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Clubhouse: 2014 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in review

THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE HONG KONG GOLF ASSOCIATION VOTED THE REGION’S NO 1 GOLF MAGAZINE

ISSUE 86

HKGOLFER.COM MARCH 2014

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FRENCH REVELATION THE RISE AND RISE OF VICTOR DUBUISSON DISPLAY UNTIL 15 APR


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DAY ONE GULLANE

AM: Met by concierge at Edinburgh airport. Transfer to The Scotsman Hotel, a luxury boutique hotel in Edinburgh’s city centre. PM: Lunch at Gullane Clubhouse. Play the course. EVENING: Dinner at the award-winning Timberyard restaurant in the historic Edinburgh Grassmarket.

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DAY TWO

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PM: Lunch at Royal Burgess then play Royal Musselburgh, the 5th oldest golf club in the world. EVENING: Dinner at the Scotch Whisky Experience, where great food

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DAY THREE

will be The Scotsman Hotel. Built in

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AM: Play The Renaissance Club. Situated east of Edinburgh between Gullane and North Berwick, it is one of Scotland’s most exclusive private members’ clubs. Lunch in the clubhouse. PM: Afternoon at leisure in Edinburgh. EVENING: Dinner

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RYDER CUP AM and PM: A second full day at Ryder Cup, Gleneagles accompanied by your concierge. Hospitality is included throughout the day. EVENING: A farewell dinner in the magical Edinburgh Castle. Here you will experience an unforgettable meal within the castle itself.

DEPART: Day 6. Terms and conditions apply. Subject to availability.

s t i r l i n g a n d s t i r l i n g.c o m


| CONTENTS

HK Golfer Issue 86

March 2014

50 On the Cover:

Victor Dubuisson, the dashing Frenchman, looks set to make his Ryder Cup debut at Gleneagles this September after a brilliant run of form over the past few months. Photo by AFP

Features

Plus…

42 | Eyes on the Prize

22 | In Focus

A Ryder Cup berth beckons for Victor Dubuisson, but what do we know about this striking young Frenchman? By Lewine Mair

A pictorial look back at the past 30 days – locally and regionally. By The Editors

50 | Martin Closes it Out

29 | Tee Time

Twenty-five year-old Martin Liu is set to make his Hong Kong Open debut after scooping his maiden Close Amateur title in impressive style at Fanling over the Lunar New Year holiday. By Alex Jenkins

The best watches from SIHH 2014. By Evan Rast

62 | One-Shot Wonder

A look at Bordeaux wine pricing. By Julien Yung Mameaux

The island green 17th at Amata Spring Country Club near Bangkok continues to grow its reputation as one of Southeast Asia’s most exciting holes. By Alex Jenkins

66 | Vietnam’s New Star Laguna Lang Co Golf Club, situated on the pristine coastline between Danang and Hue, is attracting rave reviews from international golfers who have begun to discover the Sir Nick Faldo-designed layout. By The Editors

68 | Viva España

Daniel Wong, AFP

With Spanish property prices down 60 per cent from their 2007 peak, now is the time for golf-loving real estate investors to take advantage. By The Editors

60 12

HK GOLFER・MAR 2014

76 | Equipment Guide New Year, New Gear – get your game in better shape for the Year of the Horse with these latest releases. By Charlie Schroeder

36 | Liquid Assets

40 | Tales from the Box Our correspondent wraps up another month on the European Tour at the Africa Open in East London, South Africa. By Julian Tutt

60 | Hainan Showdown Preview coverage of the Mission Hills World Ladies Championship, which takes place from 6-9 March in Haikou. By the Editors

74 | Interview: Marcus Spillane We talk to the man behind the successful club leasing company Golf Redefined. By the Editors

86 | Final Shot With CNN’s ‘World Sport’ anchor Don Riddell Interview By Alex Jenkins HKGOLFER.COM


HK Golfer

THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE HONG KONG GOLF ASSOCIATION MARCH 2014 • Issue 86

Editor: Alex Jenkins email: alex.jenkins@hkgolfer.com Editorial Assistant: Cindy Kwok Playing Editor: Jean Van de Velde Senior Editor: Roy Kinnear Photo Editor: Daniel Wong Contributing Editors: Lewine Mair, Robert Lynam, Evan Rast, Ben Oliver, Julian Tutt Published by:

TIMES INTERNATIONAL CREATION Times International Creation Limited 10A Lockhart Centre 301-307 Lockhart Road Hong Kong Phone: +852 3590-4153 Fax: +852 3590-4533

62 D E PA R T M E N T S 16 Mailbag 18 Divots 22 Local Focus 24 Asia Focus 26 Global Focus

Publisher: Charles McLaughlin Art Director: Derek Hannah Assistant Designer: Mimi Cheng Office Manager: Moira Moran Advertising: For advertising information, please contact: ads@hkgolfer.com For purchasing information contact: sales@hkgolfer.com For subscription information contact: subs@hkgolfer.com Hong Kong Golf Association Suite 2003, Olympic House 1 Stadium Path, So Kon Po Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Phone (General): +852 2504-8659 Fax: +852 2845-1553 Phone (Handicaps): +852 2504-8197 Fax: +852 2504-8198 Email: hkgolf@hkga.com handicaps@hkga.com In association with: www.thymedesign.hk

28 Clubhouse 48 Around the HKGA 48 From the President 56 HKGA News 82 Crossword

HK GOLFER is published by Times International Creation, 10A Lockhart Centre, 301-307 Lockhart Road, Hong Kong. HK GOLFER is published monthly © 2012 by Times International Creation. Published in Hong Kong. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is strictly prohibited. PRINTED IN HONG KONG. 14

HK GOLFER・MAR 2014

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HK Golfer Mailbag Thoughts on Urban Driving Ranges I am very new to Hong Kong so please excuse what could be construed as ignorance, but I am genuinely surprised by many golfers’ reaction to the closure of driving ranges in the city. From talking with people I’ve met playing at Kau Sai Chau – which is a truly excellent facility, by the way – and from what I’ve read on online forums, it appears that many are unhappy with the government for not renewing the leases of those driving ranges in the urban areas of Hong Kong, thereby forcing them to travel to the New Territories for a practice session. Maybe it is because I’ve spent the last fifteen years living in the United Kingdom or perhaps it is because I work in the real estate sector, but I am slightly amazed, given the extremely high land prices here, that centrally-located golf facilities have lasted as long as they have. I can’t think of a single major European city that has a driving range located in the heart of the downtown area; if you live in the centre of London, for instance, you’re required to drive a minimum of 45 minutes to reach one – which I believe I’m right in saying is what it would take to travel to the New Territories-based ranges in Sai Kung and Tuen Mun. Am I missing something? John Austin Via email

Great Deal at the HKGC Well done to the Hong Kong Golf Club for introducing their new visitor rates for HKID card holders. At HK$1,200 for weekday play (which includes 18 holes, use of the driving range and a HK$200 voucher for food and beverage) this represents

16

HKGC: Attractive new visitor rates for HKID card holders outstanding value. Better yet, if you tee off after 3pm the green fee rate is reduced to only HK$500. I look forward to playing more and more golf at Fanling! John Lam Sha Tin Editor’s reply: Thanks for your letter, John. The new visitor rates, which are limited to a total of 12 rounds a year, are certainly a very good deal, although remember to bring your valid HKGA handicap card as you’ll need to show this upon registration. It’s also worth remembering that the club welcomes visitors to its Deep Water Bay course at certain times of the day during the week for HK$550 for 18 holes. Check out the club’s website at hkgolfclub.org

HK Golfer on Android

We Want to Hear from You!

We’re delighted to announce that HK Golfer can now be downloaded on all Android and Apple devices. The HK Golfer iPad application continues to be available on Newsstand, while Android and iPhone users can now read the latest issue through Magzter, a global mobile magazine store. Simply download the Magzter app from either Google Play or the App Store. For more information write to app@hkgolfer.com

Have something to say about an article in HK Golfer or a topic affecting golf in our area? Send your thoughts and comments to letters@hkgolfer. com. Please also include your address, contact number, email and HKGA #. The winner of the best letter (the first one that appears on the page) will receive a bottle of Champagne Deutz courtesy of Montrose Fine Wines.

HK GOLFER・MAR 2014

HKGOLFER.COM


| DIVOTS

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HK GOLFER・MAR 2014

The Eisenhower Tree, so much a part of Augusta National that not even a sitting US president could have it taken down, was removed from the 17th hole because of damage from an ice storm that ravaged the state of Georgia last month. “The loss of the Eisenhower Tree is difficult news to accept,” club chairman Billy Payne said. “We obtained opinions from the best arborists available and, unfortunately, were advised that no recovery was possible.” The loblolly pine, which sat about 210 yards off the left of the 17th fairway (seen here giving Tiger Woods some grief in 2011), was among the most famous trees in golf. Players either had to hit over the 65-foot tree to keep the ball in the fairway, or try to shape the ball from right-to-left to avoid it. And it infuriated one of the club members after whom the tree eventually was named – former President Dwight D Eisenhower. Eisenhower, an Augusta member from 1948 until his death in 1969, was said to have hit the tree so often on his tee shot that he campaigned to have it removed and proposed during an Augusta National governors’ meeting that it be cut down. This was in 1956, when Eisenhower was finishing the first of his two terms as president. Clifford Roberts, the club chairman and co-founder, overruled the president and adjourned the meeting. It has been known as Eisenhower’s Tree ever since.

Singh to Have Day in Court The PGA Tour must face part of a lawsuit by Vijay Singh, who alleged he was unfairly treated for using deer-antler spray as a medical aid, a New York state judge said last month. Justice Eileen Bransten of New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan denied the tours effort to have the case dismissed, saying there were still issues to be decided, according to a 27-page opinion made public. Singh began using the spray “on the advice of his caddie” in 2012 to alleviate knee and back problems, according to court records. In February 2013, the World Anti-Doping Agency issued a statement saying it was a banned substance. The PGA Tour determined Singh “had committed an anti-doping violation” and he was suspended and some of his earnings escrowed, even though he said other players in similar circumstances weren’t punished, according to court papers. The spray was later taken off the banned-substance list. Singh sued the PGA last year, alleging negligence, unfair dealing and intentional infliction of emotional distress. HKGOLFER.COM


Adam Scott

Steve Stricker

Jason Dufner

Webb Simpson


| DIVOTS

Registration Open for North Korean Golf Tour

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HK GOLFER・MAR 2014

Here’s a golf tour with a difference. The 2014 DPRK Open, an event led by Hong Kong-based Ronny Mintjens, is now open for entry to golfers from around the world. This new tournament is officially endorsed by Koryo Tours Ltd, which has been conducting organised visits to the country since the early 1990s, and will take place between 10-14 June. The competition, which is open to players of all abilities, will be held at the picturesque Pyongyang Golf Course, situated 27km from the capital, and will incorporate two tournament rounds preceded by a day’s practice. Whilst official statistics and results are hard to come by, the current course record, according to the well-travelled Mintjens, is a rather obtainable 84. The added potential bonus of breaking this record should entice many a golfer. Furthermore, since the drinks at the course’s clubhouse are very inexpensive, even a hole-in-one won’t put you out of pocket! The clubhouse is also noted for being home to one of North Korea’s best restaurants. The tournament will comprise a maximum of 64 participants and Mintjens is expecting the field to include a number of local players for the first time. Aside from the golf, the tour will also feature guided visits to some of the country’s main sights, including the Mansudae Grand Monument and the Tower of the Juche Idea, as well as an overnight trip down to Kaesong and the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which marks the border with South Korea. Participants will stay at the well-equipped Koryo Hotel, which is considered Pyongyang’s best and is notable for being the hotel of choice of Dennis Rodman, who stayed there during his much publicised visits to North Korea in the past two years. The five-day/four-night tour costs €1,645 (approximately HK$16,500) and includes DPRK visa, return flights from Beijing to Pyongyang on Air Koryo, all ground transportation, all meals, hotel accommodation, all the excursions outlined in the itinerary, and all the services of the guides and driver. For more details or to book your place, refer to Mintjens’ website at visitdprk.weebly.com or visit koryotours.com. HKGOLFER.COM


Local Focus Martin Masterful at HKGC Martin Liu earned a spot in this year’s Hong Kong Open after claiming his maiden Mizuno Hong Kong Close Amateur Championship title in fine style over the Lunar New Year holiday. Liu, 25, seen here hitting his tee shot to the par-3 17th at Fanling’s New Course during the final round, finished on a total of 281 (one-overpar), good enough for a three-shot margin of victory over Terrence Ng in second place. “I’ve come close before, so to win the event and earn a place in the Open is a truly great outcome,” said Liu, who holed a succession of crucial putts down the closing stretch. Photo by Daniel Wong


Asia Focus Woods Downed in Delhi Tiger Woods made his first ever visit to India for a charity skins game last month. The world number one, seen here hitting a tee shot at Delhi Golf Club’s 16th hole, reportedly made 10 birdies in his round over the notoriously narrow track but failed to pick up a single skin as he and the chairman of Hero Motors, the event’s sponsor, lost out to Asian Tour pros Shiv Kapur and Anirban Lahiri. It had been speculated in the Indian press that Woods, who had failed to make an impact at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic the week before, received US$2 million for his appearance. Photo by AFP


Global Focus Victor’s Houdini Act Victor Dubuisson, who features in our cover story, played two miraculous escapes from the desert surrounding the course at Dove Mountain in Arizona, but it wasn’t enough to beat Jason Day in the final of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship last month. The 23-year-old Frenchman, seen here playing from the scrub on the second extra play-off hole, now looks set to make his Ryder Cup debut in September following his recent run of fine form. Gary Player, one of the greatest short game players of all time, described Dubuisson’s recovery shots as two of the best he’s seen in his 60 years in the sport. Photo by AFP


CLUB

Away from the Fairways | TEE TIME

SUMPTUOUS SECONDS EVAN RAST REPORTS ON A SELECTION OF DASHING NEW TIMEPIECES AND HIGHLIGHTS FROM THIS YEAR’S SALON DE LA HAUTE HORLOGERIE. CONTINUED OVERLEAF

Parmigiani presented the Metrograph collection featuring Superluminova green sub-dials

HKGOLFER.COM

HK GOLFER・MAR 2014

29


components. The focal point was a cuckoo clock that would chime every hour, with the bird coming out of hiding to chirp the time, triggering several life-sized mannequins dressed as watchmakers – carrying the brand’s new watches under glass domes – to complete a full turn on the exhibition floor. IWC was the other big winner, highlighting its focus on the Aquatimer collection with an underwater-inspired booth, portraying life under the sea at the moment when a great wave passes. With moving murals and life-sized models of sharks and other large fish, it was an impressive Ocean Park recreation.

NEW AND NOTABLE

The Master Ultra Thin Minute Repeater from JaegerLeCoultre is the brand’s first ultra-thin grand complication

T

his last week January in Geneva, sixteen watch brands offered 14,000 visitors from around the globe a taste of their technical mastery once again, from the top-tier grand complications to sleek, everyday classics. There were handsome new collections, a good number of perpetual calendars and a lot of divers’ watches. The best news is that there’s a lot of good-looking, highly functional and reasonably priced releases coming to Hong Kong this year. Two booths stood out from the rest, with Roger Dubuis creating a forest setting with the foliage built from shapes of different watchmaking 30

HK GOLFER・MAR 2014

Several horological houses presented either a totally new collection or a novel complication in an already established range. Jaeger-LeCoultre introduced the 11th member of its top-range, grand complication line, Hybris Mechanica, at the show. Also known as the Master Ultra Thin Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon, the piece is not big on the three-dimensional aspects of the last two Hybris Mechanica models (ie last year’s Gyrotourbillon 3). Instead this is the Jaeger-LeCoultre’s first ultra-thin grand complication and it comes with an automatic movement, whose peripheral rotor is seen through the dial, a flying tourbillon, and a minute repeater. The watch comes in a nicely proportioned 41mm case with a thickness of 7.9mm. The classic feel of the watch comes together nicely through the grained silver dial and white gold dauphine hands. A flying tourbillon with flying balance wheel is visible at 6 o’clock, giving a clear, open view of the movement. The watchmaking team had to develop a new balance spring and pare down the number of components to achieve this. White gold was chosen over platinum for the case, mainly for better acoustics for the minute repeater. The Hybris Mechanica 11 is limited to only 75 pieces in 18k white gold. Parmigiani presented the handsome Metrograph collection, a reasonably priced range that showcases all the great points of the brand, from the focus on design – the signature tear-shaped lugs – and how most of the parts are created in-house. The line comes in 40mm stainless steel cases, with versions in black and white, and options for a black leather strap or steel bracelet. The monochrome theme is given a twist with Superluminova green sub-dials for small seconds, the 30-minute counter and 12-hour counter, together forming a sideways figure 8. HKGOLFER.COM


WE TAKE OUR WATERPROOF TESTING VERY SERIOUSLY With his legendary concentration and 45 years of experience our Master Watchmaker and renowned craftsman, Gilbert O. Gudjonsson, inspects every single timepiece before it leaves our workshop.

All the watches are designed and assembled by hand in Iceland. Only highest quality movements and materials are used to produce the watches and every single detail has been given the time needed for perfection. The quantity of watches produced is limited, giving them an exclusive and truly personal feel.

OFFICIAL HK AGENT: TIMES INTERNATIONAL CREATION LTD. CONTACT: JSWATCH@TIMESIC.COM +852-3590-4153

www.jswatch.com


The open-worked date window displays odd – sits on top of the skeleton movement, bordering numbered dates as numerals, and even-numbered Roman numerals. The 40mm watches come in 18k dates as dots. Inside the watch white gold, with sapphire-crystal is the in-house PF315 automatic casebacks. The series also includes Vacheron chronograph movement, with a high jewellery version with 42 pushers integrated in the lugs. baguette-cut diamonds on the Constantin Overall the watch is a winner in bezel and 12 baguette diamonds presented an legibility, usefulness and style. on the clasp of the strap. impressive Vacheron Cons t antin Piaget continues its recordp re s e nte d a n i m p re s si v e breaking mastery of ultra thin collection collection highlighting its watches with the Altiplano highlighting exper tise in open-worked 38mm 900P. The watch deits expertise in watchmaking, Métiers d’Art throne’s Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Master Clockwise from above: Mécaniques Ajourées, inspired Ultra-Thin Jubilee as the world’s open-worked The Métiers d’Art Mécaniques Ajourées from Vacheron by the large European railway thinnest mechanical watch, with watchmaking Constantin; Piaget’s Altiplano stations of Victorian times, a thickness of only 3.65mm. 38mm 990P; the QP à Équation symbolising the golden age of Fitted with the 900P handwound from Greubel Forsey; A. Lange the Industrial Revolution. movement, the watch features an off-centre and & Söhne’s Richard Lange The watches all carry the in-house calibre partially skeletonised dial and offers a 48-hour Perpetual Calendar Terraluna; 4400 SQ, skeletonised and masterfully engraved power reserve. And while thin, the timepiece is still the new Aquatimer from IWC; and offers 65 hours of reserve power. An opaque, quite formidable on the wrist. This engineering Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak Offshore Diver in Forged Carbon Grand Feu enamelled ring – in blue, grey or black marvel is well decorated with satin-brushed, satin32

HK GOLFER・MAR 2014

HKGOLFER.COM


blasted and bevelled parts, and comes in rose gold and diamond-set versions.

PERPETUAL ADDICTION Following A. Lange & Söhne’s first Grand Complication last year, the company ups the ante again with another extremely complicated model, the Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar Terraluna. Housed in a 45.5mm case that comes in white or pink gold, the Terraluna is equipped with regulatortype time display and a perpetual calendar with Lange’s signature big date, an orbital moonphase display on the movement itself and has 14 days of reserve power. The L096.1 movement features a constant force escapement based on the Richard Lange Tourbillon Pour le Merite (released in 2010). The talking point for this watch is its orbital moonphase display, which shows the relative locations of the sun, moon and earth, including the rotation of the earth on its own axis. There are three discs, the first of which displays the HKGOLFER.COM

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DIVING NOVELTIES

Cartier’s Calibre Diver features a rotating bezel that is coated in black DLC

34

HK GOLFER・MAR 2014

earth, which shows the northern hemisphere and rotates once every 24 hours. A second disc, for stars, features a window showing the moon, rotating once around the earth each month. The third disc features two bright moons rotating in the opposite direction, offering an accurate moon phase display in the aperture. Another dashing perpetual calendar from the show is Greubel Forsey’s QP à Équation, which also features a tourbillon and equation of time. The brand wanted to simplify the displays and make the watch very easy to set and operate, and this is successfully done via a bi-directional winding crown that allows the wearer to turn forward or backward to set the date. There are no individual pushers for each of the indications, so once the calendar is set, the month, day and date all move in tandem. The watch comes in white gold and measures 43.5mm, with a power reserve of 72 hours.

This is the year for exciting divers’ watches, and IWC started the ball rolling at SIHH 2014 with a revamped and entirely new Aquatimer collection. The new models range from the base 42mm Aquatimer Automatic Diver, to chronographs, the Deep Three and Perpetual Calendar Digital Date Month. There are also Galapagos and Jacques Cousteau limited editions. One of the highlights of the new collection is the new bezel with internally rotating dive calculation ring called ‘SafeDive’. The external titanium bezel rotates both ways, but when turned counter-clockwise moves the internal bezel in one-minute increments, helping divers keep track of time elapsed underwater accurately. The strap system has also been improved, with a quick release system for changing straps. The star of the line-up is the Deep Three, the third of IWC’s series of mechanical depth gauge watches. The timepiece is waterproof to 10 bar (about 100m) and the mechanical depth gauge display the wearer’s current depth and max depth at the same time. The watch comes in 46mm titanium. A unique take on a diver is Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak Offshore Diver in Forged Carbon, now in a striking white ceramic. The watch features a case, bezel, pushers, and crowns in Super Ceramic, which at 1850 Vickers, is 500 Vickers harder than the black ceramic used in last year’s version, and nine times harder than steel. The structure of the watch is similar to that of the black ceramic Offshore Diver, with an added sapphire window in the titanium caseback. The case, water-resistant to 300m, is 42mm in diameter and 13.99mm thick, with an internal bezel adjuster at 10 o’clock and crown guards on the right side of the case. The white dial has the Mega Tapisserie pattern, with hours and minutes hands with blue accents, making the watch very legible. The caseback offers a good view of the Audemars Piguet calibre 3120 with an engraved 22k gold rotor. Last but certainly not least, Cartier presented its Calibre Diver, another superbly designed watch in the series, with a 42mm case in steel, two-tone or 18k rose gold, featuring a rotating bezel that is coated in black DLC. The watch, which is water-resistant to 300m, is also an ISO-certified watch, having passed rigorous tests to meet eight basic criteria for divers’ watches, which includes a unidirectional timing bezel, visibility in the dark, running indication, shock and magnetic resistance, and pressure resistance. An appealing everyday watch, the Calibre Diver is fitted with the in-house calibre 1904MC with hacking seconds, a bi-directional winding system and a 48-hour power reserve. HKGOLFER.COM


CLUBHOUSE | LIQUID ASSETS

BORDEAUX – THE MIGHTY WON'T FALL AS FRANCE'S MOST FAMOUS WINE REGION FACES CHALLENGING TIMES, ITS CHATEAUX ARE BEHAVING LIKE TRUE LEADERS, REPORTS JULIEN YUNG MAMEAUX.

B

ordeaux wine prices are adjusting – for the better. Culminating on decades of nearly immaculate reputation, two vintages broke records when wine critic Robert Parker gave perfect 100-point ratings to fifteen chateaux in 2009 and ten in 2010; prices jumped by 20 per cent and 12 per cent respectively. But as the world caught the Bordeaux fever, a tough era was ushered in with the 2011 and 2012 vintages performing below expectations. With stock piling up and a demanding client list threatening to seek value elsewhere, chateaux and negociants were forced to lower prices and embrace change. They took it well, and it is this attitude that continues as the 2013 “en primeur” campaign begins. WHEN TO HOLD, WHEN TO FOLD Bordeaux chateaux master the power of tradition, and quality will not be sacrificed for the sake of booming demand and rising production costs. First growth Chateaux Lafite Rothschild and Latour keep ancestral winemaking savoir-faire in their cellars, like the racking process where young wine is carefully transferred from one barrel to the other. At the reputed Sauternes Chateau d’Yquem, the same fingers pick the grapes year-on-year, in a sophisticated process of delicate gestures. And first growths Chateau Margaux and Haut-Brion still have their own cooperage where a specialist handcrafts the barrels where the wines gain in character. However, prestigious chateaux do make tough calls when needed in order to maintain high standards. If the produce does not meet their requirements, they do not hesitate to throw away a whole season of hard work: for the first time in 20 years (and the fourth in 60), Chateau d’Yquem did not release any 2012 vintage as the unfavorable weather prevented the necessary noble rot to infect its white Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes. More recently, Pomerol-based Chateau Le Pin decided not to produce any red wine in 2013. A TOAST TO INNOVATION Both long-term vision and recent challenges are leading Bordeaux and its chateaux to a new era. The world wine capital has started the construction of a majestic “City of the Civilizations of Wine”. Set to open in 2016, this 14,000-square-meter cultural complex will be entirely dedicated to wine culture. Saint-Emilion icon Chateau Cheval Blanc has erected breathtaking facilities that bring modernity to the winemaking process and beauty to the vineyards. Cos d’Estournel, the “super second” and member of the “100-point club”, and Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou, recently praised as the “world’s best cabernet blend”, both enjoy innovative and creative leadership with Aymeric de Gironde and Bruno Borie. The new dynamic is also found in new chateaux and lesser-known appellations putting pressure on the long-established Medoc and other Graves. My personal

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favourites include Cotes de Castillon, spearheaded by Domaine de l’A owner Stephane Derenoncourt (when he is not consulting for prestigious Bordeaux or Napa wineries). Its 2009 vintage – a 70 per cent Merlot, 25 per cent Cabernet Franc and five per cent Cabernet Sauvignon blend – is smooth and silky with wonderful notes of dark berries, plums and licorice. Another one is Chateau Marjosse, from the Entre Deux Mers area, with a 2008 wine that is rich on the nose and elegant on the palate. And the appellation Bordeaux Superieur is also one of the seven affordable and 'easy drinking' “Revelations" – branded wines created by Hubert de Bouard, owner of top-ranked Chateau Angelus, together with negociant Yvon Mau. Bordeaux is changing, but by joining forces and bettering itself, you can never rule it out. Bordeaux hosts some of France’s best golf courses. To play there and drink fine wine, contact Julien, in charge of The Experience Company (www.TheExCo. com), Asia’s premier travel concierge offering tailored experiences around fine wine. Reach The Experience Company at +852 2179 3307 or Julien@TheExCo.com. Quote “HKGolfer” for a special treat. HKGOLFER.COM


| TALES FROM THE BOX

South African

Sojourn

Television commentator Julian Tutt wraps up another month on the European Tour at the Africa Open in East London.

F

Daniel Wong, AFP

Katie Aiken, pictured here with her husband Thomas following his victory at last year’s Avantha Masters, was on the bag for his win at the Africa Open last month. 40

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e b r u a r y 14 t h . A s I w r i t e , sweethearts around the world are avowing their undying love. In East London, where the Africa Open is taking place, our hotel is bedecked in red and white as rabid commercialism hijacks yet another festival. The luckier golfers are accompanied by their loved ones, but for many on the tour merry-go-round it’s a lonely night. Such is the life of the touring professional. How quickly the early glamour disappears when girlfriends, wives and children start praying on the absent mind. It’s been intriguing over the past 25 years of following golf to observe how triumphs and disasters on the course coincide so remarkably with the peaks and troughs of marital and emotional harmony and disharmony off it. The two graphs are almost invariably closely intertwined. A few wives and girlfriends have overcome the separation problem by taking up (paid?) employment, carrying the bag for their other halves. Generally, and unsurprisingly when you consider the pressures involved, those arrangements have lasted less time than the average pro/caddie relationship. Sometimes, though, a change works rather well, as evidenced by Thomas Aiken here. His beautiful wife Katie is a hockey player and skier, but knows little about professional golf. Carrying her husband’s bag for the first time, she contrived to look glamorous, awkward and nervous at the same time. Aiken, who looked out of sorts when surrendering the lead the week before at the Joburg Open has been relaxed and focused here, happy to combine the role of golfer and caddie, save of course for actually carrying his own bag. How well it worked as he drained a 20-foot birdie

putt on the first hole of a sudden death play-off against England’s Oliver Fisher to record his third European Tour win. What a great investment that brand new red, black and white Titleist carry bag has been; a Valentine’s gift for Kate. No doubt she got something a little more romantic too. Unfortunately we on-course commentators have no pack horses to ca rr y t he heav y equipment it’s necessary for us to carry, if our riveting words of wisdom are to make it out of the valley and across the globe. It was whilst tending to my sore back that the physiotherapist Kate revealed that the caddie Kate had kept her thoughts to herself except to venture to hubby, going into the final round, that whilst everyone else had shot their low rounds, his was yet to come. The excellent physiotherapist could yet become a handy psychotherapist! In the event he didn’t have to go particularly low after the overnight leader Emiliano Grillo hacked and scrambled his way to a mind-numbing nine on the first hole, a par-4. Having looked a broken man, he then rallied to birdie the last five holes to finish tied fifth, in what must rank as one of the most remarkable final rounds ever. My week in East London concluded with a trip to play golf at Fish River Sun near Port Alfred, an hour’s drive away. It was a lovely coastal journey on a delightfully uncluttered road, beneath a classic South African “high sky”. We were doing a reasonably legal 70 miles per hour when we turned a bend to find a large convoy of heavy trucks approaching us, with barely a 9-iron separating any of them. That was unfortunate because a seriously underpowered jalopy had HKGOLFER.COM


decided to try and overtake all of them. Closing at about 140 mph a full-frontal meeting looked a distinct possibility. Whilst applying maximum pressure to the brake pedal, my suddenly alert mind was weighing up the options (which were distinctly limited) when the probably equally surprised driver of the suicide vehicle swerved onto the grass verge on my side of the road, giving us a free passage. Being South Africa, I decided that I would leave them to it and continue on our way. How fortunate, though, that we had not both decided to take the same avoiding action at the same instant! It was hugely impressive that my friend and colleague Dominik Holyer, who was sitting in the passenger seat, showed no sign of alarm or panic and merely continued to describe the delights of his home club, Hockley, near Winchester in the English Home Counties. The somewhat ungrateful fellow then proceeded to thrash me on the Gary Player-designed layout, using a particularly manky set of hire clubs, whilst I had my own finely tuned set with me. Not my best day. As a fascinating build-up to September’s Ryder Cup in Scotland, I thought I would recount a few memories of the 12 previous editions that I have covered for various different organisations. Unlike American golf coverage (actually unlike most of their sporting coverage) it seems sensible to do this in chronological order, hence some recollections of Kiawah Island in 1991. I had attended the 1989 Cup at The Belfry, but really only as an observer for BBC Radio. In The Deep South I was being allowed out on my own as one of three “lead” commentators on the course. Each of us had an expert with us. Mine was the former Ryder Cup star Tommy Horton, who mucked in with great relish. It was the first time that full coverage on the radio had ever been attempted from America. To do it using the now normal satellite network would have been hugely expensive so the decision had been taken to do day-long, “ball by ball” coverage on a single ISDN telephone line. It was a huge gamble but it worked perfectly throughout. It did however involve somebody carrying an even heavier and more awkward backpack than the contraptions we carry now. Fortunately we had persuaded some American students to undertake the role of packman, which they appeared to love as they got an up close and personal view of their golfing heroes. Mine was a chap called Cary, who was inevitably dubbed “Cary the Pack”. Unfortunately, halfway through the second day of searing heat and high humidity, Cary needed a bathroom break. Temporarily handing the equipment to Tommy Horton he dashed to the nearest Portaloo, promising to catch us up at the HKGOLFER.COM

The luckier golfers are accompanied by their loved ones, but for many on the tour merry-go-round it’s a lonely night. How quickly the early glamour disappears when girlfriends, wives and children start praying on the absent mind. next tee. Cary was never seen again, and Tommy insisted on assuming the load for the remainder of the day. The whole experience at Kiawah was totally memorable, not least because it was unlike anything most of us had ever encountered before. Journeying through the old Deep South Plantations to this remote new complex was like visiting an alien world. My colleagues were the renowned football commentator Alan Green from Northern Ireland, and the late “whispering” George Bailey, a lifetime County golfer from Newcastle, who was one of golf and life’s great enthusiasts. By then though he was not in the first flush of youth, and the gruelling environment was taking its toll. By the Saturday night he was exhausted, and at dinner that evening, he sat with arms folded, gently nodding off. George was renowned for his hairpiece and his flat cap. Remarkably both always seemed to stay in place even in the strongest wind. However that night we all sat mesmerised as his head gradually slid forward over his bowl of soup. Would the wig end up in the mulligatawny? Or would he just do a face plant? In the end sadly it was neither, but it caused huge mirth. I got my comeuppance big time the next day. After watching the querulous Mark Calcavecchia surrender a dormie four lead to the only slightly less nervejangled rookie Colin Montgomerie, I eventually dropped back to see the conclusion of the Hale Irwin/Bernhard Langer encounter. The atmosphere was electric, with Irwin showing signs of needing a better psychologist than Calcavecchia’s. On the 16th Langer had a putt of six feet or so to win the hole. I knew the situation, but I heard Alan Green telling our producer on talkback that if Langer missed, that was it, game over. After a very long week, I stupidly believed what I heard in my ear. Langer missed and I went into the full “that’s it, Irwin wins, and with it the United States regain the Ryder Cup, what drama, what emotion …” There was a long pause and then Tony Adamson and Renton Laidlaw (who had already lost most of their notes in the strong wind blowing through their tower behind the 18th) calmly picked up: “So the final match is all square with everything to play for …” There wasn’t a hole deep enough for me to bury myself in. We later read that thousands of motorists listening on their car radios back in Britain had pulled in to the side of the road, all the more to enjoy the drama. They must have loved that! Afterwards, I vividly remember the late Payne Stewart’s floods of joyful tears and later, the terrific performances of Ian Woosnam and Sam Torrance on the table tops of the tented public bars. The Americans loved it. So did we. Of course all the wives were present for that one. HK GOLFER・MAR 2014

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PROFILE | VICTOR DUBUISSON

on the

Eyes

Prize

AFP

A Ryder Cup berth beckons for Victor Dubuisson, but what do we know about this striking young Frenchman? Lewine Mair reports.

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V

ictor Dubuisson, the Cannesborn Frenchman who has shot up the rankings in the last six months, is detonating any amount of chatter in golfing circles in his homeland. The reason, here, is that if all continues to go well, he could become the first French player in a decade to make the European Ryder Cup side. Dubuisson is 23 and came to the fore when he won in Turkey at the end of the 2013 season. At 24-under-par, he had the better of a host of major champions including Tiger Woods, who finished four behind. Yet even if he is being automatically bracketed alongside his illustrious compatriots, Jean Van de Velde and Thomas Levet, Dubuisson could not be less like that engagingly suave pair. Yes, he has a touch of their Gallic charm but, where each of them is the consummate professional, he does not exactly fit into that category, at least when it comes to his off-course ways. To give an illustration, a group of Europe’s top golf photographers were having lunch at January's HSBC tournament in Abu Dhabi when a relative newcomer to their ranks noted that he had arranged a photo-shoot with Dubuisson. “Good luck to you,” muttered one of his colleagues who, along with rest, gave a

HKGOLFER.COM

Even if he is being automatically bracketed alongside his illustrious compatriots, Jean Van de Velde and Thomas Levet, Dubuisson could not be less like that engagingly suave pair. knowing smile. For the most part, the photographers – and the press, for that matter – are long past the stage of taking it for granted that the player will show on such occasions. Nor does Dubuisson reserve that kind of treatment for members of the media: he can be the same with his fellow players. On the first morning in Abu Dhabi, Levet was the man left in the lurch. Dubuisson had arranged to meet him for a practice round – and failed to put him in the picture when he pulled out of the event at the eleventh hour. Far from being cross, Levet was cool about it. He merely shrugged his shoulders and smiled: “That’s Victor for you!” Levet, though, worries that his compatriot is sending out all the wrong messages ahead of the Ryder Cup, which takes place at Gleneagles in September. Although he did not say as much, he was clearly concerned as to what might happen if Victor

Dubuisson (above) put in a spirited – and to many, surprising – display in the Arizona desert last month to reach the final of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, where he lost to Australia’s Jason Day HK GOLFER・MAR 2014

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The French press has noticed a big improvement in the player’s attitude and confidence levels in recent months and is convinced that if he were to be given a Ryder Cup place, he would respond well.

AFP

The Frenchman (above) enjoyed a stellar amateur career, reaching the number one spot in the world before turning professional in 2010; Dubuisson is showered in champagne by his compatriots following his win in Turkey last year (overleaf)

were to fail to make the team automatically and need a pick. Would Paul McGinley, the captain, really want go for someone with a reputation for not toeing the line? Levet has been doing his best to help his young compatriot with his off-course relationships. Aside from encouraging him to fulfill promises, he recommends that he look people in the eye and give rather more than monosyllabic answers. “The difficulty,” he says, “is that Victor’s very shy, very sensitive. It is hard for him. He does not want to tell too much about himself.” It was during an interview which took place in the week after he had had won in Turkey that Dubuisson went further than anyone would have anticipated towards explaining why he is a case apart. And why McGinley does not begin to flinch at the prospect of having him in his side. “You wouldn’t want 12 clones, would you,” queried McGinley, those dark eyes twinkling.

The question which prompted the revelations related to Dubuisson’s on-course focus. Namely, had he been as focused at school as he was at his golf? Dubuisson grinned a little sheepishly before saying, “Well, I stopped school at 10 years old, so I don’t even remember going to school ... I was at golf, not at school.” It was at the follow-up query, “Did anybody mind that you were missing school?” that Dubuisson dropped his sad bombshell. “Well no. I didn’t really have family so, you know, I was just doing what I wanted to do and I decided to be a professional at golf when I watched Tiger Woods winning the Masters when he was 21. That was when I said, 'I don’t have any future with school, so I prefer to go to the golf.'” During his formative golfing years and, even today, Dubuisson has had an on-off relationship with the French Federation whilst simultaneously worrying why he is not more obviously appreciated in his native land. Meanwhile, in a telling example of his “grass is greener” mentality, there have been times when he has sought to become a citizen of Monaco, or anywhere else rather than France. That, of course, is bad news for the Federation who want to have a French-labelled player firmly in the

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former coach, Benoit Ducoulombier and, for the moment at least, he is happy with that decision. Recently, the two have been concentrating on Dubuisson’s putting, a part of the player’s game which did not travel well when he turned up for his first tournament in the United States at the end of January. Dubuisson made the cut but wasted no time in calling for Ducoulombier to come and help him to sort things out ahead of the Masters. One of the first changes, incidentally, was a switch to a lighter putter, one which would give him more feel on the slick US greens. In keeping with his overall shyness, Dubuisson’s confidence is not quite what it seems. True, he could not have won in Turkey without a healthy measure of that quality but, as he would admit to the notable French golf writer Agathe Séron, he can get himself in something of a state before the off. Séron recalls a conversation she had with Dubuisson the night before an important round in Switzerland last year. She had asked Dubuisson if he would be nervous for the round in question and he had replied that he would be fine when he got started but not so fine in the hours leading up to it. Séron has noticed a big improvement in the player’s attitude and confidence levels in recent months and is convinced that if he were to be given a Ryder Cup place, he would respond well. Especially, you would have to think, if he were paired with someone like England’s Tommy Fleetwood, another player on whom McGinley is keeping more than half an eye. Dubuisson and Fleetwood often came up against each other in their amateur days and Dubuisson is clearly comfortable in the Lancashire lad’s company. McGinley, as everyone knows, is the kind of captain who will leave no stone unturned in a bid to do justice to his post. He will work out Dubuisson, while the whole Ryder Cup experience could just be the making of this unlikely but ingenious young golfer.

AFP

Ryder Cup fold well ahead of the 2018 match at French National. No one maybe knows more about Victor and his erratic upbringing than his original coach, Stephane Damiano. He took on the role of father-figure to the player whilst teaching him golf for six years in a row from the time he was eight. Damiano is proud of how, when his pupil told him that he wanted to be like Tiger, he had replied, “One day you will beat Tiger”. Which, of course, is precisely what Dubuisson did in Turkey, even if he was likably quick to remind people that while he had been at his absolute best, Tiger had been anything but – and still finished alarmingly close. “Victor is a strong character and a complicated one,” said Damanio, who was sensibly cautious about giving away too much about his charge’s beginnings. When Dubuisson turned professional, he asked Damiano if he would manage him and Damiano agreed. The two signed a contract, only at the same time Dubuisson proceeded to sign a contract with IMG, the sports management giant. All of which explains why coach and player are no longer on the best of terms. Dubuisson switched to Gregory Havret’s 46

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From the President The early stages of t he Yea r of t he Horse ha s been a n excit i ng one for the HKGA with the announcement that the Association has signed a three-year agreement with Mercedes-Ben z Hong Kong that sees the luxury automobile manufacturer appointed as our Exclusive Car Partner. A key focus of t he H KG A i s t o c o nt i nu e growing golf in t he cit y a nd t he suppor t of Mercedes-Benz will be invaluable in helping us to create further playing opp or t u n it ie s for gol fer s of a l l a ge s a nd abi l it ie s. The commitment of such a notable brand is a sign of the ongoing strength of the game in Hong Kong and gives us reason to be extremely confident for the future. I would like to thank Andreas Binder, Chief Executive Off icer of Mercedes-Ben z Hong Kong, a nd his tea m for his endorsement of the HKGA and we very much look forward to promoting golf locally together. The traditional playing of the Hong Kong Close Amateur

Championship over the Lunar New Year holiday at Fanling proved to be a fine event, one that produced a very worthy winner in Martin Liu. Untraditionally, the tournament was blessed with clear skies and warm temperatures and Martin took full advantage, recording four splendid rounds to claim the title for the first time by two shots from Terrence Ng in second place. As well as the silverware, Martin earned a place in this year’s Hong Kong Open which I’m sure will prove to be a wonderful experience for him. Congratulations are also in order for Shinichi Mizuno and National Coach Brad Schadewitz, who will be travelling to Bangalore, India later this month for the Bonallack Trophy, a biennial amateur team event that pits the best players from Asia-Pacific against what is sure to be a strong European side. Shinichi will become the first Hong Kong player represented in the tournament’s 16-year history, while Brad has been selected as the team’s vice-captain. I wish them both the best of luck and hope they can play their part in winning the trophy back for the region. Finally, a message of good luck to Isabella Leung, who has been invited to tee it up with the pros at this month’s Mission Hills World Ladies Championship, a Ladies European Tour event, on Hainan Island. You’ll be able to read about how Isabelle does in the next issue of HK Golfer. William Chung President

Mimi California Bound Congratulations to Hong Kong international Mimi Ho, who has earned a golf scholarship to California State University, Fresno. Eighteen-year-old Ho, seen here signing her letter of intent, will commence college life in September and is set to become an integral part of the Fresno State Bulldogs women’s golf team. “Mimi’s addition to the programme will be a game changer,” said Emily Milberger, the head coach at Fresno State. “Her talent and experience are going to take this programme onto the national stage and I couldn’t be more excited to welcome her to the Bulldog family.” Ho became a member of the HKGA’s National Squad in 2010 and has a long list of titles to her credit, including the 2013 FCG World Championship, the 2012 MacGregor Hong Kong Junior Close Championship and the 2011 Singapore Junior Golf Championship. 48

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HKGA | MIZUNO HK CLOSE AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP

Martin

Closes it Out Twenty-five year-old set to make Hong Kong Open debut after scooping his maiden Close Amateur title in impressive style, writes Alex Jenkins. Photography by Daniel Wong

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Martin Liu fires his approach to the home green during the final round of the Mizuno Hong Kong Close Amateur Championship over the Lunar New Year HKGOLFER.COM

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“I was just trying to focus on my own game and get myself in a position to win … I had no idea I had done it until the final putt dropped.”

Clockwise from top: to the victor goes the spoils, Liu with the silverware; Oliver Roberts carded a brilliant 66 to take the lead heading into the final 18 holes; all smiles for Liu after the final putt had been sunk; Terrence Ng put in a gritty performance to finish second 52

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a r t i n Liu held h is ner ve to cl i nch h is maiden Mizuno Hong Kong Close Amateur Championship – and with it a berth in this year’s professional Hong Kong Open – after an accomplished performance at Fanling over the Lunar New Year holiday. Liu, 25, fired a final-round 71 over the New Course to finish three shots ahead of secondplaced Terrence Ng, 19, on a total of 281 (oneover-par) after a topsy-turvy day which saw the lead change hands multiple times. The long-hitting Oliver Roberts, who headed the field after a sublime 66 in the morning, could only muster a 76 in the afternoon final round to share third alongside the defending champion, Max Wong Chen-kun, on 285. “I really can’t describe it,” said Hong Kong Golf Club member Liu, a graduate of George Washington University. “I was just trying to focus on my own game and get myself in a position to win ... I had no idea I had done it until the final putt dropped.” Liu started his final round solidly, turning in level-par 34, but still had plenty of ground to make up on the closing nine as both Roberts, as impressive a ball-striker as you’re likely to see in the amateur game, and Ng, who had got himself back into the reckoning with six birdies over the first 11 holes, surged ahead. HKGOLFER.COM


But the final stretch would prove decisive, with Liu keeping his composure admirably over the difficult final holes, while his adversaries fell back with a succession of dropped shots as the pressure began to tell. “I’ve come close before, so to win the event and earn a place in the Hong Kong Open is a truly great outcome,” said Liu, who made a crucial birdie at the par-5 14th to take the lead on his own. “I struggled a bit coming in – I was getting pretty tired and missed a few shots – but I stuck to my routine and managed to make a few putts at the end. It’s a great feeling to have finally done it.” As well as the coveted Hong Kong Open berth, Liu also earned a place in the Hong Kong qualifying final for the Mizuno Dream Cup, a pan-Asian series of events that culminates with the Gateway To The Open Mizuno Open, a Japanese Tour event to be held in May, as well as the MercedesTrophy Hong Kong Tournament 2013, which will take place on 23 May at Discovery Bay Golf Club.

Mizuno Hong Kong Close Amateur Championship Results 1 2 3= 5 6 7 8 9= 11 12= 15 16= 19 20

Martin Liu Terrence Ng Max Wong Oliver Roberts Shinichi Mizuno Tim Orgill Ronald Totton Leonard Ho Max Ting Jeffrey Wang Leon D’Souza Jay Won Isaac Lam Humphrey Wong Winston Wu Stuart Murray Todd Hooper Lo Tsun Justin Lok Tong Siu-lun

72 69 69 71 74 70 70 70 71 72 70 72 70 73 66 76 73 70 69 75 72 73 74 73 77 72 72 75 70 75 74 78 71 74 76 77 74 69 73 82 72 79 76 75 75 74 80 74 79 72 76 76 76 70 75 82 71 77 78 79 77 76 77 76 77 75 75 79 77 71 78 80 76 73 80 79 76 76 84 73

281 284 285 285 287 292 296 297 298 298 302 303 303 303 305 306 306 306 308 309

WILLIAMS CROWNED ORDER OF MERIT CHAMPION Unfortunately Doug Williams was forced to withdraw from the Hong Kong Close Amateur Championship due to personal reasons before a shot had been hit, but his fine play over the 2013/2014 season saw him claim the HKGA Order of Merit title. Williams, who turned 55 last year to qualify as a senior, finished with 62 points – thanks largely to a fourth place finish at the Hong Kong Open Amateur Championship, a tie for first at the Hong Kong Open qualifying event and a win at the Kau Sai Chau International Open – which was nine clear of Terrence Ng in second. Junior Humphrey Wong, 15, who made his debut appearance at the Hong Kong Open in 2013, finished a further seven points adrift in third place. US-born Williams, the 1982 Spanish Amateur champion, also won the (non-HKGA OOM counting) Hong Kong Seniors Open Amateur, the Hong Kong Seniors Close Amateur and the Singapore Open Seniors Amateur Championship in 2013.

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Defending champion Max Wong

Tim Orgill in action

Fanling member Jeffrey Wang got off to a hot start with rounds of 74 and 69

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Leonard Ho started the tournament brightly with a first-round 70

Shinichi Mizuno fired a third-round 69 to give himself a chance

Humphrey Wong drives at the par-5 13th

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HKGA | NEWS

Driven: Mercedes-Benz and the HKGA Partner to Grow Golf German luxury automobile manufacturer and the national sports association sign three-year agreement that will increase golf access to the Hong Kong public.

HKGA CEO Tom Phillips (left), HKGA President William Chung (centre) and Andreas Binder, President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Ltd

“The support of Mercedes-Benz is a glowing endorsement of the HKGA’s new sponsorship programme which will see us partner with a select number of blue-chip brands in Hong Kong to promote amateur golf.” – Tom Phillips, CEO, HKGA

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ercedes-Benz Hong Kong Limited and the HKGA have announced a new partnership that will create more access to golf for the public. The three-year agreement sees Mercedes-Benz become the first ever Exclusive Car Partner of the HKGA and title sponsor of the annual HKGA Mercedes-Benz Classic, an amateur golf tournament for men and ladies at Discovery Bay Golf Club in March. Andreas Binder, President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Limited commented, “For the past five years, Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong has been promoting the sport of golf through the MercedesTrophy Hong Kong, part of the internationally renowned MercedesTrophy with more than 60,000 participants in over 60 countries in 2013. The partnership with Hong Kong 56

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Golf Association would open up this unique golfing experience to a much wider golfer community across Hong Kong.” Tom Phillips, the HKGA’s Chief Executive Officer said, “The commitment from Mercedes-Benz will be invaluable in helping the HKGA to continue creating opportunity for golfers in Hong Kong of all ages and abilities. Furthermore, the support of such a world-class brand as Mercedes-Benz is a glowing endorsement of the HKGA’s new sponsorship programme which will see us partner with a select number of blue-chip brands in Hong Kong to promote amateur golf.”  Winners and runners-up from several nominated HKGA amateur golf tournaments, including the HKGA Mercedes-Benz Classic on 4-5 March at Discovery Bay, will qualify for the MercedesTrophy Hong Kong on 23 May, also at Discovery Bay Golf Club. Seven winners from this event will represent Hong Kong to compete in the MercedesTrophy Asian Final in Gold Coast, Australia where the highest scorer among the Hong Kong team will advance to the oncein-a-life time trip to the MercedesTrophy World Final in Stuttgart, Germany. Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Limited will also be running special offers for HKGA subscribers during the partnership period.  This will include a three per cent discount on the published retails prices of selected models; a 20 per cent discount on apparel and accessories from the MercedesBenz Collection at Mercedes-Benz Showrooms or Authorized Mercedes-Benz Service Centres; and, as a prize, every MercedesTrophy Hong Kong  qualif ier from nominated HKGA tournaments will receive a Mercedes-Benz Golf Sports Bag.  HKGOLFER.COM


HKGA | NEWS

Mizuno to make Bonallack Trophy Debut Shinichi Mizuno will make history later this month when he becomes the first Hong Kong player to participate in the Bonallack Trophy, the prestigious biennial Ryder Cup-style amateur team event between Asia-Pacific and Europe. Mizuno, 20, was selected for the elite 12-man side by the Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation (APGC) following his fine form over the past 12 months and will travel to the Kamataka Golf Club in Bangalore, India – host venue for the event – in the company of HKGA National Coach Brad Schadewitz, who has been chosen as vice-captain for the Asia-Pacific team. “It’s a great honour and I’m really looking forward to being a part of the team,” said Mizuno, the 2011 Hong Kong Amateur Close champion, who has represented the SAR at international level for the past five years. “The standard is going to be really high – the players competing are all world-class amateurs – so it’s going to be a great experience. The goal will be to win the trophy back for Asia.” Some of the sport’s most recognisable names have participated in the event, which takes place between 26-28 March and was named after Sir Michael Bonallack, a five time British Amateur champion and a former captain and secretary of the R&A. Rory McIlroy, Hideki Matsuyama, Victor Dubuisson, Francesco Molinari, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Juvic Pagunsan are among the players that have featured. Europe has won the Bonallack Trophy five times and Asia-Pacific twice since the inaugural Bonallack Trophy took place in 1998 at Lake Karrinyup in Perth, Australia.

DBGC Defend InterClub Title

Daniel Wong, Hong Kong Golf Club

Discovery Bay Golf Club successfully defended its InterClub Championship title after securing a hard-fought win over the Hong Kong Golf Club at Fanling on 9 February. Trailing by two points to one after the morning foursomes, the Lantau club roared back to win two and halve the remaining three afternoon fourball matches to emerge victorious 3½ to 2½. In the match for third place, Clearwater Bay defeated Shek O Country Club 4½ to 1½ Discovery Bay – which was represented by captain William Chung (seen here being presented with the trophy by HKGA CEO Tom Phillips), Shinichi Mizuno, Michael Stott, Abhinav Gorawara, Jay Won, Ron Totton and Stephen Ahmoye – have now won the championship three of the past four years, although the Hong Kong Golf Club has dominated the event historically, winning 12 times in the last 15 years. 58

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HKGOLFER.COM


MISSION HILLS WORLD LADIES CHAMPIONSHIP

Hainan

Showdown

Four of the world’s top six players will battle it out at Mission Hills Haikou this month for the coveted World Ladies Championship.

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World number one Inbee Park

hina’s top player, Feng Shanshan, will be aiming to give her home fans plenty to cheer about after confirming she will play in this month’s World Ladies Championship at Mission Hills Haikou. Feng will be joined in the star-studded line-up by South Korean ace So Yeon Ryu, meaning the tournament will feature four of the world’s top six. “I’m thrilled to be returning to Mission Hills

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Haikou for this fantastic event,” said Feng, the world number six. “Having won the inaugural World Ladies Championship, the tournament will always hold a special place in my heart. “I’m looking forward to playing in front of my home fans once more and will be aiming to put on a great show for them.” Feng’s one-stroke victory over Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum at Mission Hills Haikou two years ago made her the first player from China to win on the Ladies European Tour (LET). It was also her first significant victory in her home country and marked the beginning of an outstanding year. In June 2012 she became the first Chinese golfer, male or female, to win a major HKGOLFER.COM


when she captured the LPGA Championship and she added her second LET victory in December at the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters. She also won three times on the LPGA of Japan Tour. World number five Ryu will bring her majorwinning talents to Mission Hills Haikou for the first time. “I have fond memories of playing and winning in China but I’ve never visited Mission Hills so I’m really looking forward to competing at this worldfamous venue,” said Ryu, the 2011 US Women’s Open champion. “Mission Hills and their partners are putting together a fantastic field for the World Ladies Championship and I’m especially relishing the chance to go up against the world’s best players.” Ryu’s astonishing victory in the US Women’s Open rocketed her to stardom at the age of 21. Playing in just her third LPGA Tour event, she defeated compatriot Hee Kyung Seo in a playoff. She went on to claim her second LPGA Tour victory in 2012 at the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic. Feng and Ryu will join a stellar line-up that already includes world number one Inbee Park and number two Suzann Pettersen, the defending champion. The US$600,000 Mission Hills World Ladies Championship will be held on the challenging Blackstone Course at Mission Hills Haikou, on the island of Hainan, from 6-9 March. Organised in conjunction with the China Golf Association and co-sanctioned by the China LPGA Tour, it will be the fourth event on this year’s LET schedule. “It is fantastic news for the World Ladies Championship that we have four of the world’s top six players taking part,” commented Mission Hills Group Vice Chairman Mr Tenniel Chu. “As we approach the tournament’s third edition, we have already secured our strongest field yet and we look forward to announcing more star players soon.” The World Ladies Championship is unique in professional golf in that it consists of three events in one – an individual professional competition, a professional team championship in which 18 countries are represented by teams of two, and an individual amateur tournament. Ryu’s confirmation means she and Park – winner of an astonishing three majors last year – will form a formidable combination for Korea in the team event. Park won the team competition last year with Ha Neul Kim and also finished runnerup to Pettersen in the individual tournament. This year’s field has been boosted by the inclusion of Australia’s Su-Hyun Oh, currently the world’s third-ranked amateur, and her compatriot Minjee Lee, who is ranked fifth. Lee, just 17, made headlines last month by featuring prominently at both the Volvik RACV Ladies Masters and the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open. HKGOLFER.COM

Feng Shanshan and So Yeon Ryu will join a stellar line-up that already includes world number one Inbee Park and number two Suzann Pettersen, the defending champion. China’s Feng Shanshan

2011 US Women’s Open champion So Yeon Ryu

Isabella to Fly the Flag for Hong Kong Hong Kong will be represented in the elite field at the Mission Hills World Ladies Championship by Isabella Leung, who will be looking to replicate the achievement of her international teammate Michelle Cheung who memorably made the cut at the 2013 edition of the event. Leung, who attends the University of Hawaii, has enjoyed a recent run of good form, with three top-10 place finishes in four events at college. “Playing in an event like this will be a great learning experience for Izzy,” said National Coach Brad Schadewitz. “She will have the opportunity to see how some of the best players in the world prepare themselves to play, how hard they work before and after their round but also how they’re able to get away from the game during their down time. “I think the biggest thing for her is to try and relax and be patient on the course. If she can do that and enjoy the experience, the golf will take care of itself.”

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GOLF ATRAVEL Player’s Guide

Water torture: the floating island green 17th during the third-round play at December’s Thailand Golf Championship 62

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One-Shot Wonder

The island green 17th at Amata Spring Country Club near Bangkok continues to grow its reputation as one of Southeast Asia’s most exciting holes, writes Alex Jenkins.

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n much the same way that the par-3 17th at TPC Sawgrass, home of the PGA Tour’s Players Championship, has become one of tournament golf ’s most recognisable holes, the penultimate hole at the Schmidt-Curley-designed A mata Spring Country Club, situated on the outskirts of Bangkok, is forging its own reputation for excitement and terror for the one hazard that’s nigh on in impossible to recover from – water. Measuring just 145 yards from t he back tee, t his short one-shotter, like the one at Sawgrass, features an island green, a design element that has been copied and incorporated at numerous courses throughout Asia. But

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unlike the others, Amata Spring’s signature hole differs by virtue of the fact it’s unwalkable: the only way to reach the putting surface is by boat. A short stroll from the tee brings you to a small pier where your launch, manned by appropriately nautically-attired staff, is ready to whisk you to the floating green. Golfing purists might shudder at the thought; island greens are, by their very nature, contrived. But there’s no doubt they’re also a lot of fun, something the best players in the world agreed with when they arrived at Amata Spring for the Thailand Golf Championship last December. Major champions Justin Rose, Charl Schwartzel and Bubba Watson were joined in their praise for the 17th by

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Sergio Garcia played the 17th as a champion should. The Spaniard found the heart of the green with his tee shot for an easy two-putt par 64

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Ryo Ishikawa, Hunter Mahan and Thailand’s own Thongchai Jaidee, who went as far as describing it as the “perfect” tournament golf hole. “I think it’s one of the best holes I’ve ever played,” declared Watson, the 2012 Masters champion. “I just think it’s neat that you have to take a boat to the green. Even though it’s only a wedge or a 9-iron you’re always worried. With the adrenaline pumping under the conditions of trying to win a golf tournament it makes it very difficult because of the water on both sides. It’s short but really fun.” Ishikawa, the young Japanese star who is known in his homeland as the “bashful prince”, said he was just happy to see his tee shot remain dry. “I enjoy playing it – but only in the ProAm,” laughed the 22-year-old after the first round. “In the tournament it’s a different feeling. It ’s normally a 9-iron but it all depends on the wind. I’ve hit 7-iron when the wind has been stronger. Today I hit it to 20 feet, which is always a good result.” The comparisons with the 17th at Sawgrass are obvious, but Mahan, one of the most consistent players on the PGA Tour over the past five years, felt the hole plays differently. “ W i t h t h e w i n d p i c k i n g u p i t ’s a challenging shot for sure,” he said. “But it’s a different test. The green isn’t as severe as the one at Sawgrass, which has a lot of slope to it. If you don’t pay attention and don’t make a good swing you’re going to be penalised for it. You can easily lose two or three shots there, so it’s an exciting hole, especially where

it is in the round.” Former Masters champion Schwartzel, who birdied the 17th twice en route to his victory at the Thailand Golf Championship in 2012, thought the spectator-packed amphitheatre setting of Sawgrass’ 17th made that hole more intimidating, but joked: “I wait for the day the boat runs out of petrol and we have to swim back to the 18th tee.” Local hero Jaidee, who has played the hole countless times since the course’s opening in 2005, said it was the type of hole where really anything can happen. “It’s short, so it shouldn’t be difficult to hit a good shot and give yourself a birdie chance, but you can’t miss it by more than five or ten yards; then you’re making double bogey,” he said. “I love the 17th. The excitement and pressure is great. It really is perfect for a tournament and it looks wonderful on TV. It can also make a good story. If you’re leading by one or two you can’t say you’re going to win the tournament until you’ve f inished playing the 17th. Anything can happen there.” In the event, Thailand Golf Championship winner Sergio Garcia played the hole as a champion should. After picking up a birdie there during the third round, the Spaniard was rather more circumspect at the business end of the tournament. Finding the middle of the green after a well-struck tee shot, Garcia calmly two-putted for a par. “It was nice to be able to get the par at 17 and walk up the last knowing it was pretty much done,” said Garcia, who pocketed US$180,000 for the victory. HKGOLFER.COM


TRAVEL | SPECIAL

VIETNAM’S NEW STAR NAMED BEST NEW COURSE IN ASIA PACIFIC AT LAST NOVEMBER’S ASIA PACIFIC GOLF SUMMIT, LAGUNA LANG CO GOLF CLUB, SITUATED ON PRISTINE COASTLINE BETWEEN DANANG AND HUE, IS ATTRACTING RAVE REVIEWS FROM INTERNATIONAL GOLFERS WHO HAVE BEGUN TO DISCOVER THE SIR NICK FALDO-DESIGNED LAYOUT.

The picturesque par-4 ninth at Laguna Lang Co

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any visitors say the par-71 course is not just the best new course in Asia, but one of the best overall. Its attraction is a unique setting, wedged between mountains and the sea with several different playing environments. As part of the Banyan Tree Lang Co resort, which features Banyan Tree villas and an Angsana hotel, Laguna Lang Co is a true golf and holiday paradise. The Banyan Tree Group describes the development as the “first and largest fully-integrated world-class hospitality development in Vietnam”. The golf course’s appeal is its variation. Starting in an open rice paddy environment, the routing moves through jungle, creek and oceanside settings before coming to sandy blowout areas along the final two holes. Such variation is unusual in one location, as most golf courses feature similar playing environments throughout the round. Laguna Lang Co’s variation not only stands it apart, but according to Sir Nick Faldo is one reason why it is so good. “This is a stunning and very diverse piece of land with gently rolling terrain, splashes of sand throughout and an impressive array of natural design features,” Sir Nick said when he first visited the site more than three years ago. “For this part of Vietnam it’s a real hidden gem. Players will plot their way through some very picturesque surroundings and it will have a real sense of place,” he predicted.

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Living up to Faldo’s playing reputation as a masterful tactician, Laguna Lang Co, which is framed by a beach, tropical jungle and rugged mountains, is a course that demands guile rather than power. Faldo and his lead designer, Paul Jansen, delivered on this promise in spades. “I enjoyed incorporating the unique environments of the region in the design and strategy,” he said after Laguna Lang Co was named last November as the best new course in Asia Pacific. Living up to Faldo’s playing reputation as a masterful tactician, Laguna Lang Co is a course HKGOLFER.COM


The course occupies an enviable seaside stretch of land, perfect for golf

that demands guile rather than power. Tee shots demand a choice between seeking to hit over mid-fairway sand traps or lay up for a longer second shot. Waste areas and forested areas on some holes also make it important to hit the mostly expansive landing areas. The par-3 fifth hole has become a talking point. Incorporating large “chocolate-drop” mounds around the green that mirror a mountain peak in the background, it is the only hole with any obvious man-made influence. There are many other standouts, including the beautiful dogleg par-5 finishing hole, playing a whopping 621 yards from the back tees. This is truly a hole to savour. Winding between waste areas and huge bunkers to a large, well-protected green in front of the large impressive clubhouse, it has a typical Faldo flourish. Laguna Lang Co Golf Club is a key part of the luxurious integrated resort on a 280-hectare beachfront site. Golf-playing guests benefit from full integration of the course with other resort facilities: discounted green fees, internal billing, free golf bag storage and a four-minute shuttle from the resort to the golf clubhouse. Nestled in a crescent bay framed by a threekilometre beach in Thua Thien Hue Province, the area is renowned for its pristine coastline, tropical jungle and rugged mountains. Banyan Tree Lang Co features 32 one-bedroom lagoon villas and 17 one-bedroom beach villas on the shores of Canh Duong beach. Angsana Lang Co has 229 suites of 52 to 190 square metres, 100 of which have a private swimming pool and either mountain, lagoon, or sea views. For more information, visit lagunalangco.com HKGOLFER.COM

Course designer Sir Nick Faldo at the 11th, a bunker-less par-3

A warm welcome is always guaranteed

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PROPERTY

VIVA ESPAÑA WITH SPANISH PROPERTY PRICES DOWN BY 60 PER CENT FROM THEIR 2007 PEAK, NOW IS THE TIME FOR GOLF-LOVING REAL ESTATE INVESTORS TO TAKE ADVANTAGE, SAYS HONG KONG-BASED ADVISORY FIRM, FINANCIAL PARTNERS.

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he Costa del Sol in southern Spain remains one of Europe’s leading golf destinations. Quality tournament courses, warm weather, laid-back lifestyle, beautiful beaches, stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea, delicious cuisine and cultural heritage all provide a perfect setting for those looking to indulge in one of the world’s great sports.

Some of Europe’s top courses are concentrated in this region of Andalucia, including Valderrama Golf Club, in Sotogrande, Los Flamingos Golf, San Roque Golf Club and Alcaidesa Links Golf Course. In this issue, we provide some insight into the Spanish property market and assess some of the real estate investment opportunities in and around some of the Costa del Sol’s golf courses to provide some guidance as to whether it is the right time to buy.

THE SPANISH PROPERTY MARKET It is no secret that the Spanish real estate market has been in a distressed state since the Global Financial Crisis in 2008. Unemployment levels have reached record highs and the press continues to cover the market with interest as Spain’s banks look to offload billions of Euros worth of real estate. Due to the increasing pressure from the EU to resolve the mounting problems in the real estate sector, in 2012 68

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the Spanish Government established SAREB – an entity to handle all the toxic real estate assets, known colloquially as the Banco Malo. Whilst the news about Spain’s distressed economy forms the topic of conversation at many functions, the reality is that, perhaps, there has not been a better opportunity in the last 15 years to consider investing in Spain. Real estate in every market globally is cyclical. Spain is no different, with current prices off by up to 60 per cent (or more) in some cases from their peak in 2007. After six years of strife, the Spanish market has now begun to show signs of life, with both private investors and major institutional and private equity real estate investors showing strong interest over the last six months. Whether the market has reached its bottom is anyone’s guess, but sentiment suggests that it is hovering somewhere near the bottom, indicating now may be the time to think about getting in. HKGOLFER.COM


THE GOLDEN VISA To stimulate the market, the Spanish Government has recently added one extra ingredient. In October 2013, the Spanish Government approved the Spanish residency programme, known as the ‘Golden Visa’, permitting foreign investors who invest €500,000 (approximately HK$5 million) or more on property in Spain to reside in Spain and travel and stay freely across the EU Schengen Visa Countries. This has directly resulted in renewed international interest in the Spanish property market especially from Chinese, Russian, Indian and the Middle Eastern investors. Spain’s new ‘Golden Visa’ immigration policy coupled with a distressed real estate market now presents a unique opportunity for golf-loving real estate investors. The key for investors is to take a long-term view and be able to act quickly when the right opportunity presents itself. The challenge with Spain is identifying the right opportunity. The supply of distressed real estate is bountiful, the surroundings are often idyllic, and the prices are relatively cheap and almost everything is for sale from the banks or otherwise. So where should golf-loving real estate investors put their money?

FINDING THE RIGHT OPPORTUNITY

Cheap prices and distressed debt do not always mean that the investment is a good one. There are a large number of properties and distressed assets that you would perhaps not even recommend to your most prolific golfing adversary. However, in and amongst the turmoil, HKGOLFER.COM

there are definitely good opportunities. Below we highlight some key points for an investor to consider when deciding to invest in residential property in Spain: - Establish from the outset whether your purchase is for personal enjoyment, immigration, pure investment and capital appreciation or a combination - Search for properties in established areas with existing infrastructure and amenities - Select completed properties or developments that have been finished to a high standard and granted occupation permits (Licencia de Primera Ocupación) - Select properties within developments with good management and security - Understand your investment horizon and

Clockwise from above: apartments at Alcaidesa; Golf 19 apartments are situated close to the course at Los Flamingos (opposite page) HK GOLFER・MAR 2014

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Duquesa Golf Apartments are located up in the hills of Estepoma

financing options - Understand the acquisition costs and annual taxes/maintenance charges - Buy through a reputable agent who understands the local area and has the relationships with the local banks, developers and private owners. - Use a reputable lawyer Acquisition costs in Spain typically run at 1113 per cent on top of the purchase price, with slight variances across different regions. These costs cover transfer tax, VAT, stamp duty, notary and registry fees, legal fees and in some cases financing costs. Agency fees may be included in the asking price or at other times the purchaser may be required to pay a buyer commission/fee on top of the asking price. This will largely depend on whether the property being purchased is a distressed sale from a developer, a private owner or bank repossession.

WHAT CAN I BUY? When it comes to golf and property investing in Spain, what can you actually get for your money on the Costa del Sol? It is important to note that while the Spanish rental market on the coastal areas is typically strong during the peak holiday seasons, investment in distressed residential real estate in the coastal areas is not a yield play, but rather a long-term capital appreciation play. Here we showcase a selection of potential property investment opportunities from our portfolio on the Costa del Sol at different price points, which offer good mid-to-long term potential. Each development is located in close proximity to a top golf course and on offer at significantly 70

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discounted prices of up to 60 per cent to those quoted in 2007/2008. Areas such as Alcaidesa Golf Course and Duquesa Golf Course offer the opportunity to buy two-bedroom 80sqm apartments for around €100,000 (HK$1 million) where prices typically ranged from €180,000 to €350,000 (HK$1.8m HK$3.5m) in 2007. These developments come complete with swimming pools, landscaped gardens, parking, and security. For those looking between Estepona, Puerto Banus Marina and Marbella, for example in the Los Flamingos Golf area, luxury contemporary apartments close to the luxury five-star Villa Padierna Hotel may range from €235,000 €470,000 (HK$2.35m – HK$4.7m), where prices in 2007 typically started at over €450,000 (HK$4.5m). For those interested in a luxury private villa with a swimming pool in the exclusive areas of Sotogrande (close to Valderrama and Alemara golf courses) or Marbella (close to Las Brisas Golf Club and Marbella Club), prices can range upwards of €1m (HK$10m). For Asian golfers with an eye on international real estate investment, the Spanish market is not to be ignored for the three main reasons: 1) The “Golden Visa” policy is an attractive incentive for foreign investors, enabling easy travel and unlimited stay across the EU. 2) The distressed prices present an opportunity for long-term capital appreciation. 3) The Costa del Sol’s golf courses are some of the best in Europe. In our opinion, it is definitely the right time to buy, or at least to start looking, whether for personal enjoyment or pure investment. The key is to take a long-term view of the market, and enjoy Spain’s attractions in the interim. HKGOLFER.COM


Master Club Advisors

“Search Consultants to the Private Club Community”

“Your Golf Club Deserves To be The verY besT” Proven World Class Performance in Global Executive Placement, Strategic Planning Facilitation, Governance and Operational Consulting. Norm Spitzig, MCM 1-561-762-7195 norm@masterclubadvisors.com Bill Schulz, MCM 1-713-252-2753 bill@masterclubadvisors.com P.O. Box 941238, Houston, TX 77094 | www.MasterClubAdvisors.com


WHERE TO BUY ALCAIDESA GOLF APARTMENTS T h e G o l f : Yo u w i l l f i n d t w o magnificent golf courses within the complex, one of which is the only links course in southern Europe, Alcaidesa Links, considered by the magazine Golf World to be one of the 20 best links on the European continent. Many tournaments have been played at Alcaidesa Link s, including two PGAs of Andalusia, in 1993 and 1994, one PGA of Spain in 1995 and The Ryder Cup Junior Match in 1997. There is also a magnificent driving range with 72 prac tice bays, a spacious practice area with putting green, bunkers and a short game area.

World-class golf awaits at Valderrama

Properties: This new residential development offers 154 apartments and penthouses. Unit sizes range from 80sqm to 135sqm with two and three-bedroom layouts. Some units include large terraces of between 60sqm to 200sqm, providing an ideal vantage point to enjoy the outdoors and take in the view. Facilities include two outdoor swimming pools, spacious communal areas, incredible sea views and 24-hour security. In addition, the beach and golf course are only five minutes away. Price: €87,500 - €232,500

GOLF 19 APARTMENTS The Golf: Flamingos Golf is a 6,853-yard, par 72 championship course with narrow fairways that are naturally laid out on gently sloping terrain. The course has nine water hazards and 43 bunkers, most of which protect the approaches into its fast Bermuda grass greens. The ever-present ocean breeze makes this excellent design quite the challenge. Properties: Located in the exclusive area of Los Flamingos, close to Villa Padierna, one of the area’s top luxury hotels, Golf 19 is a private luxury development with contemporary one, two and three-bedroom units and penthouses. Units range in size from 69sqm to 154sqm each with a large private terrace or private garden. The properties are finished to a high standard and offer stunning views to the golf course, lakes, landscaped gardens and out across the Mediterranean Sea. Facilities include two swimming pools, clubhouse, gym, a putting green and 24-hour security. The development is located only a short 10-minute drive to the glamorous international Marina of Puerto Banus and Marbella. Price: €235,000 - €425,000

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DUQUESA GOLF APARTMENTS The Golf: Duquesa is an 18-hole club located up in the hills of Estepona and offers spectacular views of the Mediterranean and an interesting mix of holes. Properties: Located on the Costa del Sol about 10 minutes from the exclusive area of Sotogrande and close to the Duquesa International Marina. The development comprises a range of one, two and three-bedroom units and penthouses nestled overlooking the golf course. Facilities include various swimming pools, landscaped gardens, paddle tennis court and 24-hour security. This established development has been designed in typical Andalucian architecture. Price: €99,000 - €125,000

LUXURY VILLA, SOTOGRANDE The Golf: Designed by Dave Thomas, the 27-hole Almenara course winds its way serenely through exceptional landscapes and around two large larkes surrounded by pine and cork trees. Properties: This charming Andalucian villa is situated in the prestigious development of Sotogrande with views out towards the Almenara Golf Course and the Mediterranean Sea. The villa sits on private 2,452sqm plot and has six bedrooms, a stunning garden and a private swimming pool making it an ideal family home with plenty of outdoor space. Price: €950,000 For more information on any of these properties, and property investing in Spain in general, please email spain@hkgolfer.com or call +852 35904153.

HKGOLFER.COM


CENTARA WORLD MASTERS GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP 15-21 June 2014 | Hua Hin, Thailand

Thailand’s BEST WEEK

of Golf and Fun OPEN TO ALL MALE & FEMALE AMATEUR GOLFERS AGED 35+

Tournament Packages from

AUD $ 1,380 • 6 nights accommodation with breakfast • 4 rounds - Black Mountain, Banyan, Majestic Creek and Imperial Lake View • Motorised carts and individual caddies • Welcome reception, beach party and gala dinner • Nightly 19th Hole party venue with free drinks • Sensational prizes • Discount airfares with Thai Airways • Welcome pack and much more

View Full Event Details at www.ThailandWorldMasters.com

Proudly presented by


INTERVIEW

Play,

Swap, Repeat An interview with Marcus Spillane, the owner of Golf Redefined, a driver leasing company based in New York that is making waves in the United States. Explain how Golf Redefined works? Very simply, Golf Redefined is “Netflix” for golf drivers. We’ve taken an existing business model – the DVD rental model – and applied it to golf. What we offer people is the opportunity to choose a driver of their choice from our website (golfredefined. com), which we then ship to them to play with for a week, a month, six months – as long as they’re a member with us they can hold onto it for as long as they want. When they want to swap it for another model, they pop the driver back in its box, ship it back to us free of charge and we then send them the next model that they’ve selected. What’s the philosophy behind the company? We’re all about flexibility, which you don’t have when you go out and spend US$400 (approximately HK$3,100) on a driver from a store. What if that driver doesn’t suit you as well as you thought it might? What happens when newer models are introduced with even better technology? You’re stuck, and that is costly. With Golf Redefined you have the ability to play with the latest models whenever you want. Our quarterly and monthly subscriptions over far better value – and you’ll never be left behind by technology. Tell us about your membership plans … We have three different membership plans. Our Hole-in-One plan is a premium package that costs US$99.95 a quarter and it gives you priority access to the latest drivers. Our Eagle plan is similar but offers a bit more flexibility because it’s a monthly package. That’s US$39.95 and it’s a great choice for those who can’t play golf year-round. Our Birdie plan, which costs US$24.95 per month or US$69.95 per quarter, is also a great package but you won’t be able to select the very latest drivers. You’ll be getting to choose from last year’s models.

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40 in total – in multiple lofts and either regular or stiff shafts. Can you rent more than one driver at a time? Not under our membership option. Right now we only allow one driver out at a time. That being said we do have a rental only option, separate from our membership offerings, on our website, so you can rent as many drivers as you want for two weeks before returning them. What happens if a club is returned damaged? Of course we expect normal wear and tear – scuff marks and scratches aren’t an issue at all. It would be a different situation if the club was returned in two parts, but that hasn’t happened – yet! We inspect every driver when it comes back. If it is in mint condition then it goes back out. If not, we offload in onto the second-hand market, which in the States is very liquid. What’s next for Golf Redefined? At the moment we only do right-handed men’s drivers. The next step is scaling up to include left-handed and women’s clubs. The driver is by far the most popular club that golfers change, but we’re looking at adding putters and maybe wedges in the future. Would you look to take Golf Redefined to other markets – Asia, for instance?

What products do you currently have in your inventory?

Not right now. The immediate aim is to continue to grow the business within America, but we certainly wouldn’t rule out Asia, especially if the interest is there.

We have all the latest drivers – clubs from the past two or three years – from the top eight manufacturers – PING, TaylorMade, Titleist, Callaway and so on. Our relationship with the brands is very good. We offer each model – we have over

For investment opportunities in Golf Redefined write to golfredefined@hkgolfer.com.

HK GOLFER・MAR 2014

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HK Golfer Events

Bespoke Golf Days Corporate Hospitality Tournament Management

With over twenty years’ experience, HK Golfer Events is Hong Kong and southern China’s leading golf tournament and event organizers HK Golfer events is a division of HK Golfer, Hong Kong’s premier golf publication. Call (852) 3590 4153 or email info@hkgolferevents.com

HK Golfer


EQUIPMENT

New

Year,

New Gear Get your game in better shape for the Year of the Horse with the latest releases. Review by Charlie Schroeder. TaylorMade Jetspeed According to research conducted by TaylorMade, 72 per cent of all golf shots are struck below the centre of the clubface. This is a good thing when hitting wedges, but a liability when striking drives. So-called ‘thin” shots generate too much spin and “cause the ball to fly too high and land too short,” according to the company’s Senior Director of Metalwood Creation, Brian Bazzel. But there is hope, at least if you believe the, well, spin about the company’s new line of JetSpeed metalwoods. The addition of a Speed Pocket (a hollow slot behind the face that produces greater clubface flexibility and faster ballspeeds) helps to minimize spin on shots hit below the centre of the face. Like most new drivers this year, the JetSpeed, which comes in three different lofts, is adjustable. TaylorMade’s Loft Sleeve Technology gives players the option of adjusting the loft 1.5° up or down. In addition to the drivers, the Jetspeed metalwood lineup includes Rescues (four lofts) and Fairway Woods (five lofts). Prices for the collection range from HK$2,050-4,280. taylormadegolf.com 76

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PING i25 Since the advent of adjustable drivers (made adjustable by a separate shaft and clubhead), manufacturers have struggled to keep the club’s swing weight consistent. PING has addressed this issue with a variety of shaft offerings that accompany their latest offering, the i25. The shafts can be matched to individual golfers by their weight and flex, thus fitting the motion of the swing and desired shot shape. “With adjustable clubs, fitting for shaft weight has been limited because of its effect on swingweight,” says PING Chairman and CEO John A. Solheim. “The PWR series [Performance-Weighting-Responsiveness] overcomes that by varying the CG location of the different weights so we can offer options that optimize ball flight while providing a better-feeling, more responsive shaft.” Put simply, golfers of all abilities can now find a consistently weighted club that fits their desired shot shape. Another standout feature of the i25s is a golf ball-wide racing stripe on the crown that helps players better align their shots. The 45.25 inch/460cc clubhead comes in three adjustable loft offerings. From HK$3,400. ping.com

Callaway Big Bertha When it first debuted in 1991, Callaway’s oversized titanium Big Bertha driver revolutionized golf. Since then metalwoods have gotten larger and lighter. Although the company hasn’t released a Big Bertha since 2007, the mother of all metalwoods has emerged from hibernation for 2014 with a model that reflects the game’s latest trend, adjustability. Much like Mizuno’s MP-630 and TaylorMade’s SLDR drivers, the new Big Bertha boasts adjustable weighting via a sliding sole weight. Unlike those two offerings which were placed more in the centre of the sole, the (eight gram) Big Bertha weight slides in an arc along the club’s heel. This moves the centre of gravity farther back which makes it easier to launch your drives. Also available is the Big Bertha Alpha, which allows users the ability to change the CG vertically as well as horizontally. From HK$3,100. callawaygolf.com

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Cleveland Smart Sole Greenside shots can be some of the trickiest in the game. What often looks like a simple, short approach shot is made more complicated by a golfer’s inability to make solid contact. Cleveland Golf has addressed this issue with their latest offering, the Smart Sole. Available in two models (S and C), the Smart Sole wedge was constructed to eliminate excess digging in turf and sand for more solid contact. The more traditional looking (though still wide-soled) S version (pictured) promotes better launch from bunkers, while the C model, an old school-looking chipping wedge, was built for crisper greenside chips. Available in steel and graphite shafts. HKD$775-$925 clevelandgolf.com

Scotty Cameron Select Fastback Master craftsman Scotty Cameron attributes the success of his putters to his meticulous attention to detail. “[I make] sure there is complete harmony between how it looks, how it sounds and how it feels,” he says. Cameron has a new lineup of putters including the Select Fastback. All boast a silver mist finish. Precision-milled, this modern mid-mallet features a single bend shaft that promotes minimal toe flow for players who like a straight back straight thru stroke. Most noticeable on the Fastback are the bold top alignment lines, a so-called “crisscross sight line” that ensures golfers address their putter square at address. As Cameron puts it, “the best players in the world putt with the ball slightly up in their stance, under their left eye. This places the crisscross sight lines ... directly under their nose and between their eyes.” What’s best about the crisscross alignment aid is that it’s user-friendly. If you set the putter too far forward, the crisscross will make the face appear closed. If you put it too far back, it will look open. HK$3,000 scottycameron.com

Titleist DT Solo Although Titleist hasn’t unveiled any new Pro V1s for 2014, they do have a number of other offerings including the NXT Tour, Velocity and redesigned DT Solo, which, the company claims, combines a super soft compression core and soft ionomer cover for big distance gains and a soft, greenside feel. New on the DT Solo for 2014 is a spherically-tiled 376 tetrahedral dimple pattern that delivers a tighter, more consistent flight. Available in both white and optic yellow (pictured). HK$155 titleist.com 78

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At the end of a great day... ... a sublime experience

As Jim Murray said in his Whisky Bible, “…A whisky that gives you the will to live !” We chose this as our first release because we had never tasted a distilled spirit at once so old – and so young. Only a taste can tell you how splendid it really is. And when it’s finished (which is very soon, now) there may not be anything like it for a while; it took us many years to find these 1,348 bottles, and it will be a long search for its successor. Meanwhile, we suggest you have a look at our cognac 1950, 478 bottles of which have just been released. 80

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lastdrop@hkgolfer.com; (852) 3590 4153 lastdropdistillers.com

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Bridgestone B330 Bridgestone’s latest iteration of the B330 Series features Hydro Core Technology. That’s right, there’s actually water in the ball’s core. According to the company, engineers discovered that balls with water in their core formulation produce 30 per cent more gradation, which reduces spin from the core’s inner and outer regions, produces longer shots and improves accuracy. Which new version is right for you? If you have a swing speed under 105mph and want to add distance, play the 3-piece B330-RX. If you want more greenside spin there’s the B330-RXS. For players with swing speeds over 105mph, there’s the revamped 4-piece B330 (for more distance) and B330-S (for more greenside spin). HK$350 bridgestonegolf.com

ECCO Street Evo One It’s not easy to find a golf shoe that’s both comfortable and supports aggressive swings. But ECCO believes they’ve produced that exact combo with their latest offering, the Street EVO One. This performance hybrid golf shoe comes in both high-grade cow leather and genuine camel leather versions. But what makes it work is a direct-injected midsole with an integrated shank piece that cups and cushions a player’s heel while creating a stable platform. Both versions feature exclusive ECCO HYDROMAX tanned-in treatment for weather resistance. ecco.com

Footjoy DNA FootJoy’s new DNA – that’s DryJoys Next Advancement to you! – shoes were designed for serious golfers who crave both comfort and support. (Not to mention a modern style that has little in common with the conservative FootJoys of old.) Boasting materials of varying densities, the DNA’s were built to conform to the top of your foot. There’s a three-dimensional foam collar that actually molds to your ankle, which helps to lock it in place, minimize excessive movement and support your foot during your most forceful swings. Then there’s something the company calls FTF (Fine-Tuned-Foam) which is used throughout the midsole or, in FootJoy parlance, the “FitBed.” This adds an additional layer of (soft) stability in both the heel and forefoot. Like your golf shoes low-to-the-ground? The outsole is made from a thin thermoplastic urethane, ensuring you can feel every blade of grass. Or sand. Or whatever surface you play most of your shots from. Finally it’s no surprise, given the DNAs are in the DryJoys family, that they’re waterproof. The leather was developed by Pittards and is supple, thin and, most importantly, durable, so they last long and maintain the kind of breathability golfers like regardless of the weather. HK$1,820 footjoy.com HKGOLFER.COM

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CROSSWORD | 2014: A LOOK AHEAD

WIN A SIGNED LEE WYBRANSKI POSTER! To enter, complete the crossword and send a scan or a photo of the completed grid to Crossword@HKGolfer.com, with “February Crossword” as the subject. Remember to include your name, address and a contact number. Entries close on 20 March.

Compiled by Dr Milton Wayne

ONE LUCKY WINNER WILL BE DRAWN FROM THE CORRECT ENTRIES.

ACROSS

DOWN

1. See 28 across

2. HK Amateur Close runner-up (8,2)

4. Biennial team classic (5,3)

3. Royal new home for the Scottish Open (8)

6. New Cup that’s the Royal Trophy’s nemesis (7)

5. See 22 down

8. (and 29 across) Qatar Masters winner (6,6)

7. (and 21 down) Off to a flyer with 3 PGA Tour wins by mid February (5,6)

9. See 27 across 12. The Poster Guy (3,9) 16. (and 10 down) Stepped down from the HKGA (4,9)

9. Valhalla home city (10) 10. See 16 across 11. Our new HK Amateur Close champion (6,3)

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18. This year’s US PGA Championship track (8)

13. Open venue alias (7)

19. 2014 Ryder Cup venue, pictured (10)

14. (and 26 across) New beer sponsor for The Open (6,6)

20. Home for the US Open (9)

15. The 5th major? (7)

23. Will 2014 be his major year? (8)

21. See 7 down

26. See 14 down

22. (and 5 down) New CEO of the HKGA (3,8)

27. (and 9 across) Venue for The Open (5,9)

24 (and 25 down) Last Open winner at Hoylake (5,5)

28. (and 1 across) Did the Transatlantic double in 2013 (6,7)

25. See 24 down

29. See 8 across

Detail of Wybranski’s poster of The Road Hole at St Andrews

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CONTINUED FROM PAGE 86

winning majors. Nobody fears him anymore. That’s the key. You have to look at all the other players who are capable of winning. He d id n’t have it ea sy when he wa s dominating; he earned it. But that aura of invincibility just evaporated. People saw him as human, whereas up until that point he was seen as being superhuman. If you were a betting man, who do you think will win? [Rory] McIlroy will surely win another one. He’s not going to have another year like last year and he’s started off this season very well. What I like about him is his honesty; he tells it like it is. I expect he’s going to become more careful and corporate in what he says now he’s with Nike, but he’ll admit when he’s wrong and give you an honest answer. He’s probably looking back at all the things he tried to embrace last year – not having enough time to play with new clubs – and regretted it. I’d definitely put him down for another major this year.

Do you have a favourite golf course? Cape Kidnappers in New Zealand (pictured on page 86) … what’s not to like about that place? HKGOLFER.COM

Part of the allure is getting there after being on a plane for a long time; it feels like you’re at the end of the world. They call New Zealand the Land of the Long White Cloud and that’s exactly what we saw when we were there: a long white cloud spreading across the horizon. Another course that I went to but didn’t play is Old Head in Ireland. We were doing a shoot profiling rich Americans playing helicopter golf. That looked amazing. You’re a keen photographer. Is there a golfing image that for you perfectly encapsulates the sport? That shot of Seve in full flight (above, taken by Dave Cannon at the 1988 Open Championship at Royal Lytham and St Annes). If you don’t know a lot about golf you might not think it’s really a sport – it’s just a man swinging a stick. But in that picture, Seve really does look like an athlete on the charge! HK GOLFER・MAR 2014

David Cannon

Golf journalists tend to have a list of players they don’t particularly enjoy interviewing, but how do golfers compare to other sportspeople in terms of making time for the media? Golf is a sport where by and large players have got to be on their best behaviour – they’re representing themselves, not hiding behind a team. If you’re a jerk to a journalist you run the risk of damaging your brand and losing your endorsements, so golfers compare very well to other sportsmen. If I can generalise, they tend to be well educated and most of the experiences I’ve had with them have been very positive.

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FINAL SHOT

Don Riddell CNN’s ‘World Sport’ anchor talks to Alex Jenkins about interviewing Tiger Woods, playing golf with Seve Ballesteros and why he thinks 2014 is going to be Rory McIlroy’s year. When did you start playing and how often are you teeing it up? I never had any lessons and just hacked it around in my teens. Golf was just a fun thing to do, although I really enjoyed watching it and discussing the Ryder Cup and other events with my Dad. I started taking the game a bit more seriously after I joined CNN and started hosting Living Golf, but it was too late really to make the most of the amazing courses I got to visit. I then slipped a disc in my back when playing at Kauri Cliffs in New Zealand which put me out for a long time. But I’m getting back into it, which being based in Atlanta, where there’s loads of golf, is easy to do. What was your earliest tournament golf memory? I remember watching Larry Mize win the Masters [in 1987] after holing that chip to beat Greg Norman vividly. The same goes for [Nick] Faldo when he won The Open with 18 consecutive pars in terrible weather. Sandy Lyle winning the Masters from the bunker in 1988 also stands out. I’m a Scot so that was very memorable for the family. What’s been the best event you’ve ever covered? I love the Ryder Cup. In terms of intensity and dynamic competition – the ebb and flow – there’s not a sporting event like it. I covered the K Club [in 2006] and Wales in 2010. Celtic Manor was just unreal. The World Cup [football] is great but it takes a long time. With the Ryder Cup – even when a team wins by nine points it can still be entertaining.

David Cannon

What was your most memorable experience on a golf course? Playing two holes with Seve Ballesteros on a course he designed in Tenerife was a highlight. It was around the time he was 50, just before he started to get ill, and I got to see all the things that made him great. He hit one shot from an impossible position off an old farm wall to about 10 feet. That was an amazing experience. 86

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A f ter i nter v iew i ng M ichel le W ie i n Hawaii I got to play her home course, and I remember birdying one hole from miles off the green. I’m not a great golfer – my handicap would be in the high 20s – but that was a great moment. Seve’s aside, which interviews stand out? I interviewed Tiger [Woods] five times before the fire hydrant incident. Those were always pretty special and it is interesting looking back at them with the benefit of hindsight, listening to the things he used to say. For instance, he would freely talk about how lucky he was to have his wife and family. I recall asking him once how he’d like to be remembered and he replied along the lines of not wanting to be remembered for being a golfer but for his actions as a human being. That was when we now know he was misbehaving a bit. I guess he thought he’d never get found out. Will Tiger win a major this year? The major courses favour him this year and despite not winning one for so long, you still wouldn’t bet against him. But when he was away and not playing [post scandal] he allowed everyone else to get used to others CONTINUED ON PAGE 85 HKGOLFER.COM


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