Page 1

2017 USPGA Championship Preview

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

ISSUE 126

HKGOLFER.COM AUGUST 2017

$50

+

THE 146TH OPEN REVIEW

JORDAN SPIETH

RISE TO GREATNESS

DISPLAY UNTIL 15 SEP


Managed and serviced by The Old Course Hotel Ltd


| CONTENTS

HK Golfer Issue 126

August 2017

30 On the Cover:

Jordan Spieth snatched victory from the jaws of defeat to deny compatriot Matt Kuchar a maiden ‘Major’ and lift the Claret Jug. Photo by AFP/Andy Buchanan

Features

Plus…

30 | The 146th Open Review

10 | Divots

Jordan Spieth’s victory will live long in the memory, partly because of his insistence on a controversial ruling, which worked out heavily in his favour. By Mike Wilson

38 | Interview How ironic is it that the man engaged specifically to modernize and manage change in golf’s most influential governing body should be called ‘Slumbers’. by Mike Wilson

44 | 2017 USPGA Championship Preview Will the old order be restored with a proven winner of one of golf’s ‘Big Four,’ events lifting the giant Wanamaker Trophy? By Mike Wilson

52 | Adieu After 18 Years Chuah Choo Chiang, Communications Director, bids farewell after nearly eighteen seasons on the Asian Tour. By Chuah Choo Chiang

58 | Bunker Mentality

Photo Courtesy of the R&A

With Tiger Woods’ career halted and his life seemingly on the skids, history will view the royal and ancient game on how it deals with the deep decline in the fortunes. By Mike Wilson

38 6

HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

News and events from Hong Kong and the region. By The Editors

12 | In Focus

A pictorial review of the last 30 days around the world. By The Editors

19 | Tee Time

The Clifton Collection, one of Baume & Mercier’s watchmaking lines, is expanding this year with a new series of timepieces, the Clifton Club By The Editors

21 | Liquid Assets

What’s the first thing most people learn about wine pairing? But what about when the main dish is veggies or a spicy vegetarian stir-fry? By The Editors

28 | Around the HKGA

The HKGA’s Director of Golf Development talks about the correct pathway of improving junior golfers and the deal-breakers taking them to the Pro Tour. By Jonathan Wallett

76 | Crossword

This issue: “Glory’s Last Hope” - The USPGA By Dr Milton Wayne

64 | The Kilted Caddie

78 | Final Shot

Ricky Elliot, who caddies for Brooks Koepka, the US Open winner, who started out on the Challenge Tour four years ago has just copped a weekly bonus of over US$200,000. By The Kilted Caddie

Peter Brannan, HK Office Director of Arquitectonica, talks about his best ever round, favourite course and who would be in his dream fourball. Interview by Louie Chan HKGOLFER.COM


HK Golfer

THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE HONG KONG GOLF ASSOCIATION AUGUST 2017 • Issue 126

Managing Editor: Louie Chan louie.chan@hkgolfer.com Contributing Editors: Dr Milton Wayne, Faye Glasgow, John Bruce, Nathan Goulding, Keith McLaren, Paul Jansen, Evan Rast, Mike Wilson, Robin Lynam. Art Director: Derek Hannah Photo Editor: Daniel Wong Administration Manager Cindy Kwok Publisher: Charles McLaughlin Published by:

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

D E PA R T M E N T S 10 Divots 12 Global Focus 14 Asia Focus 16 China Focus 19 Clubhouse 27 Around the HKGA 52 Notes from The Asian Tour 58 Bunker Mentality 64 The Kilted Caddie 76 Crossword Photo Courtesy of the Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau

78 Final Shot

In association with: www.thymedesign.hk 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

CORRECTION: In an article about the Hong Kong Seniors Close Amateur Championship on page 28 in the previous issue, there’s a mistake in the image caption that the gentleman standing second from left to right should be Mr Philip Woolcott-Brown, instead of Mr John Ball. HK Golfer apologises for the mistake. HK GOLFER is published by Times International Creation, 10B Lockhart Centre, 301-307 Lockhart Road, Hong Kong. HK GOLFER is published monthly © 2017 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. 8

HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

HKGOLFER.COM


| DIVOTS

Hong Kong to Host Asian Pacific Junior Championship

The Hong Kong Golf Association (HKGA) announced that it would host the 2017 Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation’s (APGC) Junior Championship - Mitsubishi Corporation Cup from 30 August to 1 September 2017 at the Hong Kong Golf Club. The championship is the latest addition to the HKGA’s active hosting calendar. Each year, the HKGA hosts over 30 tournaments,

with 38 scheduled in 2017 alone, making it one of Hong Kong’s most active National Sports Associations. The tournament field draws the top juniors from across the 45-member regional confederation and follows the Youth Olympic Games format, pairing a single male and female player in each team. During the first round, teams play four-ball; in the second round - a foursome; and in the final round, the boys and girls play individually (stroke play). Players who are 17 years or under as of 30 August are eligible, and each APGC member can enter a maximum of two teams, except for the hosts, who are allowed to enter three teams. Hong Kong will be represented by male athletes Kevin Wu Sho-wai, who finished tied fourth in the 2016 Hong Kong Men's Close Amateur championship, and Yue Ho-yin, who finished seventh in the Amateur Championship last year. The ladies entries were Queenie Lai Ying-tung, third placed finisher in the 2016 Hong Kong Junior Close Championship (girls aged 15-17) and 13-year old Xin Yi-wang, winner of the 2016 Infinite Junior Golf Tour. The pairing of Lai and Yue finished T16th overall while X in and Wu f inished 21st amongst the 35 participating teams.

HSBC Hour 2017 Offers Free Golf Lessons

Daniel Wong

Long-term international golf sponsor HSBC brought the “HSBC Hour” initiative to Hong Kong again this summer with a mission to promote golf to schools and the local community. Following last year’s pilot programme, HSBC teamed up with HKGA to launch the second “HSBC Hour” golf experiential week in July, as part of HSBC’s global “HSBC Hour” campaign in celebration of the 146th Open Championship. This year, 15 primary schools with more than 500 students had the opportunity to experience the fun ShortGolf training. Spon sored a nd orga n i sed by HSBC i n collaboration with HKGA, the one-week Hong Kong “HSBC Hour” started with the HSBC Golf For Schools Week involving 15 schools, giving them the ShortGolf training - a new and unique “first touch” training system which makes it fun and easy to teach and learn golf at school. All the ShortGolf classes during the week were conducted at South Yuen Long Government Primary School, which also serves the purpose of extending the current network to more schools in the New Territories. The ShortGolf classes are part of the HSBC Golf for Schools initiative under the HSBC-sponsored Hong Kong Junior 10

HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

Golf Programme launched in 2015. For students who have completed Advance-Level ShortGolf, they may enter the next phase of the pathway with real golf coaching at a local golf course or training facility. HKGOLFER.COM


| DIVOTS

The Hong Kong I mpa ired Gol fers Association (HKIGA) launched the "Jockey Club WE Can Golf Development for Special Need Golfers" at the Craigengower Cricket Club in July. The HKIGA was funded by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charity Trust in 2016 to launch a two-year program to provide golf training for special need students. Those who show potential will be selected to receive advanced golf training. Since the introduction of the program on January, 15 special schools have act ively par t icipated. H K IGA has also held fun days for six different schools, sharing golf with more than 600 students and teaching staffs. More than 3,000 students, parents and teachers will be expected to benefit from the program. The kick-off ceremony on 6th July was a significant milestone for the program. The HKIGA partners were fully supportive of expressing their concerted efforts to help the students with special learning needs. More than 180 guests have participated the ceremony, including representatives from the

HKGOLFER.COM

Hong Kong Impaired Golf Association

WE Can Golf Development for Special Need Golfers

government, Hong Kong Jockey Club, HKIGA, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Golf Club and Hong Kong Professional Golfers Association.

HK GOLFERăƒťAUG 2017

11


Global Focus Spieth Makes Smart Use of the Rules Jordan Spieth’s wild drive on the long par-four 13th in the final round of the Open sailed into a nasty tangle on a hay-strewn dune. Rather than proceed from that gnarly lie, Spieth declared his ball unplayable, which, under Rule 28, offered him three options for relief. Spieth decided that his third option was the best. That was to drop as far back as he liked, on line with the flagstick and where his tee shot had landed. “I just asked the question, ‘Is the driving range out of bounds?’ And I got the answer, ‘no,’ Spieth said after his round. “And I thought, Well, then, that’s a much better location for me to hit the next shot because I can get it much closer to the green and it saves me almost a full stroke from going back to the tee.” Spieth got up-and-down for bogey on 13, then set off on a birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie stretch and victory. And the rest is history. It was scintillating golf. Photo by AFP/Ben Stansall


Asia Focus Thongchai Enjoys Solid Week Thongchai Jaidee ended his campaign with an even-par 70 at The Open on Sunday. The Thai star traded three birdies against as many bogeys to finish on a one-over-par 281 total and was pleased with his battling performance at Royal Birkdale. “It is a good week for me because I only had one bad round in very horrible weather but overall it is a good result. My golf swing is better this week and my game is slowly turning around. My new coach is here and I think my game will get better in the future. This is my 11th appearance at The Open and I really enjoy being here. It is great to be here and play in Major tournaments. I will try to keep improving and hopefully get a better result in the future,” said Thongchai. He birdied seven out of eight par fives this week but was disappointed to drop costly shots on three holes. He was four-over (first hole) and three-over on the 12th and 16th holes for the week which proved costly. Photo by Asian Tour


China Focus Li Makes History in Dream Debut China’s Li Haotong equalled the lowest final round in Major history and earned a spot at The Masters next year after finishing third at The Open. The debutant fired a brilliant seven-under-par 63 thanks to a flawless card highlighted by four closing birdies. He totalled six-under-par 274 to finish six shots behind eventual winner Jordan Spieth at Royal Birkdale. Li’s effort matched only three other players’ final round score - Jodie Mudd (1991), Payne Stewart (1993) and Henrik Stenson (2016). “It’s kind of a dream come true, you know. I definitely got a lot support from China, from my friends, from fans, you know, just keep behaving myself and play some decent golf.,” Li smiled. This is the best ever finish by a golfer from China in a Major tournament. Liang Wen-chong previously finished tied eighth at the 2010 U.S. PGA Championship. However, Lu Liang-huan of Taiwan or better known as Mr Lu remains as the best Asian finisher at the Open with his runner-up result also at Royal Birkdale in 1971. Photo by Asian Tour


CLUB

Away from the Fairways | TEE TIME

SPORTING PROWESS THE CLIFTON COLLECTION, ONE OF BAUME & MERCIER'S WATCHMAKING LINES, IS EXPANDING THIS YEAR WITH A NEW SERIES OF TIMEPIECES, THE CLIFTON CLUB, WHICH FULFILS THE NEEDS OF URBAN, ACTIVE, ELEGANT MEN – ACCOMPLISHED AESTHETES, TODAY’S “GENTLESPORTSMEN”. ATTRACTIVE AND MODERN, THE CLIFTON CLUB WAS DESIGNED FOR MEN WHO ARE TRUE OF THEIR TIME, FOR ALL OCCASIONS, PROFESSIONAL AND SPORTING. The Clifton Club allblack version HKGOLFER.COM

HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

19


T

The Clifton Club with polished/satin-finished stainless-steel case, black dial, and the “All Road” calfskin strap for the traveller look 20

HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

h e Clif ton Club is as at tractive and multitalented as those men who, whether in the sports hall or an important meeting, grasp everything life has to offer without counting their time. Designed for adventure, resolutely contemporar y, refined and athletic, the Clifton Club elegantly revives sporting values while upholding traditional watchmaking principles. It is a contemporary, accurate, high-performance, sturdy timepiece, made to exacting standards. The eminently athletic Clifton Club boasts a distinctive design that offers elegance, sporting prowess, functionality and comfort on the wrist. Hewn in very high-quality stainless steel (316L), the case has a round opening and a well-balanced diameter of 42 mm, to suit all wrist sizes. With a thickness of 10.3 mm, the watch can be slipped discreetly under a shirt cuff or worn conveniently while practicing a sport. Continuing the line of traditional shapes in

the Clifton collection, which draws its aesthetic inspiration from the great watches of history, the horn-to-horn bevel that runs around the case echoes the elegant curves of the watch, a classic Clifton signature detail. In the same vein, the integrated crown cover fits perfectly with the sporty, refined shape of this timepiece. The color schemes (black, white, blue) make the Clifton Club a fully polyvalent watch. It can be worn at the weekend and during the week, at the office and on a bike, on work trips and during the morning jog. Water-resistant to 100 meters, designed to be ideally suited to water sports and boating, the Clifton Club is the watch you’ll never want to take off. The Clifton Club is available in five versions, each equally elegant and sporty. Firstly, two options: the polished/satinfinished stainless-steel case (black or white dials) and the “All Road” calfskin strap for the traveller look. The “All Road” calfskin strap features an embossed sailcloth-like fabric exclusive to Baume & Mercier and is lined with orange rubberized calfskin, edged on the reverse, offering astonishing resistance qualities. It will withstand anything: dry and HKGOLFER.COM


wet friction, UV rays; this all-terrain strap can be worn 24 hours a day. Last but not least, its curved lugs were designed to offer perfect integration between the case and strap, as well as perfect comfort on the wrist. There are also two versions with a polished/ satin-finished stainless-steel case (black or blue dial) with steel bracelet for more urban settings. The integrated stainless-steel bracelet, which also echoes the curves on the case and horns, is composed of three polished rows on the sides with a vertical satin finish on the upper edges. The fine adjustment links ensure the bracelet fits the wrist perfectly. Lastly, there is an all-black version. It features a black dial, stainless steel case with a black sand-blasted ADLC finish (amorphous diamond-like carbon, a coating of 2-3 µm thick that is incredibly hard and highly resistant to scratches and shocks) and an integrated black vulcanized rubber strap with open-worked sections to offer natural ventilation to the wrist. All bracelets and straps feature a triple folding buckle with two side push-pieces in stainless steel to guarantee security and ease of opening. This in-house design bears the “Phi” logo stamped on the top. Only the black rubber version comes with a wide pin buckle in satin-finished stainless steel, also decorated with Baume & Mercier’s “Phi” logo.

The color schemes (black, white, blue) make the Clifton Club a fully polyvalent watch

Keith Law (Left), Managing Director of Baume & Mercier Hong Kong presents the Clifton Club to Cheung Ka Long, Hong Kong Olympic fencer and Asian champion

HKGOLFER.COM

HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

21


CLUBHOUSE | LIQUID ASSETS

PAIRING WINE WITH VEGAN FOOD

W

hat's the first thing most people learn about wine pairing? "Red with meat, white with chicken or fish." But what about when the main dish is veggies or a spicy vegetarian stir-fry? There’s no wrong answer. So many people think you can only drink white wine with tofu or roasted vegetables and red wine with pasta, which is not true. Sweetness, acidity, and robustness are better indicators than old-school wine-pairing rules when choosing wine to go with food, especially vegan food. Sparkling wine with tofu and bean dishes is just an example to show how innovative wine pairing can be. How about a glass of fantastic Prosecco?? Heritage Wines, a Hong Kong distributor, imports the Marsuret, Prosecco Superiore DOCG, which has hints of ripe fruit and an intense fragrance of apple and full, aromatic and elegant flavor, combined with a good structure. And don't fear the rosè. Great vegetarian food lets the flavor of vegetables come through. Dry rosès are a natural choice because they go well with a variety of vegetarian dishes and don't overpower the fresh flavors. Heritage Wines also has a incredible rosè from La Rifra, a winery in Brescia, northern Italy. The wine has a pale pink colour, with the aromas of strawberry, perfectly harmonising with delicate citrus hints of grapefruit. A perfect statement of fresh, spontaneous pleasure. Masalas and Olives should be the best place in town to go for vegan food. You will be taken on a sensuous culinary journey into raw plant based cuisine. The menus are 100% raw and plant based, every meal is created with locally sourced seasonal produce where possible and organic nuts and seeds. Each plate takes hours of preparation involving a range of techniques such as dehydrating, fermenting, smoking and marinating. Each month Masalas and Olives hosts one open table where all are welcome to come and experience a raw plant based journey. The rest of the days they take private bookings for private birthday dinners, lunches, bridal showers, networking brunches, pre-baby high teas and boutique corporate dinners. Kanch, the Founder and Raw Vegan Chef, trained under Matthew Kenney Culinary, a plant-based chef-training program developed by the namesake chef, aka the top classically-trained, celebrity vegan chef and two-time James Beard Award nominee. Her “cheese” platter made from tree nuts is an all-time favourite for foodies who are not even vegetarians! It goes well with San Donaci, Anticaia Primitivo 2015, a full-bodied red from Puglia, southern Italy. Its richness and power are balanced by soft and very elegant tannins, with strawberry and blackberry flavour. Please call Heritage Wines on +852 6085 5160 or email them at sales@heritagewines.com.hk to order the wines. And book your table at Masalas and Olives on masalasandolives.com/ book-the-table or email to hello@masalasandolives.com

22

HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

La Rifra Rosè

San Donaci, Anticaia Primitivo 2015

Raw Cheese Plate of Masalas and Olives

Vegan Tacos

HKGOLFER.COM


FEATURE I HKGTA

Learn to Play

Better

The Jack Nicklaus Academy of Golf at Hong Kong Golf & Tennis Academy (HKGTA) in Sai Kung has released the new Golden Bear Golf Passport. It provides access to world-class Nicklaus Academy instruction as well as its state-of-the-art practice facility and hitting stations, writes Louie Chan. Jack Nicklaus Academy of Golf

6-Hole Short Course

24

HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

H

ong Kong golf enthusiasts are able to enjoy the world renowned personalized coaching method of the Jack Nicklaus Academy of Golf now at its new Asia location - the Hong Kong Golf & Tennis Academy (HKGTA). The partnership between Jack Nicklaus Academies and HKGTA brings its world class golf facilities and training to Hong Kong for the first time. The new site has been carefully designed to engage and support players in order to enhance their enjoyment with the game. The HKGTA was specially selected as the site of the new Nicklaus Academy. Its mission, to elevate the standard of golf coaching and raise the profile of competitive and recreational golf in Hong Kong, perfectly aligns with the Jack Nicklaus’ belief that “Confidence is the most important single factor in this game, and no matter how great your natural talent, there is only one way to obtain and sustain it: Work.” Located in the tranquil surroundings of Sai Kung - known as ‘Hong Kong’s back garden’ - the HKGTA offers a Nicklaus Design 6-hole training course, practice putting greens and bunker, a special VIP training area and 75 hitting stations on three levels with many featuring automatic ball feed stations. Students and visitors can perfect their swings at three exclusive Jack Nicklaus Coaching HKGOLFER.COM


Studios. The climate controlled studios are state-of-the-art and feature the Nicklaus Academy fully-integrated video analysis software program that includes multiple highspeed video cameras, pressure/balance plates, Flightscope Elite ball launch monitors, and a live video feed for students and their coaches to review performance. The Nicklaus Academy at HKGTA will offer tailored training programs for all skill levels. Junior group programs will be available following a 10-Level Progression, taking absolute beginners through the fundamentals of the game and developing their technique through a series of 12week courses. Core to the proven Nicklaus Academy philosophy are the history of the game and required etiquette skills, fitness training and overall athletic development all incorporated to form the fundamentals of the training at HKGTA. The Athletic Development Program being offered at the HKGTA will focus on developing athletes first and competitive golfers second, honing their playing skills in a fun and motivating environment. Private lessons for juniors will also be offered to encourage the young talent in Hong Kong to reach their full potential. “Hong Kong has great potential to be the next golfing hub of Asia,” said Billy Martin, Director of Golf at the Jack Nicklaus Academy of Golf in Hong Kong. “The Nicklaus Academy program has been nurturing golf champions for over 25 years and we will build on this success in Hong Kong by bringing specifically designed world-class instruction and training facilities to the territory for the first time.” Billy has been a golf coach for over 30 years and has trained with world-renowned professionals including Jack Nicklaus, Jack Grout, Jim Flick and Gardner Dickenson. His coaching style adheres to the Jack Nicklaus philosophy which focuses on mastering the fundamentals, while enjoying a passion for the game. Billy has coached Jennifer Song, who wo the United States Women’s Amateur Champion in 2009. He has also taught other coaches in the PGA of America, KPGA, JPGA and in mainland China. The 6-month Golden Bear Golf Passport allows players to select the level of commitment they are willing to make to improve their game. Each of the 3 levels; Gold, Platinum and Diamond include instruction and/or custom club fitting sessions from one of the Certified Nicklaus Academy Instructors, practice time at one of the 75 hitting stations, special discounts on club purchases and more. For enquiries, please contact +852 3110 8823/ enquiry@hkgta.com and visit www.hkgta.com/ golf-academy HKGOLFER.COM

Billy Martin Director of Golf

Billy Martin and his coaching team

The 6-month Golden Bear Golf Passport allows players to select the level of commitment they are willing to make to improve their game HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

25


HONG KONG GOLF ASSOCIATION


Won Beats Full Field in Mid-Summer Classic Jay Won kept his cool in high temperatures to win the 2017 Mid-Summer Classic with a round of 71, writes Louie Chan.

M

Tau Chi Ming, Andrew Lee Jr, Jay Won, Thomas McColl, Arnold Jr Lee

Winners of Ladies’ Stableford: (Left to Right) Jasmine Kwan, Estee Leung, Rita Chan, Danny Lai (CEO of the HKGA) Law Fong Ying, Lun Hau Yee, Andrea Au HKGOLFER.COM

ore than 240 competitors took part in the two-day event for Hong Kong Golf Association (HKGA) subscribers at the Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling. Won, who originally hails from Korea, finished on one over par around the New Course to beat Andrew Tsui by three shots. A high number of players had to retire or withdraw from the tournament due to the sweltering weather. Elsewhere, HKGA Junior Squad Player Jasmine Kwan claimed the Ladies’ Gross Stableford division with 33 points, just one ahead Estee Vivian Leung, another HKGA Elite Junior Squad member. Chan Wai-Keung won the Men’s Gross Stableford with 26 points, one better than David Chung. LEADING FINAL SCORES: Men’s Gross Stroke Play: 71 – Jay Won; 74 – Andrew Tsui; 76 – Diego Dultzin.   Men’s Nett Stroke Play: 67 – Andrew Tsui; 71 – Thomas McColl; 71 – Tai Chi-Ming, Jay Won, Arnold Lee Jr.   Men’s Gross Stableford: 26 – Chan WaiKeung; 25 – David Chung Ping-Yin; 22 – Lai Leung-choy, Chan Yuet-Ming.   Men’s Nett Stableford: 42 – Chan Yuet-Ming; 41 – Chan Wai-Keung; 40 – Danny Lau WaiKun.   Ladies’ Gross Stableford: 33 –Jasmine T Y Kwan; 32 – Estee Vivian Leung; 31 – Andrea Au Chor-Kiu.   Ladies’ Nett Stableford: 41 – Lun Hau-Yee; 40 – Rita P S Chan, Law Fong-Ying. HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

27


The Four Quadrants of Player Development Jonathan Wallett, HKGA’s Director of Golf Development, talks about the correct pathway of improving junior golfers and the deal-breakers taking them to the Pro Tour.

Hong Kong Golf Association

I HKGA’s HSBC Golf for School Program 28

HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

n an earlier article, we discussed the concept of the HK Player Funnel and building success in HK from the ground up. The entry level to this funnel for HK Golf is the HSBC Golf for Schools Program, which allows young HK school children, many of whom would have not previously had the opportunity to experience golf at first hand, to taste the game of golf. From there we are looking to build a seamless funnel where youngsters have the opportunity to progress to the level where their ambitions lie, albeit to gain a h’cap or win a prestigious overseas University Scholarship. Is it all about dedication, sacrifice and hard work? Creating machine-like perfect swings so players can play mistake free? Well, the fact is, if you look at the top 10 players in the world, their ‘swing machines’ are all different. Is Bubba Watson’s swing similar to Justin Rose? Or Dustin Johnson’s swing like Jason Day’s? Even with the snapshot of just these 10 players it’s very evident that there are some sigificant differences.

Then if you look at even the best drivers of the ball on the Men’s Tour, they still miss one fairway in 3. So actually, this concept of seeking to build a machine-like swing and then burning it into the muscle memory with dawn to dusk practice, is a fundamentally flawed concept - and certainly not a good strategy to success. Certainly, when I was a young player, these were the sort of messages that were preached to me, and hence I fell into the same traps that subsequently I have seen many elite players fall into since I began coaching 30 years ago. I quickly saw that first from research on Tour - and the coaching on Tour - the quantity of practice was not a deal-breaker. You couldn’t say that the players who practiced most did the best, and the players who practiced least the worse. Of course, a certain amount of training is required - but at the elite player level for 99% of players that’s a given. Was it then talent that was the deal-breaker? But again, this proved to not be the case - I have seen many super talented players never able to realise their potential but then, HKGOLFER.COM


on the other hand, some fairly average talented players win millions on Tour. So, what are the deal-breakers to improve and progress players so that they can optimise their game? I’ve had the opportunity to sit down and speak with seven World No.1s about their own personal golfing journey. With the information I gleaned from this front seat ride, I was able to create and develop a model - which I call the “Four Quadrants to Player Development”:

ENVIRONMENT This is a critical element, and essentially it means creating a challenging, testing, but safe (emotionally i.e. not fearing judgement or criticism) environment. A short story highlighting this concept is from the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion. One evening there I was talking at dinner with Lee Westwood about his golfing journey from Junior to World No. 1. He said that the main thing that improved his game as a junior was trying to beat Stuart Cage - who was at the time his assistant manager and pouring a drink for Lee! They had grown up together in Yorkshire and Stuart was the star as at the time as he was a little older than Lee. In the HKGA program, we have introduced the ‘Performance Practice Program’. Each player has his or her A6 practice folder, and next month everyone will have access to a virtual learning platform of videos of the different games and tests. We want to build a more challenging testing environment for the players both when they practice on their own and when they train in GA classes and camps. EXPERIENCES You can’t learn skiing in the classroom, and you can’t learn golf on a range or practice putting green. Successful Tour players have enjoyed in their upbringing rich tournament experiences - tournament experiences that have challenged them, introduced them to players better than HKGOLFER.COM

Australian Biomechanist Ryan Lumsden coaching HK National Squad member Chloe Chan they were and an environment in which their skills can thrive. In the HKGA Program, we look to send our players to International Tournaments as early as possible so that they can view the bigger golfing world. Later this year we are seeking to roll out a Tournament Player System - it will be the exact tournament preparation, analysis and review system I use with Tour Players. This will allow HK Players to gather their learning experiences from their tournaments better, so they can utilise these experiences for improved future success. COACHING The fourth quadrant is Coaching. We want players to take ownership and selfresponsibility of their golf games - not to be dependent on others but to be selfreliant. To assist this, we have initiated the HKGA Coach Certification Program so we can help local coaches to develop their coaching skills and transfer this expertise to the local players they work with. We have instigated an in-house Coach Development Program as well so we can look to continuously improve the quality of the delivery of the GA Classes. I think one challenge that Parents and Coaches often misunderstand with success at the elite level in golf is that the game is a Performance Art. To score consistently low, it requires a unique fusion of many different elements - technical, mental and management to name a few. It’s not like studying at school, where often the person who studies the longest has the most success. The best artist is not the one who starts painting from dawn to dusk, but the person who expresses their artistic skills the best on the canvas - just like a successful tournament golfer who can bring the product of the many different skills the game of golf demands into a performance solution i.e. the lowest score and a score lower than the other competitors. It’s important to work hard, but much more important is to work smart. To work smart, it will require these 4 critical quadrants, and then the player to apply this in a disciplined and focused way. This then creates a ‘greenhouse’ for accelerated player development or growth. In the next article, I’m going to discuss the keys to Performance Practice - it has been researched that 80% golfers regress through practicing, 10% stay the same, and 10% improve. Hopefully, I’ll outline how you can be in the 10% improving, so don’t miss it! Please write to jon.wallett@hkga.com if you have any comments. HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

Daniel Wong

INSTRUCTION One question I often get asked is what is the difference between Coaching and Instruction. Instruction is ‘telling’ where the instructor gives the answers or information to the student. But Coaching is ‘asking the questions’ to lead the player through self-discovery. One requirement to accelerate Elite Player Development is for players to have access to Master Coaching. In the HKGA initiatives, we have introduced a Biomechanics Program utilising one of the World leading Biomechanist from Australia who has worked with players such as Thomas Pieters, Lydia Ko and Henrik Stenson and currently is an consultant to the Australia, Japan and NZ National Teams (and now the HK team!).

29


AFP/Andy Buchanan

THE 146TH OPEN REVIEW

Jordan Spieth poses for pictures with the Claret Jug, the trophy for the Champion golfer of the year after winning the 146th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale 30

HK GOLFER・AUG 2017


Roller coaster Ride; Spieth by the Skin of His Teeth

The final round - indeed the final few holes of the 146th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale came down to very fine margins as Jordan Spieth snatched victory from the jaws of defeat to deny compatriot Matt Kuchar a maiden ‘Major’, and China’s Li Haotong an unexpected victory that would surely have turned the world of golf on its head, writes Mike Wilson.


W

AFP/Ben Stansall

Branden Grace celebrates with his caddie Zack Rasego (Left) after holing out on the 18th green after his third round 62; Grace made history by becoming the first man in golf history to shoot a round of 62 in Major

Matt Kuchar misses a putt on the 13th green during his final round, who was magnanimous in defeat 32

HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

hilst the first threeand-a-half days of the 2017 Open Championship were mostly interesting and, as when South African Branden Grace made history by becoming the first man in ‘Major,’ golf history to shoot a round of 62, truly remarkable, the 63rd to the 72nd holes of the third Grand Slam event of the season contained more super-concentrated drama than the Masters and the U.S. Open put together. The records will show that American duo of Jordan Spieth and Matt Kuchar led, one and two after the opening three rounds, and that’s how it all ended. But to simply record the bare statistics would be to do a grave disservice to a quite remarkable backnine, surely amongst the most dramatic of any previous ‘Major,’ never mind an Open Championship, reminiscent of the giant roller coaster thrill ride at nearby Blackpool Pleasure Beach that dominates the Royal Birkdale horizon. As the final round got underway in the most benign conditions of the week, it was supposed to be a procession, an American inauguration, all that was open to question was whether it would be Spieth, three-shots– ahead of Kuchar, with U.S. Open Champion Brooks Koepka and Canadian rookie Austin Connelly possibly having walk-on parts three shots further back. Having made its Open Championship debut in 1954, and as it prepared this month for its 10th staging of the world’s oldest ‘Major,’ Royal Birkdale on the West Coast of England had the reputation for serving up intriguing and interesting as opposed to epic championships and this year’s 146th staging of the event was no different. But whoever had written the script had hugely oversimplified the story line; first, teeing-off well into an English Sunday afternoon to suit U.S. TV, the two main dramatis personae looked anything but assured, fluffing their lines big time in a flurry of bogeys - for Spieth, two from Kuchar, a couple of birdies for the latter and a solitary one-under from the pre-round hot favourite hardly compensating for what was, in anyone’s language, rank poor play. Kuchar, out in 34 to his rival’s 37, the Ryder Cup teammates had cancelled each other out; meanwhile, hours earlier, potential history was being written by 21-year-old Chinese protégé Li Haotong, the kid who held the hopes of a nation 1,000km HKGOLFER.COM


Jordan Spieth reacts after making his putt on the 16th green for birdie during his final round 69

HKGOLFER.COM

HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

33


Jordan Spieth was 5-under for a four-hole stretch from 14th to 17th in the final round, and ultimately made him a worthy winner of the Claret Jug

Top: ©Rolex/Chris Turvey; Right: AFP/Andy Buchanan

21-year-old Chinese protégé Li Haotong’s aggregate score of 6-under 274 has held the hopes of a nation 1,000km away at one time

34

HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

and eight-hours to the east, winner of his ‘home’ Volvo China Open in 2016. Li’s front-nine was competent but far from spectacular, but five birdies on the back-nine, which included four-in-a-row from 15th to 18th had a nation hoping, around 50,000 fans on the course and a marquee full of journalists collectively asking, “Surely not?” Li’s aggregate score of 6-under 274 was posted at a critical time, Spieth and Kuchar embroiled in a contest of mediocrity, trading pars on the 10th, 11th and 12th before the fickle finger of fate was waggled, appositely enough at the 13th hole. With Kuchar in decent shape off the tee, Spieth had carved his drive almost 100 yards wide of the fairway, deep in trouble, an unplayable lie the Texan forced to take a stroke and distance penalty, which he did in the most controversial of circumstances. His most propitious line was way back on the practice range, unusually not deemed out-of-bounds, and, as the 23-year-old argued his case with a gaggle of rules officials - and ironically giving at least 15 minutes of free TV branding to his club sponsor - he hit his recovery shot onto the fairway, then the green, a single putt, dropping but a single shot when two, perhaps three appeared on the cards. Kuchar meanwhile was kept waiting - by this time the wind and the rain had returned - and a mix of cries of ’Kooch’ and ‘Boo’ echoed around the course. But it was to prove to be the turning point of all turning points, the ultimate ‘Get out of jail (almost) free card,’ it was as if his near catastrophe had awoken the pre-tournament favourite from his growing ineptitude, a surge of energy propelling him to three birdies and an eagle, scoring Kuchar could not live with. The pair finishing their final round on 69, 1-under, Spieth’s three-stroke lead returned as it the rollercoaster ride had been part of a dream. Speaking afterwards, Spieth denied gamesmanship had played any part of his strategy on what was a very lucky 13th, and, in truth, 5-under for the next four holes ultimately made him a worthy winner of the Claret Jug. “All of a sudden the wheels had come off the wagon and we had to find a way to get them back on,” said Spieth, adding, “There was a momentum shift at 13th, even though I dropped a shot and the nerves I was feeling up until then went away.”

HKGOLFER.COM


LEADING FINAL SCORES 1 Jordan Spieth

United States

65 69 65 69

268

2 Matt Kuchar

United States

65 71 66 69

271

3 Li Haotung

China

69 73 69 63

274

4= Rory McIlroy

Northern Ireland

71 68 69 67

275

Spain

67 73 67 68

275

Australia

69 76 66 65

276

England

72 72 67 65

276

Rafa Cabrera-Bello

5= Marc Leishman

Top: “Well played Jordan. See you at Carnoustie in 2018!” Right: Jordan Spieth kisses his Claret Jug; his victory will live long in the memory

HKGOLFER.COM

Matthew Southgate

Alex Noren

Sweden

68 72 69 67

276

Branden Grace

South Africa

70 74 62 70

276

Brooks Koepka

United States

65 72 68 71

276

HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

Top: AFP/Andy Buchanan; Above: Golf Support

Kuchar, for his part, was magnanimous in defeat, admitting, “It’s crushing, it hurts, but Jordan is a great champion.” But one was left with a feeling of some sorrow for Kuchar, who took his defeat with good grace and respect, and perhaps more so for Li Haotong, whose time may, or may not, come again. In as breathless a finish to an enthralling final day of the major ‘Major,’ the places seemed almost irrelevant, regardless of the eye-watering sums won and lost on a single putt. Hideki Matsuyama never recovered from a triple-bogey seven at the first, although, in fairness to him, he finished in red figures, two under par; Rory McIlroy had his chances whilst the tow leading Americans were doing their best to hand the Claret Jug to someone else, but, like fellow-Brits, Paul Casey and Ian Poulter, flattered to deceive. Spaniard Rafa Cabrera-Bello, winner of the previous week’s Scottish Open, was also in contention for a while, Brooks Koepka and Austin Connelly faded away as did Branden Grace, unsurprisingly with a final round eight-shots-worse than its predecessor, whilst Henrik Stenson put up a decent defence just outside the top 10. Jordan Spieth’s victory will live long in the memory, partly because of his insistence on a controversial ruling, which worked out heavily in his favour, largely because of the high-octane effect it had on his game, from sleepwalking to probable defeat to a turbocharged victory. Meanwhile, one hopes that both Kuchar and Li can put their obvious disappointment behind them and make amends by winning at least one Grand Slam event, whilst time alone will tell first whether Silver Medal winner Alfie Plant is the real deal when he turns pro. And, secondly, and finally, with three ‘Major’ to his name now at the age of 23 - Spieth turns 24 four days after lifting the Claret Jug - can get some way towards emulating Tiger Woods, or whether Lady Luck may take a dim view of his shenanigans on the 13th hole and take her revenge as she is wont to do...

35


INTERVIEW I MARTIN SLUMBERS

CEO Slumbers Awakens

R&A

from Near-Vegetative State How ironic is it that the man engaged specifically to modernize and manage change in golf ’s most influential governing body should be called ‘Slumbers,’ within an organization that has in effect sleepwalked its way through the past 250 years. But, as Mike Wilson finds out, change for the better is well underway in creating a venerable organization fit for purpose for the many challenges facing it in the 21st century.

T

Photo Courtesy of the R&A

he most noteworthy thing about the R&A was that the ‘Secretary,’ not only held but also worked from arguably the most prestigious office in world sport, the capacious f irst-f loor workspace in the stately R& A Clubhouse looking out over the first tee and 18th green of the Old Course, master of all he surveys indeed. Throughout the years, various incumbents, up to and including the immediate past pair of Sir Michael Bonallack and Peter Dawson, both entrenched, establishment figures who played foresomes golf together at Thorpe Park, happy to have a light hand on the tiller as the good ship R&A sailed serenely around the world with the exception of the USA.

38

HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

Bonallack was R&A Secretary from 1984 to 1999, combining high office with a stellar amateur playing career, winning the British Amateur Championship on five occasions and winning the Silver Medal as leading amateur at the Open Championship twice, in 1968 and 1971. Under a man who was greatly revered as a player and administrator who did little but maintain the status quo, and the public image of t he R& A , which at t hat time included the 2,400-strong all-male Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews (of which the 82-year-old captained in 2000), the R&A’s rule making responsibilities and running a portfolio of major events including the Open Championship and the Amateur Championship.

HKGOLFER.COM


Martin Slumbers, the R&A CEO, a former director at global bankers Salomon Brothers, then Deutsche Bank

HKGOLFER.COM

HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

39


Photo Courtesy of the R&A

First prize of the Open rising from US$1.1m in 2010 to US$1.55m as Henrik Stenson won at the Royal Troon last year 40

HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

Under Bonallack, in an era of deference and reverence when Social Media was still a million-miles-away, little changed, but then that was the name of the game, and by the time he was replaced by Oxbridge-educated Peter Dawson in 1999, the seeds of change, in society and golf were beginning to germinate. Dawson, whose anticipated peerage seems lost in the post, the man to tend to these from the lofty office in the ‘Auld Grey Toun.’ One of the f irst and most noteworthy changes that came in with Dawson was a change of title, from, ‘Secretary’ to,’ Chief Executive Officer,’ reflecting the changing times and a more business-orientated approach within the organization. Change, certainly by comparison with his predecessor’s era, coming thick-and-fast. First-up, in 2004, the R&A as the rulesmaking/enforcing governing body and event organizer parted company with the private member’s club of the same name. But it took Dawson a decade more - and considerable flak to boot - before the all-male membership of the club he still, administratively if not practically, presided over voted to admit women members into its ranks. Dawson was ‘Old School’, for sure, never use ten words when two would do, working in the labyrinthine committee structure of the

golf establishment - the R&A, the USGA, the International Golf Federation (IGF) and, latterly, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) when golf got in on the Olympic Games for two cycles at least, Rio in 2016, Tokyo in 2020. Ur b a n e , c l u b b a bl e i n t h e e x t r e m e , courteous, cautious and should the occasion dema nd it , c u r mud geon ly rat her t ha n approachable and about as far from devil-maycare is it’s possible to get, Dawson’s tenure came to an end, in 2016, having reached the sell-by date and some. In fairness, and in large part because he k ne w who cou ld u n lo c k t he O p en Championship treasure trove, aka I MG, Dawson’s greatest legacy was to see the Open Championship just about retain its place as ‘First amongst equals,’ of the four ‘Majors’. First prize rising from US$450,000 in Dawson’s first year, when fellow-Aberdonian Paul Lawrie won the Claret Jug at Carnoustie, to US$1.1m when Louis Oosthuizen won at St. Andrews in 2010 and US$1.5m by the end of his tenure as Zach Johnston won in the rain at the Old Course. And that, first-and-foremost is the primary responsibility of Martin Slumbers, a former director at global bankers Salomon Brothers, then Deutsche Bank, to maintain the status HKGOLFER.COM


HKGOLFER.COM

sport and provide greater support for participation programmes,” adding, “That may take time to feed through the system, but it is very important for golf to be part of such a global celebration of sport.” Having gained experience of the Far East during a distinguished career in the financial services industry, Slumbers, a father-of-two is upbeat about the development of golf in the region, observing, “We have already seen tremendous success for Asian players in the women’s game, and I think Ariya Jutanugarn’s victory at Woburn last year demonstrated a growing strength in depth throughout the Asia-Pacific region. “In the men’s game, we have seen Hideki Matsuyama progress from winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship to go on and win on the PGA Tour and contend in ‘Major’ championships [and] there are numerous other [Asian] players contending on a regular basis, so I think there is every possibility [a second Asian ‘Major’ champion] will happen sooner rather than later. “We have two members of staff serving the Asia-Pacific region and felt that an office in Singapore cemented our position and demonstrated our commitment to the region,” says Slumbers, adding, “There are a huge range of initiatives we are involved in throughout Asia, and it is a key area for us in terms of encouraging the future growth of the sport. “Sentosa is the ideal place for us to operate from and is in many ways a hub for golf in Asia, with some of the leading bodies having regional headquarters there. We will be working closely with the club on the Singapore Open, which is part of The Open Qualifying Series, and the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship which will be played there in 2018,” although the man about to preside over his third Open Championship is less keen to get involved in the thorny China Golf Association, Asian Tour and OneAsia issue. “This issue has been going on for many years,” he says, adding, “We are aware of the situation and are happy to provide assistance where we can, but this is largely an issue for the Tours themselves to resolve.” And he does not see the correction in golf course supply in China as anything to get overly concerned about, stating, “The R&A was not consulted on this matter as it is an internal Chinese Government issue [but] the process to now have 496 courses approved in China has been positive and gave certainty to these courses. “The Central Government also issued a new policy in 2016 titled ‘Accelerating the Development of the Fitness and Leisure Industry,’ where golf is a ‘Feature Sport’ in this policy, and it should help provide guidelines for construction and land-use of future golf projects.” Corporate governance is an issue Slumbers is strangely reluctant to discuss when asked about the trials and tribulations of other sports governing bodies such as FIFA, playing a distinctly straight-bat, saying, “I’m afraid we would rather not get into giving an open-ended comment of that kind,” but there must surely be a huge amount the R&A could pass-on, having an unrivalled and unbroken run of 263 years with a clean bill of financial health. Evidence of the Slumbers hand on the financial tiller is clear from an analysis of the official accounts for R& A Championships Ltd, which promotes and manages events such as the Open Championship and the Amateur Championship. Turnover was up from £66m to £70.4m in his first year at the helm, an increase of 6.6%, administrative expenses marginally down, staff costs static, the classic telltale signs of a financial expert in charge. But balancing the books is no longer good enough within the hallowed portals of the R& A Clubhouse in St. A ndrews; getting the Open Championship back to the pinnacle of the game will be a yardstick by which the Slumbers era will ultimately be measured, and, as FIFA has found to its cost over recent years, the loyalty of national governing bodies under its aegis, especially in Asia, is directly linked to the financial support they receive from the centre.

HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

AFP/Karim Sahib

of the oldest of the four ‘Majors’, in term of historical reverence, which is a given, and secondly, hard cash, which it is not. OK, post-Brexit plunges in the Pound have rendered the Open the least valuable of the four, ‘Majors,’ this year, but with this year’s US Open worth a whopping US$12m, Slumbers and his commercial team have their work cut out to claw back the difference, and more. On Brexit, the 57-year-old Slumbers says, “I think it would be purely speculative to give a view on the impact of Brexit on golf at this stage,” adding, “We will continue to monitor developments in the months and years to come, but our focus will remain on fulfilling our governance responsibilities, delivering successful championships and supporting the development of the sport in a sustainable fashion.” The two-handicapper takes a distinctly busi ness- orientated approach to t he organization and his role within it. “We implemented a f ive-year strategic plan last year and are working towards our goals of developing The Open as one of the world’s great sporting events, maximising its commercial potential to enable us to invest £200 million in the sport over the next ten years and working with our partners to ensure effective global governance of the sport,” he says. Slumbers adds, “I worked in the City for 30 years and learned a lot about the world of business in that time [and] it is so important to work with people to help them achieve their full potential,” explaining, “The R&A has such a key role to play in golf globally [so] I hope to be able to contribute some of my ideas and experience to the organisation at the same time as building on the hugely impressive range of skills and expertise of the team here. My management style is based around teams with a strong focus on delivery.” The R&A CEO welcomed golf ’s return to the Olympic fold after an 112-year hiatus, explaining, “I think you saw how much it meant to Justin Rose and Inbee Park to win Gold Medals and the players who were there thoroughly enjoyed being part of the whole Olympic experience. “One of the key benefits of Olympic golf is the number of young people watching around the world who will have seen golf being part of the games and wanted to try it [and] it is this breadth of viewership which is very difficult to replicate outside of the Olympics. Slumbers also sees the wider, political picture and says, “I think it will also influence governments to invest in golf as an Olympic

41


SUANSON VILLAS - RAYONG THAILAND LUXURY BEACH VILLAS FROM HK$3.5M

PRIME VILLAS AND APARTMENTS IN THAILAND AND THE PHILIPPINES IN PROXIMITY TO CHAMPIONSHIP GOLF COURSES

PHUKET RESORT LIVING

THAILAND AWARD WINNING RESORT APARTMENTS FROM HK$1M

PINECREEK GOLF PROPERTY HOLDINGS LTD | TWO EXCHANGE SQUARE | LEVEL 8 | 8 CONNAUGHT PLACE | CENTRAL HONG KONG +852 3167 4596 | PINECREEK@GOLF-REALTOR.COM | WWW.GOLF-REALTOR.COM


BORACAY BEACHFRONT APARTMENTS PHILIPPINES LUXURY BEACHFRONT APARTMENTS FROM HK$1.74M

FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CALL +852 5588 2212 OR +852 6084 0073 EMAIL: PINECREEK@GOLF-REALTOR.COM

CEBU SEASIDE LIVING

PHILIPPINE SEAVIIEW APARTMENTS FROM HK$580K OFFERED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH:

PineCreek Golf Property Holdings Ltd does not provide Hong Kong properties

www.alfainvestors.com


2017 USPGA CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW

AFP/Getty Images

Feathers May Fly at Quail Hollow

44

HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

HKGOLFER.COM


Restored to its rightful place in the global golf schedule after a year damaginglydisplaced by golf ’s readmission to the Olympic Games in Rio, as Mike Wilson asks, will the U.S. PGA Championship continue the recent trend of first-time ‘Major’ champions? Or will the old order be restored with a proven winner of one of golf ’s ‘Big Four,’ events lifting the giant Wanamaker Trophy?

(Left to Right) Justin Rose and James Hahn walk up the 18th fairway during the final round of the 2016 Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club HKGOLFER.COM

HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

45


A note on the leaderboard congratulates Jimmy Walker on winning the 2016 PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club

AFP/Getty Images

Jimmy Walker celebrates with his wife Erin and son Beckett after making par on the 18th hole to win the 2016 PGA Championship

46

HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

H

uge changes to Quail Hollow, including a complete switch from Rye to Bermuda grass and major surgery to four of the 18 holes will present an entirely different, ‘Major’ challenge than the previous 14 occasions the PGA Tour has come calling to the Charlotte, North Carolina course. Defending champion Jimmy Walker, knows, because he’s been there, seen the changes, played the course. Hardly a household name despite six PGA Tour victories and career prize money of US$23m, a diagnosis of Lyme’s Disease limited his starts in 2017; missing much of the early part of the season, missing the halfway cut at the U.S. Open, one solitary top-10, ninth at the SBS Tournament of Champions before his illness took hold. He is well outside a guaranteed place in the FedEx Finals but still comfortably within the top-50 on the OWGR. But the Texan resident, born in Oklahoma City and who will turn 40 in 18-months-time is just happy to be back playing golf. “The golf game, we’re just going to have to see where that’s at,” Walker said, adding, “I haven’t been able to do a lot because I couldn’t HKGOLFER.COM


HKGOLFER.COM

The man behind the course changes for 2017 PGA Championship, Quail Hollow President Johnny Harris

Jason Day poses with the Wanamaker trophy after winning the 2015 PGA Championship with a score of 20-under par at Whistling Strait

AFP/Getty Images

really be out in the sun, which is why I’ve taken some time off [but] ‘the want’ is getting back [and] as of right now, I feel pretty good,” said Walker at a recent pre-PGA Championship press event at the venue, Quail Hollow. Defending champion Walker is far from your archetypical PGA Tour professional. His road to the top most certainly not that trodden by the typical, modern ‘Major,’ champion. Walker didn’t play his first full season on the PGA Tour until 2006 at age 27, and it was hardly an auspicious start to a career now blossoming; in 21 starts in his rookie year, he made the cut just nine times and finished inside the top 25 once. Hardly an indication of a ‘Major’ champion in waiting. But once in the winner’s enclosure, at the 2013 Frys.com Open, the Texan found he quite liked the place; three wins in 2014, his breakthrough year, six to date and he is delighted to be defending champions at Quail Hollow this month. “Winning a ‘Major’ gives you more stature in the world of golf,” Walker said, adding, “Being able to play all the ‘Majors’ for five years is a nice perk for sure. “But,” Walker revealed, “My cool moment was receiving a hand-written note from Jack Nicklaus, very cool when one of the greatest players of all time takes the time to hand-write you a note and talk about your win - and he can relate having won two ‘Majors’ there - is very cool. “He didn’t have to do that, but he did. I wrote him back, and he was greatly appreciative of that, and we’ve been able to chat a few times since. I had dinner with him and Barbara about a month ago. They’re super people.” The other added bonus that came with winning the 2016 PGA Championship was that it secured Walker’s spot on his second consecutive Ryder Cup USA Team last September at Hazeltine. The Texan took full advantage by helping the USA to a memorable and comprehensive 17-11 victory over Europe, calling a much-needed halt to a three-in-a-row streak from the Europeans. Walker had been one of three stand-out performers in the USA’s heavy defeat at Gleneagles two-years-earlier, contribution 2.5 points along with fellow-debutant Jordan Spieth to Patrick Reed’s 3.5 as the more celebrated members of the team, Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Matt Kuchar, Rickie Fowler et al, tanked in the Scots mist. Last year’s U.S. PGA Championship leaderboard was about as accurate a reflection as it’s possible to get off the current state of

HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

47


U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka tied third behind Walker and Day at Baltusrol in 2016

Top: AFP/Andy Buchanan; Right: AFP/Olif Scarff

Can Hideki Matsuyama follow YE Yang’s step to becoming the second Asian to lift the Wanamaker trophy?

48

HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

the world game, who’s on form and who’s not. Indeed, Walker was the least likely to lift the US$1.8m first prize, holding-off Australian defending champion Jason Day by a shot. Most PGA Tour professionals are wellaccustomed to playing Quail Hollow as it has been an ever-present venue on the circuit since 2003, first with the Wachovia, latterly the Wells Fargo Championship. But at this year’s PGA Championship, they will be confronted with an unfamiliar layout, four holes having been remastered and a switch from rye to Bermuda grass, something the defending champion is intrigued by. “We’re used to playing it with rye grass everywhere [but] with Bermuda, it has a potential to play really firm and really fast,” he says, adding, “That’s when golf gets really hard when you start losing control of the golf ball,” Walker said. “Bermuda rough tends to fly a lot, or it could come out where you get some horrendous lies,” he continues, predicting, “Guys are going to have to deal with that [question] ‘Am I going to get the big jumper?’ Or ‘Will I get the really soft shot that comes out?’” Walker concludes, “Even around the greens, Bermuda rough is very hard to chip out of. The greens ought to be fast, and that’s the biggest variable, I would think.” The changes to the four holes are quite dramatic. The first is now a 540-yard, par-4 dogleg right. A new Par-3 was built to replace the second, which was eliminated to extend the first, and the fifth, formerly a par-5, is now a par-4 dogleg right, whilst bunkers have been added on the 11th, where the green has also been pushed back. The man behind the changes, Quail Hollow President Johnny Harris described the intended effect of them as, “All of it has made it more important to hit all the clubs in your bag.” Aside of the top PGA Tour professionals, household names such as Jordan Spieth, world number-one Dustin Johnson, defending champion Walker and his predecessors Jason Day and Rory McIlroy, recently crowned U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka and, fresh from his daughter’s graduation which caused him to miss the U.S. Open, Phil Mickelson, 2005 PGA Championship winner - minus his long-term caddie Jim ‘Bones’ Mackay 20 PGA club professionals from the PGA Professionals Championship get a share of the limelight. But whilst an Omar Uresti, Kenny Pigman or JJ Wood may feature in the early stages, don’t expect any of them, even the HKGOLFER.COM


HKGOLFER.COM

Jordan Spieth’s remarkable back-nine performance in the final round of the Open Championship made him one of the favourites to win at Quail Hollow

12 FAST & FASCINATING FACTS Rory McIlroy holds the course record for Quail Hollow, carding an 11-under-par 61 at the 2015 Wells Fargo Championship, having previously held the record with a 62 shot at the same event in 2010. Quail Hollow has hosted a PGA Tour event every year since 2003, first the Wachovia Championship, then the Wells Fargo Championship, but missed-out in 2016 whilst major changes were made ahead of the 99th U.S. PGA Championship in August 2017. The inaugural U.S. PGA Championship was held in October 1916 at Siwanoy Country Club in Bronxville, New York.[3] The winner, Jim Barnes, received US$500 and a diamondstudded gold medal donated by Rodman Wanamaker. The Wanamaker Trophy - the original of which the champion gets to keep for a year - is the largest in professional golf;  it weighs in at about 27lbs. and is about 2 feet tall and 2 feet wide from handle to handle. Past champions can purchase a 90% scale replica should they so wish. The record scores in the U.S. PGA Championship are, to Par, minus-20 by Jason Day at Whistling Straits in 2015, and by aggregate, David Toms at the Atlanta Athletic Club. The U.S. PGA Championship was originally played in a match-play format, but changed to stroke-play in 1958, when the first prize went down from US$8,000 to US$5,500 but rose to US$8,250 in 1959. Walter Hagen and Jack Nicklaus lead the way with five U.S. PGA Championship wins, closely followed by Tiger Woods with four to date. The state of New York has hosted the U.S. PGA Championship a record twelve times, with Ohio on 11 occasions and Pennsylvania nine so far. Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, Missouri will host the 2018 U.S. PGA Championship for the second time; Nick Price lifted the Wanamaker Trophy there in 1992. Gene Sarazen remains the youngest player ever to win the U.S. PGA Championship; he was just 20-years, 4-months and 22-days when he defeated Emmet French 4&3 in the 1922 event at Oakmont. American Julius Boros was 48-years, 4-months, 18-days old when was one stroke better than Bob Charles and Arnold Palmer on his way to winning the 1968 PGA Championship at Pecan Valley Golf Club in San Antonio, Texas, the oldest man ever to lift the Wanamaker Trophy.

AFP/Andy Buchanan

wonderfully-named Rich Barbarian Jr or Greg Gregory to be anywhere near the top come Sunday afternoon. Rising English stars like Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrell Hatton, who enjoyed a top-10 finish last year may well feature again, as could Henrik Stenson and Martin Kaymer, tied sixth in 2016. U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka, tied third behind Walker and Day at Baltusrol in 2016, whilst another Englishman, U.S.-based Paul Casey’s recent return to form could see his win in what will be his 55th ‘Major’ championship start. Of the Asian contingent, Korean YE Yang, who many observers consider started the demise of Tiger Woods by reeling him in to win the 2009 U.S. PGA Championship at Hazeltine remains in the field on a past champion’s exemption. But far more credible are the burgeoning - almost irresistible ‘Major claims on a Major’ championship of Japanese star Hideki Matsuyama. Up to number-two on the OWGR and playing his 20th ‘Major’ as a professional, the 25-year-old, fourth behind Walker last year and runner-up to Koepka in this year’s U.S. Open may be hampered by the weight of expectation from the Land of the Rising Sun - not to mention the hundreds of journalists, photographers and TV crews who follow his every step. The young man from Ehime prefecture in northwestern Shikoku in Japan - its capital is ‘Matsuyama’ - has served his apprenticeship with wins the Japan Tour, the Asian Tour and the PGA Tour, now could be his time to graduate to the very highest level in golf. Meanwhile, the claims of the understated South Korean starlet, the 22-year-old Si Woo Kim, who followed-up his maiden PGA Tour victory at the Wyndham Championship with victory in the top-tier Players Championship last year could fly under the radar to get into the mix come Sunday afternoon to join compatriot Yang as a U.S. PGA Championship winner. With Quail Hollow presenting a new and altogether different challenge to those PGA Tour professionals who play the Wells Fargo Championship in early May each year - and with the absence of a man called Tiger Woods, now outside the top 1,000 in the world - whilst the spoils are being shared more equally across the Tour. Multiple winners this term such as Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth and especially three-time winners DJ and Matsuyama must surely hold sway when it comes to lifting the giant Wanamaker Trophy and the equally colossal US$1.89m?

The first prize at the U.S. PGA Championship has risen from US$500 won by Jim Barnes in 1916, to US$5,000 in 1953, US$11,000 in 1960, US$50,000 in 1978, US$100,000 in 1983, US$540,000 in 1998, US$1m in 2003 with the 2017 champion earning US$ 1,890,000.

HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

49


AFP/Robyn Beck

NOTES FROM THE ASIAN TOUR

52

HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

HKGOLFER.COM


Amongst some of Chuah’s favourite stories was of Y.E. Yang beat all odds by trumping Tiger Woods in a glorious head-to-head showdown at the PGA Championship in 2009

Adieu After 18 Years

Chuah Choo Chiang, Communications Director, bids farewell after nearly eighteen seasons on the Asian Tour. The time has come to bid adieu to a wonderful chapter of his scribe’s working life. HKGOLFER.COM

HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

53


F AFP/Asian Tour//Paul Lakatos

Thaworn Wiratchant holds up the Asia Tour Order of Merit 2005 award Thaworn then became Asia’s most winningest player with a record 18 Tour titles

54

HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

rom Qua l if ying School in Ja nua r y 20 0 0 to my la st tournament at the Queen’s Cup in Koh Samui recently, it has been a wild and enjoyable ride being part of a team narrating the growth of the region’s premier tour and its growing band of gung-ho golfers. The privilege of being in a front row seat watching and chronicling winning moments and sharing the agony of defeat encountered by Asia’s leading golfers has been a moneycan’t-buy experience. From Switzerland to Singapore, India to Indonesia and Myanmar to Australia, there have been many bumpy planes rides on the 777s or propeller-engine aircraft, plush stays in five-star hotels and cheapish joints, and countless of breakfast buffets - some fit for a king and others as greasy as those offered in Chinatown - that I could write a book about

the travails on Tour. Working at three Open Championships at St Andrews, which is the home of golf, and walking the hallowed grounds of Augusta National for the Masters Tournament will surely remain with me for a lifetime. One of the best perks of the job, though, has been the privilege and opportunity to work closely with many of our cosmopolitan golfers who hail from different backgrounds, cultures and social standings. Stars such as Thai legends Thongchai Jaidee and Thaworn Wiratchant provided a wealth of great narratives for us to share with the golfing world, while Korea’s K.J. Choi, Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh, Chinese ace Liang Wen-chong and India’s Anirban Lahiri are just amongst some of those who offered fascinating tales that made the job as a storyteller all the more fulfilling. Amongst some of my favourite stories was

HKGOLFER.COM


HKGOLFER.COM

"The privilege of being in a front row seat watching and chronicling winning moments and sharing the agony of defeat encountered by Asia’s leading golfers has been a money-can’tbuy experience."

Thongchai Jaidee and his son Titituch at the par-3 competition of 2010 Masters - the rise of Thongchai as a world-class golfer will always serve as an inspiration to many Asian youngsters

a poor finish and another Aussie player grabbing the arm and going eyeballto-eyeball after losing a tournament with a missed putt on the 72nd hole. All of these were certainly intense in the heat of the moment, but when the dust had settled, we kissed and made up and enjoyed a beer or two at the hotel lobby bar. And in all honesty, such minor job hazards have paled in comparison to the assortment of wonderful memories that I have garnered from my time on the Asian Tour. It is with crossed fingers that I hope the next adventure will be as fulfilling and rewarding!

HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

AFP/Don Emmert

of Y.E. Yang’s historic first Major triumph for Asia in 2009. A late bloomer of the game, the softly-spoken Korean beat all odds by trumping Tiger Woods in a glorious head-tohead showdown at the PGA Championship which will be remembered for generations to come. My only regret was that I wasn’t at Hazeltine to witness this achievement. Following and writing about the rise of Thongchai Jaidee as a world-class golfer will also serve as an inspiration to many youngsters. After overcoming adversity where he threw away a lead in the 2000 Malaysian Open while chasing a maiden professional victory, he picked up the broken pieces to subsequently emerge as the first man in golf history to win three Asian Tour Order of Merit titles. And then, there is the evergreen Thaworn Wiratchant, who provided the thrills both inside and outside the ropes. Such is his unorthodox golf swing that I am sure no punter worth his salt would have had the foresight to put money down on him to become Asia’s most winningest player with a record 18 Tour titles. My best interview with him was also conducted in English after he won the Selangor Masters which he rarely offers to do! We have enjoyed, in recent times, sharing the inspiring stories of Siddikur Rahman and SSP Chawrasia, who both grew up in humble surroundings before becoming multiple champions. The exciting emergence of young Asian Tour number ones such as Seungyul Noh, Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Anirban Lahiri have all been fun and fascinating to follow where their fullest potential remains to be seen. One thing which has stood out for me is the fact new generation of Asian Tour players are now displaying the desire to become world-beaters. Previously, A sian golfers were simply happy to be in a world-class tournament but now, they go to these same events with the self-belief that they can win the title. Holding this job has also meant being adept to the mood swings of our most animated golfers as part of the role include leading them into post-round media interviews. Learning the art of cajoling and allowing space for players to cool down after a bad day in the office is certainly a pre-requisite. T h e r e w a s o n c e a n e pi s o d e w it h a Singaporean golfer who kicked chairs in the locker room after his overnight lead was reduced through a last-hole bogey. An Indian contender storming past this scribe following

55


䐀爀攀愀洀 圀椀渀攀猀 椀猀 琀栀攀 漀昀ǻ挀椀愀氀 椀洀瀀漀爀琀攀爀 漀昀 䔀爀渀椀攀 䔀氀猀 圀椀渀攀猀ꀀ昀漀爀 䠀漀渀最 䬀漀渀最 愀渀搀 䴀愀挀愀甀⸀


BUNKER MENTALITY

How Does Golf Deal with

Tiger’s Tale? The game of golf in general and the men’s professional game, in particular, has benefitted massively, financially and in popularity, since the arrival on the scene of one Eldrick Tont ‘Tiger’ Woods and turned professional back in 1995 before sweeping all before him for a generation. But as Mike Wilson writes, with Woods career halted and his life seemingly on the skids, history will view the royal and ancient game on how it deals with the deep decline in the fortunes, and both the physical and mental health of what has been, for 20 years, its most prized asset.

P

AFP/Getty Images

erhaps - but not necessarily it’s a tad too soon to be writing an obituary to Tiger Woods, although, from afar, it’s hard to see any light at the end of a very long and dark tunnel for the career and well-being of the man who ruled not only global golf but also sports worldwide for two irresistible, pulsating, electrifying decades. From the very day, the man who had been shaped for sporting stardom since the age of three won the first of 106 professional events - appositely the 1996 Las Vegas Classic - until his last, to date, the 2013 WGC Bridgestone Invitational. The game of golf held itself in awe of a man seemingly destined to not just break, but shatter, records along with his seemingly-

58

HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

unstoppable fast-track to golfing greatness and sporting supremacy. The son of a US serviceman and his Thaiborn wife, Tiger Woods’ star went into orbit, the steepest trajectory of any sportsman, anytime, anywhere, spending no fewer than 683 weeks - 281 of those consecutive - at the top of the world ranking, amassing US$110m in official prize money, ten-times that in sponsorships and endorsements, appearance fees and other income. Current world number-one Dustin Johnson has been there for 16 weeks, Rory McIlroy, Tiger’s heir-apparent, 95 weeks in all, Jordan Spieth, A merica’s next Tiger, 26 weeks, these figures showing the sheer scale of utter domination Woods held over the game of golf. 14 ‘ Majors,’ 18 WG C t it les, Wood s,

HKGOLFER.COM


Tiger Woods tips his cap on the 18th during the final round of the Hero World Challenge, hosted by himself, and is a benefit for the Tiger Woods Foundation

HKGOLFER.COM

HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

59


AFP/Getty Images

Martin Kaymer and Tiger Woods talk on the second tee during the second round of the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits - Kaymer is one of only a couple of Pros who has spoken out in support of the man 60

HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

seemingly unstoppable, that was until his car was in collision with a fire hydrant outside his home in Jupiter, Florida in November 2009. Following a domestic altercation triggering a string of lurid headlines, the self-appointed all-American family man revealed as anything but, a penchant for cocktail waitresses leading ultimately to divorce a year later. There are those who believe the Tiger phenomenon ended that fateful night. But the records reveal that, although his last ‘Major’ title was the 2008 US Open at Torrey Pines, Woods won nine-more-times on Tour - a not-to-be-sniffed-at career record for more ordinary mortals - until his final victory to date, the 2013 WGC Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone GC. Si nc e t hen , Wo o d s h a s e a r n e d j u s t US$556,877, less than the wonderfully-named but utterly-unrecognizable Bronson Burgoon and is currently ranked 876th on the OWGR. His PGA Tour exemption ends at the end of the 2017/18 season, and whilst money worries are unlikely to keep him awake at night, his imminent departure from a stage he once strutted with utter dominance will do for sure. PGA Tour chief Jay Monahan insisted to the Associated Press following Woods’s recent Driving Under Inf luence (DUI), "He's a member of our family, and we're going to do

everything we can to help and support him." Whilst Woods himself said in a statement, “I will do everything in my power to ensure this never happens again,” hardly a cast-iron, copper-bottom commitment that the man who once ruled the world is yet out of the woods. Golf ’s ‘Golden Generation,’ fortunate enough to be competing whilst Woods was in his pomp included Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh, happy to see Tiger win with impunity but to pick-up vastly-increased ‘scraps,’ from Tiger’s top table, their silence in the wake of the latest downward step to oblivion deafening. Others, like Matt Kuchar, who won the 2010 PGA Tour Money List with US$5m, and Jordan Spieth, topping the list in 2015 with a record US$12m cashing-in on the Woodseffect have been similarly struck-dumb. Yet, only a couple, first two-time ‘Major’ winner Martin Kaymer has spoken out in support of the man who enriched them all, many good but far-from great golfers, saying, “I find it so nasty that people just kick him while he’s already on the floor.” And Tiger’s fellow-Californian Hunter Mahan taking to twitter to say, “To be clear, the news troubles me as someone who knows TW well, and I sincerely hope he finds the support he needs.” A t l e a s t Joh n D a ly, a fel l ow P G A HKGOLFER.COM


Mark Steinberg, Tiger Woods’ Manager, talks to the media after the withdrawal of Woods during the second round of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in February

HKGOLFER.COM

is a man, as opposed to a golfer feted for all his life, mired in a deep downwa rd spira l a nd he need s - deser ves - help to protect himself and others. But, before any of that, Woods needs to accept he has a problem, and that he needs help, never easy for someone always able to act with impunity and have others paid to clear-up the mess. And one senses Woods may be in denial, not just about his prospects of returning to top-flight golf - and as a competitive presence - but also about his life. Anyone watching Woods just about managing 18-holes at this year’s Dubai Desert Classic before withdrawing - Steinberg initially announcing all was well - walking with the gait of a man of 65, not 41, clambering out of bunkers with pain etched across his face knew the end was not simply nigh but had arrived. Even sports psychologists, those snake-oil-salesmen of the profession will attest to how badly once-great, all-conquering champions face failure, never mind the ignominy being thrust down Tiger’s throat. But, on the other side of the coin, he’s got two great kids, a profitable career designing courses, coaching and TV punditry. Any one of which us ordinary mortals would grab with both hands, but he needs to be brave, dispense with the parasites and sycophants who cling like leeches, sucking the very lifeblood out of a very viable profit centre, and insulate himself against their ire. Sports is inherently a ruthless business, winner-takes-all, individual sports like golf extraordinarily so. But the PGA Tour ‘family’ Commissioner Monahan speaks of, for all its charitable good deeds, is a figment of the circuit’s bleeding-heart perception of itself, does not actually exist. Yet, if it fails in this clear and present duty-of-care commitment - not just to one of its own, but to the man who made them all - then as a membershipbased organization, questions - big questions - will be asked about its very legitimacy, let alone its propriety, integrity and already-questionable morality. HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

AFP/Karim Sahib

professional whose demons have never been too far away offered some advice, suggesting, "Get back on the golf course, man," adding, "This stuff will pass. It always does." Bunker Mentality has been amongst the harshest of critics of Tiger Woods, rightly-so, because of his attitudes towards the media, fans and the values the game aspires to uphold, such as spitting, swearing - not to mention allegations of performance-enhancing drugs swirling around and the painting of an utterly false picture of his life off-course. But he has also been very poorly advised, primarily by his agent (provocateur) Mark Steinberg, who has feathered his own nest - according to Forbes - to the tune of US$16.1m, much of it thanks to Woods. Woods has rightly claimed over many years that, as a self-employed sub-contractor, he owes nothing to the game of golf. But if that’s the formality of the situation, the morality of it is that, as a member of the PGA Tour ‘family,’ indeed it’s paymaster-in-chief, he’s surely entitled to some counselling support of the kind soccer stars such as George Best and Paul ‘Gazza’ Gascoigne were never accorded. A nd if his mugshot and dashca m footage sent a l l a rou nd t he world cou r tesy of Jupiter Pol ice Depa r t ment is to be correct ly interpreted, t his

61


THE KILTED CADDIE

Caddies

Earnings

Rocket

AFP/Getty Images

The Kilted Caddie talks about Ricky Elliot, who caddies for Brooks Koepka, the US Open winner…

64

HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

HKGOLFER.COM


Brooks Koepka and caddie Richard Elliott lines up a putt on the 18th green during the final round of the 2017 U.S. Open Elliott then got a cheque for over US$200,000 from the Major winner


I AFP/Getty Images

Jordan Spieth celebrates with caddie Michael Greller after chipping in for birdie from a bunker on the 18th green to win the Travelers Championship in a playoff this season 66

HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

am only talking about the PGA Tour caddies in America of course. Because if you have got a bag on the Challenge Tour in Europe or are a regular caddie somewhere, then you probably earn between the minimum and average wage. Albeit, one caddie who started out on the Challenge Tour four years ago has just copped a weekly bonus of over US$200,000. Yes, I loved the Irish Times headline ‘Irish caddie chuffed with Koepka’s Major win’. Chuffed! That must be the biggest understatement in golfing history. Major ecstasy or orgasmic level more like. That is a serious amount of money for a week’s work. About 9,000 bucks an hour. Try working in a factory or delivering pizza. Mind you Ricky himself gave a pretty lowlevel reaction when asked by an interviewer who said ‘you are gonna get a cheque for over two hundred thousand. What is the first thing you are going to do?’ And Ricky said ‘Uh… 12 pack of Heineken’. Now that’s almost as lacklustre as Paul Lawrie heading back sober in a car to Aberdeen on the day he won the Open. A dozen cans of Heineken? What Ricky? How about a crate of chilled Dom Pérignon Vintage? You guys are big time earners. Paint the town red.

And indeed, the reality is that major player caddies are now earning serious money out there. An article in Forbes recently stated that ten caddies made at least USD$600,000. Michael Greller who caddies for Jordan Spieth seemingly made over 2 million for the 2014/15 season. That was much more than his salary as a high school teacher. It was comparable to Steve Williams who had Tiger’s bag back in his stellar 2007 season. The difference is that Steve only carried Tiger’s bag in 16 tournaments while Michael had to lug round for 25. Mind you I still make that about 20,000 per round for Michael so don’t feel too hard done to Sir. However, to rub things in I think Steve also got paid sponsorship endorsements of about 200,000 a year for taking his bib off on the 18th green or something obscene like that. Mike ‘Fluff ’ Cowan probably made the wisest move ever in leaving Tiger Woods in Feburary of the 1999 season to pick up the bag of Jim Furyk. As we know Tiger didn’t prosper in 2014 while Furyk did, earning 8 million dollars. So, Fluff made 700,000 that season which was more than the 600,000 Tiger made on the course. Cunning stuff, Fluff. Micah Fugitt who used to be a regular caddie back in Waco, Texas getting 150 hard HKGOLFER.COM


earned dollars a round, managed by some luck to get the bag of Billy Horschel on the PGA Tour. Three years later he realised this was a perfect thing indeed. After winning the Zurich Classic in New Orleans, Horchel was lying 5th in the FedEx standings. He said to Micah that, ‘if I win the FedEx Cup I am going to pay you a million dollars,’ and he did. When Henrik Stenson also won the FedEx Cup, he also paid his caddie Gareth Lord a million. Gareth certainly lived up to his name, lording it up and immediately buying a Ferrari. Lordy me! That puts my second hand, hundred quid Dawes pushbike in a hugely sad looking perspective. Mind you Micah issues a word of caution lest you think this is a gravy train for all guys out there and states that, ‘to make a decent living you have to have a man who makes 1 million and at least 800,000 to make it work’. Well I had a wee look down the US money list for some prospective clients, and I came to 33rd which is a chap called Hudson Swafford who earned 1.8 million. So ok Hudson let’s get together. No one has ever heard of you as a golfer and hell if anyone knows me as a caddie. Well, certainly not for my caddying. We may not be the prime focus of the TV coverage (unless I wear my kilt of course) but I would HKGOLFER.COM

suggest that Hudson Swafford and the kilted caddie could make a rare and formidable team. But dream on it. At the other end of the scale come the rest of the caddying fraternity. In St Andrews, there are about a hundred and fifty of us, and we do ok I suppose. We earn a reasonable amount for our travails, and I think it comes in about the average wage if my calculations are right. Pro rata 27,000 pounds. It’s not bad money for a stroll round the Links on a summer’s day, and it certainly beats working for a living. We all know the story of the lucky chap a couple of years ago, getting asked by the caddiemaster to loop for an unknown golfer called A lex Noren in t he Dunhill, who ended up getting a top-five place. The caddie reputedly got a wee cheque for £20,000. And I suppose that is the way it goes. Right place, right time, right man. That’s kind of our equivalent to bagging the FedEx Cup winner. Not quite a million dollars but a lot of tins of Tennant’s lager. Yes, we don’t do things by halves in Scotland. For as you all know caddies here are made from girders. However, my thoughts on the prospect of a kilted caddie/Irn Bru sponsorship and endorsement contract. Maybe not.

Jim Furyk pulls a club from his bag as caddie Mike "Fluff" Cowan looks on during the second round of THE PLAYERS Championship this season - Cowan left Tiger Woods in February of the 1999 season to pick up the bag of Furyk to date HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

67


GOLF FITNESS

x

HK Golfer Pinnacle BLACK

Louie Chan, Managing Editor of HK Golfer, has reached the half way point of his 12-week strength and conditioning training programme to improve his golf game. James Honey, an S&C Coach at Pinnacle BLACK, comments on Louie’s progress.

T

he best athletes in the world all have one thing in common - excelling at the basics. Louie’s focus has been to do just this, to take control of his body, to move freely and with control. The Pinnacle Golf Screening allowed us to focus our training on Louie’s areas of top priority, and consistency with training has begun the process of turning Louie from an occasional social golfer, into a fledgling golf athlete. Louie has been training hard for eight weeks now, with significant progress in the gym and on the course. The foundation for all rotational athletes, such as golfers, is control over the torso and spine, which is just what Louie has been prioritising every training session. As can be seen in the exercises on the following page, strengthening basic trunk positions and patterns has a great effect in all components of a golf swing. Being able to flex, extend, rotate, and control force with complete fluency creates the hallmark of a perfect swing, and Louie has worked very hard to ensure that he is gaining full segmental stability and control of his spine so far. The next step for Louie is learning how to utilise this spinal control to generate greater force, drive the ball further and ultimately become a consistently better golfer! The first step is improving general strength, being able to generate more significant amounts of power with each movement. Next month, we will detail the key exercises Louie has trained to improve his strength, and we will revisit his Pinnacle Golf Screening to keep him honest and see where the real improvement has been.

Daniel Wong

James Honey is an S&C Coach at Pinnacle BLACK, and also the Lead S&C Coach for Hong Kong Golf Association. Contact him today for a complimentary Pinnacle Golf Screening session and trial week at Pinnacle BLACK! Please write to black@pinnacleperformance.hk or visit their website at www.pinnacleblack.hk 70

HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

HKGOLFER.COM


FRONT PLANK PURPOSE: Anti-extension of the spine. Strengthen various anterior trunk musculature and enhance spinal stability under load. HOW: A static hold in the top position, keeping tension through the muscles of the trunk and hips. PRESCRIPTION: 3-4 sets of 20-30 seconds. Progress with greater time in the hold.

PUSHUP PURPOSE: Strengthen upper body musculature whilst retaining anti-extension and anterior trunk strengthening stimulus. HOW: Controlled movement lowering from the top position to the bottom position, using the arms to push back to the start position, retaining a neutral spine. Hold tension through the muscles of the trunk and hips. PRESCRIPTION: 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions. Progress by adding more repetitions each set.

DEAD BUG PURPOSE: Anti-extension and anti-rotation of the spine. Movement capacity whilst retaining the spinal position. HOW: From the start position, slowly lower one arm and the opposite leg until just off the floor, then return retaining neutral spine. Ensure slow and steady breathing, and tension through the anterior trunk musculature. PRESCRIPTION: 3 sets of 3 repetitions on each side. Progress by adding more repetitions each set. HKGOLFER.COM

HK GOLFERăƒťAUG 2017

71


An Arts and Crafts masterpiece of exceptional quality, located in fine Surrey countryside, close to London Kingsmead, Farnham, Surrey, UK • Guide Price £19,000,000

• • • •

• • • •

7 bedrooms Cinema room 2 Swimming pools Stables

Alex NEWALL M: + 44 (0) 7884 262 774 T: + 44 (0) 20 7935 5797 E: a.newall@barnes-international.com

Garaging Tennis Court 32 acres Wild flower meadow

Sebastian NEWALL M: + 44 (0) 7716 860 571 T: + 44 (0) 20 7935 5797 E: s.newall@barnes-international.com

www.barnes-privateoffice.com


A beautifully finished family home, set on a quintessential Chelsea side street 22 Smith Terrace, Chelsea, London, UK • £4,250,000

• • • •

3 bedroom 3 bathrooms 2 reception rooms Newly built home

Alex NEWALL M: + 44 (0) 7884 262 774 T: + 44 (0) 20 7935 5797 E: a.newall@barnes-international.com

• • • •

Bespoke Boffi kitchen Lutron lighting system NHBC Warranty 1,844 SqFt / 171 Sq M

Sebastian NEWALL M: + 44 (0) 7716 860 571 T: + 44 (0) 20 7935 5797 E: s.newall@barnes-international.com

www.barnes-privateoffice.com


A supremely elegant and classically styled mansion of natural Bath stone construction on this internationally renowned private estate Westbourn, Wentworth, Surrey, UK • Guide Price £23,000,000

• • •

6 bedrooms 2 staff flats Garaging for 8 vehicles

• • •

Swimming pool Landscaped gardens Wine display room

Alex NEWALL M: + 44 (0) 7884 262 774 T: + 44 (0) 20 7935 5797 E: a.newall@barnes-international.com

• •

3.77 acres GEA 22,087 sq ft (2,052 sq m)

Sebastian NEWALL M: + 44 (0) 7716 860 571 T: + 44 (0) 20 7935 5797 E: s.newall@barnes-international.com

www.barnes-privateoffice.com


Available with planning permission to create an architecturally pure masterpiece Sandylands Park, Englefield Green, Surrey, UK • Guide price £7,500,000

• • • •

7 bedroom suites 4 principal reception rooms 20m swimming pool Cinema

Alex NEWALL M: + 44 (0) 7884 262 774 T: + 44 (0) 20 7935 5797 E: a.newall@barnes-international.com

• • • •

6 underground garage Passenger lift 22,252 SqFt / 2,067 Sq M 6 acres / 2.4 hectares

Sebastian NEWALL M: + 44 (0) 7716 860 571 T: + 44 (0) 20 7935 5797 E: s.newall@barnes-international.com

www.barnes-privateoffice.com


CROSSWORD

©2017 Dr Milton Wayne

"GLORY'S LAST HOPE" - THE USPGA

ACROSS 5. See 22A 7. You are unlikely to find one of these in the field! 8. See 20A 10. See 15D 11. (& 22D) Defending USPGA champion 12. (& 27A) Only club to have hosted 4 USPGAs 14. (& 13D) Host golf course, first major here 19. Last year’s venue 20. (& 8A) Course record holder, won his first PGA event here in 2010

2. (& 4D) He redesigned the course in 1997 & 2003 3. See 1D 4. See 2D 6. See 18D 9. See 26A 13. See 14A 15. (& 10A) Original course designer

21. See 22A

16. See 17D

22. (& 5A, 21A) Regular tour event at this venue

17. (& 16D) Biennial team event being held here in 2021

23. Host city 25. See 24D 26. (& 9D) Host state 27. See 12A

76

DOWN 1. (& 3D) Young Aussie ace, pipped by a shot last year

HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

18. (& 6D) Name of the silverware 22. See 11A 24. (& 25A) Golden Bear, joint record holder with 5 wins

HKGOLFER.COM


WIN "THE GOLFERS" PRINT To enter, complete the crossword and send a scan or photo of the completed grid to Crossword@HKGolfer.com, with “August Crossword” as the subject. Remember to include your name, address and contact number. Entries close on 15 September 2017. ONE LUCKY WINNER WILL BE DRAWN FROM THE CORRECT ENTRIES.

A luxury print, measuring 38” x 26”, has been produced and is available exclusively in Asia through the HK Golfer. Each print is accompanied by a printed key identifying each of the characters, and makes the perfect gift for any golfer. Yo u m ay a ls o v isi t H KG o l f e r Sh o p. co m, w r i te to store@hkgolfer.com or call us on 3590 4153 if you wish to purchase a print for only HK$888 (inc. free delivery).

PREVIOUS ANSWERS

Congratulations to Derek Kwok of Fanling who won the June crossword.

Hill & Adamson, “The Golfers” HKGOLFER.COM

HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

77


FINAL SHOT

Peter Brannan Louie Chan talks to the Hong Kong Office Director of Arquitectonica about his best ever round, favourite course and who would be in his dream fourball.

Profile: Daniel Wong; Course: 14th, North Course, The Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau

When did you start playing and where? That takes me back. I must have been about six years old when my dad pulled out his old canvas golf bag and gave me a hickory shafted mashie and a putter. Both had rusty heads that needed constant polishing. The bristly door mat was put down at the edge of the back green for chipping with the mashie - only the putter was allowed on my dad’s sacred green. I was taught to chip and putt to the clothes poles at each corner of the green. We spent many days and summer nights chipping and putting trying hard to avoid the greenhouse. The back green progressed to the local football field where we played the corner flags and from there to the municipal pitch and putt courses. I would have been about 13 or 14 years old when I was able to move on to playing the various 18-hole courses on the Ayrshire coast. These included a host of beautiful, challenging courses over the years of my youth, like Bogside, Barrassie, Gailes Links, Turnberry, etc. Golf seemed a lot easier then! How often do you play? Approximately once per month. I would dearly like to play more often, but living and working in Hong Kong limits the ability to play regularly, especially at the weekends. What’s been your best ever round? My best ever round was 78 at the Bali Handara while on holiday with my family. It would be about ten years ago, but hard to forget. I played with a good friend, who also played well that day. I don’t know why, but everything just clicked. I only wish it would ‘click’ more often! The course is probably the highest in elevation in Bali and locates within the caldera of an ancient 78

HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

volcanic. The temperature was cool and pleasant, and the course was beautifully manicured. Tall poplar trees framed the greens, and bright red flaming trees were in full bloom everywhere. The beauty of the location must have helped my game. Do you have a favourite course? Hong Kong has some great courses, and it is hard to say which one is my favourite. I would start with the North Course at Kau Sai Chau, because it is probably the most natural course you will find in the region. It would be followed closely by Clearwater Bay and Shek-O, which are both tight and challenging and contain much beautiful scenery. The Bali Handara would be my favourite in Asia. My world favourite would take me home to Bogside or Old Prestwick on the Ayrshire coast, where the bunkers are as deep as the gorse, and the typhoon conditions teach you humility first among many other lessons.   Who would be in your dream fourball? Lee Trevino, Chichi Rodriguez, John Daly and Rory McIlroy. I saw Lee Trevino and Chichi Rodriguez many years ago at Royal Troon when I was a lad. They were giving a demonstration to the crowd on a beautiful warm and sunny evening after their day’s golf. The shots they played and the tricks they performed were a master-class in golf. That was made all the more enjoyable due to their humour and approachability. John Daly would be a dream to play with, simply to witness that awesome, elegant, tremendous swing. Rory McIlroy is, for me, the most accomplished golfer of our time. He possesses great range and skill in addition to a gentlemanly attitude that exemplifies how golf should be played. HKGOLFER.COM


1708hkgolfer  
Advertisement