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Events: Michael Regan Wong Claims Hong Kong Amateur Win

THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE HONG KONG GOLF ASSOCIATION

HKGOLFER.COM

VOTED THE REGION’S NO 1 GOLF MAGAZINE

OCTOBER 2014

ISSUE 93

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| CONTENTS

HK Golfer Issue 93

October 2014

44 On the Cover:

Ernie Els will make his debut at this month’s Hong Kong Open, a week before heading across the Pearl River Delta to tee it up at the Venetian Macau Open for a second time. Photo by AFP

Features

Plus…

38 | Tales from the Box

25 | Tee Time

From Crans Montana in the heart of the Swiss Alps to Hong Kong via the Dutch coast, our correspondent takes in a handful of his favourite events. By Julian Tutt

44 | A Class Apart

A profile of everyone’s favourite golfer – four-time Hong Kong Open champion Miguel Angel Jiménez By Lewine Mair

52 | Hong Kong Open – Through the Years

The Hong Kong Open, the oldest professional sporting event in the SAR, has a habit of producing more than its fair share of memorable moments. We take a look at the best. By Alex Jenkins

62 | MRW Makes it to the Open

A f u l l rep or t of t he Hong Kong Op en A mateu r Championship, which saw Michael Regan Wong claim the title – and with it a place at the Hong Kong Open – for the first time. By Alex Jenkins

70 | Vegas Highlights

A look at the products that stood out at the inaugural PGA Fashion & Demo Experience, which took place in Nevada late August. By Kane Carpenter

74 | Card Wreckers Kimi Tai

62 10

HK GOLFER・OCT 2014

Hong Kong’s courses aren’t short of intimidating tee shots and dangerous approaches. A look at the scariest holes in the city. By Alex Jenkins

A look at the historic Patrimony collection from Vacheron Constantin. By Robert Reid

32 | Driving Range

Our motoring correspondent takes a look at the exciting new Mercedes-AMG GT. By Ben Oliver

34 | Liquid Assets

A look at the best wines from the Napa Valley in California. By Julien Yung Mameaux

40 | By Design

Our contributing architect discusses how course set-ups vary from tournament to day-to-day play. By Paul Jansen

66 | Macau Open Preview

Our coverage of one of the Asian Tour’s most popular events starts here. By Alex Jenkins

82 | Property Special

The founder of Complete RPI explains how taking a commercial approach to managing your UK property is the only way to go. By Rupert Smith

86 | Final Shot

José María Olazábal talks about his love of Augusta National, Rioja and hunting. By The Editors HKGOLFER.COM


HK Golfer

THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE HONG KONG GOLF ASSOCIATION OCT 2014 • Issue 93

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

74 D E PA R T M E N T S 14 Mailbag 16 Divots 20 Local Focus 22 Global Focus 25 Clubhouse

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: info@hkga.com handicaps@hkga.com In association with: www.thymedesign.hk

60 Around the HKGA 64 Hong Kong Open Qualifying Tournament 84 Crossword

Alex Jenkins

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. 12

HK GOLFER・OCT 2014

HK Golfer is available onboard all Cathay Pacific and Dragonair First and Business Class cabins and in Singapore Airlines First and Business Class lounges.

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HK Golfer Mailbag Nice Cover It’s been a long time coming but I’d like to say it was a pleasant surprise to see a woman featured on the cover of HK Golfer [September 2014]. The lady in question, Michelle Wie, fully deserves her spot in the limelight after finally delivering on some of her childhood promise and I’m glad to see your magazine’s editorial team recognizing that. Women’s golf in Hong Kong is on the rise – you often see as many ladies playing on courses here during the week as men – and it comes as no surprise to read that Hong Kong’s most successful amateur, Tiffany Chan, is of the fairer sex. On another note, it was with a great deal of satisfaction to see that the R&A voted to end their 260year long ban on female members. Well done to them. Name and address withheld

How Times Have Changed [add pp 66-67 of last issue – if required] I very much enjoyed reading Dale Concannon’s story in the latest issue [Humble Beginnings, September 2014], which focused on the first Ryder Cup-style match in 1921. I suppose the same applies to most professional sports, but the contrast between the lifestyles of the world’s best golfers in those times couldn’t be more different than those of today. The fact that the American team were forced to stay in railway sleeping carriages because the hotel at Gleneagles wasn’t ready is stupefying, especially given the immense commercialism that surrounds the Ryder Cups of recent times. Those golfers must have played the sport for the pure pleasure they derived from it. I’m not sure the same can always be said of today’s professionals. Eric Kwan Causeway Bay

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Hong Kong Open Tickets Obvious question perhaps, but where can I buy Hong Kong Open tickets? David Miller Via email Editor’s reply: Head straight to the tournament website at hongkongopenchampionship.com. If you’re an HKGA subscriber you’re entitled to a 20% discount and remember: children aged under 16 are free! Any questions? Write to info@hkga.com for further information.

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・OCT 2014

HKGOLFER.COM


| DIVOTS

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World Golf Hall of Famer Greg Norman underwent surgery last month after incurring injuries to his left arm from a chainsaw accident. Norman was spending the afternoon cleaning up some trees in his backyard on Jupiter Island, Florida when a large branch unexpectedly started to come down on him. Attempting to catch the branch, Norman dropped the chainsaw. The weight of the branch brought Norman’s arm down upon the saw that was fortunately slowing. “I am a lucky man. Damaged but not down and out,” Norman tweeted from the hospital just hours after the accident. Norman elected to undergo surgery while in the hospital to repair some minor nerve damage. According to the specialists who tended to Norman, he will not sustain any long-term, permanent damage to his left arm. Following the surgery, Norman returned home to rest and recover. Both Norman and the doctors expect him to have a full, speedy recovery and to be able to return back to playing golf life shortly. “Thank you to everyone for their concern and well wishes. I look forward to getting back out there to attack that tree like I planned on doing yesterday. No tree is going to keep me down,” said the two-time Open Championship winner.

Order through HK Golfer: www.hkgolfer.com Or write to us at: skycaddie@hkgolfer.com 16

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| DIVOTS

Blunt Umbrellas – Steve Williams’ Choice This is one umbrella you really don’t want to be leaving in the back of a taxi. Developed with veteran caddie Steve William’s experience from more than 30 years in the game, the Blunt Golf G1 and its larger sibling the G2 incorporate this New Zealand brand’s revolutionary canopy strengthening RTS Technology. According to Blunt, only their product has a fully tensioned canopy that maximises the umbrella’s overall structural integrity and aerodynamics. The RTS achieves this by harnessing the users’ effort in opening it to extend the frame’s telescopic ribs outwards, like fingers stretching into a glove. Then the patented Blunt Tips at the end of each rib open like miniature umbrellas, inside specially designed pockets, and evenly distribute the tension to the canopy’s edge. This ground-breaking system creates a perfectly taught canopy surface, which ensures you have an umbrella that will effortlessly handle the worst conditions it is possible to play in. In recognition of this design feat, the Blunt Golf_G1 has won a globally prestigious iF Product design award for 2014. Williams, who has caddied for both Tiger Woods and Adam Scott, said: “What Blunt has achieved is simply game-changing. They have revolutionised a product that I have always had an issue with. During my 30-plus years of caddying all over the world, I’ve experienced every possible weather condition and used many different umbrellas. You fight the wind to hold onto a normal umbrella. The difference with the Blunt is that you don’t have to

fight with it – it’s effortless to control in the wind and lasts much longer than all other, so called, golf umbrellas!” Blunt umbrellas are available for purchase through the HK Golfer Store at hkgolfer.com. For more information, including personalization and bulk orders, write to blunt@hkgolfer.com

Available to buy on the HK Golfer Store at hkgolfer.com Enquires to blunt@hkgolfer.com

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HK GOLFER・OCT 2014

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Local Focus Wong Wins Showdown Michael Regan Wong celebrates on the final green at Discovery Bay Golf Club after winning the Hong Kong Open Amateur Championship for the first time last month. Wong, 17, who was locked in a twoway tie for the lead with Isaac Lam heading into the closing hole, made a fine upand-down for par to see off Lam’s challenge after the latter three-putted for a bogey. Wong, whose 69 in the final round was the joint lowest round of the tournament, carded a three-day total of 215 to win not only the trophy but with it a place in this month’s Hong Kong Open. Photo by Daniel Wong


Major Focus When You Have To Go Timing is everything in golf – and that proved to be the case for American Billy Horschel, who after hitting the final green at the BMW Championship last month to all but sew up victory, was seen sprinting into the crowd towards the nearest bathroom. Fan reaction on social media went through the roof but it was the 27-year-old who had the last laugh. Not only did he wrap up the win at Crooked Stick but one week later, at the Tour Championship in Atlanta, he again beat an elite field to claim the FedEx Cup – and the US$10 million bonus that goes with it. It’s just fun.” Photo by AFP / Getty Images


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Away from the Fairways | TEE TIME

IN PERFECT PATRIMONY

CIRCULAR PERFECTION, FOCUSING ON ESSENTIALS, HARMONIOUS PROPORTIONS – ALL THE TRAITS OF THE PATRIMONY COLLECTION FROM VACHERON CONSTANTIN. The Patrimony Perpetual Calendar HKGOLFER.COM

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atrimony epitomises stylistic purity. Reflecting a deliberately minimalist aesthetic striking a fine balance between taut lines and soft curves, it asserts its personality through slender cases radiating an elegance inspired by the 1950s. Beneath the apparent simplicity lies a wealth of sophistication. CURVES: IT ALL BEGINS WITH A CIRCLE All the straight and curving lines are concentrated in the centre of the circle. The cambered contours of the Patrimony unfold in all their understated elegance: a smooth bassine-type case, a domed dial and sapphire crystal, cambered hourmarkers, “pearl” minute-circle … each element forms an exquisitely rounded silhouette.

A sketch of the Patrimony Perpetual Calendar (above left); the original Patrimony from the 1950s (above right) 26

HK GOLFER・OCT 2014

TENSION: TAUT LINES ECHO THE CIRCLE Slim hour-markers, baton-type hands and elongated lugs add a modern touch. The care lavished on the slightest details is expressed in an edgy, energetic and contemporary architecture.

SLENDERNESS: QUINTESSENTIAL ELEGANCE The subtle curvature reveals a delicate profile, soberly accentuated by a crown bearing the Maltese cross. The pure design is further accentuated by the extreme slenderness of the bezel, exuding a perfect, timeless balance. HOROLOGICAL EXCELLENCE: TECHNICAL MASTERY AT THE SERVICE OF DESIGN According to connoisseurs of the watchmaking art, the inner complexity of a movement is all the more appreciable when subtly expressed on the dial. From the simplest to the most complicated, calibres reveal their asserts through manual finishes reflecting the finest Haute Horlogerie traditions. The fine craftsmanship embodied in Patrimony bears the signature of the prestigious Hallmark of Geneva .

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PATRIMONY, THE SPIRIT OF AN ERA THE 1950S PRESENT-DAY MODERNITY The Patrimony spirit is firmly anchored in the effervescent mood of the 1950s. The post-war period witnessed a renewed fervour for essentials and for beauty. This decade was pervaded by a prevailing positivism that nurtured a creative and aesthetic revival. This wave of optimism and confidence in the future enabled art and culture to break free of the past and open up towards the world at large. Imbued with a spirited elegance, the 1950s were years of emancipation and renewal. FORM ASSERTS ITSELF OVER FUNCTION The world was firmly focused on present-day modernity. Allconquering technology promised a radiant future lit up by the glow of metal; fashion experienced its style revolution; designs mixed, mingled or separated curves and straight lines thanks to the possibilities afforded by new materials; the seventh art enjoyed the Hollywood film-making boom; and architecture recaptured freeflowing expressions of pure shapes, unfettered by the past. Above, from left to right: the Patrimony Ultra-Thin Calibre 1731; the Patrimony Perpetual Calendar 28

HK GOLFER・OCT 2014

THE 1950S: THE DANCE OF TIME ACCORDING TO VACHERON CONSTANTIN The world was changing and aesthetes delighted in simplicity, or at least apparent simplicity, which made the work or object even more desirable. Within this context, Vacheron Constantin artisans opted for the rigorous discipline of sobriety, stimulated in their quest for formal purity and balance. The Manufacture experienced a burst of creativity in tune with the new artistic currents. Watches displayed the time in a soft, understated rounded manner that continues to inspire Patrimony to this day. In 1955, the Maison began exploring new creative possibilities by presenting three exceptional watches to mark its centenary: equipped with the legendary 1.64 mm thin Calibre 1003, these famous ultra-thin models were the slimmest in the world at the time and made an indelible mark on modern watchmaking. THE 1950S: THE ORIGIN, 1957 Born in the heart of the 1950s, this watch met with great success in the United States, its initial intended destination and the origin of the name Patrimony. This round, ultra-thin and highly reliably watch embodies the quintessence of classicism. No superfluous ornamentation disturbs the perfectly mastered, self-sufficient design. Each detail underscores the pure lines dedicated to serving the extreme sobriety that infuses this creation with its timelessly modern aura.

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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.

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THE PATRIMONY COLLECTION Stemming from ex treme research and ref lec ting an uncompromising aesthetic, the Patrimony models – all bearing the Hallmark of Geneva – belong to a prestigious lineage of slender, elegant and timeless watches by Vacheron Constantin. Their sparing architecture expresses the strength of a style. PATRIMONY ULTRA-THIN CALIBRE 1731 Representing the supreme accomplishment of a master-watchmaker, the minute repeater is one of the most demanding horological complications due to the large number of infinitely small parts composing it. A true masterpiece of virtuosity embodying both the thinnest hand-wound movement and the thinnest striking watch on the market, the Patrimony Ultra-Thin Calibre 1731 expresses the peak of refined excellence and know-how. PATRIMONY PERPETUAL CALENDAR A major complication that is both useful and sophisticated, the ultrathin perpetual calendar calls for impressive features of miniaturisation in order to keep track of the vagaries of the calendar without any need for correction until the year 2100. This model epitomises the innate elegance and finesse of Vacheron Constantin. 30

HK GOLFER・OCT 2014

PATRIMONY RETROGRADE DAY-DATE Equipped with an original and useful double complication displayed by two retrograde-type displays, the Patrimony retrograde daydate is a perfect example of technical expertise devoted to a pure aesthetic. Or how mechanical complexity gives way to aesthetic moderation. PATRIMONY Sobriety is a demanding stylistic exercise accomplished to perfection in this model inspired by the original launched in 1957. With its generous diameter, its broad opening and its subtly domed dial enhanced by a “pearl” minute circle, along with its slender hourmarkers and baton-type hands, it is a compendium of all the collection’s signature features.

Above, from left to right: the Patrimony Retrograde Day – Date; the Patrimony HKGOLFER.COM


CLUBHOUSE | DRIVING RANGE

DARING DEBUT

BEN OLIVER CHECKS OUT THE MERCEDES-AMG GT, THE FIRST CAR TO BE DESIGNED AND BUILT FROM SCRATCH BY THE MARQUE’S HIGH-PERFORMANCE DIVISION.

P

ure Mercedes-Benz sports cars are comparatively rare. Until now, AMG C-class compact sedan got a 6.3-litre V8, be Stuttgart has only produced two, and both have been stratospheric in no doubt about the potency of this motor, with in price and performance. The SLR of the early 2000s was developed the 100kph mark arriving in just 3.8sec and a top and built by Mercedes’ then-F1 partner McLaren, while the SLS, which speed in excess of 300kph. Such downsizing is has just finished production, was the first car to be designed and built happening across the fast-car world, led by F1: it from scratch by Mercedes’ AMG high-performance means lighter, more efficient division. If you already associate Mercedes with fast, powerful engines, better handling, and cars, that’s down to the awesome AMG treatment given to fewer fuel stops. In this, AMG Although the new Mercedes’s standard sedans, station wagons, coupes and is bang on-trend. AMG-GT is physically even SUVs, the high-performance AMG versions of which And despite those smaller smaller than the SLS, it offer often brutal performance. dimensions, the new car retains that fabulous long gains a much bigger trunk So you can imagine what happens when AMG gets to build its own car, with no compromises. The outgoing, than th e o ld SL S, n ow hood that leaves you gullwing-door SLS stood comparison with Ferraris and capable of carr ying the in no doubt where the Lamborghinis. This new Mercedes-AMG GT is more affordably essential two golf bags on 503 horsepower, twinpriced, aimed at the Porsche 911, upper-end Jaguar F-Types the Sunday morning race to turbocharged, 4.0-litre and the Audi R8. Still pricey, powerful competition, but Merc is Fanling or Clearwater Bay. quite open about having based some of its new model on the And there’s some real wit V8 motor is located. tech of its much bigger, more expensive forebear, so its new and verve in the cabin, with car comes to the fight well-armed. Merc’s hallmark, upright, Although the new AMG-GT is physically smaller than the SLS, it retains that iPad-style central display, and a central console fabulous long hood that leaves you in no doubt where the 503 horsepower, twin- between the seats with its buttons arranged to turbocharged, 4.0-litre V8 motor is located: up front, unlike the mid-engined R8 or mimic the layout of the car’s V8 engine. rear-engined 911. If ‘just’ four litres seems a little small given that even the outgoing The gulling doors don’t carry over from the

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HK GOLFER・OCT 2014

HKGOLFER.COM


SCORECARD Mercedes AMG-GT S How much? TBD Engine: 3982cc, twin-turbo V8 10PS/503hp at 6250rpm Transmission: 7-speed twin-clutch Performance: 0-100kph 3.8sec, max 311kph How heavy? 1,570kgs

SLS, sadly, and there’s unlikely to be an open version of the AMG-GT as Mercedes thinks it would cannibalise sales from the iconic SL roadster. The two cars are close in size, but the SL is a cruiser, rather than a racer. Pricing has yet to be confirmed, but the AMGGT will be pitched and priced squarely against those rivals. Deliveries start next year, but such is the anticipation that builds around entirely new models from desirable brands that we’d advise having a conversation with your Mercedes dealer now, if you don’t want to find yourself at the back of a long queue next spring. HKGOLFER.COM

HK GOLFER・OCT 2014

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CLUBHOUSE | LIQUID ASSETS

CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’ JULIEN YUNG MAMEAUX, WINE EXPERT AND CEO OF THE EXPERIENCE COMPANY, TAKES US BEHIND THE SCENES OF CALIFORNIAN WINES. Three months ago Napa Valley woke up in the aftermath of the “small” one, an earthquake that damaged many wineries and their stocks. As such I feel it is time to pay tribute to the estates and characters that turned not only the American wine dream into reality, but also California into a must-visit wine destination.

1 10 100

Enjoying an aperitif at Joseph Phelps

A MATTER OF NUMBERS Rarely does one plus one equal one. When Baron Rothschild (Mouton Rothschild) and Robert Mondavi joined forces in 1980, it was to create the single Bordeaux-style blend Opus One. Considered for a while as the cult wine of California, it has played a key role in elevating the quality perception of Napa Valley production. Opus One 2007 (95 RP) sits on top. Praised as one of the world’s 10 best wines of the century by Jancis Robinson, Harlan Estate was born to become an icon of California. The wine is famous for its outstanding blend of four grapes Cabernet-Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot (the same number of times it has received a perfect 100-points rating) as well as its unforgettable label, which took a 10 years to design. In many regards Jayson Woodbridge is a man of hundreds. The Napa Valley Hundred Acre winery is dedicated to the production of 100% single varietals. If you’re among the lucky few, you will enjoy the opulent Cabernet Sauvignons “Precious” (harvested grape by grape!), or “Deep Time” (36 to 42 months oak ageing), many of which has attained the 100 mark by Robert Parker. MORE THAN WORDS Insignia. One of California’s prominent wine characters, Joseph Phelps, is a man of words. The businessman’s thirst for construction turned into a passion for viticulture with much success. Its hero wine, Insignia, was awarded “Wine of the Year” (2002 vintage) by Wine Spectator magazine and The Wine Advocate gave perfect point scores to the 1991, 1997 and 2002 releases.

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GET ON STAGE Robert Mondavi. Besides being now a wellknown brand, this was first the name of one of the leading architects of Napa Valley winemaking. A winemaker at heart with an acute sense of marketing, his legacy stands in the status of Napa wineries as much as in his own estate, which now hosts many vineyard tour options and testifies of his innovative and creative ambitions. Quixote. The boutique winery, formerly owned by Stags Leap, has made the news more than once. It just passed into the hands of Chinese owner Le Melange (Gold Tower Group). It is known for its premium organic red wine of Petite Sirah, artistic label design, as well as its eclectic architecture designed by Austrian Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

Screaming Eagle. Currently America’s most expensive Cabernet Sauvignon, Screaming Eagle is the object of many praises and tears at auctions worldwide. However it all started in a discreet letter in which landlord owner Jean Phillips unveiled that it had finally sold the magical one-acre, host to a mere 80 vines. The rest need not be said.

Francis Ford Coppola. The movie director needs no introduction, but his passion for wine is a surprise to many. With unbeatable skills for entertainment, the Coppola winery in Alexander Valley, Sonoma County is a resort of choice, with a movie gallery, a swimming pool, a restaurant and winery receptions to discover their range, including high-quality reserve wines.

Sine Qua Non. From the Latin expression meaning “without which there is nothing”, the Ventura County-based winery uses much creativity to name its wines: Poker Face, Red Handed, Twisted & Bent … Sine Qua Non specializes in Rhone Valley-style wines from Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre, and the labels are also designed by winemaker-artist Manfred Krankl.

Book your holiday with wine & lifestyle travel concierge The Experience Company (TheExCo. com) at +852 3488 9565 or Contact@TheExCo. com. 10% discount for “HKGolfer” readers for any trip taking place in 2014.

HK GOLFER・OCT 2014

HKGOLFER.COM


| TALES FROM THE BOX

A Very Agreeable

Stretch

From Crans Montana in the heart of the Swiss Alps to Hong Kong via the Dutch coast, European Tour commentator Julian Tutt takes in a handful of his favourite events.

T

AFP; Daniel Wong

Asian Tour Order of Merit leader David Lipsky (this page) won big at the European Masters; Andy Sullivan (opposite) received one of the more unusual prizes for his holein-one at the KLM Open 38

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here are two tournaments that are first on my event wish list every year: the Hong Kong Open and the European Masters in Crans Montana on the Haut Plateau high above the Rhone Valley. It is a spectacularly beautiful place, with air so pure that you’d love to be able to bottle it. The Crans-sur-Sierre Club, in conjunction with sponsors Omega, has spent over SFr6 million (nearly HK$50 million) on improving the course over the last three years, turning a stunning venue into a seriously good test of golf. Of course the ball flies for miles in the thin mountain air, so even with a tight par of 70, eighteen players shot four rounds in the 60s, a pretty unusual statistic. American David Lipsky was one of those. Starting the final round three shots behind the leader, Englishman Graeme Storm, there weren’t too many local tipsters plumping for the Asian Tour player. However, he’d shown a worldwide audience what he was capable of earlier in the season when finishing second at The Championship at Laguna National in Singapore and he was nerveless in holing a birdie putt at the 72nd hole to put pressure on Storm, who had hit a brilliant drive down the last, but then shied away from attacking the dangerous flag close to water. The former Amateur champion’s only previous Tour win came at the French Open in 2007, but after a year of financial torment Storm was more concerned to tie up second place and guarantee his playing rights for next season. Two putts meant a playoff

and with Storm in trouble off the tee, Lipsky hit a lay-up out of the fairway bunker that no one had anticipated or could remember seeing before. He appeared to have left himself a really difficult “up and down”, but played it superbly, leaving a tap-in for a win that gives him a free ticket around Europe for the next two years. His stated and natural aim is to end up on the PGA Tour but it won’t be easy under the new rules. If he gets his card at the PGA Tour School he then has to decide whether to play a full season on the Web.Com Tour to try and gain his full card, or whether to spend more time, or all his time in Europe; exciting, but daunting too. HKGOLFER.COM


When you have a fabulous venue like the Hong Kong Golf Club situated close to one of the world’s most exciting cities there is a built-in recipe for success. It seems probable his appearances in Asia will be distinctly limited now. No doubt he’ll get a warm welcome at the Hong Kong Open this month. Storm did have a most rewarding week, which included winning the highly-regarded BMW i8 for a hole-in-one. A number of players are on the waiting list for one, and he wasn’t short of offers to buy it at the asking price or even better. It’s not just in Switzerland that these guys live in rarefied air. Not so thin though as that which Englishman Andy Sullivan won the right to experience, the following week at the KLM Open. With only two groups to come after him on Sunday he holed-in-one at the super-tricky 15th to earn a US$100,000 trip into space as a tourist with XCOR Space Expeditions. He admits to being “scared of heights and not the best flyer”, so it should be a bundle of laughs. He’s got a couple of years to think about it, so he’ll probably be a nervous wreck by the time they launch. At the KLM, Paul Casey became the fourth most successful Englishman with his 13th tour win. He needs five more to catch Mark James, with Lee Westwood having won 23 and Sir Nick Faldo 30. Would Paul McGinley have picked him for his Ryder Cup team if selection had been delayed a little? Would Tom Watson have gone for FedEx Cup Champion Billy Horschel? There’s certainly a case for the captain’s to make their selections closer to the competition, HKGOLFER.COM

regardless of what ever happened at Gleneagles. Casey incidentally was feeling chilled after recently becoming a father for the first time. His son Lex has already been dubbed “Ro” by the witty caddie fraternity. Watch out! Or “fore!”, as we should shout. Unfortunately Alexandre Kaleka’s drive on the 14th at Kennemer was so far off line that a stunned Fabrizio Zanotti wouldn’t have heard if they had screamed it. Collecting the full-blooded blow slap bang on the forehead he went down like a sack of potatoes. Fortunately the only long term damage he sustained was a Titleist tattoo. Play had to be halted, because groups were stacking up behind and it took two hours and twenty minutes before they resumed. His friends and colleagues were naturally concerned for his health, but a doctor was on hand within five minutes and one can’t help thinking that had it been a spectator who’d been struck they would have ploughed on regardless. With the Ryder Cup out of the way, different considerations face those attending the Hong Kong Open, such as “Do we do Wan Chai or Lan Kwai Fong tonight?” When you have a fabulous venue like the Hong Kong Golf Club situated close to one of the world’s most exciting cities there is a built-in recipe for success. The tournament this year is up against the Volvo World Match Play Championship at The London Club in Kent which is only a limited distraction, and it’s good to see such a strong field entered. There’s always considerable rivalry amongst the commentators as to who makes the first team for Hong Kong, with a larger than usual subs bench. I’ve been most fortunate to do it every year bar one since it became a co-sanctioned tournament. As local residents, Dominique Boulet and I have got the pick along with Warren Humphreys, who’s on his way back from Australia. The Computer King, as Humphreys is dubbed, will be treading new ground as the on-course reporter, a role about which he is a little nervous. Needles to say as a former European Tour champion and veteran of “The Booth”, as the Americans call it, he has no need to be. If you happen to be lining the fairways at Fanling do point Warren in the right direction, in case he gets lost round the Composite Course. He’ll appreciate your help. See you there! HK GOLFER・OCT 2014

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| BY DESIGN

The

Challenge of

the

Championship Award-winning architect Paul Jansen takes a look at so-called “championship” layouts and how course set-ups vary from tournament to day-to-day play.

C

Alex Jenkins; AFP

Fanling (above right) is a world away from the more modern championship courses of today, like the Jack Nicklaus-designed Lake Malaren (below right), which hosts next month’s BMW Masters in Shanghai 40

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an you design a “championship” golf course? It is not uncommon for a client to ask this of a golf architect. But what does this mean and how do you design and set-up a course that is able to test the best golfers on the planet yet still be fun for the members and general public? From a design perspective the obvious answer would be the way the architect positions the tee areas. In addition the architect will need to consider the green complex and be sure to design it in such a way that it has a good variety of pin locations – the ideal being that there are enough pin areas to test the very best golfers to go with some easier pin locations for standard day-to-day play. Length is also seen as important mostly given how far these guys and girls hit the ball today. To go further, I can’t think of a championship golf course with a par of less than 70 – although 70 seems to be relatively common – so I guess this also counts. But the key is variety – in every way. This will ensure the golf experience remains playable for each level. But there is much more to think about than just this. What of safety? Is there enough separation between the holes to allow spectator movement? Are there any bottleneck areas that will prevent ease of movement? On the odd occasion a golf course occupying a relatively small parcel of land – like Kingston Heath in Australia – has

hosted a large event, but this is a rarity as many of today’s tournament hosting golf courses cover large expanses. A comprehensive practice facility is also seen as important although some of the older golf courses – those that have hosted events – have make shift facilities like secondary fairways or land off the golf course used for practice. Note that many of the golf courses built pre-World War II had limited practice areas – back then golfers would practice out on the golf course. This is not the case anymore as todays designers put a high emphasis on practice and the science that goes into its design. The organisers will also want to be sure that there is ease of access. How far from the nearest airport is the golf course and is there enough accommodation in the area to host the golfers and general public? Also, is there an area on the golf course to locate a tented village for refreshments and telecommunications? What of the course setup? What speed should the greens run? How wide should the fairways be? What about the height of the rough? What is deemed a bunker and what is not? In theory (but not always in practice) the green speed should be relative to the severity of the green contour. The more contoured the green the slower you want the green speed. At any event green speeds are faster for tournament play than regular play. This means that the grass is cut lower during tournament play, which in turn adds more stress to that grass. Over long HKGOLFER.COM


periods, and where frequent play is common, having fast green speeds is not advisable. Even over shortened periods – as seen at the US Open at Shinnecock Hills in 2004, for example – fast greens speeds can compromise the integrity of the grass in a matter of hours. During tournament play the general thinking is to reduce the fairway width (sometimes as little as 15-20 yards at the landing areas) to place the onus on accuracy. In this case grassing lines are reconfigured making some golf features benign – a point in case being at last year’s US Open at Merion where numerous bunkers were as much as 15 yards in the rough. My personal preference is to see wider fairways in tournament and general play but that it’s important the strategy determines you favour one side of the fairway. I have always held the view that the wider the fairway the more golf terrain you can show off and the more strategic you can make the test … not to mention the more playable the golf course becomes. Having said that I still view rough as an important golf feature and it’s not uncommon to find it at ankle height during tournament play. If in this kind of rough even the best golfers will find it almost impossible to predict what the ball is going to do upon landing. This is no bad thing in that it promotes the need to survey the fairway and green surrounds to see how they can use the slopes to positively propel their ball towards the target. They are no longer focused on a small target; rather they are “forced” to look at the big picture and in doing so start to harvest some creative thought. Of course if the golf course were set-up to be narrow and dominated by high rough every single day then I bet a round would take 10 hours and the level of frustration would exceed 10, so this situation HKGOLFER.COM

At the end of the day if the architect strives to create a golf experience loaded with variety then there is no doubt that that golf course will be championed by the very best and the rest. is not really feasible. The ideal is that you don’t have to drastically change the dayto day-course set-up to make it fun and challenging for the best golfers during tournament play … there’s the trick I really don’t like the words “championship golf course”. It’s almost as if you are bracketing the fact that the only thing the golf course is good for is hosting a tournament. At the end of the day if the architect strives to create a golf experience loaded with variety then there is no doubt that that golf course will be championed by the very best and the rest. On a side note I believe we should strive - during tournament play and general play - to have the ground play hard and fast – much like you see at the Open Championship each year. I am conscious this may not always be possible but a course that plays firm will be much more interesting and certainly more testing than a course set up to play soft and receptive. Paul Jansen is the principal architect for Jansen Golf Design. To learn more visit jansengolfdesign.com

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TOURNAMENT PREVIEW | HONG KONG OPEN

The

56

th

Daniel Wong

Hong

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HKGOLFER.COM


Kong Open 16-19 OCTOBER 2014 THE HONG KONG GOLF CLUB Miguel Angel Jiménez is going to have his work cut out if he’s to become the first player in history to win five Hong Kong Open titles this month. The Fanling legend, 50-years-young, will face major competition in the form of Ernie Els, the easy-swinging South African star who is making his debut in the tournament. Turn the page to read about the greatest moments in the championship’s long and storied history plus an exclusive interview with the man known as “The Mechanic”.

HKGOLFER.COM

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HONG KONG OPEN | MIGUEL ANGEL JIMÉNEZ

Clockwise from below: Jiménez is all smiles after taking hold of the Hong Kong Open trophy for the fourth time in his career; moments after holing the winning putt to defeat Stuart Manley and Prom Meesawat; in full flow during the third round

A

Class

Apart Lewine Mair profiles four-time Hong Kong Open champion Miguel Angel Jiménez, everyone’s favourite golfer. Photography by Daniel Wong and Kimi Tai

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T

en years ago, when Colin Montgomerie was asked to extol the virtues of the upand-coming 40-year-old that was Miguel Angel Jiménez, he delivered a humorously grudging, “Well, he’s big in Malaga”. Jiménez, who turned 50 in January, just a month after winning his second consecutive Hong Kong Open title, is nowadays rather more than merely a celeb in his home town. He is one of the biggest draws in the golfing world.  On the European Tour, his presence is sought at one tournament after another. Over in America, meanwhile, they yearn to have him as a permanent fixture on their Champions Tour where he won on his debut earlier this summer. At a time when people have been complaining that there are not enough characters in the modern game, Jiménez is certainly doing his bit to balance the ledger. The four-time Fanling champ is commanding as much attention as Monty ever did and it not just down to the fact that he has won 14 of his 21 European Tour titles since turning 40. It has more to do with his professional savvy.  Better than any of the players, young or old, he knows that hitting great shots and winning tournaments is no longer enough. He recognises HKGOLFER.COM

At a time when people have been complaining that there are not enough characters in the modern game, Jiménez is certainly doing his bit to balance the ledger.

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Far from being embarrassed by his beginnings as a caddie, Jiménez is inordinately proud of being the last of a long line of Spaniards to have played their way on to the European Tour via the caddie ranks.

Clockwise from top: the Spaniard with new wife Susanna; splashing from the greenside bunker on Fanling’s 18th after finding sand on the final hole of regulation play; a well-deserved hug for his caddie 46

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the need to win over the people who pay to watch; and he recognises how important it is that the sponsors should go away happy. They, after all, must justify the massive amounts they are pouring into the game. The Saturday of the Spanish Open he would win in Gerona in May was as good as it gets for Jiménez-watchers. His auburn hair had been touched up for his wedding a week before, while he was on top of the golfing world in the wake of his win on the Champions Tour and his fourth place at the Masters. He started that Saturday with his circus act of a warm-up routine before posting a 69 which would see him going into the last round two shots behind Belgium’s Thomas Pieters. After handing in his card, he spent 45 minutes responding to TV and media requests before turning his attention to the crowd behind the little media square. He gave them as long as it took to sign autographs and to chat to all comers. Indeed, he

spoke to each and every one of his fans as if he or she was precisely the person he wanted to see. At one point, he glanced across at your correspondent and murmured, “This is something you have to do”, perhaps because he was conscious of being seen to be lapping up the limelight. He need not have bothered to say anything for this was Jiménez being himself. He is a ‘people’ person, one of the game’s great socialisers. As he himself once said when someone had quizzed him over-long on his score, “There’s more to life than golfing the ball.” In time, the happy pack of fans dispersed and the Spaniard took a step back and lit one of his famous cigars. As luck would have it, the first puff detonated the arrival of a new wave of childcarrying supporters. Gently, he laid the cigar on the ground and started all over again, bending down to have his picture taken with the little ones and embarking on chat that was every bit as animated as what had gone before. Dinner must have been on his mind but, an hour and a half after he had posted his score, he was still some way away from his first glass of Rioja.  A practice session away, to be precise. He spent another hour sorting out the handful of drives which had gone awry in his 69 and then and only then did he head for his hotel. That really was it, or so we thought. Yet, at HKGOLFER.COM


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the following week’s BMW PGA Championship, we learned that he had been up until one o’clock every night during that Gerona week as he dined with comrades he had known all his golfing days. Jiménez has never been short of friends. Take, for example, the relationship he enjoys with the people of Crans-Sur-Sierre, home of the Omega European Masters. When he first played in the tournament in 1986, he stayed in the Miedzor Hotel with a group of other Spaniards. So much did he enjoy his week in that hostelry that, when he paid his bill, he asked the owners, Jan and Heidi, if he could book the same room for the following year.  Even when the hotel was turned into apartments, Jan and Heidi made sure that the apartment incorporating Jiménez’s room would remain available to their old friend who has never stayed anywhere else in 26 visits. It was a month or so prior to the 2008 Ryder Cup at Valhalla that my office at The Daily Telegraph asked if I would go out to the following week’s European Masters to interview the Spaniard. The request had come a little late and a phone call to the player’s management group revealed that Jiménez was not doing any more interviews. He wanted to have nothing to worry about beyond the Ryder Cup. Fair enough. I decided to go to Switzerland just the same and write a piece based on his form of the moment. But when I was standing in his crowd 48

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There’s no doubt who the galleries at the Hong Kong Golf Club were pulling for on that dramatic Sunday last year 50

HK GOLFER・OCT 2014

behind the 18th tee, he spotted me and came across. “So,” he said, “you come anyway. Please join us for lunch – one-thirty in the pizzeria up the road.” “Us” turned out to be a table for 12 taking in friends and family including his now ex-wife, Montserrat. He was the perfect host whilst simultaneously giving his full attention to questions about his career. People say of Jimenez that he is comfortable in his own skin and he is absolutely that. Far from being embarrassed by his beginnings as a caddie, he is inordinately proud of being the last of a long line of Spaniards to have played their way on to the European Tour via the caddie ranks. He may have a reputation as a bit of a ladies’ man but Jimenez manages to remain on good terms with Montserrat and has a lovely relationship with his two sons, Miguel Angel and Victor.  Miguel Angel, the older at 19, is now at university in the United States but was with his father when he won in Gerona.

Miguel Angel Jnr had watched his father many times but this was only the second occasion he had seen him win and the first time in 15 years. Since Jiménez’s new bride was back home in Austria that week, the victory – it was at the first extra hole, just like at Fanling – made for the best of father-son moments. With regard to the new bride, there was something which Jiménez wanted to make clear. Namely, that this was his second marriage rather than his third. The confusion, he explained, had arisen because Maria, the girlfriend in the middle of the two wives, bore the ‘Jiménez’ surname without being related to him in any way. The new edition is called Susanna and works as a bank auditor. “I may be 50,” said Jiménez, “but good things keep happening to me – first the wedding and now I win the Spanish Open.” It’s not outside the realms of possibility that the good things will extend to everyone’s favourite player claiming his fifth Hong Kong Open this month. HKGOLFER.COM


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MEMORABLE MOMENTS

Through

Years

the

The 2013 Hong Kong Open, which saw Miguel Angel Jiménez overcome Prom Meesawat and Stuart Manley on the first hole of a sudden-death play-off for his fourth victory, provided tremendous drama. But as Alex Jenkins explains, Hong Kong’s oldest professional sporting event has a habit of producing more than its fair share of memorable moments.

1959

Playing for a prize fund of HK$2,000 stumped up by the South China Morning Post, the inaugural event might not have had the glamour of today’s tournaments, but it produced a very worthy winner in Taiwanese ace Lu Liang-huan. Lu, who was the head pro at Fanling at the time, would later go on to star at the 1971 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale where he finished second to Lee Trevino. Nicknamed “Mr Lu” by the British press, the Taiwanese became the darling of the Open galleries thanks to his cheery demeanor and bright-blue pork pie hat. Lu would later repeat his Fanling success with victory at the 1974 Hong Kong Open.

1967

AFP

Five-time Open champion Peter Thomson bagged his third Hong Kong Open title of the decade with his 1967 victory at Fanling. Thomson, who is credited with kick-starting the first series of professional events in Asia, was 38 when he completed his hat-trick and, with his enviably orthodox and rhythmical swing, invariably dominated proceedings at the Hong Kong Golf Club. The Australian, who favoured discussions on politics and listening to classical music to drinking beer and talking about sport, now runs a flourishing course design business. 52

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Clockwise from left: three-time Hong Kong champion Peter Thomson; Greg Norman, the 1979 winner; David Frost survived a scare from Craig McCellan in 1994; “Mr Lu”, the championship’s first winner

1979

Thirty-five years ago a young Australian pitched up at Fanling and wowed the galleries with his untamed blonde hair, good looks and aggressive golf game. Greg Norman had only turned pro two years previously but played like a seasoned veteran in winning the 1979 title. He would later add the 1983 Hong Kong Open to his impressive list of achievements. Despite only winning two majors – the 1986 and 1993 Open Championships – the “Shark” is considered a legend in his home country, inspiring tens of thousands of children – including last year’s Masters winner Adam Scott – to start playing the game. HKGOLFER.COM

1994

American journeyman pro Craig McClellan stood in the middle of the 18th fairway of the final round needing an eagle two to force a play-off with South African stalwart David Frost. Incredibly, McClellan did exactly that by holing his seveniron from 160 yards away, but succumbed to the pressure in extra time as Frost walked away with the title. Nevertheless, McClellan’s shot ranks alongside that of Lin Wen-tang’s [see 2008] as the finest (or luckiest) in the history of the event.

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2001

Voted as one of the best shots ever at a European Tour event, José Maria Olazábal’s raking fiveiron from the trees on the last hole to set up an easy tap-in birdie provided one of the most exciting climaxes at a Hong Kong Open in living memory. Having trailed Adam Scott and Norway’s Henrik Bjornstad for much of the final round, the Spaniard paved the way for victory following a spectacular birdie-birdie-birdie finish. Speaking afterwards, Olazábal said: “You don’t finish with three birdies knowing you have to do it. I pulled it off with a bit of luck and one well executed shot.”

2005

The f irst Hong Kong Open in the UBS sponsorship era started as it had finished with Omega the year before – with a another finalhole collapse by James Kingston. A 64 on Saturday had propelled the likeable South African into contention, and when overnight leader Simon Yates – who had a brilliant 61 in the third round – stumbled early, Kingston found himself in sole possession of the lead. Standing on the final tee with a one-stroke advantage over the newly installed European number one Colin Montgomerie, Kingston was determined not to repeat his mistake from the year before where he hit his ball left with a three-wood. He didn’t. Taking a two-iron, the journeyman pushed his tee shot deep into the trees on the right. A chip back to the fairway was followed by an under-cooked wedge which spun off the front of the green. With the spectators expecting him to get up and down from a relatively straightforward position (and therefore extend the tournament into extra holes), Kingston semi-duffed his chip to 10 feet and then missed the putt. A huge groan reverberated around Fanling and Monty was crowned the winner. A teary-eyed Kingston told the assembled press: “I just messed up again for the second straight year. It’s obviously disappointing with the way I finished but that’s golf. I was just so nervous.”

2008 Patrick Leung (Lin); AFP

The 50th anniversary tournament surely ranks as one of the greatest European Tour events of all time, but the fun started long before eventual champion Lin Wen-tang, Rory McIlroy and Francesco Molinari reached the closing stages. First there was Jason Hak, the 14-year-old amateur from Hong Kong who became the youngest player in European Tour history to 54

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Clockwise from left: Lin Wen-tang pulls off the greatest of miracles in 2008; James Kingston finds trouble; José María Olazábal pulled off a brilliant victory in 2001

make the cut. He celebrated making the weekend action by upstaging José Maria Olazábal – his playing partner in the final round – by outscoring the legendary Spaniard 68 to 69. Then there was John Daly, who kept the driver in the bag and blitzed his way to a stellar 62 on Sunday. But what made this championship was the play-off, which saw Lin become the first Asian player to win the title since Kang Wook-soon in 1998. After pulling his drive into trouble on the first extra hole, Lin, with his opponents safely in the fairway, looked dead and buried. With nothing to lose, the Taiwanese, a regular on the Asian Tour, pulled out a short iron and fired his approach through the foliage, over the greenside bunker to within four feet of the cup. It was nothing short of miraculous, but the drama didn’t end there. McIlroy, who at the time was still without a professional tournament victory to his credit, pitched brilliantly to within tap56

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in distance, and after Molinari narrowly missed his own 10-footer for birdie and Lin holed out, the play-off was down to two. Standing on the 18th tee for the third time of the afternoon, it was McIlroy’s turn to find trouble. Using his hybrid, his drive bounced off the Out of Bounds fence that lines the left side of the hole and finished in a horrible position at the bottom of a tree, not far from where Lin had made his great escape. Buoyed by his good fortune, Lin struck what looked to be a winning drive down the middle of the fairway. But then it was McIlroy’s turn to produce some magic. With 118 yards to go, but with no sight of the pin, the 19-year-old from Northern Ireland snap-hooked a gap-wedge loaded with spin that somehow caught the back of the green and stopped within 12 feet of the flag. High-fiving his caddie, the Irishman was justifiably delighted – but only for a moment, because Lin then pulled off another gem, firing his own wedge to within inches for a cast-iron birdie. Whipping his cap off to the roar of the crowds, it was this shot, rather than his previous miracle approach that showed his sheer determination to win. Up at the green, McIlroy faced a ghastly birdie putt: lighting quick, downhill and with significant left-to-right break. Perhaps not surprisingly, his effort sailed past, and after knocking it in for par the stage was set for Lin, 50 years after Mr Lu had won the inaugural championship, to tap his in for the greatest of victories. HKGOLFER.COM


2010

The 2010 championship was another classic, with Ian Poulter sealing his 10th European Tour title with a tournament record total of 258 (22-under-par). But the Englishman was made to work every inch of the way. Poulter had a decidedly hot putter to thank after taking the second round lead with a jawdropping 10-under-par 60. Consistently hitting the ball to the centre of the small Fanling greens, the 34-year-old was rolling in 10-15-footers with amazing regularity. But come the final round and Poulter, who had followed up with a 64 in the third round, was having to fend off the challenges mounted firstly by former winner Simon Dyson and then Italian teenage phenomenon Matteo Manassero, who fought his way right back into the tournament with a magnificent 62. Rory McIlroy, who had fired the low round on day one with a 63, was in the hunt yet again, but faded over the closing holes. Poulter, who was playing with Graeme McDowell in the f inal group, made the tournament his own with an assured stretch of holes on the back nine, and could afford to bogey the last hole to claim the win by the slimmest of margins. For the record, Poulter made only two bogeys during the entire event, which highlights how unusually friendly the scoring conditions were at Fanling that week.

2011

Charles McLaughlin (Poulter and McIlroy); Daniel Wong (Jimenez)

Rory McIlroy says he loves Hong Kong, and Hong Kong certainly loves him, so it was with no small amount of pleasure to see the Northern Irishman finally seal his first win on Fanling soil with one of the greatest finishes in the tournament’s history. After opening with a superb 64 in blustery conditions, McIlroy failed to make much headway over the next two rounds, carding lacklustre rounds of 69 and 70 to fall three shots off the pace set by Alvaro Quiros, the long-hitting Spaniard. But the final round was a different matter. While Quiros struggled early on Sunday to fall out of contention, McIlroy was magnificent. Fending off the twin challenges of Sweden’s Peter Hanson and playing partner Grégory Havret of France, the 22-year-old reached the 18th hole with a slender one-shot lead. Electing to go with a “hard three-wood” into the wind, McIlroy tugged his drive ever so slightly but it managed to defy science and instead of bounding out-of-bounds, kicked right and into a good lie in the rough some 95 yards from the flag. 58

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Clockwise from left: A third win arrived for Jiménez in 2012; Rory McIlroy couldn’t contain his delight after holing his bunker shot at the final hole a year earlier; Ian Poulter put on a superb putting show to post a record total in 2010 Not that the tournament was over. Catching his pitch maybe a groove too high, McI lroy ’s shot fou nd t he treacherous greenside bunker. With Havret struggling to save par after finding trouble off the tee, the world number two knew that an up-and-down would clinch the title he so craved. But trust McIlroy – coming off the most impressive season of his career – to finish with aplomb. Splashing delicately from some distance below the level of the green, the shot landed softly and trundled unerringly – brilliantly – into the bottom of the cup to complete a marvellous 65 and a twoshot victory. Flinging himself into a celebration quite unlike any we have seen from him before, McIlroy pumped his fist and let out wild screams of joy. It was simply amazing stuff. “I wanted to win this tournament so badly since that playoff in 2008, but finally, to get this trophy in my hands, is very special,” said that year’s US Open winner, who first visited Hong Kong in 2005 when he played the Faldo Series International Trophy. “I’ve loved this city, I’ve loved this golf course, I’ve loved this tournament ever since I got here ... this is definitely one of my favourites.” HKGOLFER.COM

2012

Making only two bogeys all week, Miguel Angel Jiménez held off the challenge of a rejuvenated Fredrik Andersson Hed to win by just one shot at an event that through up plenty of surprises along the way. Jiménez aside, the veterans flourished at Fanling, with New Zealand’s Michael Campbell and Zhang Lian-wei of China featuring on the leader board for most of the tournament before falling back on an enthralling final day. But it was the form of world number one Rory McIlroy that raised more than a few eyebrows. The defending champion opened up with a poor 73 and, despite a bright start to his second round, went into freefall on the back nine to miss the cut. Twentyfour hours later, McIlroy was sunning himself on a Dubai beach with his then tennis-star girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki. Not that Jiménez cared about any of that. With his trade mark cigar in hand, the Spaniard was effusive when asked about his remarkable longevity. “This is maybe the olive oil in my joints, and the nice Rioja wine and those things that keep you fit and flexible,” he beamed. HK GOLFER・OCT 2014

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From the President It might only be October but the Hong Kong Open is already upon us. The tournament ’s new date, before t he European Tou r ’s Fi na l S er ie s, i s proving beneficial and I am delighted to say that in Ernie Els and defending champion Miguel Angel Jiménez we have attracted real star quality. For whatever reason, Fa n l i n g h a s pro du c e d more than its fair share of amazing finishes, which you c a n read ab out i n this issue of HK Golfer, and who is to say the same won’t happen this time around. Certainly, with the best players from both the European and Asian Tours making their way to the Hong Kong Golf Club the stage is set for another brilliant week. E l s , t he t a l l S out h A f r ic a n who ha s fou r major championship victories to his name, will be making his debut at Hong Kong’s oldest professional event, but he has experience of Fanling, having played in the Alfred Dunhill Championship back in the 1990s. I’m sure he’ll

be one of the fan favourites during the week and many of the spectators, both young and the not-so-young alike will go away from the event trying their best to replicate his silky-smooth swing. To stage a n event of t he magn it ude of t he Hong Kong Open requires many hard-working individuals and organizations, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank both the Hong Kong Golf Club for their generous support as well as the Government’s Major Sports Events Committee (MSEC) for providing us with “M” Mark status for the 10th consecutive year. The volunteers, the majority of whom are HKGA subscribers, deserve great credit too and I hope to see you out at Fanling from 16-19 October. Joining the professionals in the field at the Hong Kong Open will be three Hong Kong amateurs: Martin Liu, who won the Hong Kong Close Amateur title over the Lunar New Year holiday, Doug Williams, who earned his place through qualifying last month and Michael Regan Wong, who secured his spot after winning last month’s Hong Kong Open Amateur Championship at Discovery Bay. I would like to congratulate them on their fine achievements and wish them the very best of luck. I, like many of fellow amateur enthusiasts, will be cheering them on from behind the ropes. Enjoy the week. Ning Li President

HK’s Isabella Scoops First College Title

Daniel Wong

Hong Kong’s Isabella Leung captured her f irst US college event since joining the University of Hawaii when she cruised to a three-stroke win at the season-opening Oregon State Invitational last month. Leung was the only golfer to f inish the tournament under par at one-under 215. She opened up with a blistering 67 before closing with rounds of 75 and 73 over the course at Trysting Tree Golf Club. She became the first University of Hawaii women’s golfer to win a tournament title in eight years. 60

HK GOLFER・OCT 2014

“I was kind of shocked to be honest because I didn’t think I played that well today,” Leung said. “I guess everyone else struggled out there with the tough pin placements. I’m happy because this is my first college win and I’m glad to get it out of the way.” With more than 10 junior titles in Hong Kong, Leung lists this victory among the top moments of her young career. “This is pretty special and it ranks right up there, especially because I broke my personal best in this tournament,” added Leung. HKGOLFER.COM


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HKGA | HONG KONG OPEN AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP

MRW to the

Makes It

Open

Blemish-free final round gives Wong the title and a spot at the Hong Kong Open. Photography by Daniel Wong

M

To the victor go the spoils

FINAL OVERALL STANDINGS

62

1

Michael Regan Wong (HKG)

72 74 69

215

2

Isaac Lam (HKG)

71 76 69

216

3

Shinichi Mizuno (HKG)

74 72 74

220

4

Ho Yu Cheng (TPE)

72 72 77

221

5

Oliver Roberts (HKG)

75 74 73

222

6

Leon Philip D’Souza (HKG)

79 70 74

223

7

Steven Lam (HKG)

76 74 74

224

8

Jack Tsai (TPE)

78 74 73

225

9

Doug Williams (HKG)

79 74 73

226

10= Stuart Murray (HKG)

80 74 74

228

74 76 78

228

Michael Stott (HKG)

HK GOLFER・OCT 2014

ichael Rega n Wong beca me the first local golfer to win the Hong Kong Open A mateu r Championship in four years – and with it a berth in this month’s Hong Kong Open – t ha n k s to a flawless display at Discovery Bay Golf Club on 19 September. Wong, 17, fired a bogey-free final-round 69 to finish on a three-day total of 215 (two-over-par) to edge fellow national squad member and close friend Isaac Lam, 15, by a single shot. Shinichi Mizuno, arguably the pre-tournament favourite following a consistent run of form in recent months, placed third, a further four shots back. “I had two goals this year – to finish in the top 30 at the World Juniors and to qualify for the Hong Kong Open. I wasn’t able to do the first but it feels great to have achieved the second,” said Wong, who got up and down from a tricky position at the final hole to land his biggest ever win. The South Island School student, who is aiming for a college place in the United States next September, started the round two shots behind overnight leader Ho Yu-cheng of Chinese Taipei. But as Ho struggled, both Wong and Lam shone, with the latter holding a one-stroke advantage going into the penultimate hole. A Wong par at the difficult 17th, a hole Lam bogeyed, tied things up and a disappointing three-putt at the last by the younger player gifted victory to Wong, who followed in the footsteps of 2010 champion Liu Lok-tin, the last Hong Kong winner of the national amateur title. Chinese Taipei’s Jack Tsai scooped the Mid Amateur Championship prize, the over-25 competition that was played concurrently with the main event, with a total of 225, one shot ahead of Hong Kong’s Doug Williams and three ahead of both Stuart Murray and Michael Stott. HKGOLFER.COM


Pre-tournament favourite Shinichi Mizuno

Second-round leader Ho Yu-cheng

Michael Regan Wong in action

Runner-up Isaac Lam

It was another consistent showing by Leon D’Souza

Mid-Amateur champion Jack Tsai of Chinese Taipei

Former HKGA President William Chung with the silverware recipients HKGOLFER.COM

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HKGA | HONG KONG OPEN QUALIFYING

Trio to

Tee it Up

at Fanling Wong Woon-man led from start to finish to win one of three spots available at the Hong Kong Open Qualifying Tournament, which was hosted at Fanling early last month.

S

Daniel Wong

easoned professionals Wong Woonman and Wilson Choy, together with one of Hong Kong’s top amateurs Doug Williams, will join four-time major winner Ernie Els and defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez at this month’s Hong Kong Open after finishing in the top three of the Qualifying Tournament at the Hong Kong Golf Club last month. The trio found themselves at the top of the leaderboard amongst a field that started with 43 after two rounds of play to secure well-deserved playing spots at the 56th Hong Kong Open. Organized by the Hong Kong Golf Association, local talents are invited to participate in the Hong Kong Open Qualifying Tournament every year to compete for the chance to come face-to-face and test their skills against some of the best golfers in the world. Wong, who won by seven shots after two solid rounds of 68, simply could not hide his excitement at the prospect of going head-to-head against world class champions: “I am extremely happy. It has been hot and quite tough these two days but I am satisfied with the way I played. I hope we, as local Hong Kong players, can play well at the Hong Kong Open so we can showcase what we can do, and create more awareness for the sport of golf in Hong Kong.”

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C

M

Y

CM

MY

CY

CMY

K

Doug Williams, Wong Woon-man and Wilson Choy

I hope we, as local Hong Kong players, can play well at the Hong Kong Open so we can showcase what we can do, and create more awareness for the sport of golf in Hong Kong. He added, “With the participation of Ernie Els, there will be more attention paid to the tournament, which can only be a good thing.” Williams, who has enjoyed a rich vein of form over the past 18 months, played in the Hong Kong Open last year and is hoping to improve upon that performance, when he recorded rounds of 76 and 77 to miss the cut. “It’s a fun week and hopefully I can get off to a good start and try to build on that this time around,” he said. HKGOLFER.COM


TOURNAMENT PREVIEW | THE VENETIAN MACAU OPEN

AFP

Ernie Els will be making his second appearance at this month’s Venetian Macau Open, a week after he makes his Hong Kong Open debut

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In the

Mood

for

Macau

In the week following the Hong Kong Open, Ernie Els and Miguel Angel Jiménez will take the short journey across the Pearl River Delta to play in the ever-popular Venetian Macau Open.

T

he Macau Open, which will be played between 23-26 October, has long been a favoured stop on the Asian Tour, and for good reason. The Macau Golf and Country Club, and the risk/reward nature of its tricky layout, is a fine venue, while the myriad off-course attractions of the former Portuguese colony – from glitzy casinos, outstanding restaurants and vibrant nightlife – are a draw themselves for the 140plus field of young professionals, particularly at the beginning and end of tournament week. But these days there is an extra incentive. Since the Venetian Macao took over the role of title sponsor in 2012 – and incidentally becoming in the process the first title sponsor in the tournament's 15-year history – the prize purse has grown from a relatively paltry US$300,000 to an impressive US$900,000, making it one of the richest single-sanctioned Asian Tour events on the playing calendar. For years golf industry insiders have long seen Macau as a tournament with tremendous potential. And while US$900,000 is still a world away from the mega millions that are on offer at the continent's richest events in Shanghai – the BMW Masters and the WGCHKGOLFER.COM

HSBC Champions, which will be in the immediate weeks after Macau – the Venetian's input is to be applauded. As we have seen with both the Hong Kong and Singapore Opens, garnering golf tournament sponsorship is far from straightforward – even in Asia, which has been far less afflicted by the affects of the Global Financial Crisis than either Europe or the United States. The future it seems is bright for the Macau Open, and for those of us who want to see high-quality professional golf, this is great news. More money generally – but not always – equates to stronger fields, and this month's event will likely boast arguably the best collection of players in Macau Open history. The biggest news is that four-time major champion Ernie Els is back – indeed, he is likely to become a regular fixture having signed a sponsorship deal with the Venetian Macao Resort – but we can expect to also see the cream of Asian golf – the likes of Thongchai Jaidee, 2012 champion Gaganjeet Bhullar, China's Liang Wen-chong and runaway Order of Merit leader David Lipsky – to tee it up at scenic, cliff-top course. The other major news? Miguel Angel Jiménez is joining Els in the helicopter over from the Hong Kong Open to tee it up in Macau for the very first time … HK GOLFER・OCT 2014

67


ERNIE ELS Q&A

PAST WINNERS

Can you talk about your experience at the Venetian Macau Open last year?

2013

Scott Hend

AUS

2012

Gaganjeet Bhullar

IND

2011

Chan Yih-shin

TPE

2010

Not Played

2009

Thaworn Wiratchant

THA

2008

David Gleeson

AUS

2007

Lu Wen-teh

TPE

2006

Kane Webber

AUS

2005

Wang Ter-chang

TPE

2004

Jason Knutzon

USA

2003

Colin Montgomerie

SCO

2002

Zhang Lian-wei

CHN

2001

Zhang Lian-wei

CHN

2000

Simon Dyson

ENG

1999

Lee Westwood

ENG

1998

Satoshi Oide

JPN

We had a great time. We flew in quite late because we had a tournament in Las Vegas, but I played the Pro-Am there and had a great time at the event. I think it’s an old-style golf course that is in very good shape and the greens got quite fast over the weekend. I played with Scott Hend in the last few rounds, he beat me squarely and fairly, I ended up third in the end, but I really had a good time. The fans, the people were wonderful. We had a few wonderful dinners at the Venetian Macao Resort. I had some good steak there, couple of good bottles of red. We just had a wonderful time. I think the whole field of golfers had a great time. I didn’t do too much gambling but I was at the pool at the resort. I was actually quite blown away by the scale of the resort and the rooms are all en-suite. I’ve been to a lot of places but The Venetian really blew me away, so I really wanted to come back. We struck a deal with them, so you will be seeing me in the next couple of years playing at the event. I am really excited about it. Your deal with the Venetian – what initiatives are you going to be working on with them? Well, it’s mainly to promote the resort to the world. And really to work with the golf tournament and with IMG to promote the Venetian Macau Open to the world, to do as much as I can. I am an Asian Tour Ambassador also, so it makes a lot of sense to play in Asia every year and try to promote the Tour. I think it is a wonderful company, so we will be doing a lot of work in this one [2014 event] with the Venetian Macao to promote the resort to worldwide audience. Joining you in the field in Macau will be the EurAsia Cup captains, Miguel Angel Jiménez and Thongchai Jaidee, which makes this arguably the strongest Macau Open field of all time … Well, at least they are close to my age so we have a lot of experience. I have known Thongchai for a very long time, over 20 years. I have known Miguel for an even longer time, so they are very good friends of mine. We have played all around the world and they are both great champions. Miguel Angel is a legend on the European Tour, he has won so many events – he has won the Hong Kong Open four times! He is a very popular man in the region, and he brings a lot to the tournament. He is a very interesting guy, he loves his life, cigars and red wine. I think for the event, Miguel is the perfect guy to bring and Thongchai, with his Asian Tour roots, is another great attraction. I think the tournament has done really well getting these kinds of players, and I know they will play well because they are good competitors, they want to win. I think they will be a great force for the tournament.

Since the Venetian Macao took over the role of title sponsor in 2012 the prize purse has grown from a relatively paltry US$300,000 to an impressive US$900,000. 2013 winner Scott Hend of Australia

Jiménez has been is tremendous form over the past 12 months, breaking the record of being the oldest winner on the European Tour and playing really well at the EurAsia Cup. What do you think is his secret to success?

AFP

It’s just his love for the game, he does everything well; he has got a great passion in the game. He is quite relaxed about his lifestyle and so on. He just got married again so he deserves a great time playing golf. He does not put a lot of pressure on himself and he enjoys himself, so I think he gets the best out of the game that way.

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FASHION

Vegas

Highights Kane Carpenter checks out the products that stood out from the rest at the inaugural PGA Fashion & Demo Experience, which took place in Nevada late August. Golf tradeshows serve as a vital opportunity for retailers and PGA Professionals to stock their stores and pro-shop shelves with exciting gear and new products. Manufacturers and brands showcase their latest creations, as well as upcoming collections, in hopes to garner orders that showcase their brands to the golfing public. Well, tradeshows are exhilarating for writers and media outlets, too, as we get to see, touch, and check out new gear that few get to see until later. And this was truly the case at this year’s PGA Fashion and Demo Experience in Las Vegas. Held in mid-August at the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas, this year’s event was the first time the show floor was limited to apparel and accessories brands, with an off-site equipment showcase at nearby Cascata Golf Club. From iconic brands, such as J.Lindeberg and ECCO Shoes, to smaller boutique labels such as QED Style and Seamus Golf, all showcasing their current Fall 2014 and upcoming Spring 2015 collections of clothing, accessories and gadgets, the show floor provided a look into what will soon be on the shelves of your favourite retailers. Here are five highlights from the PGA Fashion and Demo Experience that were immediate eye-catchers: 70

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The Rose and Fire Glow-in-the-Dark Headcover Rose and Fire is a boutique putter and headcover brand that focuses on utilizing fabrics often seen in fashion and the military, to create functional and purposeful accessories that keep your favourite golf clubs protected. The highly limited Glow-in-the-Dark putter cover, which has only been distributed to Japan, was inspired by a pair of denim jeans founder Mike Buchfuhrer saw that his cousins had created. “People ask me why you need a glow in the dark cover,” says Buchfuhrer. “And the answer is simple. You don’t. But it’s awesome.” Along with the unique finishing to the putter cover, Buchfuhrer uses several other premium products to round off the creation, including a solid brass loop on the toe for easy removal, carrying, and fastening, a zippered coin storage pocket, a genuine leather badge with a debossed Rose and Fire logo, as well as certified military grade Velcro for the closure. “We try to make things that are more sophisticated,” says Buchfuhrer, on his brand’s design philosophy. “But we never forget that you need to have a sense of fun to pursue your creativity.” Rose and Fire headcovers are available to buy on the brand’s website. From US$40. roseandfire.com

The CHASE54 Vivante Ladies Jacket CHASE54 is an up-and-coming golf apparel brand that prides itself on making use of the most contemporary and technologically advanced fabrics to create simple and stylish golf clothing suitable for any climate. With a current Fall 2014 offering that showcases the brand’s inaugural collaboration with designer Lulu Faddis, the Chase54 Spring 2015 collection features some exciting pieces that take the use of high-end fabrics to another level. One of the more popular and eye-catching pieces from the brand’s upcoming Spring 2015 collection was the ladies Vivante hooded utility jacket. “The Vivante features a 4-way stretch, and it’s very lightweight,” says Faddis. “It’s a hoodie inspired by everyday lifestyle wear. We wanted a piece that could be used for everything. You could wear this to play golf, or wear it at night when you go out, pairing it with a tank top and a pair of jeans.” The CHASE54 Vivante jacket will sell from US$96. chase54.com HKGOLFER.COM

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71


A Limited Edition Seamus Golf Red Tartan Zippered Pouch Oregon-based golf accessories brand Seamus Golf has been the apple of the golf industry’s eye since its introduction of unique tartan headcovers a few years ago. Subsequently, the brand’s creations have been seen in the golf bags of players all over the world. But inimitable headcovers aside, one of the highlights of the PGA Fashion and Demo Experience was the opportunity to see co-founder Akbar Chisti hand stamp custom steel and copper ball markers on-site. In speaking with him, Chisti produced a one-of-akind Limited Edition Red Tartan Zippered Pouch that his wife and co-founder, Megan, had put together by hand prior to the show. Meant to be used for another from storing golf tees and coins, to golf balls and ball markers, the versatile Zippered Pouch is not only a stylish addition to the golf bag, but a option for everyday use alongside your wallet and keychain. seaumusgolf.com

The Wolsey x Tricker’s White Leather Golf Shoe When British heritage brands Wolsey and Tricker’s announced their collaboration earlier this year, the fashion world was curious to see what kind of product the pair would create together. The Wolsey and Trickers White Leather Golf Shoe, priced at US$640, epitomize the two brands in its aesthetic simplicity, use of premium materials, and polished design. Inspired by Wolsey’s “Less is More” design philosophy, the collaborative golf shoe is the first time Tricker’s has produced a retail-ready golf shoe, having previously only created bespoke models. As for the details, the white leather shoes are designed with calf leather uppers and linings. Of particular highlight are the leather insoles in Wolsey’s signature red and a stitched leather outsole. trendygolf.com

The QED Style Logan Polo Shirt QED Style is a golfing apparel brand that takes its aesthetic from iconic images of James Dean and the old-Western aura. Launched in 2011 by Mike McRae, QED Style was born out of a thirst for golf clothing to be “more clothes and less golf.” The QED Style Logan Polo (US$84) is a staple of the brand’s shirt offering, and has been updated for Spring 2015. Distinctly inspired by old-world America, the Logan is constructed of 100% polyester, making it ideal for warmer climates due to its moisturewicking properties. What contributes to the Western look is the white contrast stitch that runs along the entirety of the polo, but smaller features such as the four snap button placket, and snaps that are coloured differently to match the color of the polo itself, make the QED Style Logan Polo an eye-catching Spring 2015 piece. qedstyle.com About Kane Carpenter Hong Kong-based Kane is editor of MINORHOUSE, an online publication and store focusing on the golf fashion and lifestyle marketplace. For more information visit minorhouse.com 72

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HONG KONG’S SCARIEST HOLES

Card

Wreckers

For a place that isn’t exactly overrun with courses, Hong Kong doesn’t lack when it comes to intimidating tee shots and dangerous approaches. Alex Jenkins selects the scariest holes in the city. Photography by Alex Jenkins

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14th Hole, East Course The Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau 366 yards, Par-4

Six years on since the Nelson & Haworth-designed East Course opened and the signature 14th still strikes fear into all that play it. But it shouldn’t be that way. The cliff-top fairway certainly should be wide enough to accommodate a less-than-perfect drive but as is so often the case, it’s the effect on the mind that makes this short but stunning par4 so intimidating. Miss left and you have no chance; spray it right and you may as well delve into your bag for another ball. Caramba. Fear Factor: 7

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HK GOLFER・OCT 2014

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3rd Hole, Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club 402 yards, Par-4

Hong Kong’s answer to Pebble Beach, Clearwater Bay is home to any number of breathtaking holes, but it’s the third, a meaty par-4 of over 400 yards that plays out onto a peninsula jutting out into the South China Sea, that earns the plaudits in terms of both beauty and fear. A perfect drive is one that flies over rocks, crashing surf and bunkers to the left side of the fairway, which gives the optimal line to the well-protected green. Fours are to be cherished but just seeing your ball finish up on dry land is something to be savoured in itself. Fear Factor: 9

3rd Hole, SkyCity Nine Eagles Golf Course 100 yards, Par-3

For a hole that only measures 100 yards, the appropriately-named "Sahara" is deceptively tricky. Surrounded on three sides by an ocean of sand, the difficulty lies in the narrowness of the raised green. Miss the target left or right and you're faced with a delicate splash that needs to stop quickly. The sight of players repeatedly hitting from one side of the hazard to the other is commonplace. Fear Factor: 6

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9th Hole, Ruby Course, Discovery Bay Golf Club 536 yards, Par-5

Picture the scene: you’re having the round of your life as you reach the tee at the ninth on the Ruby Course, which traditionally plays as the final hole in competition play. Needing a par to break your personal best you steady yourself in preparation for a drive that has to contend with out-of-bounds on both sides of the fairway. Find the cut grass and the rest should be simple enough. But try as you might you can’t get those OB stakes out of your mind – indeed they’re there for all to see. Miss the fairway on the right and your ball will descend several hundred feet off the cliff’s edge. Pull it left and you’re contending with the road down to the ferry pier. What will you do? Fear Factor: 7

18th, Eden Course, Hong Kong Golf Club 410 yards, Par-4

The Hong Kong Open's famous closer, "Ultimate" has witnessed more championship drama than arguably any other hole on the European Tour, with a heady mixture of agony and ecstasy characterizing the scene on the final green. Even if the drive has avoided both trees and bunkers the approach needs to be struck cleanly to carry the pond that fronts the contoured green. A fantastic test, the 18th really does separate the men from the boys.

Courtesy of The Hong Kong Golf Club / Richard Castka

Fear Factor: 8

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14th, North Course, The Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau 205-yards, Par-3

Surely a contender for the most thrilling one-shotter in Greater China, the tee shot on this Gary Playerdesigned hole must be hit perfectly to carry ocean, mangrove and a golf ball-gobbling bank that fronts the extremely tilted green. Even though the very back tee is seldom used these days – even in tournament play it normally plays at around the 180-yard mark, this is one of the most exposed corners of the course, meaning wind is almost always a factor. Fear Factor: 10

1st Hole, Diamond Course, Discovery Bay Golf Club 369 yards, Par-4

Opening tee shots don't get much more daunting than on this mid-length par-4, particularly from the back tee when a solid hit is required to carry the ravine that snakes its way in front and to the right of the narrow fairway. The tendency is to overcompensate by aiming too far left, which brings the cart path – and the potential for a horrendous bounce into thick foliage – into play. Find the landing area and the approach is pretty straightforward. It's all about the drive. Fear Factor: 8

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PROPERTY | SPECIAL

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W

elcome to my latest article discussing the hot topic of residential property investment, letting, management and sale in the United Kingdom. Please take a look at the HK Golfer website to access all previous articles on the subject. My name is Rupert Smith and I am the founding director of Complete Residential Property Investments Ltd (hereinafter CRPI). We are a specialist property investment company offering a unique and results-orientated commercial approach to UK property Investment. Established in April 2001 I have built up the business based upon a results-orientated commercial approach to the ownership of UK residential investment property. The topic of discussion in this issue is that of insurance, and like all insurance this always seems expensive until such time it is actually required and then invariably it seems cheap! In my experience this area is one that amazingly seems to be forgotten and rears its ugly head when it’s too late … most property managers in the UK are not licenced to sell insurance products unless they are registered to do so and the topic seems to fall into the abyss. PROTECTING YOUR INVESTMENT For clarity sake most owners of investment property perceive that the property is insured through payment of Block Service Charge in an apartment building, which is not always the case. Generally this policy would insure the fabric of the overall building, not your specific property. BUILDINGS INSURANCE Buildings insurance covers damage to the actual structure of your home, such as the roof, walls, floors, ceilings and foundations. For example, if your house is destroyed or rendered uninhabitable, you can claim the cost to rebuild or carry out the necessary repairs. Normally, you will also be able to claim the cost of alternative accommodation while the rebuilding work is undertaken, as well as any legal costs arising from damage to your home. Buildings insurance may also include outbuildings such as sheds or garages. Importantly, you should always ensure that there is proper insurance in place from the moment you become responsible for the premises, even if this is before moving in. Typically, buildings insurance covers: • • • • •

Subsidence of the foundations of your home Damage by falling objects such as trees, aerials, aircraft parts Collision damage, e.g. if someone drives into your home Burst pipes, tanks, damaged boilers and floods Damage caused during a civil riot

In some cases, you can make smaller claims on your policy for damage caused by less destructive means, including smoke and broken windows. However, the policy will not 82

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cover basic wear and tear and may exclude certain events such as damage caused by terrorism. These exclusions vary from policy to policy and between the various insurance companies. It is always worth checking the policy details so that you know the risks you are not insured against. If you have a mortgage, your lender will insist that you have buildings insurance. If you don’t, it is usually advisable to have buildings insurance anyway to protect yourself. HOW MUCH BUILDINGS INSURANCE DO I NEED? The level of insurance you arrange should be enough to cover the total rebuilding of the premises. However, the rebuilding cost of a building is not the same as its market value. Depending upon the type of property, the rebuilding cost could be more or less than the property valuation were it for sale. You can find out the value from a recent mortgage survey, or by paying a surveyor to carry out a rebuilding estimate survey. If your property is very valuable or is a listed building, it is certainly worth obtaining a professional valuation first. Most insurance companies ‘index link’ the level of their cover year on year. This means that the amount of cover offered by the policy will keep up with inflation, although premiums also tend to go up annually. It is wise to fully review your policy every two or three years to ensure that the cover remains adequate for your needs. DO I HAVE TO TAKE OUT BUILDINGS INSURANCE WITH MY MORTGAGE LENDER? Most lenders make it a requirement of your mortgage advance that you take out a buildings insurance policy to protect your property from damage, and many will offer their own policy at the time you take out the mortgage. However, there is no guarantee that your mortgage lender will offer the most comprehensive policy, so you should always consider finding an alternative. Differences between policies include: HKGOLFER.COM


• •

• • • •

Accidental damage. This may simply cover broken door glass or extend to damage to all the fixtures and fittings in your home The policy excess. This is where you agree to be responsible for the initial part of any claim for damage. The more you agree to be responsible for, the lower your insurance premium is likely to be The provision of a 24-hour helpline D is co u nt s o n p ay i n g a n a n n u a l premium rather than a monthly one Discounts for those over 50 Many, but not all, buildings insurance policies are combined with contents insurance

I OWN A FLAT/APARTMENT: DO I NEED TO ARRANGE BUILDINGS INSURANCE? If you own an apartment or flat that is part of a bigger building, you should ensure the owners of the freehold have adequate buildings insurance in place and that this covers your property. After all, damage to the infrastructure of the building may have an impact on your property or could even destroy it. If you are not satisfied, you can always take out extra cover. If, on the other hand, you rent a property, it is normally the responsibility of the owners of the freehold or their managing agents to arrange insurance cover. MY PROPERTY IS RENTED TO TENANTS: DO I NEED BUILDINGS INSURANCE? It is important to insure the premises irrespective of whether you personally are living there. If you do have tenants, you should consult with your insurance company to make sure your policy covers properties that are rented. MY PROPERTY IS CURRENTLY UNOCCUPIED: DO I NEED BUILDINGS INSURANCE? It is still important to insure a property that is lying empty. However, it can sometimes be slightly more difficult to obtain the cover. The premiums may be higher for the period that the building is empty. CAN I CHANGE MY POLICY AFTER I HAVE TAKEN IT OUT? You can elect to change your buildings insurance policy as often as you like, although you should make sure that your property remains properly insured during the change over period from one insurer to another. WHAT SHOULD I THINK ABOUT WHEN CHOOSING A POLICY? Compare the cover offered by various policies and see what is most suitable for your needs. Importantly, look for any restrictions within the HKGOLFER.COM

policy, for instance on flood cover or accidental damage. Also, check for discounts on higher excesses and annual premium payment. WHAT IS CONTENTS INSURANCE? Contents insurance covers the ‘material possessions’ in your home, for example, a stereo or iPod, clothes, curtains, carpets and furniture. In most policies, the cover extends to areas outside the main property, such as a greenhouse, conservatory or garage. However, more expensive items, usually of £1,000 plus — an expensive computer or jewellery, for example — may have to be insured separately as the majority of policies have limits on payouts. As a policyholder, you will normally be covered if your possessions are stolen, or damaged, for instance, by fire, flood, burst pipes, boilers or storms. However, most policies do NOT cover such things as general wear and tear and, unless they offer additional accident cover, spilled paint on a carpet. The important thing is to understand that every policy is different, to always read the small print for exclusions and to shop around for the best cover and price. If you are unsure about anything, always speak to an experienced and independent broker. HOW MUCH CONTENTS INSURANCE DO I NEED? The best way to work this out is to methodically walk around your home with a pen and paper — not forgetting attics and outhouses — and write down all the items in it. For specific items, such as antiques, it may also be worth taking a photo, which could prove useful in the event of a claim. Once you have done this, simply add it all up and you’ll have a pretty good idea of the cover you will need. WHAT’S A COMBINED BUILDING AND CONTENTS POLICY? Combines policies covers both buildings and contents, and insurers often sell them at a discount in order to make them more attractive. But it can still be cheaper to buy separate policies on the open market. I do hope you found the article of interest and should you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact me direct.

YOUR PROPERTY, OUR PRIORITY Let Complete RPI overview your UK property free of charge and answer the following questions: - Is your property under-let? We increased our rental income for client's by 7% last year, did your agent? - Have you contracted with the most up to date tenancy agreement? Changes in legislation occur daily. - We only charge monthly fees, are you paying up front? We charge a monthly Letting & Management Fee and no up-front fees, does your agent do the same? - We offer free rental guarantee insurance, does your agent? - Is your property inspected every three months by an independent inventory clerk? If not it should be and we pay the cost. Does your agent? - Do you have 24 hr access to your very own bespoke online property platform which allows you to view all aspects of your property including management statements, invoices, interim inspection reports, values, gearing ratios, etc ... at Complete RPI this is standard. The answers to these questions and many more could both save you money and increase the return on your capital invested. Please call us on +852-9307-0337 or write to info@completerpi.com Why not visit us at www.completerpi.com ... “Your Property, Our Priority."

HK GOLFER・OCT 2014

83


CROSSWORD

©2014 Dr Milton Wayne

HONG KONG OPEN SPECIAL

84

ACROSS

DOWN

1. 5. 6. 10. 11. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 20. 21. 23. 24. 26. 27. 29. 30.

2. 3. 4. 7. 8. 9. 12. 15. 16. 18. 19. 22. 23. 25. 26. 28.

(& 3D) 3-Major Irishman, winner in ‘03 (7,10) Home of the HK Golf Club (7) See 30A (& 29A) Winner of inaugural Hong Kong Open in 1959 (2,5,5) See 26D 1990 winner, lost legs in tragic accident (3,5) See 21A See 18D (& 16D) Winner of local qualifying (4,4,3) US Ryder Cup captain, 1992 winner (3,6) (& 25D) Hong Kong’s sole cut maker in 2012 and 2013 (7,4) (& 14A) 5-times Open winner, designed the Eden course (5,7) Current Hong Kong Amateur champ (6,3) See 27A (& 11A) Twice led on 72nd tee and lost (5,8) (& 24A) Ryder Cup hero who holds record low score (3,7) See 10A (& 6A) Only man to win Hong Kong, Macau and China Opens in same year (5,5)

HK GOLFER・OCT 2014

See 23D See 1A (& 19D) HK Seniors champ back in the field again (4,8) See 9D Official name of iconic closing hole, scene of drama every year (8) (& 7D) Four-time winner in ‘60s and ‘70s (5,4,2) (& 15D) Current world number one, won here in 2011 (4,7) See 12D See 16A (& 15A) aka “Sarge”, US Open champ, winner in 1972 (7,5) See 4D See 23D (& 2D, 22D) Defending champ, oldest winner on European Tour (6,5,7) See 20A (& 28D) Aged 14, youngest Euro Tour cut maker in 2008 (5,3) See 26D

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WIN A SIGNED LEE WYBRANSKI POSTER! To enter, complete the crossoword and send a scan or photo of the completed grid to Crossword@HKGolfer.com, with “October Crossword” as the subject. Remember to include your name, address and contact number. Entries close on 15 November. ONE LUCKY WINNER WILL BE DRAWN FROM THE CORRECT ENTRIES. Congratulations to Nathan Goulding who won the August crossword. AUGUST ANSWERS Detail of Wybranski’s poster of The Road Hole at St Andrews

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HK GOLFER・OCT 2014

85


FINAL SHOT

José María Olazábal The two-time major champion, a former Hong Kong Open winner and Ryder Cup captain, talks about his love of Augusta National, Rioja and hunting. What is your all-time favourite Ryder Cup memory? There are many more than one but I’d say two in particular. First would be Muirfield Village in 1987, when I played with Seve. The whole experience of that first Ryder Cup, not knowing what it was all about, playing with Seve, the crowds, the noise – that was very special, and we won then for the first time in America. The second would be the hug that Darren [Clarke] and I had on the 17th green at the K Club in 2006. That was after I had won my singles and of course he had been through so much that week [following the recent death of his wife]. Your worst Ryder Cup memory? The saddest may be Brookline in 1999. We had a good advantage going into the singles but they managed to beat us. We didn’t play good enough on the last day. I’m saying this about the whole thing, not to do with what happened with me when Justin Leonard holed that long putt on the 17th green. It was very disappointing to lose.

Miller Brown (Augusta National); AFP (Olazabal)

What is the best shot you’ve ever hit? Well, over 25 years I hope I have hit a few good ones, but obviously it is the context that matters. If I had to pick just one, I’d say it was the 6-iron I hit to three feet on the 16th hole on the last day of the Masters in 1999. Greg [Norman] and Davis Love were very close to me but that birdie gave me a crucial cushion to go on and win. What’s your favourite golf course? Well, Augusta (pictured) is one of them. I like Castle Pines, where we used to play The International and I love Loch Lomond. Those three are perhaps my favourites. What about the Hong Kong Golf Club, where you won in 2001? It is a great course and plays difficult because of the wind, which swirls around. I have great memories of winning there and I have always enjoyed going back. Hong Kong is a great city. 86

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Which golfer do you admire the most? I would say, again obviously, Seve, because of the way he played the game and his fighting spirit. And I’d have to say Tiger as well. I admire his work ethic, how well prepared he is mentally, and to win majors is very difficult and not only has he won so many, some of them have been by huge margins. So often he has hit the perfect shot or made the perfect putt at a crucial time. So that says a lot about him. Favourite drink? I like red wine, especially I would say Rioja. And your favourite meal?  That is diff icult to say. It ’s pretty much everything. I think where I live, around San Sebastian, we are very spoiled. Everything is so good – the meat, the fish, everything – and I like it all, so I could not say one thing is my favourite over another. What’s your favourite way to relax?  Mostly, I would say hunting. I go with my dad and a couple of friends. We walk up in the hills and it is totally peaceful and the views are fantastic. You smell the plants and enjoy the quiet. We stay in a small house that we rent as a base, get up early in the morning and go.

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