the full 2018 schedule to be announced in the coming weeks.

Dustin Johnson with the Sentry Tournament of Champions trophy

PGA TOUR SAYS ALOHA TO HAWAII TOURISM AUTHORITY The PGA Tours completed another successful twoweek run in Hawaii, holding the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Maui and the Sony Open in Hawaii in Oahu. The PGA Tour and the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA) announced in January a four-year extension of their official marketing partnership that will continue to promote the state’s golf and Tourism industry through 2022. The PGA Tour traditionally opens the calendar year with two weeks in Hawaii, with Dustin Johnson winning the Sentry Tournament of Champions and Patton Kizzire taking the Sony Open in Hawaii in a playoff, at the start of this year. The Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualālai on the island of Hawai‘i opened the PGA Tour Champions season in mid-January, with Germany’s Bernhard Langer the defending champion. In addition to supporting these Tournaments, the HTA also uses golf media as a platform to showcase the Hawaiian Islands and their many recreational activities. “January has become synonymous with amazing golf in Hawai‘i, with two PGA Tour events and one PGA Tour Champions event,” said Brian Oliver, PGA Tour Executive Vice President Corporate Partnerships.

PGA Tour Tournaments Set Charitable Donations Record

F

or years now, the PGA Tour has told its fans that “these guys are good.” Since the mid2000s, the Tour has also said told us “together, anything’s possible.” Well, these guys are good, which means, yes, together, anything’s possible. On January 7, at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan announced the PGA Tour and its Tournaments generated more than U.S. $180 million for charitable causes in 2017, surpassing the 2016 record-setting amount by approximately $14 million. This total includes donations made by Tournaments on the PGA Tour, PGA Tour Champions, Web.com Tour, Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada, PGA Tour Latinoamérica and PGA Tour Series-China. The announcement brings the all-time total generated for charity by the PGA Tour to $2.65 billion. The Tour surpassed $1 billion in 2005 and $2 billion at the beginning of 2014. “The entire PGA Tour family takes tremendous pride in the positive impact that we continue to make each year through the millions of dollars that are

raised for very deserving charitable organizations,” said Monahan, now in his second year leading the PGA Tour. “As we often note, beyond the sheer dollar amount, the real story is in the hundreds of thousands of lives that benefit from these contributions every year. Thank you to all of the Tournaments, players, sponsors, volunteers and fans who make all of this possible.” In 2017, five PGA Tour events raised more than $10 million for charity—the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Valero Texas Open, DEAN & DELUCA Invitational, the John Deere Classic and the Waste Management Phoenix Open. In addition to those Tournaments, the biennial Presidents Cup announced a record donation of more than $10.7 million as a result of the 2017 event held at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, New Jersey. The PGA Tour’s flagship event, THE PLAYERS Championship, generated $8.7 million in 2017, a large portion of which benefits North Florida children’s charities as part of the Tournament’s commitment to generate $50 million for youth-related charities over 10 years.

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On the European Tour

Fleetwood Wins Seve Ballesteros Award Tommy Fleetwood

T

ommy Fleetwood has been awarded The Seve Ballesteros Award – formerly the Players’ Player Award – winning the 2017 vote by his fellow professionals at the end of a superb European Tour season in which he claimed the Race to Dubai for the first time in his career. The award is voted for by European Tour members and carries the name of the legendary Spaniard, who remains one of golf’s most inspirational icons and will always be considered one of the European Tour’s greatest ambassadors ever. It would be a year to remember for Fleetwood as he broke inside the top-20 in the Official World Golf Rankings for the first time in his career and produced ten Top-10 finishes overall. He also became the first Englishman since Luke Donald in 2011 to win the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex and sign off the year as European No. 1. “Winning the Seve Ballesteros award has actually made me the most emotional out of all the things I’ve won,” said Fleetwood. “It is voted for by the players and for me there’s still so many guys that when I come out, I was looking up to and you watch people on the range and you try to learn from them. “I’ve made a lot of friends, and I think for people to vote for me as Players’ Player of the Year is just something else. It’s different to

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“TOMMY HAS ALWAYS BEEN A POPULAR FIGURE AMONG HIS PEERS AND WE HAVE ALL ENJOYED WATCHING HIS RISE.” — KEITH PELLEY, EUROPEAN TOUR CEO anything I’ve achieved before. It’s very flattering and very humbling.” European Tour Chief Executive Keith Pelley said, “Tommy had a remarkable season on the European Tour and is a truly deserving winner of The Seve Ballesteros Award. He has always been a popular figure among his peers and we have all enjoyed watching his rise through the golfing ranks over the past 18 months.” Tournament Committee Chairman David Howell added: “Watching the diligent way you’ve gone about being a professional golfer over the years, being so disciplined, dedicated and driven, it’s very fitting that you went on to have the amazing year that you had last year. The Seve Ballesteros Award – an impressive silver and gold circular plate 46cm in diameter – has the names of all the European Tour members who have won Major Championships, starting with Seve’s own

Open triumph at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 1979, inscribed around the central image which is of his famous fist-pumping celebrations on the 18th green of the Old Course at St Andrews after his Open win there in 1984. Javier Ballesteros, Seve’s eldest son, said: “It is great to see Tommy Fleetwood receiving the Players’ Player of the Year Award, now the Seve Ballesteros Award, in honour to our father. He’s had a sensational year, not just because he has won twice but mainly for his consistency and the way he has played all season. My brothers, Miguel and Carmen, and I are delighted, we think he is a great competitor who has also achieved the recognition of his fellow professionals”. It also has the names of all the previous winners of the European Tour Players’ Player of the Year award inscribed around the outer circle, those being: Padraig Harrington (2008), Lee Westwood (2009), Martin Kaymer (2010), Rory McIlroy (2011, 2014 and 2015), Luke Donald (2012), and Henrik Stenson (2013, 2016). Finally, around Seve’s central image is a quote from the European Tour’s founding father, the late John Jacobs OBE, whose words sum up how most people in the game felt about the Spaniard: It simply says: “Seve’s supreme talent, flair and passion for golf inspired millions around the world.”


On the European Tour

Golfsixes Attracts New Generation Of Golf Fans As It Returns For 2018

Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen (L) shakes hands with Alexander Levy of France during the GolfSixes at Centurion Club last year

G

olfSixes, the shortformat golf concept, attracted younger, new fans to the game while delivering impressive social media engagement, according to new analysis by the European Tour. The GolfSixes format was trialled in response to growing demand for shorter, more intensive competition. It replicates other successful short-form sport concepts such as the T20 Big Bash, World Rugby Sevens Series, Nitro Athletics and Tie Break Tens. Data from the inaugural GolfSixes competition last year shows that it saw a 42% increase in new golf fans at the event compared to standard European Tour tournaments. Those attendees were also 14% younger than those seen during the rest of the golfing calendar. By virtue of attracting a younger following, social media engagement around the event also exceeded the average rate seen at other European Tour tournaments

by 24%, delivering over 20 million social impressions. In response to the positive findings, GolfSixes will return to the European Tour calendar and will once again be hosted at the prestigious Centurion Club. Na t h a n H o m e r, C h i e f Commercial & Marketing Officer of the European Tour, said: “GolfSixes combines the camaraderie and intrigue of team golf with the drama and intensity of a shorter format. The players love it, and the fans enjoy the different, more entertaining atmosphere. Last year we tested the concept and this year we will dial up the fan engagement still further. “Golf needs a route for younger fans, groups of adults and families to get involved. We know that GolfSixes appeals to those audiences while still offering something to our die-hard fans. We have to keep innovating in order to grow our appeal and the statistics suggest GolfSixes can have a powerful presence in

Thorbjorn Olesen (L) and Lucas Bjerregaard of Denmark

THE GOLFSIXES FESTIVAL WILL BE PLAYED ON MAY 5 AND 6 AT CENTURION CLUB, NORTH OF LONDON, FEATURING GOLFERS FROM 16 NATIONS the golfing calendar.” The European Tour has also committed to running a special showcase event during The 2018 Ryder Cup in Paris in order to bring the GolfSixes concept to a global audience. Homer added: “The Ryder Cup transcends all sport and is

one of the most prestigious sporting events on the planet. It is the perfect platform to introduce a wide cross-section of sports fans to GolfSixes. Setting aside time in The Ryder Cup schedule for it demonstrates our commitment to the concept and our firm belief it has long term potential.”

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On the European Tour

The Average European Tour Pro In 2017 Every Tour player hits their driver 300 yards, finds every Green In Regulation (GIR) and gets up and down from the sand every time, right? Wrong. Much like us amateurs, all professional golfers have their strengths and weaknesses so we decided to look at how the average European Tour pro stacks up across the various stats departments. In golf, a good Stroke Average is a sign that your overall game is working well. In 2017, the average score among European Tour players was 71.56. Masters Champion Sergio Garcia led the way with 69.30, joining Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Tyrrell Hatton and Julian Suri as the only players to average under 70 in 2017. In total, 168 players averaged less than 72.

Perhaps the most talked about statistic in professional golf. Every player is continually in a search for more distance off the tee. In 2017, the average European Tour player hit the ball 290.8 yards while no fewer than 35 players averaged more than 300 yards from tee – the most in European Tour history. Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy led the way in Driving Distance with a mammoth average knock of 319.5 yards. The shortest was SSP Chawrasia, who averaged just 262.5 yards. Despite that, Chawrasia secured his fourth European Tour title at his native Hero Indian Open.

The average cost of missing a fairway on a hole is somewhere in the region of 0.3 to 0.4 shots, and over 72 holes, finding the short grass becomes more important. The average player hit just 58.1% of fairways in 2017, equating to around eight per round. Of players to have completed more than 30 rounds last season, Henrik Stenson led the way with 74.3% (just over ten per round), while Race to Dubai winner Tommy Fleetwood also hit more than 70% on average.

To score well you need to make birdies. To make birdies you need to be on the green (most of the time). In 2017, European Tour pros found an average of 67.17% of Greens in Regulation (GIR), equating to 12 per round. This year’s European No. 1 Tommy Fleetwood led the Tour in Greens, finding the putting surface 77.4% of the time, equating to around 14 GIR per round. Only Fleetwood and Thomas Aiken (the leader in this category in two of the previous three years) averaged more than 75% of GIR but the highpowered trio of Sergio Garcia (74.5%), Justin Rose (73.8%) and Henrik Stenson (73.8%) weren’t far behind.

Scrambling is the rate at which a player makes par or better on holes where they missed the GIR. In 2017, players saved par a little more than half of the time (55.1%). As a perfect example of just how important scrambling can be, the 2017 Golfer of the Year Sergio Garcia led the way, saving par or better 125 times from 188 total missed greens for a scrambling percentage of 66.5%. Only 26 players averaged more than 60%.

Escaping greenside bunkers is another area where Tour pros have to excel at in order to preserve a good score; something they did on average 54.8% of the time. For the second year running, Spain’s Alejandro Cañizares led this category (of any player with more than 30 stat rounds), getting down from the sand in two or less shots 51 times from a total of 51 bunkers (73.9%).

One will very rarely find an event winner ranking outside the top ten in either Putts per Green In Regulation or Putts per Round. The averages for those metrics on Tour in 2017 were 1.783 and 29.6 respectively, with Marcus Fraser topping the former (1.721) and double winner Jon Rahm (28.1) leading the latter.

66 golf digest india | february 2018


On the European Tour

Five Predictions For 2018 On The European Tour Rory McIlroy

O

nce again, the European Tour dished out its fair share of twists and turns in a dramatic 2017 season that began with a victory against the odds for Sam Brazel in Hong Kong and concluded in gripping fashion in Dubai. After finishing 41st in the Race to Dubai Rankings the previous season, who would have called Tommy Fleetwood’s phenomenal form to take the season-ending glory in 2017? Who would have foreseen Sergio Garcia’s first Major success coming against old friend Justin Rose on a pulsating final day at Augusta National? With the new year already upon us, here are five storylines that could materialise, from a new World No. 1 to some successful Major runs.

Henrik Stenson

Stenson to win again

Back-to-back Top-10s at The Open and US PGA Championship made everybody sit up and take notice of Tyrrell Hatton in 2016. While strong performances in the Majors eluded him in 2017, two more European Tour titles and five other Top-10s meant his strong ascension continued. Furthermore, Hatton’s links pedigree might mean a strong Open finish is on the cards, particularly given that his last two rounds at this year’s venue, Carnoustie, are 65 and 67.

In 2016, Henrik Stenson won The Open, claimed a Silver Medal at the Rio Olympics and won the Race to Dubai for the second time in four years. It was always going to be a battle to match or even exceed that in 2017, although that did not stop the Iceman from claiming runner-up spots at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and WGC-HSBC Champions. The 41-year-old remains one of the best ball-strikers on tour. It will not take much for the Swede to get back in regular contention for titles, particularly if he can come back in peak condition following an end-of-year rib injury.

Rahm to reach World No. 1

Rory to win his fifth Major

Hatton to get Major top-5

You can never guarantee anything in this game, but a successful 2018 for Jon Rahm is as close as you can get to sure-fire thing. With two Rolex Series wins in 2017, Rahm gathered the momentum to climb to World No. 4 and finished the year in fifth place. Not bad for a 23-year-old who started the year outside the Top-100 and his performances clearly suggest this is a guy who can find success anywhere.

If McIlroy’s winter break works the way he intends, 2018 could be the year he wins his fifth Major. It is possible he could complete the career Grand Slam at the Masters in April; he possesses a strong record at Augusta National, most notably four straight Top-10s since 2014. An injury-free build-up, something he did not get this year, would give him a chance of claiming a first Green Jacket. McIlroy can certainly mix it on an Open

Tyrell Hatton

Jon Rahm

links, too, with three Top-5s in as many appearances. His 2014 victory at Royal Liverpool was vintage McIlroy and a return to similar form would make him difficult to beat. After claiming two wins in three years at the US PGA Championship, McIlroy has struggled lately to find his game in the year’s closing Major, while a second US Open title has proved similarly elusive in recent years. Make no mistake, though, if the Northern Irishman has a healthy run this season another Major is on the cards.

Li Haotong to finish in style

Twice in 2016 Li Haotong put on a Sunday masterclass to surge up the leaderboard, including during the final 18 holes at Royal Birkdale with the Claret Jug on the line. The Chinese, already a European Tour winner thanks to a home win at the Volvo China Open in 2016, fired what was then a joint-record Major score of 63 at Birkdale to put the pressure on Jordan Spieth and Matt Kuchar. Whether another comeback round will result in victory in 2018 is yet to be seen, but his all-round game is in shape to contest in a big tournament. february 2018 | golf digest india

67


On the European Tour

Jazz Janewattananond of Thailand booked his European Tour card through the Qualifying School

European Tour Live coverage on

Jazz Janewattanond:

from the temple to the European Tour 2017 was a huge one for Jazz Janewattanond. The young Thai won for the first time on the Asian Tour in February, and by November he was a European Tour player after earning a card at Qualifying School in dramatic style. Before his victory in the Bangladesh Open, the 22-yearold had only once been in the running for an Asian Tour title, but Janewattanond came into that week with a secret advantage. In January, he entered a monkhood for a fortnight in Chiang Rai, a stunning mountain-lined district in the north of his native Thailand. After 14 days of quiet reflection under the guidance of the revered Phra Maha Vudhijaya Vaijramedhi, Janewattanond left as a “different man” with a new outlook on life, and golf. Within weeks he was a champion – something he credits to his time spent as a monk. “It is a Thai tradition,” he said. “In Buddhism before you are 30 you need to do it, and with our king passing away I wanted to do something good for him. “I learned from Phra that happiness is the greatest thing in life. Before that golf was everything to me, and it gave me so much pressure during competition. I have been competing with less pressure ever since.

“I was instructed by the monks to learn to give, so I started donating some of my prize money to needy children and charities. When you have more than enough, it’s better to share it with others who are in difficulty. “You come out of an experience like that as a different man. You don’t think too much about the future or the past and you always try to stay in the present.” In the year of his breakthrough win Janewattanond also secured his first European Tour top five – he was a joint runnerup at the Fiji International – and also became a member of the tour for the first time. Janewattanond teed up at the Final Stage of European Tour Qualifying School for the first time this year, and after five tough rounds in Spain he still had work to do to earn a card. In fact, Janewattanond still had work to do with one hole to go. Needing an eagle at the par-five 18th to earn a card, Janewattanond produced a moment of magic by chipping in from the fringe of the green. Now the proud owner of a European Tour card, what are Janewattanond’s hopes for this season? “The goal now is to win on the European Tour,” he said. “I want to keep moving forward in the same direction.”

68 golf digest india | february 2018

MATCH

INDIA DATE

IST

Maybank Championship Malaysia Day 1 Session 1

01.02.18

08:30

Maybank Championship Malaysia Day 1 Session 2

01.02.18

12:30

Maybank Championship Malaysia Day 2 Session 1

02.02.18

08:30

Maybank Championship Malaysia Day 2 Session 2

02.02.18

12:30

Maybank Championship Malaysia Day 3

03.02.18

08:00

Maybank Championship Malaysia Day 4

03.02.18

08:00

ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth Day 1

08.02.18

09:30

ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth Day 2

09.02.18

09:30

ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth Day 3

10.02.18

09:30

ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth Day 4

11.02.18

08:30

NBO Oman Open Day 1 Session 1

15.02.18

12:00

NBO Oman Open Day 1 Session 2

15.02.18

15:30

NBO Oman Open Day 2 Session 1

16.02.18

12:00

NBO Oman Open Day 2 Session 2

16.02.18

15:30

NBO Oman Open Day 3

17.02.18

13:30

NBO Oman Open Day 4

18.02.18

13:30

Commercial Bank Qatar Masters Day 1 Session 1

22.02.18

13:00

Commercial Bank Qatar Masters Day 1 Session 2

22.02.18

16:30

Commercial Bank Qatar Masters Day 2 Session 1

23.02.18

13:00

Commercial Bank Qatar Masters Day 2 Session 2

23.02.18

16:30

Commercial Bank Qatar Masters Day 3

24.02.18

14:30

Commercial Bank Qatar Masters Day 4

25.02.18

14:30

Available on TATA Sky (Channel No. 471)

“I LEARNED FROM PHRA (BUDDHIST MONK) THAT HAPPINESS IS THE GREATEST THING IN LIFE. BEFORE THAT GOLF WAS EVERYTHING TO ME, AND IT GAVE ME SO MUCH PRESSURE DURING COMPETITION. I HAVE BEEN COMPETING WITH LESS PRESSURE EVER SINCE.” — JAZZ JANEWATTANANOND, THAI GOLFER


On the European Tour

European Tour Store Visit the Official Online Store today for a large range of merchandise including clothing and accessories.

Get 10% OFF

your next online order, simply enter code

EUROTOUR10 at the checkout. shop.europeantour.com

february 2018 | golf digest india

69


On the Asian Tour

Bjørn Guides Europe To EurAsia Cup Victory The victorious Team Europe after their 14-10 win over Team Asia

T

eam Europe, captained by Denmark’s Thomas Bjørn, dominated the Singles matches to earn a hard-fought win over Team Asia with a 14-10 victory to retain the EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM on January 14. After trailing Team Asia over two days at Glenmarie Golf and Country Club, Europe mounted a gallant fightback to win 8 out of 12 matches in the Singles format.

“It was a great performance today from every single one of them, they came off the golf course yesterday and there was a determination and a will of wanting to win this,” said Bjørn.

“From there, to then go out and do the job the way they did today shows a lot about the character of these 12 guys and it shows a lot about the character of European golf and it shows

“IT WAS A GREAT PERFORMANCE TODAY FROM EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM, THEY CAME OFF THE GOLF COURSE YESTERDAY AND THERE WAS A DETERMINATION AND A WILL OF WANTING TO WIN THIS (EURASIA CUP)” — THOMAS BJØRN, EUROPE CAPTAIN

70 golf digest india | february 2018

The prestigious EurAsia Cup trophy


On the Asian Tour

a lot about what we are,” added the Dane. Alex Noren of Sweden delivered the day’s first point with a convincing 4&2 win over Malaysia’s Nicholas Fung. Asia’s number one Gavin Green of Malaysia then fell victim to Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello 4&3 Europe’s number one Tommy Fleetwood earned another point for his team when he brought down India’s SSP Chawrasia 2&1 before Thailand’s Poom Saksansin gave Asia a brief reprieve, beating England’s Paul Casey by one hole. Major winner Henrik Stenson put another point on the board for Europe when he won 2&1 against Japan’s Hideto Tanihara before Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger took them three clear with a 2&1 victory over Thailand’s Phachara Khongwatmai. France’s Alexander Levy then brought Europe to within a point of retaining the EurAsia Cup when he defeated Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat 3&1. The winning moment for Europe came on the 18th hole when Belgium’s Thomas Pieters beat Korea’s Byeonghun An by one hole.

Team Asia’s Li Haotong put up a sublime display of golf by winning his singles and foursomes matches

“It always nice to get the winning point. We all have to do our own part today. We knew that and we knew what we had to do. You can see early on that we wanted it badly because the board was pretty blue,” said Pieters. England’s Tyrrell Hatton then won 2&1 against India’s Anirban Lahiri to make it 13 ½ -7 ½ with three matches remaining. Korea’s Sunghoon Kang and England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick shared the spoils before Japan’s Yuta Ikeda and China’s Li Haotong salvaged some pride for Team Asia by beating England’s Ross Fisher (1 hole) and Ireland’s Paul Dunne (3&1) respectively. “These kind of events always become closer than you think sometimes, and that’s always good to know. When you go out there as a team, you’ve got to play. You play for very few points the first two days and then you play for a lot of points on Sunday, and that’s the way these events are. “It can swing very much on the last day and we showed today that if you are good and strong on Sundays, you can win these things,” a content Bjørn signed off.

THE WINNING MOMENT FOR EUROPE CAME ON THE 18TH HOLE WHEN BELGIUM’S THOMAS PIETERS BEAT KOREA’S BYEONGHUN AN BY ONE HOLE. ENGLAND’S TYRRELL HATTON THEN WON 2&1 AGAINST INDIA’S ANIRBAN LAHIRI TO MAKE IT 13.5 -7.5 TEAM EUROPE

Scoring Summary

TEAM ASIA

FRIDAY FOURBALL, January 12 Tommy Fleetwood / Paul Casey

WIN

Thomas Pieters / Matthew Fitzpatrick Alex Noren / Paul Dunne Henrik Stenson / Alexander Levy Bernd Wiesberger / Rafa Cabrera Bello Ross Fisher / Tyrrell Hatton

WIN

Byeonghun An / Kiradech Aphibarnrat

4&3 2&1

WIN

2 Holes

WIN

5&4

WIN

Yuta Ikeda / Gavin Green

Hideto Tanihara / Phachara Khongwatmai Sunghoon Kang / Poom Saksansin

Halved

Nicholas Fung / Li Haotong

5&4

Anirban Lahiri / SSP Chawrasia

SATURDAY FOURSOMES, January 13 Tommy Fleetwood / Henrik Stenson

WIN

3&2

SSP Chawrasia / Anirban Lahiri

Paul Casey / Tyrrell Hatton

WIN

2&1

Kiradech Aphibarnrat/ Byeonghun An

Rafa Cabrera Bello / Alexander Levy

1 Hole

Matthew Fitzpatrick / WIN Thomas Pieters

3&2

Paul Dunne / Alex Noren

2&1

WIN

Ross Fisher / Bernd Wiesberger

3&1

WIN

Gavin Green / Yuta Ikeda

WIN

Poom Saksansin / Sunghoon Kang Phachara Khongwatmai / Hideto Tanihara Li Haotong / Nicholas Fung

SUNDAY SINGLES, January 14 Alex Noren

WIN

Paul Casey

4&2 1 Hole

Nicholas Fung WIN

Poom Saksansin

Tommy Fleetwood

WIN

2&1

SSP Chawrasia

Henrik Stenson

WIN

2&1

Hideto Tanihara

Rafa Cabrera Bello

WIN

4&3

Gavin Green

Bernd Wiesberger

WIN

2&1

Phachara Khongwatmai

Alexander Levy

WIN

3&1

Kiradech Aphibarnrat

Thomas Pieters

WIN

1 Hole

Byeonghun An

Tyrrell Hatton

WIN

2&1

Anirban Lahiri

Matthew Fitzpatrick

Halved

Ross Fisher

1 Hole

WIN

Sunghoon Kang Yuta Ikeda

Paul Dunne

3&1

WIN

Li Haotong

february 2018 | golf digest india

71


On the Asian Tour

CAPTAIN ATWAL PROUD OF TEAM ASIA DESPITE DEFEAT Asian players faced tense moments during the Sunday Singles matches of the EurAsia Cup

T

eam Asia’s captain Arjun Atwal praised his charges despite falling 10-14 to Team Europe at the EurAsia Cup on January 14. Atwal’s team had led for two days after the Fourball and Foursomes matches at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club, but were outplayed by Team Europe in the Singles matches. “I’m very proud of these guys. They are all awesome players and it’s just unfortunate we lost today. We just didn’t make enough putts and they, on the other hand, made a lot more putts than us,” said Atwal. While his team fell short on the final day, Atwal was delighted to witness the talent on display, particularly from the young Thai duo of Poom Saksansin and Phachara Khongwatmai. “The sky’s the limit for them. It’s unbelievable. They are all fantastic players. I got to know some of these guys a lot better this week and by just watching

them play, I know they can achieve anything they want. They can win majors. They can win big tournaments on big tours. There’s no limit,” added the Indian. Poom, who was making his debut at the EurAsia Cup, showed no fear as he brought down seasoned Ryder Cup campaigner Paul Casey in the Singles match by one hole. Together with Korea’s Sunghoon Kang, the 24-yearold also created the biggest upset on the opening Fourballs when they won 5&4 over Henrik Stenson and Alexander Levy. Phachara proved to be another star in the making when he put up a masterclass in putting in the first two days. The young Thai put 2 points on the board for Team Asia and showed he can be the man for the big occasion. “ L o o k a t t h e way h e (Phachara) handled himself under pressure. If I was 18, I don’t know if I would be able to do what he did this week by

72 golf digest india | february 2018

Team Asia captain Arjun Atwal (L) embraces Poom Saksansin of Thailand after his Singles win over Paul Casey of Team Europe

“THE SKY’S THE LIMIT FOR THEM. IT’S UNBELIEVABLE. THEY ARE ALL FANTASTIC PLAYERS... I KNOW THEY CAN ACHIEVE ANYTHING THEY WANT. THEY CAN WIN MAJORS. THEY CAN WIN BIG TOURNAMENTS ON BIG TOURS. THERE’S NO LIMIT” — ARJUN ATWAL playing in this type of pressure,” said Atwal. With the conclusion of the third edition of the EurAsia Cup, Atwal hopes to revive his memories and stand proud as a captain one day again.

“I had a lot of fun and I had an absolute blast this week. Even though we didn’t win, they are all champions and for me personally, I would do this in a heartbeat again,” said Atwal.


On the Asian Tour

Growing From Strength To Strength Xiao Bo-wen at the Asian Golf Championship, the first jointlysanctioned event between the Asian Tour and China Golf Association in nine years

BY JOSH BURACK Asian Tour CEO

O

n behalf of the Asian Tour, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your support in making 2017 an immensely successful year. What a season we’ve had! We added more tournaments, established new partnerships, re-established some key relationships and most significantly, witnessed the emergence of a new generation of golfers who will drive the Asian Tour into the next era. We sanctioned 29 events on the main tour and 20 events on the Asian Development Tour across 20 countries, including some as far away as Fiji, South Africa and Pakistan. Many of our members took part in the World Super 6 Perth, which provided an innovative and entertaining format. The Asian Tour is clearly on the rise. We will be working even harder in 2018 to expand our global influence across Asia and beyond. Looking back on 2017, some of our key achievements were: l Signing the strategic partnership with the China Golf Association in March and then successfully holding our first event in China in December, following a nine-year absence in this vital market l Restoring relations with the Korea Golf Association, which brings back the Kolon Korea

Open and Maekyung Open tournaments from 2018 onwards l Becoming the first Tour outside of Europe to become an affiliate of the R&A l Bringing Panasonic on board as a Tour partner and creating the “Panasonic Swing” l Expanding our partnership with Rolex enabling us to stage the Asian Tour Awards Gala l Adding new media partnerships with the Wall Street Journal, GOLF Korea, Golf Digest India and Golf Asia to enhance the Asian Tour’s image in several important markets l Including the Royal Cup held during the last week of 2017, sanctioning five more tournaments on the main tour schedule in 2017 compared to 2016 Inside the ropes, Malaysia’s Gavin Green made history as our first ever Order of Merit Champion from Malaysia. His potential is immense. At age 23, Green is our second youngest Order of Merit champion after Noh Seung-yul. Gavin spearheads a large crop of ultra-talented Asian Tour players who are under the age of 30. Out of the 28 winners that we have on Tour this year, 16 are under the age of 30, which is an impressive proportion. They include Jazz Janewattananond, Micah Shin and Shubhankar Sharma, who are all in their early twenties. Once again, I would like to thank every one of you for your support! #whereitsAT

Gavin Green of Malaysia

WE SANCTIONED 29 EVENTS ON THE MAIN TOUR AND 20 EVENTS ON THE ASIAN DEVELOPMENT TOUR ACROSS 20 COUNTRIES, INCLUDING FIJI AND PAKISTAN february 2018 | golf digest india

73


On the Asian Tour

ASIAN TOUR’S FRESH NEW LOOK

Viraj Madappa

Himmat Rai

Madappa, Rai Earn Playing Rights On Asian Tour

V

iraj Madappa, one of India’s most promising talents, finished tied 29th at the 2018 Asian Tour Qualifying School’s Final Stage to earn his maiden Asian Tour card in only his second season as professional. Madappa (73-67-69-72-71), who became the 2017 PGTI Emerging Player of the Year after amassing the highest earnings among the rookies in the season, posted an even-par-71 in the fifth and final round of the Final Stage at the Rayong Green Valley Country Club in Thailand on Sunday to total three-under-352 for the week. He thus finished inside the top-35 and ties for the week to claim his Asian Tour card. The rookie, who had 6 top-10s on the PGTI last year including a runner-up finish, made 3 birdies and 3 bogeys in the last round that saw him slip 5 spots from his overnight tied 24th. Nonetheless, the 20-year-old’s final round performance was good enough for him to not only secure his card but also end up as the highestplaced Indian at the event. The Kolkata-based youngster had been one of India’s leading amateurs prior to turning professional in 2017. Himmat Rai (71-71-71-66-74) was the other Indian to earn full playing rights on the Asian Tour as he closed the week in tied 34th place at two-under-353. Rai, a former winner on the Asian Tour, dropped 16 places from his overnight tied 18th as a result of his final round of three-over-74 but still managed to make the grade by one shot. He now returns to the Asian Tour after a one-year gap. The tournament was won by Korea’s Seungtaek Lee who outclassed the field by closing with a second straight 4-under-par 67 to claim a one-shot victory. The 22-year-old, playing his first attempt at the Asian Tour Qualifying School, fired 3 birdies

74 golf digest india | february 2018

in his closing four holes to top the 243-man field with a five-day total of 14-under-par 341. The 2018 Asian Tour Qualifying School Final stage saw 243 hopefuls from over 30 countries vying for their playing rights at the start of the week. The first cut was made after 36 holes and a total of 153 players made it into the third and fourth round. A further cut was made after 72 holes and 78 players progressed into the fifth and final round where a total of 44 players from 12 countries securing their Tour cards for the 2018 season after making the cut-off mark set at 2-under-353. The Indians who did not finish among the top-35 players and ties and thus missed their card, were Angad Cheema (tied 51st at evenpar-355), Veer Ahlawat and Deepinder Singh Kullar (both tied 69th at 4-over-359) and M Dharma (tied 73rd at 5-over-360).

Did you know? l Seungtaek Lee topped the class in his first attempt at the Asian Tour Qualifying School. He became the second Korean following Yikeun Chang in 2016 to win the Asian Tour Qualifying School l A total of 44 players from 12 countries earn their Asian Tour cards for the 2018 season. The countries represented are Australia (11), Korea (10), Thailand (7), United States (3), Japan (3), England (2), New Zealand (2), India (2), Spain (1), Sri Lanka (1), Argentina (1) and South Africa (1) l Former Tour champions Thammanoon Sriroj and Udorn Duangdecha of Thailand, Himmat Rai of India and Australian David Gleeson, successfuly regained their playing rights on the Asian Tour for the 2018 season

With the balance of power tilting towards youth, the Asian Tour refreshed its logo to reflect the development and progression of the organisation. Recently, the Asian Tour has seen a dramatic shift in performance from a new crop of ultra-talented young players. On any given week, there is a host of 20-somethings such as India’s Shubhankar Sharma, Panuphol Pittayarat (Thailand) and Miguel Tabuena (Philippines) contending for the title. In 2017, a record 16 players under the age of 30 were victorious on the pan-Asian professional golf tour’s official schedule. The new logo has been i m p l e m e nt e d a c ro ss a l l platforms as well as collaterals and it made its first appearance at the Asian Tour Qualifying School in January. The new design is an evolution of the old logo where the golfer’s silhouette has evolved into a stronger and more powerful position which is forward-looking and embodies the modern game. However, in keeping with tradition, the swing path rings which are a stylised representation of an ensō brush stroke are retained. In Zen, ensō is a circle that is hand-drawn in a single brushstroke to express a moment when the mind is free to let the body create. The Asian Development Tour logo will also be updated with the new design elements. “We are really excited to announce the Asian Tour’s new logo. The design is inspired by our talented players and our mission to develop the game of golf in the region. The launch of our new logo marks the latest exciting phase in the proud 23year history of the Asian Tour, dating back to our days as the Asian PGA.” said Josh Burack, CEO of the Asian Tour.


february 2018 | golf digest india

75


Cover Story

An exclusive look at Woods’ newest driver swing

TIGER 76 golf digest india | february 2018


Cover Story

by ron kaspriske while you were enjoying your eggnog and fruitcake this holiday season, Tiger Woods concerned himself with something most golfers can relate to: taking his practice swing to the course. After playing in the Hero World Challenge in December, his first tournament in 301 days, Tiger said he wasn’t getting the same distance off the tee that he was seeing in practice at his club, the Medalist in Hobe Sound, Fla. ▶ Woods admitted he was relying on a “tournament ball,” meaning a reliable driver swing that emphasized accuracy over distance. He repeatedly hit a gentle fade (the ball curving to the right) while playing in the event. Although pleased with his eight-under-par performance (tied for ninth), considering it came about eight months after spinal-fusion surgery, Woods says his driving needs to improve. To that point, he isn’t being bashful about asking his peers for help— especially about equipment. ▶ “I’ve really talked to the guys; played

golf with Rory [McIlroy], DJ [Dustin Johnson], and I ask them, ‘What are you doing?’—really picking their brains as we’re playing,” Woods told Golf Digest in December after displaying his swing for this article. “These guys are tournament tough. I hadn’t played in 10½ months, so it’s nice to pick guys’ brains who have been through the battles.” ▶ Every instructor Golf Digest asked about the latest version of Tiger’s swing, including former coaches Hank Haney and Sean Foley, praised it for its effectiveness. Wanting to know more about it, we asked Jim McLean, one of the top-five instructors in America as ranked by his peers in Golf Digest, to tell us what he sees. ▶ “If my math is right, this is the fifth major swing change we’ve seen from Tiger,” McLean says. “I’ve seen guys change, but not nearly as often or with as much success as Tiger. And this swing looks pretty good.” Read McLean’s analysis on the following pages.

Photographs by Walter Iooss Jr.


Cover Story setup PREPARED FOR LAUNCH ▶ As Tiger addresses the ball, you can see that he’s geared to hit up on it, says Golf Digest Teaching Professional Jim McLean. Tiger told Golf Digest he plays the ball off his front toe, “which is different than what you typically see from tour pros,” McLean says. “Most prefer to set up to the ball off the heel of their front foot. The farther forward you play it, the easier it is to hit up on it, which is the ideal way to maximize distance with a driver.” ▶ Also of note is Tiger’s wide stance, with the shaft and his spine leaning away from the target—“all signs he’s going to launch it,” McLean says. ▶ Looking for something to copy? Stand tall like you see Tiger doing here. “If you want power, you can’t be all hunched over,” McLean says.

‘He’s setting up to give this ball a ride. It’s the look of a power hitter, not someone who just wants to put the ball in play.’ —Jim McLean

78 golf digest india | february 2018


Cover Story

‘Even though he’s well into his backswing, note how extended his arms remain. That’s how you create width for power.’ tak e away STAYING SHALLOW AND WIDE ▶ Renditions of Tiger’s swing before this one showed him taking the club back steeper and letting the club move more inside the target line and behind his chest. “His arms are out in front of him now; everything is turning back together,” McLean says. ▶ Taking the club back like this keeps it moving on a path that is shallow in relation to the ground (making it easier to catch it on the upswing) and at maximum width (for extra power). ▶ “If you can stay wide, you’re going to get the most out of your drives,” McLean says.

february 2018 | golf digest india

79


Cover Story

at t he top LOADING UP FOR THE BIG HIT ▶ “Tiger has moved off the ball—a few inches away from the target—by the time he finishes his backswing,” McLean says. “You wouldn’t have seen that a few years ago.” This lateral shift is reminiscent of his backswing as a young adult, McLean says: “It’s a power move, for sure, but it’s also good for someone with a back problem. There’s a lot less side-bending going on, so the bottom of his spine isn’t feeling extra pressure. I like this change. If you think about golfers who were great drivers, such as Nicklaus and Norman, they loaded up behind the ball instead of feeling like their body was over it.” ▶ If you want to copy this move, don’t let your weight sway outside your back foot, or you’ll struggle with consistency, McLean says. Tiger prevents an overshift by keeping his right leg braced throughout the backswing.

80 golf digest india | february 2018

gutter credit tk

‘The club stops short of parallel, but look how far his left shoulder is behind the ball. That’s the turn of a healthy golfer.’ Photograph by First Lastname


Cover Story

‘For a guy who’s had multiple back surgeries, this is an impressive move down. He’s still very aggressive.’

d ow nsw ing TRANSFERRING ENERGY FROM GROUND TO BALL

gutter credit tk

▶ Woods has long been known for squatting as he starts the downswing, using the ground as leverage for a forceful swing. But McLean says the dip isn’t as pronounced as it was in years past. More important, he does a terrific job of maintaining enough space for the club to sling into the ball. ▶ “That’s the trick,” McLean says. “When you drop from your address posture like this, you have to be careful to not get the club trapped where it has no room to move into the ball. He does a great job of keeping it out in front of his torso, not blocked behind his body.”

Photograph by First Lastname

february february2018 2018| |golf golfdigest.com digest india

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Cover Story

‘He’s got a really fast arm swing now. It reminds me of Greg Norman’s in his prime.’ into impact A DIFFERENT WAY TO GENERATE POWER

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▶ Considering his mobility has been limited by a fourth back surgery that fused vetebrae, it’s unrealistic to think Woods can produce 320yard drives doing it the way he used to. He’ll have to pick up swing speed somwhere else, and it appears he’s generating more power with his arms. “It’s definitely more of an arm swing than it used to be. They’re moving so fast, the club even recoils against his back as he finishes,” McLean says. ▶ And though the shaft might be leaning toward the target at this point in the downswing, a fraction of a second later it will be perpendicular to the ground. “He’s releasing the club hard—really getting it out in front of him and catching the ball on the upswing. He’s not dragging the club through impact. He’s letting his right arm dictate the action.”

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Cover Story

t hro u gh- swi ng RELEASING THE CLUBHEAD

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▶ If you were to compare Tiger’s throughswing to Jordan Spieth’s, you’d see a noticeable difference in the position of their hands and arms. “With Jordan, you’d see the left elbow still bent. Not Tiger. It’s straightening, and the club has released,” McLean says. “Jordan drags the club through, but Tiger is throwing it—meaning the type of motion you’d make if you were throwing a ball hard with your right hand. His chest is rotating toward the target, but not nearly as much in comparison to how his arms, hands and club have traveled by the time the club is parallel to the ground after impact.” ▶ If the slice is your typical ball flight, this is the move to copy. Get that right hand over the left in the through-swing, McLean says.

‘He’s not dragging the handle through impact anymore. He’s releasing the club hard, like a throwing motion.’ Photograph by First Lastname

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‘Protecting his spine is more important than ever. That’s why Tiger is not bending back at the end of his swing.’ fi ni s h MAKING A WISE MOVE

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▶ Let’s face it: Lower-back problems are common to many golfers, not just the pros, McLean says. “Knowing that, you’ve got to do everything you can to protect your spine.” Copying the end of Tiger’s swing is a good idea. “It’s a great finish for a guy with a bad back. Look how upright he is. The right shoulder is higher than the left. And if you drew a line from his right ear to the inside of his left foot, it’s a straight line—there’s no reverse-C look to his spine. That means no extra pressure on the lumbar discs.” ▶ As you get older, having this straight-and-balanced finish is going to add time to your playing career. “Let that club finish resting on your neck and shoulders,” McLean says. “Tiger is standing tall. Good to see he’s swinging like a champion again.”

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HOW TIGER CHOOSES HIS EQUIPMENT The 14-time major champion brings a meticulous approach to club-testing by e. michael johnson having watched tiger woods test equipment in 2003 and given the

opportunity again this December, I was eager to find out how his approach had changed. It turns out, it hasn’t. Instead of projecting as a 42-year-old seeking a magic elixir to boost his aging game, Woods displayed the same exacting attention he did as a 27-year-old at the peak of his powers. This was Woods’ first official testing session since joining TaylorMade in January 2017, and he and the company’s research and development team spent nearly two hours on the range at Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Fla., minutely analyzing his equipment specs. ▶ “That’s a lot higher,” Woods called out on his first swing with a TW prototype, muscle-back blade 6-iron, comparing it to the ball flight of his current 6-iron. For Woods, ball flight is everything. In the 2003 session, he said, “If I look up and don’t see the ball right where I expect it to be, then we have a serious problem.” But not an insurmountable one. Keith Sbarbaro, TaylorMade’s vice president of tour operations, tells Woods that it could be the center-of-gravity location, and he and his team would measure Woods’ old set and match it. Woods is likely to notice anything amiss, having used the same club specifications for decades, only changing the lie angle when a swing change called for it. He also said in his early years as a professional that it was necessary for him to go through eight or nine sets and pick clubs from each to get the center of gravity just right. Despite the trajectory issue, Woods was pleased with what he saw. The look of the club, especially at address, is very important to him. Woods prefers an iron with a longer blade length, thin sole and squared-off toe. His TaylorMade prototype was spot-on. “The look is sweet,” he said. “It feels great going through the ground; feels fantastic. Everything is right.”

Moving on to drivers, Woods hit the majority with impressive velocity. His launch conditions featured ball speeds of 180 miles per hour and spin rates from 2,200 to 2,400 revolutions per minute with a launch angle of 11 to 13 degrees—all highly respectable. His carry distance often reached 315 yards. Woods started with the TaylorMade M2 he has been using, before trying the M4 model. The newer M4 produced similar ball speeds, but a higher ball flight. “It looks a touch open. It’s floating out there, but it has a more solid sound and feel,” Woods said. He then tried the new M3, a club with a technology called “twist face,” because the face is twisted slightly to produce optimum performance on mis-hits. Asked if he noticed it at address, Woods said: “I don’t see it at all, but the idea makes total sense.” Starting with a 9.5-degree model, Woods

felt the club was too upright. A change was made to an 8.5-degree head, which sat flatter. After a few swings, Woods still wasn’t satisfied, saying it didn’t look right. As with his irons, the look of the driver is vital. “I know when I’m waggling it,” he said. “If I feel it matches up to me, it frees up my swing.” Sbarbaro then suggested an M3 440 at 9 degrees—a club with a slightly smaller head. After a couple of waggles, Woods flashed his trademark smile and said, “I like it a lot.” A few swings in, Sbarbaro made a tweak, adjusting the two movable weights on the sole all the way forward. On the next swing, Woods tattooed one: 322 yards of carry, 15 degrees of launch, 2,100 rpm of spin—nearly perfect. After about 90 minutes during which he hit close to 100 balls, Woods was closer to some new clubs, though his set makeup (driver, 3-wood, 5-wood or 2-iron, depending on course, 3-iron through pitching wedge, 54- and 60-degree wedges and putter) is likely to remain unchanged. Before any decisions, Woods insisted there was work to do, mostly on the course. “Right before the Hero, I had a 3-wood I was using last year,” he said. “On the range, I hit it fantastic. On the course, I couldn’t hit it. It had too much toe droop right before impact. When I tried to turn it, I’d hit this toe pop-up. The golf course showed that. It’s not just about making it look good [on the range].” As with any testing session there were some lighter moments, like when Woods said he used Confidence irons as a kid until he saved enough money to buy a set of Mizunos. His keen sense of feel was on display, too. Woods cast aside the last driver he hit because of an air bubble in the grip only he could feel. To the last swing, the same ol’ Tiger.

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Nicklaus, Player, Trevino, Miller & Faldo on going from good to transcendent by jaime diaz more than any other player in history, Tiger Woods at his peak refuted the adage that no golfer gets it all. The image of that once-supreme completist from the century’s first decade remains indelible and continues to magnify light onto every part of the game—especially the elements that constitute greatness. ▶ Those who can perceive and convey that last piece with the most precision are the elders in an ultra-exclusive fraternity that includes Woods as a junior member. So as Tiger embarked on his latest comeback—begun remarkably free of back pain and with correspondingly surprising success at the Hero World Challenge— Golf Digest sat down with five of the best: Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Lee Trevino, Johnny Miller and Nick Faldo. ▶ All are multiple major winners—collectively their total is 41, the inverse of Woods’ 14. All are essentially retired from competition yet remain avidly connected to the current scene. All are close students of a figure who has transcended and brought scrupulous attention to the game they

TIGER GREAT once mastered. ▶ For them, Woods is both an illuminating prism and a mirror.

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nick faldo

the journey to thursday morning

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iger and I were similar in that we could almost be in the zone for four days. I had this ability to focus on golf. You hear the psychologists say you should bounce around, but I didn’t. Sometimes Fanny [caddie Fanny Sunesson] would go off on a subject, and I used to drag her back: “No, no, no. Just keep talking golf.” The preparation time between majors is vital, and this is where I think Tiger was absolutely phenomenal. It’s the journey getting to Thursday morning of the U.S. Open or whatever, and if you’re really smart and know more about the game, it starts the week before or two weeks before or, in the case of the Masters, months before. But you’ve got to start well, to be absolutely ready for Thursday morning. I remember reading that Arnold Palmer said he would take the intensity of 17 and 18 on Sunday of a major and bring that to Thursday. And that was a little jolt to me. I used to say to myself in the majors: Every shot is history on Thursday as well, so don’t waste them. With Tiger, I think of the opening nine

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‘Tiger knew he was different. Special. He hit a golf ball differently— full stop—than anybody else.’ —nick faldo holes when he shot 40 at the 1997 Masters. [Faldo, the defending champion, was his playing partner in the first two rounds of Woods’ 12-stroke victory.] I wonder if that was one of his epiphanies where he said, I’m never going to do that again. I’m never going to set myself up to get that far down. I’m going to find a way to prepare. And I think that’s what he did so brilliantly. How he could go out, win a tournament, disappear for three weeks and come back out in a major, and there was no wastage of shots or sloppiness. And the number of times you would say, How does he come out holing every putt? Tiger knew he was different. Special. He hit a golf ball differently—full stop—than anybody else. Nobody could drive it like him, nobody could hit long irons like him, or the wedges and the putter. There wasn’t anybody ever who was that good in every department. And then he’d believe he was better prepared for Thursday than anyone else, and it became a pattern. It’s true in other sports. With Tom Brady, I tune in to make sure I watch his first possession. I love Formula One racing. How come these guys will all qualify within tenths of a second, and then on the first lap of the race, Lewis Hamilton will be a full second ahead of everybody? I birdied a lot of opening holes at the Open Championship. You psych yourself all week, and you visualize it, seeing yourself knock it out there, on the green, in, and off you go. Whereas some people stand up on the first tee, and they can’t see the fairway. ▶

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Our idea was to exploit a premise that has proved reliable since Woods first came to world renown as an amateur in the mid’90s: The better the player, the better the take on Tiger. To varying degrees, each Hall of Famer possessed some or even all of Woods’ myriad qualities and strengths. But to allow the interviews to form a more coordinated whole, the subject matter for each former player focused on the area he most closely compared with Woods. With Nicklaus, it was the uncanny ability for making it happen. For Player, an indefatigable self-belief. For Trevino, an undying obsession for the game. For Miller, a nearly identical crucial head start as a youth. For Faldo, a relentless focus on majors. The individual framing allowed each of our sages to pull from personal experience and observation. The result is wisdom and insight about what it takes to reach the very highest levels of golf—and through a more intimate understanding of five all-timers, a more refined appreciation of Woods. Greatness in golf will remain fascinating and mysterious. The current question: When, if ever, will Tiger, now 42, achieve the kind of late-career climax—Nicklaus’ 1986 Masters at 46 the epitome—that provides each of our five elders such an enduring satisfaction? As 2018 develops, they’ll retain the most interest and empathy as a renewed Tiger—still very much a completist—chases his missing pieces.

r i g h t : w o o d s a s a n a m at e u r i n 1 9 9 5 . p r e v i o u s pa g e s : w o o d s i n a p r i l 1 9 9 7 b e f o r e h i s f i r s t m a s t e r s v i c t o ry.

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“ h e g o t b o r e d , ” l e e t r e v i n o s ay s o f w o o d s , s h o w n i n 1 9 9 7 . “ i t w a s t o o e a s y f o r h i m . ”

‘Tiger wanted to please his dad. . . . I believe Tiger, if it wasn’t for Earl, would be just another guy. I really believe that.’ —johnny miller I’d like to do some of my career differently. I made mistakes working too hard at tournaments. I know I wore myself out, wore out my golfing batteries. But I said to myself, I don’t want to get to 45 and regret that I didn’t try hard enough. Because I know some golfers, I watched them get into their 40s, and they were lazy. And suddenly it’s gone. You’re an athlete given a window of opportunity. And while you’ve got your

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nerve, you’d better make the most of it. Because once your nerve starts to go, you ain’t getting that one back. That last round at the 1996 Masters [overcoming Greg Norman’s six-stroke lead] was the best round mentally I ever had. The swing wasn’t quite right, and I had to mentally push myself through each shot. I would think to myself, Are the wheels coming off? And I had to yell at myself, No, they’re not!

Come on, what are we going to do? OK, hit it, land it there, piece it together, and I’m going to do this in the swing, because I know if I do this, I’ll hang on to it. I had a little checklist I had to go through. I’d lost that 100 percent self-belief, or whatever the percentage is where you’re Superman. Once it gets chinks, it becomes, Oh, I got away with it. And then one day, you say all those things to yourself, and twang!—it goes sideways. And that’s the day when you go, Oh, blimey. To go to a major with the intention of winning it and doing it, that gives me the greatest pride. I did that in three of them [1990 at the Masters and St. Andrews, and 1992 at Muirfield were among Faldo’s six major victories]. With Tiger, I don’t know if he’s done 14 with the intention quite like that. It gives you that sense of power. You definitely feel everybody must be looking at you. The way you act probably pisses off a lot of the players—has to. Because I’m sure that’s when you’re at your rudest. Because you’re so focused, you’re so engrossed. Tiger was quite happy to come into a tournament with a horrendous spotlight on him.


johnny miller

the father influence

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I was amazed how he could do that. I’ll never forget, I was on the range doing TV at Augusta. He came on the range, and you could feel the aura. Every player would turn and look. All the gallery, every eye was on him. He turned it into energy. I’m sure Ali had that. Once you get everything right, it’s that wonderful feeling knowing that you’re going to do it. I had that once: walking down the first fairway at St. Andrews, in 1990. They had put the flag just over the burn, into the breeze, and David [Leadbetter] came to tell me that balls were spinning back into the burn. So it’s a 9-iron, but I’m worried, so I’ll hit 8. And then I get a little more nervous and take out a 7. So I chip a 7, and I land it right in the back of the bloody green, and I’ve got a 30-yard putt. And I said to myself, Just relax. You’re going to win. You can say it now 30 years later, and people don’t think you’re an ass. But how cool a line is that to say to yourself? That is your ultimate. The millions of golf balls and the thousands of hours just to be able to say you know what to do and how to do it under the ultimate pressure, and you love it.

hen Tiger came up, I saw a lot of my golf upbringing in him. I don’t know exactly how Earl worked, but I could tell he had that affirmation thing going bigtime with Tiger. I mean, he said, This guy’s going to be the greatest, and he probably said it a million times to Tiger. He also paid the price with Tiger with his time, doing a lot of things my father did. Everything was centered around his dad, right? With Tiger, what I saw was the drive, even a stronger drive than I had. And he had the rarest of all abilities: If he needed to make the putt, somehow he could make it go in. Not many guys can actually make it, you know. I think of Casper, Nicklaus—for a while, Trevino. It’s very rare to have a guy who actually improved his putting when it mattered the most. Tiger was definitely that way. I could do it with my ball-striking. But you still had to finish it off with the putts. I think Earl had that sense that this guy is special, and I think it was a special relationship. Tiger wanted to please his dad and follow what his dad wanted to accomplish with him. Sometimes you hear some of the negative, but I think most of it was pretty amazing. I believe Tiger, if it wasn’t for Earl, would be just another guy. I really believe that. When my dad started me out hitting balls into a canvas tarp in our basement when I was 5, you couldn’t use too much loft because it would hit the rafters. So I hit a lot of 5- and 6-irons. And I would wear out this dark-green canvas, making a little light green line where it would start to shred. I’d aim for that little stripe about 15 feet away, and I knew where a perfect 6-iron would hit. The thing that the basement did for me, is that it really got me to know what the sound and feel of a pure shot was. You could hear the strike, and you could feel no vibration. Trying to get that would really focus you. I was very little. When I graduated from ninth grade, I was 5-2, 105 pounds. I was a phenomenal putter. I’ll bet you when I was 12, I was in the top 10 in the world putting. I once had 16 putts for 18 holes [at San Francisco’s Lincoln Park]. On terrible greens, by the way. But I loved the game, everything about it. My dad, he made me like a little pro, had me practice how I put my hat on, how I tipped my hat, how I put my glove on, and how I squinted my eyes and gritted my teeth. Sort of a little Hogan. He always talked about psyche. And he had a blackboard with certain things he wanted me to do because I was

small and I needed to be strong—push-ups, squeeze grips, pull-ups. He would work the midnight-to-8 a.m. shift so that he could sleep while I was in school. After school, he’d take me to San Francisco Golf Club, where I was taking lessons [from John Geertsen], and the club sort of adopted me. They averaged only 20 players a day, so in the afternoon no one was even out there, so I could hit as many balls as I wanted. Even on approaches into the greens, I could hit eight balls, fixing my divots. If I hit a bad shot, my dad didn’t really focus on the bad at all. It was just, “OK, one more shot.” It was always one more, no matter how many balls I had hit. It was, “OK, let’s see you hit another one,” never, “OK, let’s go home.” I don’t think he ever said, “Let’s go home.” He was a smart guy, and he was teaching the best he could. He’d give me 10 things to try, and eight of them were just way out there. But I would analyze why each one was not a good idea. And then one of the ideas was really good, and one was fantastic. Like when I was 10 or 11, he had me carry a lefthanded 5-iron. So I became quite good lefthanded, about a 6-handicap. Now coaches recommend swinging left-handed as a training aid. It wasn’t boring, because he was super creative. I was a good little fighter. My dad was a boxing fan, and he taught me how to box. I didn’t get in that many fights, but I never lost a fight. The fight would last only 30 or 40 seconds, but that’s the way you settled disagreements back then. When he taught me how to box, that gave me confidence, too. When I was a young player, I didn’t even know what a bad stretch was. Never played bad. Never. It’s not like I would shoot a bad round and then a real good round. It was just always good. I was a plus-2 when I was 16 years old on the Lake Course at Olympic Club. I do think you need a start like I did to get a head start. All my friends would work as hard as I did, but they were always a little behind me. They didn’t have their father involved. That can work negatively if the guy is overbearing. But my dad was always about affirmations—“You’re doing great. . . . You’re on the right track. . . . Keep doing those exercises. . . . You’re going to be a champion.” Over and over. He’d call me Champ—that affirmation of potential. Actually, not just potential, because I knew when I was 9 years old that I was going to be a champion golfer. Something inside me said, Just keep doing what you’re doing. You’re going to be a champion, like your dad said. So that affirmation of greatness or being successful from your father is the strongest affirmation there is for a boy. ▶ february 2018 | golf digest india

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making it happen

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hen you say, “Making it happen,” I think the key to that, and what Tiger and I both understood, is knowing what was happening. I go back to some of the mistakes that I made. I look at the 39 I shot on the last nine holes of the U.S. Open at Cherry Hills in 1960. At Pebble Beach in 1963, I came to the last hole tied with Billy Casper but three-putted from 22 feet by being too aggressive with the first putt and then missed the comebacker. As good as Casper was, my chances of beating him in a playoff were higher than making that 22-footer. Later that summer, down the stretch at Royal Lytham, I lost by one after bogeying the last two holes by not being smart. Those are things you learn from, how to assess a situation and learn who you are and what you can do. And you gain confidence when those lessons teach you how to choose the correct course. Ultimately you become that golfer. If I had a putt on the 18th to make, that I needed to make, more often than not I made it. Inside 10 feet, more than likely I made that putt. With Tiger, the same thing. Think of Tiger at the [2003] Presidents Cup in South Africa in sudden death with Ernie Els. Particularly the second putt, the one in the dark. I mean, that was just . . . he made it happen. In those situations, I always stood over a putt, and I’d say, I need . . . I HAVE to make this putt. Period. I gotta make it. And more often than not, that made me focus more, and I made it. And once you do that a couple of times, you say, Well, what should I say this time: Gee, I’d LIKE to make it? No. I HAVE to make it. Once you find something you tell yourself that works, you continue to do that thing until it proves it doesn’t. For me, it kept working most of the time. I got nervous all the time, as nervous as the next guy. It’s just that I caught myself before it became destructive. You might be thinking, Gosh, I’m worried about missing it. When you get that out of your system, you eliminate all the negatives. I don’t know how much is innate. I mean, I started winning when I was 10, 11 years old. I was out playing with [wife] Barbara out at Lost Tree on the sixth hole one time, a par 5, and Barbara hit three fairway woods up there and made 4. And I had a 25-footer for 4, and I made it. And she says, “You can’t ever let me win one?” I said, “I’m sorry, it’s what I do. I’m like the scorpion and the frog. It’s my nature.” Why, I don’t know. I wish I could answer that question, but I can’t—I just don’t know. It was not an accident. No, I worked very hard

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for that. But no, I never tried to figure it out. How does Jack Nicklaus know who Jack Nicklaus is? Whatever I had to do, I just went ahead and did it. Sure, I could have gone the other way. Why didn’t I? Because I didn’t want to

woods in december 1996, four months after turning pro and s h o r t ly b e f o r e h i s 2 1 s t b i r t h d ay.

‘I wanted to learn why I made mistakes. I think Tiger does much the same thing.’ —jack nicklaus

[chuckles]. I didn’t want to be a bad player. I didn’t want to lose tournaments. I wanted to learn why I made mistakes. I think Tiger does much the same thing. My dad loved playing all sports, and so did I. I’ve played tennis all my life. I played basketball in a rec league until I was 40. I’d take the kids to football practice, and I’d throw to them in passing drills. Playing all those sports taught you a lot about yourself and about what you can do and what you can’t do. Especially when you’re dealing with team sports, you’re working with your teammates and seeing them make mistakes and their strengths. And you relate those things right back to yourself and how to make yourself better. Did what I learned from team sports help me to learn to rise to the occasion in golf? Absolutely. Tiger was always a guy who once he got ahead, he was able to gain the ability to just bury everybody. And I never really thought about burying the field. All I ever thought about was, I got my lead, now how do I not do something stupid to lose my lead? The 1965 Masters [where Nicklaus won by nine], it just happened. And the 1980 PGA [Nicklaus won by seven at Oak Hill], I was playing terrible. I try to subdue my emotion in competition. When I was a kid, I’d find myself getting excited when I did something good, and I’d lose my focus and wouldn’t get back down for a hole or two. I said, I can’t do that. So I was one of those guys who didn’t pump himself up by getting excited. I had to control it so I could continue to do something good. The game is unpredictable, and it’s different every day. I don’t think I ever had two problems to solve in a round that were exactly the same, ever. You always have to figure out, How do I really make this happen? I trusted my instinct. I always felt like any time I played a tournament, any place in a round, if I didn’t like how I was swinging, I would change it. I go back and look at a lot of times I did that, and who knows why I did it, but I just said, This is not what I want to be doing. I need to make an adjustment, and I need to make it now, and I’ve got to do it without destroying myself to do it.

gary player

“bound for great things”

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iger had advantages physically and in his early exposure to the game that I didn’t have. It put him on the road to being the greatest golfer who ever lived. But the thing where we were equal, or I might have even had more of, was drive. Man, I was driven. There is never enough success for me. One of the first things I noticed about

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Tiger is his strong belief in his destiny. He carried himself with a peaceful but powerful sense that he was bound for great things. I understand that feeling. It was vital to my inner view of myself, especially when I knew others might not have shared it. But that only made me more determined. When I was 15, I broke my neck showing off for some other boys by jumping headfirst into what I thought was a pit of soft leaves and grass, and hit bottom. I had to stay inactive for nearly a year. I had been playing golf for only a year, but I was already consumed by the game. During my convalescence, I would be alone in the house and stand in front of a mirror, saying over and over, You’re the greatest golfer in the world. It was absurd, but something told me that mattered. Later, I learned from reading and befriending Norman Vincent Peale. He once wrote, “If you want something and you go for it, you will be astonished at the values you will find.” My parents, Harry and Muriel, always encouraged us. I’m sure it gave me the belief that what I could conceive, I could achieve. It’s the greatest gift you can give a child. My older brother, Ian, was a tremendous influence on me. I remember at 8 or 9 trying to run a five-mile course with him, but I fell down less than halfway, exhausted. I cried, “Ian, I can’t make it.” He yanked me to my feet and very sternly told me, “You can do anything you want to. Remember that. There’s no room for ‘can’t’ in this life.” Then he kicked me on the backside to emphasize the point. Ever since, if I’ve ever been tempted to say I can’t, I feel that kick again. A golfer’s true greatness is revealed not when he’s playing his best, but when he’s not and still manages to win. For all his talent, Tiger has shown even more will, and so often when he was fighting his swing he still found a way. There were many times in tournaments when I was lost, hitting absolute rubbish, but I would get the ball on the green and make the key putts. How does that happen? Desire. Tiger has always had more of that than the players he’s beaten. You feel as if he cares more than anyone else. I was told that when I played, I gave that impression. Tiger has hit so many amazing shots under pressure. Often, with some players more than others, pressure can destroy performance. But I’ve found it’s amazing how the intense pressure of the crucial moment, when something special is required, produced the best shots of my career. I don’t know if you can say it’s luck if you continuously did that. Talent, maybe? Obviously I’m pulling for Tiger—I am a big Tiger Woods fan. But I think we could look back and say that his downfall was striving for too much perfection. He was on

‘A golfer’s true greatness is revealed not when he’s playing his best, but when he’s not and still manages to win.’ —gary player the way to being the best player the world had ever known. He wins the U.S. Open by 15 shots, and shortly after he’s having lessons and changing his swing. There is always a limit, and I don’t think he could have gotten better. I pursued better technique my whole career—my only regret is a lost chance to learn from Ben Hogan—and it’s a capricious thing that often doesn’t lead to improvement. Golf is such a very, very intricate game, and there is a limitation.

lee trevino

a reason for everything

T

iger, like me, is obsessed with golf. People have to understand that he made himself what he is. He wasn’t born with that. Superstars make themselves that way. When you want to be the best, you gotta do something extra. You can’t just do the same thing that everybody else is doing. All the great ones do that. I outpracticed them. The better I did it, the more I’d like to see it, and the more I practiced. The secret is, everything that you do, there’s a reason. The good players figure out the why. Why that ball’s doing that. And why you can do this. Most people don’t do that. I played a hook with a pretty swing until I came back from the Marine Corps and saw Ben Hogan hitting fades at Shady Oaks. After that, I figured out a way to play to avoid the left side. See, I play with two flags. I aim at this flag, but I hit it at that one. I’ll stand here, and I’ll go like this [simulates his open stance]. I’m looking right at the

target. I don’t have to do this [looking more over his left shoulder from a square stance]. And then I played a block fade. You have to, if you’re aiming left. It’s in your mind, it’s in your makeup, it’s in your body. Putted the same way. Copied Jack Nicklaus, the greatest putter I’ve ever seen. You have to respond to the target. During the swing, I look for the target in my subconscious mind. You can’t think when you swing. The more you think, the worse you’ll play. What’s happened, unfortunately, and I mean no disrespect by this, is that people who are teaching are getting way too crazy with too many little movements and muscles. You can’t let too many people mess with you. Mr. Palmer had it right when he said, “Swing your swing.” Tiger outsmarted himself. He didn’t realize that if he just maintained, he would still be winning everything. Instead, he wanted to do something else. He got bored. He wasn’t satisfied winning by 15. He wasn’t satisfied by winning 30 percent of his tournaments. It was too easy for him. He was actually too good, and it got in his way. Here’s what Butch Harmon told me. I said, “Tiger?” He said, “Lee, I can’t teach him anymore. He knows more than I do about the swing. You can’t believe what he knows about this thing.” Because Tiger dissected it like me. He knows why it happens this way when you do a certain thing. But like Butch said, “There are some guys that want somebody watching over them.” I didn’t. Jack told me one time, “You’re the smartest golfer I ever met.” That was the best compliment I’ve ever had. Ever had. You never stop dreaming it. I love the art of it. I love the people. And still being able to go out and perform. With Tiger, it’s even more so. It would be very easy for him to say, “I don’t even want to mess with it.” I mean, his retirement fund alone has got more money than AT&T. So no, he loves the sport, he loves competition, he loves to win, he loves to play well. That’s his whole thing. If Tiger does not hurt anymore, I think he’ll play until he’s 50, and then he’ll play the majors on the Champions Tour. One of the greatest feelings in the world is when you’re out of pain. When my L-5 nerve was completely trapped, I was in that bed upstairs for three months. Wasn’t able to even put my pants on. I could not move. Then [after a 2004 procedure to implant a spinal spacer], no pain. It was like cutting me loose with 31 flavors. Tiger is going to be the same thing. He lost his body, but he didn’t lose his talent. And the longer he goes with no pain, the more confidence he’s going to build. And then he’s going to get up one day and say, “I’m back, baby!” february 2018 | golf digest india

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e i f L m y s h ot • 4 8 • j u p i t e r • f l o r i d a

ON HIS FAMOUS FAMILY, FAMOUS PUPILS AND THE BLANK CANVAS THAT WAS TIGER WOODS WITH GUY YOCOM

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Oakmont the next year, especially with the ruling that happened during the last round, combined with the episode at the [2010] Whistling Straits PGA, I think was one of the most amazing psychological feats in golf history. brooks koepka is not your standard-issue golf nerd. He has all the qualities of an athlete in a pro team sport. He likes having a big team around him. He loves the training, the practice, the physicality of it, the process of getting better. When he plays poorly, he’s like a baseball player who maybe just struck out three times—he

He began the final round of the U.S. Open at Erin Hills one shot out of the lead. Brooks might not be a golf nerd, but he knew this could be the defining moment of his career. In a moment like that the tendency is to play the way others think you’re supposed to play—tactical and a little guarded. That is not the way you want Brooks Koepka to play golf. Just before he left the putting green to go to the first tee, I locked him in. I told him, “Today you are going to be aggressive. Whatever happens out there, play your game. Be you.” Man, was he ever him. You saw the power, the freedom, the

doesn’t sulk or dwell on it, he just wants to get in the batting cage with his coach and fix it. He’s not passionate about golf history and doesn’t watch it much on TV. He loves golf simply because it feeds his desire to compete. my favorite coaching

fearlessness. He birdied the first two holes. On the back nine, he grabbed the golf course by the throat, made three birdies coming in to win by four. I was so proud of him and took a lot of satisfaction knowing that my message to him was the right message.

moment came with Brooks.

●●●

u.s. open at pinehurst, 2014.

During practice rounds, players are asking Dustin Johnson his strategy on the par 4s and 5s. On every tee they ask, “What are you going to do here?” His answer was always the same: “Sending driver,” he said, meaning he’s just going to bash driver everywhere. Today it’s part of the vernacular among my guys and my dad’s. Ask Rickie Fowler, Jimmy Walker or even their caddies what they’re going to do on a hole, and they say to each other, “Send, bro, send. Gonna send it.” It’s an inside joke. They all know that nobody sends it like Dustin. ●●●

for everything sport psychologists recommend but what nobody is really able to do. After he three-putted the last hole at the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay and lost to Jordan Spieth, we all knew he’d be crushed. An hour later, I was in the garage of his rental house, loading up the cars to go to the airport. Dustin came out, looked at me and smiled. “I played so [bleeping] good today,” he said. And that was it. He never mentioned it again, at least not to me. ●●●

i’ve never heard dustin say

a bad word about anybody. That’s rare for anybody. In fact, it’s the opposite. Players can get gossipy and bad-mouth each other; it’s no different than any workplace. When

somebody starts to go off on, say, a really slow player, Dustin always interrupts to say, “Ah, I think he’s a good guy,” or, “He isn’t that bad.” It’s impossible to make his mind drift to unproductive or unhappy places. For him to shrug off what happened at Chambers Bay and win the U.S. Open at

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Painting: Florilegius/getty images • Frame: Dea/J.m. Zuber/getty images

dustin is the poster child


VHS tape, time-stamped Aug. 23, 1993, of the 17-year-old Tiger Woods taking his first-ever lesson from my dad. Tiger and his father, Earl, had driven up to Lochinvar Golf Club in Houston after Tiger lost in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur at Champions Golf Club, which is nearby. My dad was teaching Greg Norman at the time, and Greg had just won the 1993 British Open, so Tiger and Earl thought they’d listen to what my dad had to say. I was 24 and just starting out, helping my dad where I could, learning to teach, running video and closely observing his lessons. The three of them were talking, and suddenly Tiger decides to hit balls. My dad was cool on the outside, but inside he was excited. He whispered to me, “Get that video camera going, now.” Tiger was just a skinny kid. He didn’t even have a glove with him, just his clubs and a beat-up pair of golf shoes. What Tiger did that day was historic, the first view of what he could do. The clubhead speed, the sound he made at impact, the ball flight, was unbelievable. Watching Tiger, my dad was quiet for a long time. Tiger was hitting 8-irons so unbelievably high and far, I think my dad had trouble picking up what his clubhead was doing through impact. It was just a blur. You never see Butch Harmon puzzled, so this was a first. When Tiger switched to driver, forget it. More silence from my dad, followed by a very good question: “What’s your philosophy when you swing that club?” ●●●

tiger said, “I know I hit it farther than everybody, but not always very straight. I just hit it and go find it.” It didn’t seem like a great philosophy at the time, but Tiger was exactly the prototype of what the best teachers are looking for now. Give me 15 juniors, and I’ll take the one who can’t hit the range, he’s so crooked, but who has speed and strength to burn. You can teach a player to hit it straight and to repeat. You can’t teach speed.

●●●

after the lesson broke up,

we didn’t know if my dad would become Tiger’s teacher. On the drive home he was quiet again, lost in thought. I said, “So what do you think?” He said, “I don’t know if I’ll get the chance, but if I could work with that kid, I’ll make him the greatest player the world has ever seen.” One thing that impressed him was, he would tell Tiger to hit a shot he knew he’d have trouble hitting. Tiger would say, “I can’t hit that one, but if you show me how, I can do it.” My dad would give him a thought and a feel, and bang, Tiger would hit it. No matter what it was, he brought it off, first try, on command. Tiger was the kind of blank canvas that comes along once in a lifetime, and my dad knew it. ●●●

tiger had calluses on the

insides of his forearms. Think about that. He rotated his hands and arms so aggressively through impact, kept his forearms so close together, that they rubbed against each other to the point he’d built up extra layers of skin. Over time, the skin there would crack and bleed. It’s one of a hundred ways Tiger was unique. ●●●

after tiger and my dad

‘‘

decided to work together, Tiger would stay at our house in Houston. I was charged with looking after him. I picked him up at the airport. He never had any money, and I made sure he got out to McDonald’s to eat. I had to wake him up in the mornings, which wasn’t easy. I’d wake him up, go shower, then wake him up again. It was long before he had Lasik surgery, and he had really thick glasses. I remember him fumbling around on the nightstand for them when he finally did get up. ●●●

dinner at night. He was inquisitive, approachable and people didn’t bother him too much. He initiated conversations, if you can imagine that. It was kind of a normal existence. But it changed, especially after he left my dad. His circle got smaller, and he became more isolated. A bubble formed. One of his biggest strengths was the intimidation factor, and he put that part into overdrive. He adopted kind of a Darth Vader persona, always a procession in front of him and security everywhere. Everything but the “Star Wars” music. Darth Vader is not about having fun, and the fun was gone. I started feeling when I approached him that Steve Williams might tell me to back off, which, considering how long I’d known Tiger, seemed very strange. The isolated nature of his life made me feel sorry for him. Tiger is a cautionary tale about fame and success. At the Presidents Cup last year, there were signs he’s coming out the other side, and it’s wonderful to see.

tiger was just normal, an average kid. There have been times since when he seems almost unrecognizable from the Tiger we knew in his college years and early years as a pro. After we moved to Las Vegas, Tiger would practice during the day, then we’d all go out to

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during the 2013 Open Cham-

WE CALL IT ‘THE VIDEO.’ . . . WHAT TIGER DID THAT DAY WAS HISTORIC, THE FIRST VIEW OF WHAT HE COULD DO.

‘‘

we call it “the video.” It’s a

pionship at Muirfield, a guy asked me what my hobbies were. I said, “I like to work out.” He laughed and said, “Exercise isn’t a hobby.” On the flight home, his comment bothered me, because it’s true. All I did when I wasn’t at home with my wife, Lisa, and our 14-year-old daughter, was work. This needed to change. I’d taken some art-history classes in college and loved them. So I went to a local craft store, bought some canvases and oils, set up a studio in the garage, and started painting. Make no mistake, as an artist I’m a 20-handicapper, but I’m getting better, and in a way it doesn’t matter. When I’m painting, I’m not worrying about my players, teaching and the business of golf. When I come in from the garage, I’m a new man. ●●●

when jordan spieth won the

British Open, he had six players waiting for him to finish so they could fly back to the States together. Can you imagine Tiger, Vijay, Ernie and Phil waiting for one of the others to finish so they could do that? The relationships between Dustin, Jordan, Justin, Rickie and Brooks are much friendlier, and although they might lack a certain Darth Vader-versus-Luke Skywalker drama, it’s healthier. The Europeans figured out years ago that being friends was a better way to go, especially when it came to the Ryder Cup. Over the next 10 years you’re going to see some amazing Ryder Cup performances from the Americans. Europe is facing a real problem because they’ll be playing against guys who from top to bottom truly have each other’s backs. imagine alabama football

coach Nick Saban making a rule stating you can’t play there if you have dreadlocks or tattoos. He could do it, but then who would he get to play for him? The younger generation doesn’t respond well to the old-school, father-like, do-as-I-say leadership style. That was the lesson we’ve learned from some of the past Ryder Cup captaincies. When you enforce a regimented

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‘‘

●●●

will we ever see another Tiger Woods? No. He was a complete outlier. When you look at the nature of his dominance—the insanely high percentage of cuts made, his stroke averages, his winning percentages, the majors and all the incredible metrics over a 20-year period— it’s quite clear that no one’s ever going to do what he did. Remember the excitement over Rory McIlroy, who at his best is the closest we’ve seen to Tiger? Rory is turning 29 [in May], and in retrospect, the idea he could dominate like Tiger did when there are players like Dustin, Jordan, Jason and Justin on the scene doesn’t seem fair to him. ●●●

but it doesn’t mean there

won’t be outliers in certain ways. Take Jordan Spieth. The player going down the stretch with Jordan has to know he’s up against it, because he’s his own intimidation factor. He’s not a freak athlete who will beat you up with the driver, and he won’t wear you out with his irons. He beats you by being Jordan, a personable kid from Dallas who won’t go away and gives off this sense of the inevitable, a feeling he’s going to pull off a huge shot at the worst possible time for you. With Jordan, you’re playing against more than a great golf game. ●●●

i’ve watched dustin johnson

spend three hours a day in the gym, seven days a week. When he’s out on tour, there are no days off. I’ve watched him pay the price. To want to roll back equipment and put him and guys like him in a box, so

I TEACH A LOT OF SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS PEOPLE. . . . IF THEY RAN THEIR COMPANIES THE WAY THEY RUN THEIR GOLF GAMES, THEY’D GO OUT OF BUSINESS.

i didn’t play golf growing up. My dad’s father was Claude Harmon, the 1948 Masters champion. He was a legendary figure in golf, as a player and club pro. He was loved and respected by outsiders. He was a convivial man and truly great golfer. But he was hard on my dad and uncles, Craig, Dick and Billy. The approaches with each varied a little, but in general he was a product of his time and took an old-school, tough-love, no-praise approach. Ultimately it got results, but it wasn’t always pleasant for them. My dad in particular had a complicated relationship with him. He loved him, feared him, sought approval that didn’t come and rebelled against him for a while. It got better toward the end, but I think the experience was so hard on my father that he didn’t want to push golf on me or even make an effort to put it in front of me.

‘‘

rule on the young guys—say, demanding they play an 18-hole practice round—it goes against a looser trend toward guys wanting to play only nine holes. Guys start exchanging the same I don’t want to play 18 holes looks, and next thing you know, they checked out mentally. Today’s players can be pointed in a direction, and they’ll go there with all the energy and commitment you could ask for, but they want to go there in their own way.

●●●

they’re confined to old benchmarks, drives me nuts. Is there another sport as determined to go backward as golf? Dustin is almost a physical freak to begin with, 6-4 and unbelievably strong and coordinated. When he hits a 9-iron 185, the TV commentators usually react with a laugh and an incredulous tone, as if it’s the equipment more than the unbelievable clubhead speed and technical precision. It’s just wrong. ●●●

president obama has come by

the Floridian for lessons a couple of times. He’s left-handed, aims a mile to the left with his shoulders way open, then comes way over the top. I told him he needed to aim his shoulders more to the left, and he said, “Claude, I’m rarely told I need to aim more left.” He’s curious, asks a lot of questions. He said that when he came into office he had to make a choice whether to practice or play, that he wouldn’t have time to do both. He’s one of those semi-serious golfers who alternates between making jokes about his bad shots and being disgusted by them. ●●●

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one day when i was 13, my dad arranged for my grandfather to give me a golf lesson. At the time I didn’t really play golf— I preferred other sports—but who wouldn’t jump at a lesson from Claude Harmon? So I got warmed up on the range at Lochinvar, and up he drove in a cart. He parked it directly across from me, not three feet away, and said, “Let’s see what you got.” His tone made me nervous. I began hitting, and for some reason started shanking. He gave me a couple of quick pointers, but after a few more shanks, he stopped me. “Do you play other sports?” he asked. “Yes sir, football,” I said. “Wide receiver.” He asked, “When the coach tells you to go out 10 yards and turn to the right, what do you do?” I answered him. He then did a similar thing with each of the four sports I played, asking what I did specifically when the coach told me to do something. He said, “Here’s the problem: I’ve been telling you what to do for 10 minutes, and you haven’t done a thing I’ve told you yet. My synopsis is, you’ve

got no talent, and I’m going to lunch.” With that, he put the cart in reverse and left. After a few minutes of standing there, I walked back to the clubhouse and, in tears, told my dad what had happened. “Don’t worry about it,” he said. “I’ve gone through that my whole life.” ●●●

it’s just the way Harmons are with each other. In my early years working for my dad at the Butch Harmon School of Golf in Las Vegas, I approached him to ask for some time off. I began with, “I’ve been working really hard, and . . . ” He cut me off and said, “Get this straight right now: I hired you to work hard. If you wait around for me to thank you for working hard, you’re going to wait forever.” Man, did that make an impression. Some years later, I was running the Butch Harmon School of Golf in Dubai. One of our young teachers, Justin Parsons, told me I’d been pretty hard on him, that I expected too much and he needed time off to see his family. When he added, “I’ve been working really hard, and . . . ” I went into full Harmon mode, telling him word for word what my dad had told me. Today, Justin is running the Dubai school. And it cracks me up how, three times a year, he calls me to complain about the young guys always wanting time off. ●●●

back to claude harmon sr.

In 1987, I went to my first Masters. I was 17, and the game still didn’t appeal to me, in large part because of the family deal. He was still this scary guy to me, but he took me everywhere he went throughout the week. He’d turn to make sure I was with him. Into the Champions Locker Room and onto the veranda. All the legends—Gene Sarazen, Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Seve Ballesteros— treated him with this incredible respect and affection. It really hit me what this Harmon thing was all about. He lived only another two years. I really wish he were still around, if only to see what became of his grandson


who had the shanks. ●●●

i never did become a good

player, although early on I did try. It’s led to some skeptical looks. But I’ve always felt there are ways it has worked to my advantage. For one, I truly know how hard golf is. I can relate to the struggles. I never ask a player to perform some crazy-difficult movement that teachers who are good players sometimes assume anyone should be able to do. I don’t try to make them swing like I do, which would be a disaster. My job is to teach golf, not play it, and I spent a lot of years studying closely as the best teacher in the world—Butch Harmon—taught Greg Norman, Tiger Woods, Steve Elkington, Davis Love III and so many others. ●●●

one thing i can do, though, is hit the ball equally well rightand left-handed. I learned this from Mac O’Grady when I spent a lot of time with him 20 years ago. He said learning from the other side would give me a big advantage as a teacher because it would remind me how hard the game is and show me what the pupil is going through. ●●●

one of the breakthroughs

Dustin made last year was improving his game from 80 yards and in. I wish I could take more credit for it. He owns a TrackMan, and all I did was tell him to focus on hitting them precise distances and forget the other stuff. Dustin was making more of a fade swing with his longer clubs anyway, which with the wedges translates into a slightly steeper angle of attack, better contact and distance control. Over the winter he became probably the best wedge player in the game, and he did it by himself. After making the TrackMan suggestion, I just got out of his way. ●●●

my dad doesn’t use TrackMan much, not because he’s stubborn but because he simply doesn’t need it. He’s no technophobe; he was one of the very first, along with Carl Welty,

to use video. My dad’s eyes perform for him what TrackMan performs for everyone else. Beyond the precision of what he sees with ball flight, club and body movements, he has a genius for addressing the root of any swing problem. It’s especially true at the highest competitive level, where the adjustments are very small. Bottom line, my dad is as great at teaching as Tiger was at playing.

teachers end up getting fired by players for the same reasons they got hired. In the beginning, they love you because you care so much about them, are always around and talk about them a lot. When they let you go, it’s because you’re after them to practice more, hover over them and talk too much.

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i teach a lot of successful

business people. Golf is a game that confuses a lot of smart people, and often I’ve thought that if they ran their companies the way they run their golf games, they’d go out of business. No plan or clear picture of what they’re trying to do. Bad fundamentals. Trying a bunch of different strategies, hoping one sticks. When a 15-handicapper shoots 78, they’re more confused than if they shot 92. They have no idea how they did it. I tell them, “Golf-wise, let’s get your ‘company’ to where it isn’t losing money. Let’s stabilize things, take stock. Then we’ll tackle one thing at a time.” ●●●

increasingly it’s about the relationship. My dad has always been the best at that. When Tiger and my dad broke up in 2002, I was secretly furious at both of them. My dad always knew far more about Tiger’s life than he knew about mine, which made me envious of Tiger and resentful of my dad. Years before they split, I remember my dad getting me up to date on the girls Tiger was dating and thinking, He doesn’t even know if I have a girlfriend, let alone know her name. It hurt. One day, after they split, they walked past each other without either guy acknowledging the other. I thought, You guys don’t know how good you had it. It made no sense to me. Still doesn’t. ●●●

i’ve heard teachers say,

“Tiger was so good, he would have been great working with anybody.” Maybe that’s true,

and maybe it isn’t. All we know for sure is, my dad did it, and they didn’t. ●●●

the overwhelming reason

golfers don’t improve is obsession with the direction the ball goes. Amateurs should concentrate more just on solid contact, doing whatever it takes to hit the ball solidly. If you can improve your percentage of times you find the center of the clubface, the direction issue improves immediately. most golfers slice. It’s always been that way and always will be. My approach is not to turn that slice into a draw. The out-to-in path that causes a slice isn’t such a bad thing with modern clubs and a ball that spins less. My goal is to make the out-to-in path less extreme, take it from 12 degrees to only 6 degrees. Turn the slice into a slight fade, and you can play darned good golf. ●●●

i’m 48, so I’ve been around a

while now. In that time, there have been three players that had an aura about them you could feel, the kind that would bring any room they entered to a standstill. One was Tiger. The second was Greg, who oozed self-confidence and a sense of being comfortable in his skin. The most amazing was Seve Ballesteros. I remember him arriving at a tournament one time. He was wearing a pressed white shirt with a royal-blue sweater draped around his shoulders. Gray slacks, black shined shoes and gold wristwatch. As he got out of the car, the people gathered let out this collective “Ooh.” I have to admit, it gave me chills. ●●●

i’ve always admired Ernie Els for the way he handled having to go through the prime

of his career playing against Tiger Woods. At the 2011 PGA Championship at Atlanta, Tiger had been struggling. I was on the range with Ernie early in the week, and a young player said flippantly to another, “I guess Tiger won’t be a factor this week.” Ernie turned to me, seething. He whispered so only I could hear, “They have no idea.” He’d spent the past 15 years never experiencing a week when Tiger wasn’t a factor in a major, which was kind of a curse. The young guys didn’t know how good they had it, not having to worry about getting their butts kicked by him. Ernie never complained, never showed any bitterness, always spoke highly of Tiger. The ultimate in class and dignity. ●●●

when brooks was on the 15th hole Sunday at Erin Hills and it became apparent he was going to win, I started crying. See, my grandfather was Ben Hogan’s best friend. My dad taught Tiger Woods. My uncle Craig taught Jeff Sluman, my uncle Billy helped Jay Haas and my uncle Dick taught Fred Couples. I felt I had finally added my personal stitch to that Harmon quilt. I felt worthy of wearing the Harmon family uniform, which early on was maybe too big for me. ●●●

when my uncle dick passed away in 2006, it was a tough loss for me. I’d always gravitated toward him, probably because his family, his relationship with his four kids was so stable. At the funeral, my uncle Billy gave the eulogy. He said, “I know Dickie is in heaven, and that when he walked in he first gave our mom a big hug. Then he went over to my father and they hugged, too.” Everyone in the church was weeping, and Billy let the beauty of that scene sink in for a minute, then he said, “And as Dickie and my father came out of the embrace, my dad said, ‘By the way, how did Butch mess up that Tiger deal?’ ” It brought the house down, people laughing and crying at the same time. A perfect Harmon ending.

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The Golf Life Mr. X

Undercover Tour Pro High stakes: A guide to private-jet life grew up in a big family. Vacations were always to places we could drive. My parents weren’t in a position to fork over round-trip airfares for us all. The first time I flew was in high school, for a funeral, and I remember my dad going through the rigmarole of obtaining the death certificate for the airline so we could get the discounted rate. When I was getting started in my pro career, I sat through my share of major airport delays and slept crookedly on plenty of red-eyes after missing in Monday qualifiers. I mention this only as a preamble for the following statement, which I know will sound ridiculous to most people: Sharing a private jet is a great way to get to know another golfer. At tournaments, each of us is in “go mode.” The course is the stage where we compete, and off the course gets to be a kind of stage, too. Around the clubhouse and the hotel, out to dinner, all the sponsors and deal-makers hover in the little schedule of functions. You might interact with another player, but often in forced situations. Like, you’re both wired for sound and people are filming you.

I

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You and that player, however, sinking back into fineleather chairs up in the clouds and enjoying a beverage, you couldn’t be any farther above it all. There’s the chance to really get to know the person behind the brand. And it might be someone whom you’d otherwise never seek out. One year at the WGC-Match Play, when it was still outside Tucson and the format was single-elimination, I lost early. Immediately after the handshake—as in, before I even put my putter back in the bag—I take out my phone and call my guy who handles flights for a lot of the players. How soon could he get me home? Our deal is, schedule a flight more than 10 hours in advance, and you set the terms. Less than that, you take what’s available. At roughly $5,000 per hour, it makes sense to share as much as you can. To get out that afternoon, my only option was to share with a golfer who is, shall we say, known as a

presence on the European Ryder Cup team. Maybe because I’m American, maybe because I just assumed our personalities would clash, I’d never said more than two words to the guy. I’ve never laughed harder. What a funny and genuine person this Englishman revealed himself to be. Our kids are roughly the same age. Now when we see each other at tournaments, we always exchange a warm greeting. It’s not often that players refuse to fly together, but when they do, the reasons are understandable. When you’re paying premium, maybe you don’t want to fly with a guy who’s bringing his newborn, or pet, or with a group that’s going to get rowdy when all you want to do is sleep. I know it can be a chess game for the operators: constantly updating who’s letting his caddie or entourage hop on, being sensitive to which players might not be on friendly terms, and laying that all against the Sunday tee times to get everyone home or to the next tournament cost-efficiently. And on top of that, the players who are endorsed by the jet company have priority. I fly with NetJets and Wheels Up, but the logo of one is stitched onto every golf shirt I own. It’s useful for me to have active accounts at both to increase my ride-sharing flexibility. Some players let their manager handle their travel details, but I like to know exactly what’s going on. If it’s a Friday and there’s a good chance I’m missing the cut, I’ll beckon my manager to the rope and give him instructions to make flight arrangements. I don’t want to put him in the position of making that guess. And if I birdie in, it’s no big deal because I don’t get penalized for cancellations. En route to the last Presidents Cup, I heard Patrick Reed and Hideki Matsuyama had to fly to New York together. No word if they hit it off, but given the timing, I’d bet it was a silent flight. —with max adler

Hans neleman/Getty ImaGes

“At roughly $5,000 per hour, it makes sense to share.”


Play

Solid and Far Made Simple by gerina piller

hear a lot of people say to shift all your weight away from the target when you take the club back and then shift it back to your front side on the way through. I’m sure that works for some, but my swing doesn’t have a lot of lateral movement. Mine’s more about rotation. I think it’s because I grew up playing baseball, where you start your swing with your weight already on the back foot and then you just step and turn, getting the bat to move its fastest as it strikes the ball. I took what I learned in baseball and applied it to my golf swing. The benefit, I’ve found, is that it makes it easier to find the sweet spot on the clubface and create effortless power. If you tend to sway too much and/or swing too hard, you’ve got to rely on really good timing to have the same consistency. So if you’re struggling to hit it solid and far, try copying the way I swing. Here I’m going to walk you through how I do it. — with Keely levins

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Photographs by J.D. Cuban

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Play Your Best Tour Technique

a d d r e ss a nd b ackswi ng STAY CENTERED At address my weight is pretty neutral, meaning equally supported by both feet. Still, I like to be aware of the weight on the inside of my right foot. When I sense it there, I know I can swing back and create some leverage for the hit. Essentially, I’m loading my weight before I start swinging. But as I take the club back, my body doesn’t drift off the ball the way you see it move for a lot of golfers. My weight stays pretty centered (left). I’m rotating instead of moving laterally. It feels like my upper body is twisting away from the target while my lower body braces against it. When you try this, you’ll feel a lot of torque building in your core muscles. That’s good. You’ll need to release that tension when you swing down. That’s what creates the power you need to hit it farther.

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Where’s the whoosh in your swing? d ownswi ng a nd fol low- t hro u g h LET SPEED BUILD The mistake I see amateurs make is trying to generate as much speed as they can with their hands. If you hit it worse when you’re swinging your hardest, this is probably the reason. Instead, let the speed gather so the clubhead is at its fastest as it strikes the ball—that’s how you get effortless power. If you think of your swing as moving along a clock face, you want it at its quickest from 7 o’clock to 4 o’clock. To get a feel for this, hold your club upside down and swing it trying to make that whoosh sound loudest when the grip end is closest to the ground. This will teach you what it feels like to put your energy in that 7-to-4 zone. Now flip the club around and re-create that same feeling—and speed—when you hit shots. You might be surprised how much power you can generate without having to sway off the ball or swing like a maniac. Gerina Piller, a three-time member of the U.S. Solheim Cup team, had a fairway accuracy of 75.6 percent on the LPGA Tour in 2017.

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Play Your Best Tee to Green by Butch Harmon

Eliminating Three-putts Break the old rule on firm wrists see this a lot: Golfers roll a bunch of 10- or 15-footers before they tee off, then they have to putt one clear across the green on the first hole. What happens? They usually three-putt because they have no feel for distance. The quick fix is to practice lag putts before you head out, but you also need to know the keys to effective long putting. Let’s take a look. Golfers are often told to lock their wrists when they putt and control the stroke with their shoulders. That might work for short and mid-length putts, but from long range it leads to a stiff motion and no feel. By feel, I mean distance control: the ability to look at a putt, make a few practice strokes, and then put the right amount of hit on it. When you have a long putt, get the extra distance by letting your wrists hinge a little. Here’s how: At address, your left wrist (for righties with a traditional grip) is slightly cupped or bent back. As you swing the putter away from the ball, let the momentum of the stroke flatten that wrist. That little bit of hinge will help you put more energy into the ball. Then, as you stroke through, let your right wrist flatten—that shows that you’re letting the putterhead release, which creates acceleration. That’s how you hit it harder without adding arm or shoulder motion. Getting the pace right will become second nature if you work on these keys and make lag putting part of your warm-up. You’ll handle that long putt on the first green—and all the greens after it. —with peter morrice Butch Harmon is a Golf Digest Teaching Professional.

what made tiger so clutch Tiger was as good a putter as I’ve ever seen. He was phenomenal under pressure—he lived for those moments when he had to make one. And it wasn’t just on 18. It might be on No. 10 or 12 to keep a charge going. What Tiger did better than anyone was, he had great preparation before every putt. His preputt routine and setup, yes, but I’m talking more about attitude: Tiger would tell himself, I’m going to make this putt. And he usually did.

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So much of good putting is just positive thinking, because the actual stroke is very simple. Let’s get back to our example above. If you allow yourself to think, Don’t three-putt, you’re pretty much programming a three-putt. So start with a positive thought, and then focus on making a longer, smoother stroke with that little wrist hinge back and through. You’ll make better contact than you would on a stroke where you try to force the ball to the hole. Photograph by Dom Furore

woods: stuart Franklin/Getty imaGes

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Ted Baker shirT, panTs • royal alBarTross shoes

Art of Exaggeration by David Leadbetter

Finish What You Started A simple way to stop steering it

any times in golf instruction, the easiest way to get a player to learn a skill or correct a mistake is to have them overemphasize the movement needed to execute the task, or do the opposite of what they’re doing. I call this teaching philosophy the art of exaggeration. I use it to improve technique in all facets of the game. For example, a common issue is trying to steer the ball in play. By that, I mean the followthrough is truncated and regulated in an effort to carefully guide the ball in the right direction. This type of swing almost always has the opposite effect, and the result is a poor shot.

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Photographed at The Concession Golf Club by J.D. Cuban

What you should do in the through-swing is release the club. That means the clubhead should move past your body and toward the target as the ball is struck. Steering a shot not only prevents the club from doing what it’s designed to do, it slows it down way too soon— there’s no power. A great way to learn the feeling of the proper release in the through-swing is a drill where you literally throw a club at your target. It really works for players who grip the club too tightly or are worried about

Play Your Best

hitting a shot off-line. Find an old club and try it in an empty field. Make a swing, but let go of the club as you follow through. You’ll immediately realize that to do this, you have to lighten your grip pressure as well as maintain a feeling of extension in your arms. Once this feeling of release becomes routine, you can even use the mental imagery of throwing the club on the course. It’s especially helpful when facing a narrow fairway or dealing with a pressure situation. —with ron kaspriske David Leadbetter, a Golf Digest Teaching Professional, runs 32 academies worldwide.

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Play Your Best For Better Players by Tom Watson

Keep It Down Never clank one off a branch again e’ve all been there: off the fairway, wanting to get the ball back in play. Problem is, there’s a tree directly between you and your great escape. The tree is too tall to go over and too thick to curve a shot around it. You’re only option is to hit a low runner under the branches. How do you do it? Take a lower-lofted club and make an easier, less-thanfull swing. This is guaranteed to lower the trajectory of the ball—that’s the easy part. The tricky part is knowing what

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club is going to keep the ball under the branches, but get it airborne enough to reach safety in the short grass. The only way to truly know that is practice. You’re going to have to work on this shot, and if you can, do it from the rough as well as cleaner lies. Keep in mind that rough normally lowers the trajectory of the ball because it reduces backspin. I suggest practicing this shot with your long and middle irons and your hybrids. Hit a few balls with each club to a

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100-yard target. Imprint in your mind how far the ball carried and how high it flew with each club to get it to stop near the 100-yard target. Then go through the same exercise with 75- and 125-yard targets. You’ll soon build feel for what club and what swing is the smartest choice for the trajectory of the recovery shot you’re facing. —With ron kaspriske Tom Watson is a Golf Digest Playing Editor.

more from tom ▶ An alternative triedand-true swing technique I use to keep the ball down is to lower my left shoulder at address, and play the ball farther back in my stance. Again, experiment with ball position to see how it changes the trajectory, but when you need to hit it low, this works. Photograph by J.D. Cuban


Tour Technique Play Your Best

Chipping: How to Adjust for the Rough Let conditions dictate your technique by matt kuchar hen it comes to chipping, you might have been told to hit down on the ball with the handle leaning toward the target at impact. Chipping this way might allow you to hit it solid, but I bet you’ll struggle controlling where the ball ends up. Instead, what I do is produce a wide swing bottom, with the club gliding along the turf and into the ball—instead of crashing down on it. This allows my club to strike the turf, yet still contact the ball low on the clubface. That’s key to producing loft and spin, and you need both to get the ball to stop where you want it to. I’ll explain. When I’m chipping from closely mowed areas, I know I can put good spin on the ball to stop it using my standard chipping technique—rotating my body toward the target like you see here (above). The mistake is to get a

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little wristy through impact and catch the ball on the upswing. Even if you approached it on a shallow angle, you’ll likely blade the shot if the club moves upward through impact. When I’m chipping out of the rough, I can’t produce the same amount of spin because the club comes in contact with more grass. That means I have to use loft to get the ball to stop quickly. To pop the ball up, I simply make a bigger swing. Again, the club slides along the grass, but the bigger swing creates more swing speed which, lets the ball roll up the clubface, float in the air and land soft. —w i t h r o n k a s p r i s k e Matt Kuchar ranked second in scrambling from the rough in 2017, saving par or better 68.5 percent of the time.

▶ “I know a lot of amateurs are concerned with controlling distance when they chip, but that’s putting the cart before the horse for most of them,” says Chris O’Connell, Kuchar’s swing coach. Instead, O’Connell says focus on crisp contact. “Think of it this way: If you can’t master contact, then there’s no way of knowing how much energy you need to hit the ball a specific distance.” The first thing to practice is making your swing bottom as wide as Kuchar’s. Let the clubhead glide along the turf even after it strikes the ball. “Come in wide and stay wide,” O’Connell says. Once you can do that routinely, it’s time to vary conditions. The reason Kuchar is one of the game’s best chippers is because he practices from all types of lies. “He wants to be challenged,” O’Connell says. “He likes to find an area where guys are tearing up the turf and he’s short-sided [little room between his ball and the pin]. From there he wants clean contact with the ball without disturbing the ground, to land it on the green, and spin it enough to keep it short of the hole.” The point? Prepare for the worst lies you might face on the course. The others will seem easy. —RK

kuchar: Tyler lecka/STringer/geTTy imageS

PUT YOURSELF IN A TOUGH SPOT TO CHIP LIKE KUCH


PlayYour YourBest Best Equipment Slug by Firstname Lastname Play

3

6 1

5

2

Control Experiment Test new irons for accuracy iven the variety of designs, an iron model’s distance is relative. The range of lofts on most 7-irons, for example, stretches from 26 to 34 degrees. So one brand’s 7-iron might be equivalent to another brand’s 5-iron. Our advice: Ask a qualified clubfitter to show you the dispersion on five to 10 shots with each iron you’re considering purchasing. Your left and right misses might vary slightly from swing to swing, but the ideal iron offers sufficient length and the tightest dispersion from shortest hit to longest hit. Here are six new models to consider. —mike stachura

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2 c a ll away x- forged

▶ Mizuno has updated the feel of this classic forged iron through a special process that compresses the grain structure of the carbon steel in the hitting area.

▶ Based on the company’s 2013 forged cavity-back made popular on tour, this upgraded version has a different center of gravity for each club to produce ideal launch and spin. New grooves add more control, too.

pr i ce $1,200

eight c l ub s

p ric e $1,300

ei gh t c l u bs

108 golf golfdigest.com digest india| |month february 20172018

3 to ur ed ge exotic s c bx bl ad e ▶ This throwback forged blade design adds some modern punch with stronger lofts in the middle irons. Precision-milled grooves improve spin on shots from the rough. pric e $1,000

e ig h t c l u bs

4

5

6

cob r a k ing f8

xxio x

t i t l e i st 7 1 8 a p2

▶ The irons in this set are designed differently depending on the need: hollow long irons for distance, fullergrooved short irons for spin and blade-like wedges for versatility. A one-length set is available, too.

▶ Built with the distance-hungry in mind, these lightweight irons help you stay balanced during your swing. Titanium faces provide extra spring, and tungsten in the sole produces a higher ball flight.

▶There’s a lighter, more flexible steel in the face on the long and middle irons and mounds of heavy tungsten in the heel and toe for better distance on mis-hits. Onepiece forgings finish out the short irons for feel and control.

price $800

s e ven club s

price $1,280

ei gh t club s

price $1,300

ei gh t club s

PhotographbybyRyan FirstZimmerman Lastname Photograph

gutter credit tk

1 m i zu n o m p -1 8

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Play Your Best Equipment

to u r e d ge e xotics cbx ▶ The groove design might get your attention for spin (deeper on the lower lofts, wider on the higher lofts), but don’t overlook what’s underneath. There’s less area on the heel, toe and back, so it’s easier to manipulate the club from any lie.

c l e v el an d c bx ▶ The light shaft, wide sole and perimeter weighting make these wedges more forgiving, just like the gameimprovement irons many of us play. But the face and grooves are grabby enough even for tour-level types.

price $130 m i zu no s18

pr i ce $130

▶ Not only do the grooves and soles change with each loft to maximize spin and turf interaction, but the weighting changes, too. As loft increases, more mass is positioned higher in the head to help control flight and spin.

ping g li de 2 .0 st e alt h ▶ These wedges use a softer steel than the original model for more responsiveness, but another neat addition is the extra half groove on the higher lofts: It’s designed to provide more contact with groove edges for extra ball spin. p r i c e $150

price $150

That Groove Thing Five ways to rethink your wedge game edges can be confusing. A Golf Datatech survey found that 56 percent of serious golfers said having the right bounce angle was important, but only 42 percent understood what it was. (It’s the angle formed by the sole and the ground plane.) It’s clear that configuring your wedge set requires thought and testing. Wedges played on the PGA Tour, for example, cover every loft from 46 to 64 degrees. It’s a lot to consider, even if you’re looking to simplify. Here are five wedges to help in your search. —mike stachura

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br id gesto ne to ur b x w-1 ▶ A thick pad on the back of this forged design puts more mass behind the ball for better feel. The parallel milled lines between each groove enhance surface friction for better ball contact and higher spin. pric e $140

Photograph by Ryan Zimmerman


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Closeout

ARIES

CAPRICORN

3/21-4/19

▶ Your natural optimism and fearlessness make you a fit leader in team scrambles. Careful not to sabotage your tee-off order and shot-selection strategies by overdoing it at the beverage cart.

TAURUS

by max adler

IT’S IN THE STARS YOUR 2018 GOLF HOROSCOPE CANCER

6/21-7/22

VIRGO

8/23-9/22

SCORPIO

10/23-11/21

12/22-1/19

▶ Because you see the beauty in what others dismiss as craven consistency, you can have a game plan and stick to it. But hit, already. This isn’t the U.S. Open, bub.

AQUARIUS

1/20-2/18

4/20-5/20

▶ Steady and patient, you refuse to be goaded by sucker flags, which leads to wins. But trivial complications, like a rain delay or playing through, upend your tempo. Never check your email on the course.

▶ You’re a quiet competitor, your heart set not so much in the winning but the trying. Though you’re intensely loyal to those in your golf life, extending this emotion to inanimate objects is sick. It’s time to buy new golf shoes.

GEMINI

LEO

5/21-6/20

▶ You know how to enjoy life’s riches. Others leave the course smiling in no small part because of you. Yet your wells of charm have a bottom. Try offering to cover the guest fee once in a while.

LIBRA

9/23-10/22

7/23-8/22

▶ Your emotions are visible to all, and there’s genius in how you harness blunt honesty to make a complex game simpler. But you need to apologize to the group in front right now.

118 golf digest india | february 2018

▶ If only everyone repaired divots and pitch marks as lovingly. But your attention to detail leads to shortsighted thinking. It’s the numbers on the scorecard, not the launch monitor, that matter.

▶ Your harmonious nature means inter-foursome scuffles seldom escalate under your watch. But people are noticing how you play both sides. Ditching your regular game for a better offer last Saturday wasn’t cool.

▶ You’re a shrewd negotiator of handicap strokes. Are your personal relationships being affected by this successat-all-costs attitude? Notice the tepis effort others give looking for your lost balls.

SAGITTARIUS

▶ Regardless of skill level, you understand that a central essence of golf is to give back. Try directing this more toward charities and children, and less to the pond on 18.

PISCES

2/19-3/20

11/22-12/21

▶ Lucky breaks—an opponent three-putting, a kind cartpath bounce, that ranger you don’t like moving to The Villages— are coming your way. Don’t squander them by betting like a wimp.

▶ You know when your partner needs a kind word and when to keep quiet. This intuition for human emotion is wasted at work. Is this the year you quit the desk job, start caddieing and reassess?

Illustration by Christian Northeast


Golf Digest India - February 2018  
Golf Digest India - February 2018