| TALES FROM THE BOX
Goes to ... Julian Tutt takes an irreverent look at the 2014 season and hands out his coveted “Jules Awards” to the lucky winners.
Daniel Wong (Tutt); AFP
Donald Trump, who bought Open Championship venue Turnberry is the recipient of the “Mr Modesty” award (opposite top); European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley (opposite bottom) left no stone unturned to ensure his side emerged triumphant at the biennial competition yet again 38
HK GOLFER・DEC 2014
an it really be true? With the Christmas decorations already looking tardy, December’s diary bulking out with office pa r t ie s, a nd t he “SA L E” posters ready to go up in shopping malls everywhere, 2014 is almost ready to be consigned to the scrapbook of memories. Time then to award the ancient and historic “Jules Awards” that have been eagerly awaited every year since 2013. Unlike the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award, the recipients, for the most part, would probably rather not have been nominated. That said it seems apposite to start with the “Luckiest Plonker of the Year” which must go to Greg Norman for his lunatic attempt to amputate a hand with a chainsaw, when he should have been checking out the latest “Shark” clothing samples, or testing the mix on his new grass seed variant. As someone who regularly swings from a dodgy ladder trying to lop off a high branch on my distressed willow, with chainsaw precariously gripped in one hand, I feel justified in lampooning the great man. Thank heavens though that luck was very much on his side. Not something that you could always say about his golfing career. Talking of mega-rich, highly successful blondes, the awards for “Mr Modesty” and “Mr Unassuming” are combined this year and go to the very deserving Donald Trump, who is now spending an estimated £250 million to upgrade
the shamefully tatty resort at Turnberry. By the time The Open championship returns there, the distinctive old Lighthouse will have been converted to a Halfway House, and the 18th will see Mickey and Minnie popping up out of fairway bunkers, with a cardboard cutout of Alex Salmond ducking and diving as a moving target on the green. T he for mer S cot t i sh Fi r st M i n i ster incidentally takes the award for “Irrelevant Ubiquitous Presence”, as he attempted to use golf, and specifically The Ryder Cup, for his own Independent ambitions. The Ryder Cup was arguably the highlight of a brilliant golfing year for Europe, and so Gleneagles collects two awards: “Best Venue to stage The Cup” rewards a fantastic effort by all involved, and they even got the weather right. Sadly their celebrations will be slightly marred by also receiving “The Dullest Course Ever to Stage The Cup” award. This is not presented lightly as there are plenty of serious challengers, notably The Belfry in its early stagings. But having walked 36 holes a day for three days, I don’t feel a compelling urge to go and ‘golf my ball’ there (as the Americans so eloquently describe it), which surely I should? The Kings or Queens courses … now that’s a different story. Europe’s victorious Captain Paul McGinley left no stone unturned to ensure that his side emerged triumphant yet again. He takes the honours for “Shrewdest Humble Line by a Winning Captain” for his comment that he will HKGOLFER.COM
Paul McGinley takes the honours for “Shrewdest Humble Line by a Winning Captain” for his comment that he will now forever be linked in history with his great golfing hero Tom Watson. now forever be linked in history with his great golfing hero Tom Watson. The one whose team he had just thumped. At the same time poor Old Tom was being lambasted by his most senior player for incompetence and stubbornness. Phil Mickelson then collects the statuette for “Saying the Right Thing at the Wrong Time”. Whether he will be invited to demonstrate how the job should be done in future remains to be seen, but it should make for compelling viewing as the PGA of America goes through the motions of appointing their next captain. Their former president, Ted Bishop, who actually now officially never was their President, probably deserves many awards, but having witnessed at first hand his maniacal tendencies as Old Tom’s self-appointed buggy operator, he gets my vote as “Most Arrogantly Dangerous Driver On A Golf Course”. How he didn’t collect a few kilted trophies on his way round remains a mystery; or perhaps he did and they too have been expunged, Stasi-like, from the record? Europe’s efforts sadly weren’t quite enough to earn them “Team of the Year”. That honour goes to Thongchai Jaidee’s Asian side in the HKGOLFER.COM
HK GOLFER・DEC 2014
EurAsia Cup captains Miguel Angel Jiménez and Thongchai Jaidee share a laugh at the inaugural event in Kuala Lumpur in March
Peter Dawson, CEO of the R&A, announced he will be retiring from his post and earns the “Most Skillful Helmsman” award
Rory McIlroy was Golfer of the Year … or was he?
HK GOLFER・DEC 2014
inaugural Eurasia Cup for their magnificent, and most unexpected fightback after a first day’s whitewash, to secure a tie. Brilliant. Mercedes Benz-sponsored German, Marcel Siem, earns “The Most Tactless Win” trophy for his success at the BMW Masters in Shanghai. The awards for “Best Venue on Tour” and “Most Welcoming Venue on Tour” both go to the magnificent Hong Kong Golf Club at Fanling. Everyone involved at the club should take a bow for their superb staging of the Hong Kong Open. (These awards are made without the slightly hint of prejudice). “The Rookie of the Year” is unquestionably Warren Humphreys, for his stellar debut performance as an on-course commentator at the aforementioned Hong Kong Open. My colleague Dougie Donnelly will be convinced that he has wrapped up “TV Commentator Of The Year”, but in a close fought battle, Dominique Boulet just edges it, by virtue of the fact that he buys me lunch more often and that he has changed my swing from looking like a monkey impersonating a 24-handicapper to a passing imitation of a Champions Tour professional … allow me to dream, please! The soon-to-be retired R&A Chief Executive Peter Dawson earns the accolade of “Most Skilful Helmsman” for successfully steering a course through the muddied waters of female membership. The other soon-to-be Chief Executive, George O’Grady collects the rarely presented “Lifetime Achievement Award” for over 40 years of dedicated service to The European Tour. The relatively new-broom Chairman of The Tour, David Williams, is vigorously sweeping clean. Much breath is bated to see who will succeed George, whom this column wishes every success and happiness as he dons his slippers. So (roll of drums) to the main award, “The Golfer of the Year”. Rickie Fowler, with four top-five finishes in the majors is a strong candidate, but his failure to win, alongside his demolition by Rory McIlroy in the Ryder Cup singles goes against him. The Northern Irishman, with his BMW PGA Championship and World Golf Championship wins, two majors and the number one spot on either side of the Atlantic might seem like the overwhelming favourite. But the Committee (of one) has come down in favour of the Hong Kong-based American Doug Williams for his outstanding defence of the Hong Kong Seniors Amateur Open. Despite a untypically errorstrewn final round that saw him surrender a seven-shot lead, his gutsy birdie at the first playoff hole deservedly secures the title of Champion Golfer 2014. McIlroy’s chance will surely come again. HKGOLFER.COM