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HKGolfer

HK Golfer Very Young Guns: Top 10 Golfing Prodigies

THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE HONG KONG GOLF ASSOCIATION

HKGOLFER.COM

ISSUE 42

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2009

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HK OPEN ISSUE Olympic Golf, Bangkok Guide and more...

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contents

HK Golfer

51

Issue 42

Features

Plus…

21 | The Tiger Protector

08 | E-mailbag 12 | Clubhouse 14 | Tee Time

Philip Curlewis, CEO of Hong Kong-based security specialists Abate Risk, discusses his role at the HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai: guarding the world’s number one

24 | Golf’s Shambolic History in the Olympics

16 | Classic Cars

36 | Conquering the Composite

20 | Single Malts

– HK Open Champion

Recalling the unusual life of former HK and US Open Champion Orville Moody

51 | HK’s Rising Star

Although she didn’t win, 12-year-old Kitty Tam made a lasting impression at the Helene et Henri Hong Kong Ladies Amateur Open at Discovery Bay Golf Club

62 | Golf’s Top-10 Prodigies

Mak Lok-lin profiles the golfers – both past and present – that reached an amazingly high standard at an incredibly young age

HK Golfer・OCT/NOV 2009

Evan Rast on the Only Watch 2009 James Nicholls profiles the history of Ferrari

42 | Looking Back: Sergeant Moody



October / November 2009

With golf likely to make a return at the 2016 Summer Games, Dr Milton Wayne recounts the two previous occasions when competitors teed it up with gold medals at stake ESPN Star Sports commentator and Fanling member Dominique Boulet guides us around the holes that will decide this year’s UBS Hong Kong Open

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68| The Best of Bangkok

The HK Golfer Guide to golf in the City of Angels

18 | Liquid Assets

Robert Rees on Smidge Wines John Bruce raises his glass to Glenlivet

47 | Bag Check

What’s in the bag with Hong Kong’s David Freeman

48 | Golf Rules With Dr Brian Choa

50 | Around the HKGA

A roundup of news and other events from Hong Kong

54 | Junior New

The latest events and coverage

74 | Final Shot

Jim Engh discusses his favourite course

On the Cover:

“The Ultimate” eighteenth hole at Fanling Photo by Charles McLaughlin HKGOLFER.COM


hk golfer e-mailbag Arnie’s China Gem

Many thanks for the historical accounts of golf in the August/ September issue. T he l ively reminiscence of the golfing greats’ confrontations with the Rules was a treat. I especially enjoyed the history and photos of the Arnold Palmerdesigned Chung Shan Hot Spring Golf Club. From the sensitive and challenging design/build story to the affect of the club on the lives of China’s Liang Wen-chong and longtime caddie Zheng Dai, your thorough reporting grants full appreciation of this gem. I hope you continue to feature easily accessible courses on the Mainland from Hong Kong. I’m sure many Hong Kong golfers like myself would enjoy playing more courses, and your “Need to Know” details are a nice time saver. Jody Kuzmik Stanley Editor responds: Thank you very much, Jody. Chung Shan Hot Spring’s position as the “Grande Dame of Chinese Golf” often gets overlooked; the media – both regional and international – tends to focus on the Mainland’s larger clubs, especially those that regularly host professional tournaments. This is a shame, as Chung Shan has been instrumental in developing the game across the border. It’s unfortunate to say, but it’s unlikely that Liang Wen-chong could have got to where he is without the forward thinking and generosity of the club in those early years. I do hope you enjoy this Hong Kong Open special edition; perhaps you can read it over a glass of Billecart-Salmon Rose NV. Congratulations.

Dalat Delight

I have just returned from a trip to Dalat in the highlands of Vietnam. After reading “Mile-High Masterpiece”, which appeared in the last edition of HK Golfer, I was really looking forward to tackling the course at Dalat Palace Golf Club – and it certainly didn’t disappoint. It is, in my opinion, one of the finest walking courses in Asia. The scenery is wonderful and the course features enough undulation to give you a good healthy workout. Those bentgrass greens were in great shape and the town itself was delightful. I highly recommend it for a short break away. What a memorable place. Keith Chan Happy Valley

HK Golfer

THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE HONG KONG GOLF ASSOCIATION OCT/NOV 2009 • Issue 42

Editor: Alex Jenkins email: alex.jenkins@hkgolfer.com Sub-editor: Linda Tsang Playing Editor: Jean Van de Velde Published by:

TIMES INTERNATIONAL CREATION Times International Creation Limited 20/F, Central Tower 28 Queen’s Road Central Hong Kong Phone: +852 2159-9427 Fax: +852 3007-0793 Publisher: Charles McLaughlin Art Director: Mimi Cheng Office Manager: Moira Moran Accounting Manager: Christy Wong Advertising For advertising information, please contact: advertising@hkgolfer.com For purchasing information contact: sales@hkgolfer.com For subscription information contact: subscriptions@hkgolfer.com Hong Kong Golf Association Suite 2003, Olympic House 1 Stadium Path, So Kon Po Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Phone (General): +852 2504-8659 Fax: +852 2845-1553 Phone (Handicaps): +852 2504-8197 Fax: +852 2504-8198 Email: hkgolf@hkga.com handicaps@hkga.com HK GOLFER is printed in Hong Kong.

Editor responds: Couldn’t agree more, Keith. We at HK Golfer have many happy memories from Dalat and very much look forward to returning in the not too distant future. On the subject of walking: one of the biggest frustrations of playing in Guangdong is the near-universal regulation that makes hiring golf carts mandatory, regardless of the time of year or the topography of the course. There are exceptions, however, and Lotus Hill near Panyu (a two-hour ferry ride away) is a particularly enjoyable stroll. Palm Island Resort in Danshui (an hour from the border) is another. If anyone has a favourite walking course please let us know at the below address. Thanks.

We Want to Hear from You! Have something to say about an article in HK Golfer or a topic affecting golf in our area? Send your thoughts and comments to letters@hkgolfer.com. Please also include your address, contact number, email and HKGA #. The winner of the best letter will receive a bottle of Billecart-Salmon Rose NV courtesy of Links Concept.



HK Golfer・OCT/NOV 2009

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

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CLIFFTOP CONCLUSION Stephanie Ho putts at Discovery Bay Golf Club’s sixteenth hole during the final round of the Helene et Henri Hong Kong Ladies’ Amateur Open Championship, with Chichiro Ikeda of the Philippines and Hong Kong’s Kitty Tam looking on. Ikeda would go on to comfortably take the title by seven shots from 16-year-old Ho who finished in a tie for second. PHOTOGRAPH BY CHARLES MCLAUGHLIN

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clubhouse

NUMBERS GAME Total prize purse of the Hong Kong Open in 1999: US$300,000 Total prize purse of the Hong Kong Open in 2009: US$2.5 million Palindrome of par, by hole, at the Old Course, St Andrews: 4-4-4-4-5-4-4-3-4-4-3-4-4-5-4-4-4-4 Mathematical probability of this occurrence: 1 in 17,536 Other courses known to be palindromic by par: 0

Q+A

WHAT DOES THE TERM “REDAN” MEAN IN GOLF COURSE ARCHITECTURE?

World ranking of Lin Wen-tang one week prior to 2008 HK Open: 92 World ranking of Lin Wen-tang one week after 2008 HK Open: 51

The name “Redan” comes from the Crimean War, when the British captured a Russian-held fort, or in the local dialect, a redan. A serving officer - John White-Melville - is credited on his return as describing the 192-yard 15th (pictured) at North Berwick Golf Club in Scotland like the formidable fortress, or redan, he had encountered at Sebastopol. One of the most copied holes in golf, a redan hole is usually a par-three in which the green is wider than it is deep and angles diagonally away from the tee (that is, the left side of the green is farther away from the tee than the right side of the green). A redan hole slopes front-to-back and right-to-left, and is often guarded by a deep bunker fronting the middle part of the green, or bunkers on the right and left fronts. The tee shot may play slightly uphill to a green surface that is partially or fully blind to the golfer.

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HK Golfer・OCT/NOV 2009

“ The most exquisitely satisfying act in the world of golf is that of throwing a club. The full backswing, the delayed wrist action, the flowing follow-through, followed by that unique whirring sound, reminiscent only of a passing flock of starlings, are without parallel in sport. ” - Renowned British golf writer and commentator Henry Longhurst

HKGOLFER.COM


 TEE TIME

Unique Pieces The Only Watch 2009 was an entertaining auction with many of this year’s prize steals on show, reports HK Golfer watch editor Evan Rast

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h e results are in. The third biennial Only Watch auction, held in Monaco late September for the benefit of the Monégasque Association Against Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (AMM), ended with quite a few surprises. There were many pieces that sold significantly below estimate, particularly the highly complicated watches presented by independent makers, while more traditional brands fetched bids slightly above or within estimate, proving that collectors are still proceeding with caution and going for the sure bets, or the “reliable investments”. There were exceptions, of course, and definitely plenty of good deals made. Ulysse Nardin’s “Black Out” Freak did well for its pre-auction estimate, selling at €87,000. The watch showcased a number of world firsts when it was released in 2001, with its silicium-

infused movement (including the tourbillon escapement), no true case and hands, but offering an extraordinary view of the watch mechanism. The Black Out was designed for the auction with a unique 18k white gold case, with the bridges and metal parts treated with stainless black titanium-based alloy. The tips of the movement, which serve as the hour and minute markers, are dipped in red Super Luminova for an especially arresting effect. And in case you have forgotten, the watch’s coolest feature is the absence of the crown. Winding the carrousel tourbillon movement and setting the time is done by rotating the bezel. The Black Out also has a seven-day power reserve. Another interesting piece is Confrerie Horlogere’s “La Clef du Temps” or The Key to Time. The first watch to be designed by this group of seven young designers under the mentorship of BNB Concept’s Matthias Buttet, the basic concept of the timepiece lies in the

All-star cast (clockwise from right): Luc Pettavino, founder of Only Watch, speaks to the audience while watched by Albert II, Soverign Prince of Monaco and Osvaldo Patrizzi of Patrizzi & Co; Vacheron Constantin's Quail de I'lle Tantalum sold for twice its estimate; Patek's Ref 1506 Celestial was the belle of the ball, fetching over half a million euro; Confrerie Horlogere's "La Clef du Temps" received the second highest bid of the auction. 14

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owner’s ability to adjust the length of time according to his wishes. While it sounds impossible – you would think a lifetime of quantum physics or god-like intervention are the only two probable solutions – the Confrerie Horlogere team have made it look so easy: operating a three-position lever at 10 o’clock alters the running speed of the hours and minutes. At Lever 1 the pace of time slows by half so that a full hour is only display by half (perfect for those seemingly endless meetings!) At Lever 2, the pace of time remains the same, and at Lever 3, the pace of time is doubled, which means a full hour shows as two, making pleasant moments last twice as long while having the option to return to “real” time, anytime. O t h e r n o t e wo r t hy features of La Clef du Temps include retrograde running seconds, a 120-degree sectoral power reserve indicator and a movement shaped like a stylized human brain, encased in a spaceshiplike case. The watch sold lower than its initial estimate, but was still the second highest bid of the auction at €235,000. Vacheron C onsta nt in’s Qua i de I ’I le Tantalum also did exceptionally well, selling for twice its initial estimate at €50,000. The case is made up of 10 parts which are fixed to an inner titanium case and holds the movement in place. The case and bezel are created in tantalum, which is an experimental watch material that offers extreme durability – the metal is so hard that it routinely destroys tools used to cut it – and gives off a uniquely dark sheen. The watch is designed with the personal and playful touch characteristic of the Quai de I’Ile collection, with the special banknote printing technology, 3-D engraving and invisible ink used on the numerals and indicators. Other nifty surprises include a little sun metalized into the dial which glows bright yellow under UV rays and an outer sub-dial which has a decorative Only Watch logo engraving that appears to be three-dimensional when hit by light. But the belle of the ball was once again Patek Philippe with its Ref 5106 Celestial. With initial estimates pegged between €180,000 and HKGOLFER.COM

€320,000 the Patek ended up selling for an impressive €530,000. The unique piece is an addition to the growing line of celestial-themed watches that the brand has become known for. It features a dial with a sky chart that shows the night sky as it appears in Geneva, with the position of the stars, the meridian passage of Sirius and the moon, lunar orbit and moon phases. The dial also has hours, minutes and a date display. The 44-mm case comes in 18k rose gold while the bezel an unusual 22k rose gold, which is quite softer but used to highlight the guilloche patterns on the bezel. The Ref. 5106 is fitted with the automatic 240 LU CL C movement, which at 6.4 mm makes for a thin watch. The watch’s mini rotor also comes in 22k rose gold, completing the piece’s delicate finishing. A total of 34 watches from t he most prestigious watchmakers made up the auction lot at Only Watch 2009, which was handled by Patrizzi & Co. All the watches were either unique or the first of a limited edition. The previous auction, held in 2007, raised over €2.6 million in proceeds, with a Patek Philippe Nautilis Ref. 5712 in titanium setting the highest bid at €503,000. For more details visit www.patrizziauction.com/only_watch/

If you are interested in participating in future HK Golfer watch events, please email watches@hkgolfer.com

HK Golfer・OCT/NOV 2009

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 CLASSIC CARS

Maranello Majesty

James Nicholls profiles the proud history of Ferrari and highlights the company’s most desirable models

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Ferrari Classiche

erhaps the greatest star in the car galaxy is the Ferrari. The Italian über-brand has an incredible history both on the road and on the track, which continues to live on to this day. Enzo Ferrari (1898 – 1988) was an extraordinary man with an amazing history of his own. He raced cars for Alfa Romeo and set up his own team in 1929. His successes were many and at the end of the war in 1945, Enzo started designing the first Ferrari. March 12, 1947 saw the V12-engined Ferrari 125 S taken out on its first test drive. The 125 S was an immediate and unqualified success. Ferrari won its first Mille Miglia in 1948, which was soon followed by victory in the Le Mans 24 Hour Race the following year. With Alberto Ascari in the driver’s seat, the marque won back-toback Formula One World Championship titles in 1952 and 1953. Ferrari built great cars and had unprecedented success on the track in F1. Following Ascari, Juan Manuel Fangio (1956), Mike Hawthorn (1958), Phil Hill (1961) and John Surtees (1964) all tasted championship victory. These triumphs on the track spilt over to the road cars. The list of great cars produced by Ferrari is too long to catalogue here. Whatever classic Ferrari one might be lucky enough to own will bring tremendous driver satisfaction and social kudos. Mention must be made however of the legendary 250GT, which was launched in 1955 and which appeared in various guises until 1963. This car played a key role in the history of Ferrari for its competition record and acclaimed commercial success. The 275 model is another highly desirable Ferrari for the serious collector. These cars are beautiful, fast, rare and very expensive. Perhaps a more readily available but still highly desirable Ferrari classic is the 246 Dino. Produced between 1969 and 1974 and not originally badged as a Ferrari, the Dino (which was named after Enzo’s son who tragically died at the age of 24) was the first Ferrari model produced in high numbers: 3,761 of them were made. The 246 GT and 246 GTS (sporting a Targa roof), with its mid-engined 2.4 litre V6 is a wonderful car. Another great classic from this period is the Daytona (with a traditional Ferrari V12), which has a very striking body shape designed by the great Leonardo Fioravanti of Pininfarina. The Daytona name was attributed to the car because of the racing success of Ferrari’s 330P4 at the 24 Hours of Daytona. Ferraris had traditionally always been cars for movie stars and 16

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royalty, but from the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, and now part of the FIAT group, Ferraris became much more accessible and available in greater numbers, to those who had the money to afford one. The history and lineage of the great Ferrari models is still in evidence today and the supercars (still being built at Maranello) that roll off the production line owe a great deal to the heritage of Enzo and the post-war years. One of the enduring and more modern classics – and an ultimate track toy – is the Ferrari F40. Unveiled in 1987, it was the last car to be created under Enzo’s management. Conceived as the fastest production car on the planet (the F40 has a top speed of 201 mph), Enzo’s idea for the F40 was simple: “[I wanted to] build a car to be the best in the world,” he said shortly before his death in 1988. For more information on Classic Cars please visit the Bonhams & Goodman website: www. bonhamsandgoodman.com.au

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 LIQUID ASSETS

More than a Smidge

This new label, part of the highly-rated Two Hands stable, is set to make waves, says Robert Rees

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or me, one of the best things about being involved in wine is meeting the people behind the products. I recently had the pleasure of catching up again with Matt Wenk, winemaker at the phenomenally successful and prolific Two Hands stable of wines, and his delightful wife and instrumental business partner, Trish. This enchanting couple has recently created the Smidge label, and with typical understated modesty are systematically raising many eyebrows in an industry that spawns new labels on what seems like an endless basis. I won’t bore you with Matt’s many achievements and awards (he has more medals than a Ugandan General), so go to their website at www.smidgewines.com and you can see for yourselves. Like him, I prefer to let the wines do the talking. The Smidge formula is simple: take the best fruit from premium vineyards in South Australia to make exceptional, fruit-driven wines that fully express the regions they derive from. I personally own and enjoy many Two Hands wines, so I was measuring with a very long yardstick when I and twenty-four other hardto-please palates sat down to dinner this September with his Smidge lineup. Would the maestro be able to live up to the high expectation with this small volume, super premium from his micro-winery? The throng gave an unequivocal thumbs up. These products were good, very good indeed. His winemaking stints in France and California have clearly influenced Matt’s technique. The Viognier and the Sauvignon Blanc from select vineyards in the Adelaide Hills had me humming La Marseillaise. The Shiraz was typically expressive, full-throttled Waltzing Matilda. The flagship wine is impressively presented with the ‘S’ Smitch icon etched into the bottle. It doesn’t quite hit the highs that I have experienced in some of Matt’s other works, but it is exceptional quality at the price. James Halliday rates it at 94 points. It commands respect. Then came the Zinfandel. Australian Zinfandel? What’s this? I have had too many Zins pushed my way by earnest Californians endeavoring to convince me that this particular grape can

SPECIAL READER OFFER Smidge Wines (Prices are per bottle and include delivery within Hong Kong. Minimum order: 12 bottles; mixed cases accepted): Houdini - W, Adelaide Hills, Sauvignon Blanc 2008 – US$20 (HK$155) The Cellar Pod, Adelaide Hills, Viognier 2007 – US$24 (HK$186) Houdini - R, Blend (Shiraz/Zinfandel/Merlot) 2006 – US$20 (HK$155) Adamo, Barossa Valley, Shiraz 2005 – US$24 (HK$186) The Tardy, Zinfandel 2005 – US$24 (HK$186) The ‘S’ Smitch, Barossa Valley, Shiraz 2005 – US$40 (HK$310) To place an order, or if you have any other enquiries, please contact Robert at wine@hkgolfer.com

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produce anything other than over-extracted jammy juice that seems to have a habit of falling apart after three years or so. Don’t get me wrong: I have had a few excellent Zins, but they have been the exception rather than the rule and invariably come with a price tag that would make Warren Buffett blanch. My skepticism was heightened when I spied the 15.8 percent alcohol content on Matt’s offering, “The Tardy” Zinfandel 2005 from Langhorne Creek. Oh my God! Call an ambulance; I am going to need oxygen.

My fears were unfounded as this dark, brooding concoction challenged all my preconceptions. It was extraordinary. Matt told me: “I made the 2002 Zin just for fun, just because I knew of this vineyard from the past… but once the wine was made, people said: ‘You should sell that, it’s bloody good.’” Yes it is – and so is the 2005. Very bloody good actually – and a real insight into how this couple strives to squeeze the best from Mother Earth. I suspect we will be hearing a lot more about them in the future. Robert is the founder of Wine Exchange Asia, a wine auction website serving customers in Singapore and Hong Kong. For more information regarding auction timings, promotions and other details please visit www.wineexchangeasia.com If you are interested in participating in future HK Golfer Wine events, please email wine@hkgolfer.com

HKGOLFER.COM


inside the industry

 SINGLE MALTS

Glenlivet’s Golden Hue

The Tiger Protector

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rowing up in the sixties and seventies, we Scots were full of ourselves – and with no small justification, as we built on Harold McMillan’s “never had it so good” years. Our football team, post 1970, was always at the World Cup, our literary heroes were Scott, Stevenson, Cronin, Burns, Buchan and many more, and Dr Finlay’s Casebook kept our mother’s happy enough with the television to allow us to watch The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Even there, we had our pride as David McCallum (Ilya Kuryakin) was Scottish and obviously a far better fighter than Robert Vaughn (Napoleon Solo). There was also whisky and the anticipation of being old enough to enjoy what our fathers assured us was “a man’s drink” and, of course, we were the inventors of golf and many of us had a bag of old hickories that we dragged gloriously around the par threes of our local clubs. Looking back with a somewhat rheumy eye and an older, perhaps wiser perspective, it would be easy to be disappointed. Qualifying for the World Cup is a distant memory, we fare no better on the links with our new titanium-shafted clubs than we did with those marvelously flexible hickories and the glory of many of those literary heroes have diminished with our adult appreciation more firmly rooted in personal and political bias. However, we are well past that threshold of minority that denied us the appreciation of malt whisky and I have found that the situation, viewed through a golden hued glass, is ne a rer to Mc M i l la n’s promise than we like to admit. Joh n Bucha n , w it h his abhorrent prejudices may have been consigned to my literary dustbin, but Scott and Stevenson reta i n t heir appea l as true literary giants and both of them had their distinct preferences when it came to whisky. In The Scotsman’s Return from Abroad Stevenson writes, “The king o’ drinks as I conceive it, Talisker, Isla or Glenlivet”, while Walter Scott, in 1822, arranged the visit of George IV to Edinburgh and ensured that only Glenlivet was served to the king who would drink nothing else throughout his visit. The Glenlivet is one of the giants of Scots whisky and produces some truly glorious bottlings. However, a short history lesson is required to provide some perspective. It’s true, things were not “as simple then” and the timing of the Royal patronage becomes particularly suspicious when one realizes that in 1824, George Smith, the owner of the Glenlivet distillery became the first licensed whisky producer in the Glen of Livet and this must be understood in relation to the existing situation. By 1820, there continued to be some 200 illicit stills in Glenlivet; the Glen of the Livet reaches deep into the mountains which separate Speyside from Royal Deeside in the far Northeast of Scotland. Today it is relatively remote; in the eighteenth and 20

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nineteenth centuries it was virtually inaccessible and it bred a bold and self-reliant people who clung to the old tradition of whisky making. George Smith procured the pre-eminence of The Glenlivet, so named because of its acceptance of the new licensing laws, at the expense of these compatriots. Alastair Campbell and Tom DeLay would have understood the process well. As with Buchan’s The Path of the King, many a great result arrives on the back of a history of skullduggery and The Glenlivet is as close as one can get to the end justifying the means. Truly distinct from the peaty island malts that featured in this magazine’s recent reviews, the product of this distillery is as close to “fruity” as any whisky in Scotland. Recently, I sampled a Glenlivet 1980 and despite it being an over proof bottling, it was unusual in that it did not demand water in the quantities that similar strength island malts require. Indeed, I sampled it neat and it had none of the abrasive finish that I expected, with the enduring redolence being almost sweet. However, it became virtually floral with the addition of a soupçon of spring water and that is how I would recommend it is drunk. T he Glen l ivet , l i ke m a ny m a lt w h i sk i e s , develops a smokier more robu st f lavou r w it h age, but it is no surprise that the 12-year-old is particularly popular in its own right as it is both spicy and sweet. But it is also a whisky that has none of the characters that overwhelm those embarking on a single malt odyssey. I prefer to sample this without any additional water and would recommend it to those new to whisky. Of course, if this introduction is conducted with golden hued glass in hand, it will be accompanied by tales of a new Scotland portrayed by great men and women of the ilk of Bill Forsyth, who in an ideal world, would be scripting Donald Trump’s Burt Lancaster-like transformation from brash invader into Local Hero. HKGOLFER.COM

Philip Curlewis, CEO of Hong Kong-based security specialists Abate Risk, discusses his role at the HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai: guarding the world’s number one

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i rst off, we’re not bodyguards. I hate the term – we’re not thicknecked gorillas a nd we don ’t drag our knuckles on the floor, which is what everyone seems to assu me when t hey hear the word. We are protection specia l ist s a nd we ha nd le executive and VIP security. It has nothing to do with fighting. Simply put, if you’re fighting then you’re not protecting the client, which is what we’re all about. In the past, people have applied for positions with us because they might happen to have a black belt in karate. That might be useful, but the job is much more about being observant and having a keen eye for detail. Of course, having the ability to subdue people who are a potential threat is important (and all our guys are more than capable of doing so), but quite frankly our number one priority is to remove the client and ourselves from any danger. We were brought i n by IMG, the event organizers, in 2005, the second year of the tournament. A lthough I’m a golfer myself, we’d never worked at a golf event before and, during the course of our research, it was interesting to see how protection is handled elsewhere in the world. On the PGA Tour, for instance, they tend to hire police guys i n u n i for m , wh ic h m ig ht sound okay, but they’re really not specialists. In a lot of the video footage we’ve looked at, HKGOLFER.COM

AFP/Getty Images

Whisky editor John Bruce raises his glass to “the king o’ drinks”

On the prowl: Curlewis and Tiger, Shanghai, 2006 HK Golfer・OCT/NOV 2009

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“Would I jump in front of a bullet for Tiger? Ha! It’s a question I’m often asked, but it’s not like it is in the movies.” it was clear that many of these guys were more interested in watching the play and not watching the crowd. Seeing where the potential threat comes from is obviously crucial. I truly love golf but even when I’m walking eighteen holes with Tiger I don’t actually see him hit many shots. I’m constantly watching the galleries. You’d think I had the best seat in the house, but that’s really not the case. Golf courses are difficult places to secure and so a lot of our work is spent in preparation. We arrive on the Sunday before the tournament gets underway and spend a day and a half driving around the course looking for ‘choke points’ – places where the spectators tend to converge – and evacuation routes. We need two evacuation routes on each hole in case of a threat or medical emergency. At Sheshan, host venue of the HSBC Champions, this often means our quickest escape is through the bushes and into the gardens of the expensive homes they have there. People don’t tend to associate sporting events with danger, but Tiger is seen as much more than just a sportsman. He really is a major celebrity and our main concern is the possibility that an obsessed psycho might want to cause him harm. It’s credible – look what happened to John Lennon, after all. At the HSBC we don’t have to worry too much about white supremacist groups or anything like that, but it’s relatively easy to get hold of guns on the mainland, so we have to be prepared for any circumstance. Also, 22

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many of the fans who turn up to watch golf events aren’t really golf fans; they’re celebrity watchers and they can to be quite rough and pushy when it comes to getting autographs. Although they themselves might not seem like a real threat, a cap or pen thrust into a player’s face can be both annoying and potentially dangerous. In fact, we heard about a situation at the inaugural event (which we weren’t working) where a fan nearly caught Tiger in the eye with his biro. It might not sound like much, but that biro has the potential to blind – and so we keep a very tight cordon around him when he’s within proximity of spectators. Tiger does sign autographs, but we ensure that the fans behave themselves first. It should be said that Tiger doesn’t employ us. The organizers employ us. Say Tiger got injured – whether deliberately or accidentally. It reflects badly on the sponsors and the tournament. We are basically the insurance blanket for them. We have eleven guys to look after Tiger – and it’s a 24-hour job. The night shift crew gets it a little easier, as I permit them to go and watch the golf during the day. But every one of us is working 18-19 hour days. When we’re not on the course with him we’re guarding his villa (Tiger doesn’t stay in the official hotel, he gets one of the on-course properties for the week) and shadowing his PR activities and press conferences. Even when he’s safely tucked up in bed, we run through debriefings and discuss our plans for the next day. In fact, the only time that we’re not in direc t contact with him or his team is when he’s working out. Every morning, Tiger goes for a 45-minute run around the course and he and Stevie Williams [Tiger’s caddie] spend time in the gym. He’s super fit: he does sevenminute miles and works out for an hour on the weights before heading out to the course. It’s probably just as well he goes off on his own, as keeping up with him would be hard work. When we first worked with Tiger he was quite aloof for the first couple of days. He was very polite, but he would often play tricks with us, like suddenly walking off the course into the public areas to dispose of his banana or energy bar in the spectator litter bins. It was only a test to see if we were on our toes, to ensure that we were fully alert – and naturally we were. But as the week went on both he and Williams became more comfortable with us. Before any job we profile our clients in order to find out their likes and dislikes. For instance we found out that Tiger likes to read USA Today, so we provided that in the car from the airport. In Williams’ case – and he is very much an integral part of ‘Team Tiger’ – we knew that he’s an ardent All Black rugby fan, so we – and we’re all rugby types ourselves – chatted about the recent form HKGOLFER.COM

of the New Zealand team. It all helps in the bonding process. We have had complaints, but they’ve mostly been about our positioning and, bizarrely, our dress. After the first day in 2005, we were asked by the organizers not to obstruct the advertising hoardings. It’s difficult – we have to keep put of a player’s line of sight but still be in a protective location – but obviously we understand that we’re big guys and standing in front of the advertisers’ signage, which is projected to millions of viewers across the world, isn’t ideal. One year the mayor of Shanghai rang up late at night complaining that we looked too “paramilitary”. I was amazed, as while we do wear our 511 cargo pants and heavy boots, we also wear an HSBC polo shirt and cap. I’d love to be able to wear shorts, like the caddies do, but we’re not allowed. We do wear lightweight body armour, however, and it can get rather uncomfortable due to the heat. November in Shanghai is normally pretty cool, but the first year we were there it was sweltering. Funnily enough, if you’re constantly sweating it can damage the protective material, so I told the rest of the lads that body armour would be optional for the rest of the week. That excluded the two guys, including myself, who are closest proximity to Tiger. I insisted we wear it. Would I jump in front of a bullet for Tiger? Ha! It’s a question I’m often asked, but it’s not like it is in the movies. Our preparatory work should prevent that from ever happening, but if someone managed to have the opportunity then they’d have a big ugly mug coming towards him. That, in our experience, creates a lot of indecision and it makes the marksman question

“Tiger’s super fit: he does seven-minute miles and works out for an hour on the weights before heading out to the course. It’s probably just as well he goes off on his own, as keeping up with him would be hard work.” his own self preservation, which can give you a few vital seconds. In that situation, our nearest guys would immediately go for the shooter and the others would protect the client. They would “collapse” onto and evacuate the client, which would be immediate and is essentially a result of muscle memory; it’s a reaction. We would surround the VIP tightly, effectively forming a human shield, and evacuate him or her in the opposite direction from the threat; the shooter wouldn’t have a clear line of sight. He’d have to hit the “mass”, which is why we keep the body armour on. But I’ll tell you now: hitting a moving target is incredibly difficult, although Hollywood might have you think otherwise. I enjoy protecting the golf pros. In our time we’ve also worked with Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Vijay Singh and Paul Casey – and they’ve all been great to work with – but Tiger is obviously our main concern. We charge anywhere between US$750-1,500 per man, per day depending on the situation, but I don’t do the HSBC Champions just for the money. It can be hard work walking in the rough for five days straight, but as someone who plays the game on a regular basis it brings me immense satisfaction. If only they’d let me play the course once I’ve seen Tiger off on his private jet. It looks a cracker but I’ve yet to enjoy it myself.

Executive protection: Sheshan's a stunner, but Curlewis has yet to play it (far left); the Abate Risk team pose with their client, Phil Mickelson (bottom) HKGOLFER.COM

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historical golf

The decision to include golf must have been based on current commercial and developmental factors, because the history of the sport in the Olympics is dire. First included at the Paris Games in 1900, there were men’s and ladies’ events with 22 competitors, 12 men and 10 women, from four countries: nine French, eight Americans, three British and a solitary Greek. I n t r ue Olympia n st yle, t he Greek – Alexandros Mercati – shot a 36-hole total of 246, but didn’t come last. That “honour” went to the Frenchman “Rip” Van de Wynckélé, who contrived to take 252 strokes to complete his two rounds. Over two rounds at the Compiègne Club north of the French capital, Charles Sands of the United States shot 167, winning the gold by a stroke from Britain’s Walter Rutherford, with another Brit, David Robertson, seven shots back in third. Sands also played in the tennis event that year, losing in the first round.

Golf ’s Shambolic

History in the Olympics With golf likely to make a return at the 2016 Summer Games, Dr Milton Wayne recounts the two previous occasions when competitors teed it up with gold medals at stake

“To be the first person to win a gold medal in over 112 years of Olympic competition…[that] is something that will be very attractive to the top players.”

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n Aug ust 13, 2009 t he IOC provisionally picked Golf and Rugby Sevens as sports to be added to the Olympiad in 2016. Whilst this still has to be formally ratified, it would be a major upset if the game wasn’t added. Why would anyone get excited about this? Well, there have been comments against, notably from Sergio Garcia who said: “I’d love to represent my country in the Olympic Games, but I wouldn’t give up the chance to win one of the four majors to win a gold medal.” He might change his tune if he manages to get the Major monkey off his back beforehand, but in any case we are assured there will be no either-or. The powers that be have committed that the summer Olympics will not clash with any Major. The man spearheading golf’s bid, Ty Votaw from the PGA Tour (see HK Golfer Aug/Sep 2009), put it perfectly when he pointed out that between now and the Olympics in 2020, players will have a chance to win over 50 Majors, but only one gold medal. That should be incentive enough.

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- Ty Votaw, Executive Director, International Golf Federation

An Olympic first (clockwise from top): Charles Sands showing gold medal form in 1900; the ladies' event in Paris; Paris Olympiad poster

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Lyon’s Olympic adventures didn’t stop there however. In 1908, now 50-years-old, he sailed to England to defend his title in London, only to discover that he was the only entrant. Having ignored an earlier Olympic Committee approach to get involved, at the last minute the R&A questioned some entrants’ eligibility and as a result all British players boycotted the event. The organizers offered Lyon the gold medal as he was the only golfer willing to play, but he honorably refused it and the event was removed from the games. So t here you have it. Hardly a glorious history, but clearly golf ’s Olympic ambitions have garnered inf initely more attention i n recent t i mes a nd t he commitment of the game’s ruling bodies is clear for all to see. Here’s hoping we get the spectacle and drama the event deserves.

The men’s [golf] events [at St Louis] attracted 77 entrants, but 74 were from the host nation with the other three journeying from neighbouring Canada. The women’s first (and last) golf event was held over nine holes the following day, with 10 participants. The winner was another American, the tall (5’11”) art student Margaret “Peggy” Abbott, who scored 47 to become the f irst American woman to win an Olympic gold in any sport. Her mother Mary, who had brought her to Paris to study, came eighth. Abbott led an American 1-2-3 with Pauline Whittier and Daria Platt filling the minor places. Unfortunately, record keeping was shambolic and Peggy died in 1955 unaware that the golf contest she had entered for a lark had been an Olympic event, or indeed of her own place in Olympic history. It is little known that the following day there was a third event, a men’s handicap. This was won by Albert Lambert, but it wasn’t deemed to be of Olympic standard. What makes it more interesting is that the very wealthy Lambert was from St Louis, and was responsible for getting the Olympics to his home city and for arranging golf’s second (and so far final) Olympic appearance four years later.

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Not that the 1904 Games was especially memorable. That year, St Louis was also hosting the World’s Fair and the Olympics – by far the biggest showcase in world sports today – was treated as a mere sideshow. In the golf events, which were played at the newly-built Glen Echo Golf Club, the women’s tournament was scrapped altogether and replaced by a men’s team event, while the format for the individual competition was re-jigged and consisted of two rounds of stroke play followed by match play knockout. The lack of female representation aside, this might sound all well and good, but there was a problem: lack of international participation. The men’s events attracted 77 entrants, but 74 were from the host nation with the other three journeying from neighbouring Canada. The team event was a fiasco from the start, with only two 10-man teams entering – both from the US. However, some of the stragglers got together to create – wait for it – another US team. In a shock result, the US won gold, silver and bronze medals over the two rounds played. Gold went to the “Western” team, silver to “Trans-Mississippi” and bronze to the “USGA”. The Western team ran out deserved winners, taking four of the top-five individual scores, with reigning US Amateur champion Chandler Egan well clear at the head of the field with a score of 165. At the other end, Nat Moore, one of the lesser players in the Western

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team, managed to bag a share of Olympic team gold after scoring a total of 188; perhaps more incredibly, a character named George Oliver claimed a team bronze, despite having shot a woeful 206. In another (this time genuinely) shock result, the Canadian George Seymour Lyon won 3 & 2 from the red-hot favourite Egan in the men’s individual contest. It was an upset because Lyon, at 46, was twice Egan’s age, having only taken up the game when he was 38, cricket being his first sporting passion. That said, Lyon had already won three of what would eventually be eight Canadian Amateur titles, and in later years reached the final of the US Amateur and the semi-finals of the British Amateur. Egan admitted later that he had been “outclassed” by the powerful Lyon, whose massive drives overwhelmed his younger opponent. In the stroke play section, Lyon had also broken the course record with a 77. Egan may also have been distracted during the round by Lyon reportedly telling jokes, singing and laughing. Lyon’s eccentricities carried on right through to the awards ceremony, where he walked on his hands to receive the $1,500 sterling silver trophy.

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An Olympic farce (clockwise from top): George Lyon addresses the ball during the 1904 Games; Lyon after declining the gold medal in 1908; a portrait of Peggy Abbott, golf's only female gold medalist

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The 51st Hong Kong Open November 12-15, 2009 Hong Kong Golf Club, Fanling

The Players…………………………………………...Page 32 Dom Boulet’s Course Guide………………………Page 36

The Great Escape: Lin Wen-tang's mircale 8-iron on the first playoff hole against Rory McIlroy and Francesco Molinari in 2008 was arguably the most thrilling in the open's history.

Looking Back: Orville Moody………………….…Page 42 HK Open Punting………………………………….Page 46 Bag Check: David Freeman…………………........Page 47 Rules………………………..…………………….….Page 48

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hk open: the field

Asia's Major Winner: After toppling Tiger at Hazeltine, Yang Yong-eun will have his sights set on the HK Open trophy.

Players to Watch A mix of world-class stars and local hopes, these five competitors will bring added excitement and intrigue to the 51st edition of the Hong Kong Open YANG YONG-EUN

SOUTH KOREA

Age: 37 Residence: Texas, USA First appearance Yang’s performance in winning the USPGA Championship in August to become Asia’s first Major champion was nothing short of phenomenal. Keeping Tiger Woods at bay with gutsy putting and ingenious shotmaking, Yang will be looking to bring the same grit and determination to Fanling, where he’ll be making his first showing at the Hong Kong Open. Born on the island of Jeju and widely known in his homeland by the nickname “Son of the Wind” in recognition of his blustery birthplace, Yang calls himself an “average Joe” from a humble farming family who aspired to be a body builder and once dreamed of owning his own gym. But a knee injury in his teens forced him to reconsider his athletic career, and at 19, he took a job collecting golf balls at a local driving range to make money. Showing remarkable natural ability, Yang became what’s known in Korea as a “semi-pro” (a teaching pro) before realizing there was another level of professional and so set his sights on becoming a tournament player. 18 years on and Yang has become one of the game’s hottest properties. His Fanling debut is sure to bring the galleries out in force.

JASON HAK SHUN-YAT

HONG KONG

Age: 15 Residence: Florida, USA Second appearance When Hong Kong-born Hak rolled in a curling ten-foot putt for birdie on the 72nd hole of the Hong Kong Open last year, it capped one of the most astonishing debuts in the tournament’s history. Having gained a berth at the Open by winning the qualifying event at Kau Sai Chau a week earlier, the lanky teenager became the youngest player to ever make the cut on the European Tour by carding consecutive rounds of levelpar 70. Aged 14 years and 304 days, Hak broke the record previously held by Sergio Garcia, who was three months older when he made it through to weekend play at the 1995 Turespana Open. But that wasn’t all. Playing alongside two-time Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal in the final round, Hak beat the Spaniard by a stroke, firing a two-under 68 to Olly’s 69. Since then, Hak has excelled, winning various events on the junior tour in the States before making his debut for Hong Kong at last month’s Nomura Cup. Hak earns his place in this year’s field courtesy of a sponsor’s invitation.

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RORY MCILROY

NORTHERN IRELAND

Age: 20 Residence: Holywood, Northern Ireland Second appearance Since narrowly missing out last year to Lin Wen-tang in arguably the most exciting playoff in European Tour history, McIlroy returns to Hong Kong as a true global star. Touted as the man most likely to dethrone Tiger Woods as the world’s number one, the 20-year-old earned his first professional win at the Dubai Desert Classic in February, which was followed by his Masters debut at Augusta where he finished in a tie for 20th. A top-10 at the US Open at Bethpage Black came in June preceded a disappointing Open Championship showing at Turnberry, where he failed to make any significant impact. But the tousle-haired Irishman came back with a bang at the USPGA, recording a final round of 68 to earn a share of third, his best result in a Major championship. Known for his prodigious length off the tee and supreme iron play, McIlroy has the game to contend on any type of course. Whether he can live up to the hype and go on to win multiple Majors remains to be seen, but it’ll be something of a shock if he isn’t in contention come Sunday of the Open.

LIANG WEN-CHONG

CHINA

Age: 31 Residence: Chung Shan, China Tenth appearance China’s favourite golfing son, the 2007 Asian Tour Order of Merit winner has a solid record at the Hong Kong Open, with three top-15 finishes in the last three editions of the event. Although the Chung Shan native, who first picked up a golf club at the age of 15, hasn’t won on tour since last year’s Hero Honda Indian Masters (where he shot an incredible 60 in the first round), Liang enters the event with confidence, having notched up a credible second place finish at the Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open in Japan last month. Liang also has a great affinity with Fanling. Aside from holding the first round lead last year after firing a 64, “Ah Chong” aced the par-three twelfth hole in the final round of the 2006 tournament to win a 1kg golf bar worth approximately US$20,000 from title sponsor UBS. Having played countless rounds at the Hong Kong Golf Club since his amateur days, there will be few in the field who can match the 31-year-old’s knowledge of the Composite Course.

STEVEN LAM TSZ-FUNG

HONG KONG

Age: 16 Residence: Hong Kong Second appearance 16-year-old Lam couldn’t have asked for a better build up to his second Hong Kong Open appearance. Winning a place in the field by virtue of his victory at the Hong Kong Amateur Close Championship earlier in the year, the St Joseph’s College student made local sporting headlines last month when he made the cut at the Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open in Japan after playing on a sponsor’s invite. With rounds of 71 and 74, Lam matched the score of Japanese phenom Ryo Ishikawa and ended up being paired with the cowboy hat-wearing Shingo Katayama in the third round. Like his Hong Kong international teammate Hak, Lam made it into last year’s Open through qualifying, but left Fanling disappointed after compiling two rounds of 74 to miss the cut by some margin. This year is different, he says, and if he can get his putting to match his typically superb iron play, he’ll have every chance of making it to Sunday.

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Boy Wonder: Unlucky not to win last year, young Rory enters the event in a rich vein of form. HKGOLFER.COM

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hk open: the course

Conquering the Composite

ESPN Star Sports commentator and Fanling member Dominique Boulet guides us around the holes that will decide this year’s championship

The eighteenth hole provides the perfect finale to the Composite. (Photos by Alex Jenkins)

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Wind is also a significant factor. There always seems to be one day when it really blows, but its difficulty at Fanling has less to do with the strength than it has the direction. It tends to swirl, which any pro will tell makes club selection a far trickier proposition. One of my favourite quotes about the course comes from Europea n To u r r e g u l a r M a r c u s Fraser. “I love the course,” he said a few years ago. “It’s brilliant and reminds me of the courses around Melbourne.” Given that the Australian sandbelt region, where Fraser grew up, is home to some of the finest layouts in the world, that’s really saying something. I always like to repeat the quote whenever people talk about remodelling the course. In terms of Asian courses, it’s unique – and I for one would like to it stay that way.

18th Hole “The Ultimate”

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easuring a shade over 6,700 yards, the Composite Course at Fanling, which comprises ten holes of the Eden Course and eight holes from the New Course, might be the shortest layout played on the European and Asian circuits, but in my opinion it remains both a fun and fair test of golf. The pros – past and present – tend to agree and over the years the Hong Kong Golf Club, with its old world clubhouse and pleasant verandah, has proved to be the most popular venue in the Eastern Hemisphere. It’s a testament to the course that no-one has ever really torn it up. If you play well you’re going to score well; play average and you’re not going to get away with too much. The Composite’s main defence during the Open is its small raised greens. For me, it’s very much a second shot golf course: when it plays hard 38

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and fast – as it usually does in November – the putting surfaces can be difficult to hold, which means the better iron players come to the fore. In fact, I’d like to see the rough around the greens shaved, which would bring more of the bunkers into play, so I’ll be very interested to see what the tournament committee decides to do this year. The green complexes are subtle – unlike many of the modern courses the guys play, there are no massive undulations to be faced – but that doesn’t make them easy to read. A lot has been said of the grain on the greens during tournament week, which some pros find difficult to handle, but I always tell the Asian Tour boys that they should get a local caddie to help them. Normally, a good Fanling caddie will be able to read them better than a seasoned professional looper. During the Open the greens will run at around 11 on the stimpmeter, which is fair speed for a Tour event. HKGOLFER.COM

Par 4, 410 yards The famous eighteenth has witnessed more drama over the years than any other hole in the world. The highlights are numerous – Olazabal’s raking five-iron from the right hand trees to set up a tap-in birdie and one-stroke victory in 2001; Harrington’s twenty-foot birdie putt to clinch the title in 2003; and of course the simply unbelievable Houdini-like exhibition from both Lin Wen-tang and Rory McIlroy last year. The disasters, too, will live long in the memory – who can forget poor old James Kingston’s troubles in 2004 and 2005 or Robert Karlsson’s wretched double bogey just two years later? Colin Montgomerie, who took advantage of Kingston’s collapse in 2005, reckons it’s the hardest short par four he’s ever played – and I’m not going to disagree with him. The tee shot is crucial: miss the narrow landing area and you’re in the trees. There’s really not much room at all. But because the fairway slopes downhill, even if you hit a straight one you run the risk of having a tricky lie with the approach shot, which brings in all the trouble around the green. A quite brilliant hole that will surely play its part on the HKGOLFER.COM

Sunday of this year’s championship. No wonder it’s called “The Ultimate”. The play: Expect to see a variety of clubs hit off the tee, but I favour a four-wood to the flat part of the fairway at the top of the hill. From there it’s anything from a seven- to nine-iron.

1st Hole “Trench”

Par 4, 468 yards The first is an enormously pivotal hole. Normally played as a par five by the members, the one place you have to avoid off the tee is the left bunker. The number of times I’ve seen players make sixes, sevens and even eights from there is remarkable. Both Scott Barr and Simon Yates have come to grief here when in contention. The ideal line is down the right half of the fairway, which gives you a good view of the green. Even from the rough the right side is the place to be, otherwise, a blind approach over trees is required. The pond fifty yards short right of the putting surface shouldn’t really be in play for Tour players, but that hasn’t prevented a few from ending up in there over the years. The play: Three-wood off the tee to finish short of the fairway bunker.

Tough start: The par-four first is normally played as a par-five by Fanling members (left); the fifth is routinely plays as the hardest par-three on the course (below).

5th Hole “Table Top”

Par 3, 210 yards The hardest (and longest) par three on the course is a brute. The main difficulty here is stopping the ball on the raised two-tier green. Deep bunkers protect the front, while a grassy bank will snare any shots that go long. Make four threes on this hole during the tournament and you’ll be a shot up on the field. The play: Anything from a four- to sixiron depending on the wind.

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6th Hole “The Pimple”

Par 4, 381 yards One of my personal favourites, the sixth isn’t a particularly long hole but it can play tougher than its yardage might suggest because of the wind which really swirls around this corner of the course. The sand in the centre of the fairway isn’t a factor but the two flanking bunkers certainly are. Even if the fairway is found, however, the small elevated green can be a hard target to find, even with a wedge in your hand. A great hole. The play: Nothing fancy here, take the driver.

9th Hole “The Bend”

Par 4, 493 yards Like the first, this beautiful tree-lined hole is normally a par five but has been reduced to a two-shotter for the pros. Without doubt the toughest hole at Fanling, players have to shape their tee shots from right to left to avoid the two fairway bunkers on the right. Too much draw spin will risk flirting with the timber, while the extremely well-protected green is one of the hardest on the course to hold, especially with a long iron. In years’ past, some players would actually play down the adjacent tenth on the New Course (which isn’t played during the Hong Kong Open) because of its wide fairway and play their approaches, over the trees, from there. Greg Norman used to do it and I remember Langer doing the same when he won. That isn’t an option anymore because the tee has been moved up a few yards and dense foliage now blocks that particular route. The play: A three- or four-wood off the tee to finish short of the fairway bunkers and give a clear path into the narrow green.

14th Hole “The Bungalow”

Par 4, 395 yards The pros really want to be aggressive on this short dogleg left par four, but it can grab you if you’re not too careful. The obvious danger is the trees that hug the left side, but run out of fairway on the right and its tough to hold the green from there. Come up short of the elevated green and a deep bunker awaits. It’s much easier to make a score on the back nine than it is on the front, and this can be a birdie hole if the fairway is found from the tee. A quirky gem of a hole that can either make and break a round. The play: Driver off the tee won’t leave any more than a wedge in. Fabulous fours (from top): the sixth hole is one of the most exposed on the course; par is always a great score at the ninth; short but tricky, the fifteenth has ruined many a scorecard. 40

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hk open: looking back

Orville Moody, who won the championship at Fanling in 1971, seemed destined for greatness after leaving the Army in his mid-twenties. But his was a career comprising an early peak, controversy, a downturn in form, outrageous bad luck and a glorious finale. Overall though, it seemed a friend had it right when he opined: "He's always been just one poor, dumb, busted Indian sergeant. And he remembers…” USGA

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Left: Moody with the US open trophy in 1970; Top: Triumphant Orville bids farewell to Fanling; Above: The winning putt on cover of RHKGC magazine

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The Hong Kong Standard

Sergeant Moody HK Open Champion

orn in 1933, Moody was a part- working as a club professional and Moody was Choctaw Indian from Chickasha, setting pins in the bowling alley at Fort Bliss. It Oklahoma, the youngest of 10 was Trevino who talked him into giving up the children living in a modest three- military. “I talked him into quitting the army room dwelling. His father’s and joining the PGA Tour, and that was a great various jobs included running decision,” Trevino said. In later years, Moody would have cause to question this. a pool hall and working as an aircraft hanger Without winning, he managed to place in security guard. Luckily for Orville, they also included a stint as a greenkeeper and this gave enough tournaments to earn far more than he would on an Army salary. However, while he him an introduction to golf. After quitting a hard-earned college place was admired for his ball-striking, it was apparent pursuing an unrequited love interest, he joined the US Army and spent the next "Next time they try somethin', 14 years enlisted, 12 of which involved looking after the Army’s golf courses. It might save more lives in the long was during a posting in Japan in 1966 run if we get out the machine guns that he met Lee Trevino, which led to a and shoot 'bout 50 of them fools.” lifelong friendship. - The straight-talking Moody on student By the following year, they had protestors during the Vietnam War both moved to El Paso, Texas; Trevino

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from the start that he had genuine problems on the greens. Perhaps uniquely for a professional, he already had the yips before entering the paid ranks. Moody had a truly awful putting stroke which, despite a cross handed grip, was composed almost entirely of hinging his wrists. It was an ugly and dangerous thing to watch. As he admitted later: "Holding the putter was like trying to hold a rattlesnake. I hated to look at it even when I'd get on the green. It was kinda embarassing, I'd be putting and I'd be playing with Crenshaw or somebody and I'd look up and they'd be looking somewhere else. They wouldn't watch me putt. It was embarrassing to get up over a putt and here's these guys, they'd be looking off in the trees somewhere because they didn't wanna watch the stroke." Even his best friend Trevino was frank: "This man rolls it worse than anyone alive." Nevertheless, both men prospered beyond all expectations during their first couple of years on tour, with 44

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Trevino winning his first PGA event in 1968, a remarkable victory at the US Open. In 1969, the US Open was held at the Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas. When facing the press asking about his chances, Trevino told them that if he didn’t repeat, Orville Moody would be the next Open champion because, said Lee, "He's one helluva player." It was a staggering prediction. Known as “Sarge”, given his military background, Moody had only made the Open after scraping through local and sectional qualifying. In the event, he would become the last man to win after doing so. After the second round, his putting was so bad that his fellow competitors Dale Douglas and Tony Jacklin gave him a putting lesson. It seemed to help, but even after a third round 68, he started the final round three shots behind Miller Barber. In the event, Barber collapsed to a 78 and Orville knew on the last that a par would win. On 18, after hitting a driver straight down the middle, Moody hit a towering 5-iron to 14 feet. Then, to laughter from the pros watching in the clubhouse, he nervously replaced his own divot. Luckily he only needed to two-putt the 18th for the title. His first putt was so bad, as he himself said watching it on film: “The ball almost hangs on the putter when I hit it. The putter almost moves faster than the ball.” "He's about the worst putter of all our real good players," said fellow pro Johnny Pott, himself a cross-hander. “Remember his putt to win the Open? He looked like he hit it with a grease stick. He shook the thing off the blade. I told him he'll set cross-handed putting back 50 years." His final round 72 gave him a 1-over-par total of 281. That was enough to win by one shot from a trio of players – future PGA Commissioner Deane Beman, Al "Mr 59" Geiberger and Bob Rosberg, who would later go on to work as a commentator for ABC. The latter two were also both former US PGA winners. In taking the title, he made his first PGA win the US Open, which of course, his friend Lee Trevino had done the previous year. The only other player to have done so previously was Jack Nicklaus, in 1962. In a series of shambolic post round interviews he admitted he didn't even know if his name was Orville James Moody or Orville Cleve Moody (it was James), and he had an embarrassingly mangled call from President Richard Nixon. Called the "second straight obscurity" to win the Open after Trevino, he was also labelled "Mr Unbelievable Nice Guy," by 1965 USPGA champion Dave Marr. The f irst moniker unfortunately rang true as he never won another PGA event, and the latter was put to the test a year later when he was interviewed at the time of the 1970 US Open at Hazeltine. In a HKGOLFER.COM

"Ray Charles could have read the greens better than you did today.”

as Orville was divorced, flirted with bankruptcy, and even escaped from a burning house losing most of his - Moody tells his caddie-daughter what he thinks possessions. His hay fever became of her performance after missing a short putt so bad that he took to wearing face masks when he played. The press had a field day. Vietnam War-focused era, he was asked about It wasn’t until he joined the Seniors Tour student protestors at Kent State and uttered the that he turned his life around. Much of his later immortal line: "Next time they try somethin', success may be down to his daughter Michelle, might save more lives in the long run if we get who started caddying for him in 1987. With a out the machine guns and shoot 'bout 50 of new belly putter and Michelle reading his putts, them fools.” Nothing was done about Orville's Moody became the No. 1 putter on tour. With outburst. However, in the category of “We his daughter alongside, it seemed that he was Couldn’t Make This Stuff Up”, was the delicious finally happy and relaxed on a golf course. sight of the USGA and other’s reaction to Dave A nice vignette was when he missed a short Hill simultaneously commenting that Hazeltine putt in a tournament and told his daughter, “Ray “could have been a fine farm”, only lacking “80 Charles could have read the greens better than acres of corn and a few cows.” His comments you did today.” At that point a woman in the led to a $150 fine and heavy criticism, with gallery was heard to say: “He's so mean to her. Henry Longhurst decrying his “monstrous Are you sure she's not his wife?” impudence”. Hill went on to finish second to With Michelle on his bag, he shot a Senior Tony Jacklin, as the USGA made it clear where US Open record 64 in winning in 1989 to their priorities lay. become only the fourth man to win both national Moody had better luck abroad, winning titles. Later, when Michelle went to college, a in Singapore, Australia, Korea, Morocco, and replacement friend caddied and had a badge made of course, in Hong Kong. In winning here in up saying “No, I’m not his daughter”. 1971, he became the first man to claim both the Orville Moody suffered a stroke in late 2007 US and the Hong Kong Open titles, a feat so far and died on August 8, 2008 from complications only matched by Tom Watson in 1992. of multiple myeloma. His friend Lee Trevino At home, things went from bad to worse was there throughout.

HKGOLFER.COM

Left: Orville lifting the US Seniors Open trophy; Below: Happy at last, Moody and daughter Michelle during the final round of the 1989 US Senior Open

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45


hk open: golf punting

Bag Check

Euros Will Be Out in Force

DRIVER My 9.5 degree TaylorMade Tour Burner is fitted with a Mitsubishi Diamana Blue 73 extra stiff graphite shaft. Although the Composite Course is fairly short – and I tend to use a lot of irons off the tee – I’ll still use it on six or seven holes, including the three par fives.

Archie Albatross assesses the runners and riders at this year's Open

F

Charles McLaughlin (Jimenez); Paul Lakatos/Parallel Media Group (Jaidee)

ans hoping for a repeat of last year’s dramatic conclusion may be in luck as the tournament organizers have secured another strong field with USPGA winner Yang Yong-eun and rising star Rory McIlroy topping the bill. As a punting proposition, not withstanding Lin Wen-tang’s heroics of twelve months ago, Hong Kong’s national Open has traditionally rewarded a straightforward, safety first strategy, with favourites performing well and those with previous course form repeatedly delivering results. In recent years, two golfers who ply their trade on the European Tour have consistently made profitable returns to Fanling. Miguel Angel Jiminez won in both 2004 and 2007 and is known to love his visits to Hong Kong. As the last scoring event before the Dubai World Championship, and in a qualifying period for the Ryder Cup, the Spaniard will be keen to round out a steady if unspectacular season with a win. Another man from humble origins, Thongchai Jaidee has stunning tournament form. Results of seventh, third and second between 2005 and 2007 cannot be ignored and he will surely be looking to build on that experience and will have the silverware squ a rely i n h i s si g ht s. T h a i l a n d ’s b e s t g ol f e r has come back into some arresting form and had a good victory earlier this year, winning in Jeju Island, Korea – backyard of the now famous Tiger-slayer, Yang. Yang will certainly draw strong market support and, as Asia’s first Major winner, will dominate the bookie’s attention. However, I believe Jiminez and Jaidee will represent good value eachway; the two J’s should pay to play! T he Eu ropea n s have tended to dominate this event and my two other r e c o m m e n d a t io n s h a i l 46

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hk open: equipment

FAIRWAY WOOD Sometimes I substitute this club with a 3-wood or even a 1-iron but I’ll have my Ping G5 5-wood, which has a Mitsubishi Diamana Blue extra stiff graphite shaft, in the bag at Fanling. It might be a few years old now but it’s still the best fairway wood I’ve ever played with.

DAVID FREEMAN

from that part of the world. McIlroy has had a fantastic season in 2009 and plays with a maturity beyond his years. Despite all the hype surrounding this young man (keen followers of Archie Albatross will hopefully have followed advice in the June edition to short his installation by bookies as a preposterous third favourite for the Open Championship at Turnberry; he finished 47th!), he is definitely emerging as one of the strongest all-rounders to hit the Tour in many years. His third place finish in the USPGA showed he is still improving and of course he will be keen to avenge his playoff defeat last year. The odds-makers are likely to be all over young Rors though, so it may pay to be patient and snap up some ‘in-running’ action if he’s back in the chasing pack after the first couple of rounds. Lastly, a wee outsider to tempt the palate. Simon Dyson, popular journeyman of the European Tour, has started to show some solid form in September. Seventh at the Omega and third at the Mercedes-Benz in successive weeks indicates he has regained his consistency. “Dyse” has been a regular at the Hong Kong Open and of course has fond memories of Fanling after his maiden pro win there in 2000. With his Dad a bookie and his uncle an ex-Spurs player, Archie is feeling the vibe for Simon. Snap up anything over 40/1. HKGOLFER.COM

Age: 34 Attachment: The Hong Kong Golf Club Turned pro: 1993 Background: Welsh-born Freeman has divided his time between coaching and playing over the past few years, although a knee injury sustained in 2007 has cut short the number of Asian Tour appearances he’s made of late. Known for his prodigious length – he’s considered among the top five longest drivers on the regional professional circuit – the current HKPGA Order of Merit leader will play in the Hong Kong Open by virtue of representing the SAR in World Cup qualifying.

What Else

BALL I play the Titleist Pro V1x, which is a bit firmer than the standard Pro V1. I use a black Sharpie to identify it as mine. I used to draw a smiley face on it, but now I draw more of an evil-looking face: it reminds me to play more aggressively. I always keep a dozen balls in my bag and use between four and six of them a round. HKGOLFER.COM

PUTTER I’ve used a belly putter on and off for three years – and I’ll be wielding this Yes! Golf Carolyn model on the greens during the Open. The reason for switching from the short putter was simple: I find I’m much more consistent inside five feet with it.

IRONS I’ve used Ping for a long time and I just love these i10s. All my irons and wedges are fitted with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts.

WEDGES I carry four Ping Tour W wedges – 47 degree, 52 degree, 56 degree and a 60 degree lob wedge. Pitching and chipping around the greens at The Hong Kong Golf Club is always tricky during the HKO because the course plays hard and fast.

THE FREEMAN FILE CLUB YDS (Carry) Driver 300 5-wood 250 3-iron 225 4-iron 215 5-iron 205 6-iron 192 7-iron 180 8-iron 164 9-iron 150 PW 132 GW 120 SW 105 LW 80

MARKER I always use this Augusta National ball marker, which I picked up when I went to see the Masters in 2003. Augusta is an awesome place and you have no idea how hilly it is until you go there in person. TV really doesn’t do the place justice.

PAINKILLERS I tore my meniscus two years ago after slipping down some stairs and it still tends to flare up when I play. It can be uncomfortable so I always make sure I have some Nurofen in the bag.

SUNSCREEN You can’t play anywhere in Southeast Asia without putting a lot of this on first.

FOOD/DRINK I’m not a fan of power bars; an apple or banana around the turn does it for me. I usually drink water and Powerade. Sometimes Pocari if I feel I need extra energy. HK Golfer・OCT/NOV 2009

47


hk open: rules

Ask the Expert

EXPERIENCE

With Dr Brian Choa, Chairman, Rules & Decisions, HKGA

VISION

Luxe Hills, China Hole 2 Par 3

Q A

I’ve always wondered what happens if an approach shot to the famous eighteenth hole on the Composite Course at Fanling ends up in or over the corporate hospitality marquee at the back of the green. Are those areas considered out of bounds? This depends on how the tournament committee marks the course, but judging by previous editions of the Open the answer is no. A ball finishing in or behind these areas can be dropped away from them with line of sight relief under the temporary immovable obstruction (TIO) rule. The clubhouse and tented village areas to the left of the hole, however, are usually marked as out of bounds.

Q

Is it true that at the Hong Kong Open a player must use the same brand and model of golf ball for the duration of the event and cannot change it at any time without incurring a penalty? If so, what happens if any of the pros run out of balls before the completion of his round? Is he allowed to “borrow” a ball from someone in his group as long as it is the same type?

A

Illustration by Arthur Hacker

The majority of professional tournaments, including the Hong Kong Open, and some elite amateur events enforce a “one-ball condition”, more commonly known as the “one-ball rule”. A player in violation of this at Fanling will incur a two-stroke penalty. But even when the “one-ball rule” is in effect, borrowing a ball is allowed, provided of course that it is the same brand and model. Remember that, apart from clubs, players can borrow anything from one another. 48

HK Golfer・OCT/NOV 2009

Did you know? Japanese legend Isao “The Tower” Aoki was disqualified after the first round of the 1993 edition of the Hong Kong Open for signing an incorrect scorecard. After failing to come out of the bunker on what is now played as the par-five thirteenth with his first effort, the 51-year-old Aoki, one of the tournament’s star attractions, hit the sand with a practice swing without realizing and neglected to add the two-stroke penalty to his recorded bogey six. On his return to the clubhouse, he signed for a 68 and not the 70 it should have been. To his credit, the 1980 US Open runner-up handled the ruling with dignity and, as an invited player, stayed until the end of the tournament, giving instructional clinics to the spectators.

Got a rules question?

Send it to rules@hkgolfer.com

HKGOLFER.COM

WORLD CLASS RESULTS Mark E. Hollinger ASGCA

Address: 1513 Folger Drive, Belmont, California 94002 USA Tel: 1-650-620-9670 Fax: 1-650-620-9707 China: (86)136-6018-6366

www.jmpgolf.com


hk ladies open

From the President October through December is without doubt the busiest time of year for the Hong Kong Golf Association, with numerous events – both at home and abroad – taking place during this cooler and more golffriendly period. Top of the bill is the Hong Kong Open, which will be sponsored for the fourth and final year by UBS. To be played at Fanling from November 12-15, the Open will once again feature many world-class players, with Asia’s first Major winner, Korea’s Yang Yong-eun, and Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy headlining the event. I’m sure both players will enjoy the Hong Kong hospitality – and I’m convinced that the golfing public of Hong Kong will go out and support these two golfing superstars. McIlroy, of course, needs no introduction, especially given his performance at last year’s event – the championship’s fiftieth edition – where he lost out to Chinese Taipei’s Lin Wen-tang in one of the most exciting finishes in European Tour history. Yang, who played so brilliantly in overhauling Tiger Woods to win the USPGA Championship in August, will be making his debut at The Hong Kong Golf Club. Given his new-found stature in the game, he’s certain to attract a lot of attention – and I for one look forward to watching him play.

One other golfer I’m particularly looking forward to seeing in action is Steven Lam. 16-year-old Steven, as I’m sure many of you know, is a product of the HKGA’s Junior Golf Development Programme and booked his place in the elite field as a result of winning the Hong Kong Amateur Close Championship earlier on in the year. Since then he has recorded some excellent results, the best of which came at the recent Asia Pacific Panasonic Open, a co-sanctioned event between the Asian and Japanese professional tours. Playing on an invitation, young Steven did himself and Hong Kong proud by making the cut and finishing ahead of many fine pros. It truly was a magnificent accomplishment, something he will remember for the rest of his life. I was also delighted with the performances of Hong Kong golfers at the recent Helene et Henri Hong Kong Ladies’ Open Amateur Championship. Special mention must go to Stephanie Ho, who finished in a share of second place, and 12-year-old Kitty Tam, who played remarkably well to finish in fifth. Developing the game in Hong Kong is a cornerstone of the HKGA – and with results like these, I firmly believe we’re on the right track. —William Chung President HKGA

Orgill Claims Cambodian Crown Hong Kong’s Tim Orgill won the inaugural Angkor Amateur Open played at the Nick Faldo-designed Angkor Golf Resort in Siem Reap mid-August. Orgill (pictured here collecting his trophy from the club’s executive director Holic Tandijono) carded rounds of 73 and 74 for a comfortable five shot victory. “It was a welcome return to form,” said Orgill, a former Hong Kong international. “I played in Scotland the week before and could barely break 90, so this was something of a surprise.”

Tougher DB Test for HK Amateur Competitors at the Masters Golf Fashion Hong Kong Open Amateur Championship, which will be played from November 3-6 November, will face a tougher Discovery Bay course than normal, says Samuel Clayton, general manager of the Lantau club. New tees have been installed on four of the holes – Diamond 1, 2, 3 and 8 – making it a longer test, while green speeds are expected to run at around 10 on the stimpmeter and the rough will be left to grow in the weeks preceding the event. The winner of the championship will receive an invitation to tee it up with the pros at the UBS Hong Kong Open, which is played the following week. Visit www.hkga.com for results. 50

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HK’S RISING STAR

Chihiro Ikeda of the Philippines cruised to a seven stroke victory at the Helene et Henri Hong Kong Ladies’ Open Amateur Championship late September. But it was the performance of 12-year-old local Kitty Tam that really caught the imagination. REPORT BY ALEX JENKINS PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHARLES MCLAUGHLIN

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M

ake no mistake: Ikeda fully deserved her win. Long and generally s t r a i g ht o f f t h e t e e , t he 18 -yea r- old f rom Manila, whose trophy cabinet includes silverware earned from three continents, overwhelmed the field at Discovery Bay Golf Club with twelve birdies and an eagle over the three rounds to capture the title at a canter. Even when she found herself in a spot of trouble – like through sixteen holes of the second round when her lead had been cut to only two shots after some indifferent play – she responded magnificently. A two at the parthree seventeenth was followed by a wonderful chip-in eagle at the long final hole in that instance, which gave her an almost unassailable advantage heading into the final day. It was a classy showing, and it was no great surprise to learn that Ikeda intends to turn professional and try her hand at the Ladies European Tour Qualifying School in January. One expects her to do very well indeed. “I’ve been playing well recently, so I was confident of winning,” said Ikeda, who fired a best-of-the-week 69 in the first round. “I made a few errors but I also made a lot of birdies. It was well worth making the trip over to Hong Kong.” 52

HK Golfer・OCT/NOV 2009

W h i le t he Fi l ipi na’s f i ne play was a nt icipated, Ta m’s per for ma nce wa s upl i f t i ng. Arguably Hong Kong’s most improved golfer over the past t welve mont h s, K it t y, who doesn’t turn 13 until November, fired opening rounds of 74 and 72 to enter the last day as Ikeda’s nearest challenger. Although she would eventually have to settle for fifth after stumbling a little in the final round, the way she carried herself throughout the course of the championship was extremely impressive for one so young. With her incredibly fluid and balanced swing, Tam is a brilliant ball-striker. Averaging in excess of 230 yards with her driver – a remarkable statistic considering her diminutive size – Kitty doesn’t seem at all fazed when playing in elite company and goes about her business in a wonderfully aggressive manner. Unfortunately, this cavalier approach to the game did result in a couple of mistakes at Discovery Bay – most notably at the par-five twelfth, where she made a quintuple bogey and triple bogey on days one and three – but more often than not it produces birdies by the bucket-load. Even the champion was impressed.

Ladies' lineup (clockwise from left): Chihiro's win was richly deserved; Tiffany Chan assisted by her caddie and fellow national team member Charles Stone; Hong Kong's Christine Kwok was crowned Mid Amateur Division Two champion; Stehpanie Ho had another fine week, seen here congratulating Ikeda and teeing off at the last

“Kitty is going to be a really great player,” said Ikeda after the final round. “She’s long enough and she putts well; she’ll improve as she gets bigger, but I still can’t believe she’s not even a teenager yet. I think she’ll do very well.” Tam’s performance underpinned another strong showing by local players. Stephanie Ho, the reigning Hong Kong Close champion and star of TVB’s singing programme, The Voice, finished in a tie for second alongside China’s Yang Jia-xin, while Tiffany Chan celebrated her recent sixteenth birthday by finishing in sixth place. Ever-improving Michelle Cheung carded a steady 74 on the final day to make it four Hong Kong golfers inside the top-10. With a field of this quality, this speaks volumes about the health of ladies’ golf in the SAR. HKGOLFER.COM

HKGOLFER.COM

OVERALL TOP TEN 1 2= 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Chihiro Ikeda Yang Jia-xin Stephanie Ho Huang Hsien-wen Kitty Tam Tiffany Chan Peng Chieh Dolnapa Phudthipinij Tipanun Prakasvudhisarn Michelle Cheung

Philippines China Hong Kong Chinese Taipei Hong Kong Hong Kong Chinese Taipei Thailand Thailand Hong Kong

216 223 223 225 226 227 231 232 234 238

(69-74-73) (76-74-73) (76-73-74) (76-79-70) (76-72-78) (74-76-77) (75-79-77) (81-73-78) (72-82-80) (83-81-74)

HK Golfer・OCT/NOV 2009

53


junior news Humphrey Wong

Ho and Heng Deliver the Goods

Teen pair triumph at inaugural FedEx Championship Cheria Heng

Christy Chong

J

ason Ho and Cheria Heng were the big winners at Hong Kong’s newest junior golf event, the FedEx Junior Golf Championship, which was played in mid-August. Staged over thirty-six holes of the South Course at Kau Sai Chau, the inaugural tournament drew players from the ages of seven to seventeen competing over ten separate divisions. While the South Course is the shortest of Kau Sai Chau’s three layouts, low scoring is never easy to come by, especially when the wind kicks up, which was the case during the afternoon on both days of the competition. In the Overall Boys’ Division, Ho’s solid 73 on the second day gave him a two-round total of 152, which proved enough for a slim one stroke victory over Lionel Chan in second. Highly-rated Anthony Tam, brother of Hong Kong ladies’ international Kitty, placed third, a further stroke adrift, although his 154 total gave him a win in the 13-14 age bracket. In the Overall Girls’ Division, rounds of 76 and 73 gave Cheria Heng her first title of the year. Heng, who has performed brightly in numerous events this season, overhauled Michelle Cheung whose 70 on the first day proved to be the lowest of the tournament. Unfortunately for Cheung, she closed with a scrappy 80 to finish just one shy of Heng’s total of 149. Isabella Leung continued her recent run of good form with back-to-back rounds of 79 to finish solo-third. “The tournament was an outstanding success,” declared HKGA Chief Executive Iain Valentine. “Increasing the number of junior events is extremely important in developing youth golf in Hong Kong, so our sincere thanks to FedEx whose support made this competition possible. I’m sure this is a tournament that will grow in popularity over the years ahead.”

Anthony Tam

Jason Ho

DIVISION CHAMPIONS

Alex Jenkins

Boys’ 15-17 Girls’ 15-17 Boys’ 13-14 Girls’ 13-14 Boys’ 11-12 Girls’ 11-12 Boys’ 9-10 Girls’ 9-10 Boys’ 7-8 Girls’ 7-8

Jason Ho* Kanika Gandhi Anthony Tam Cheria Heng* Humphrey Wong Christy Chong Andrew Chin Michelle Lee Nathan Han Colette Szeto

152 163 154 149 150 153 75 81 74 96

(79-73) (79-84) (73-81) (76-73) (77-73) (75-78) (39-36) (40-41) (38-36) (48-48)

* Denotes overall champions 54

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team news

Success at Santiburi (from left): Hong Kong's Putra, Lion City Cup and Santi Cup teams pose with National Coach Brad Schadewitz and nonplaying Captain Stuart Murray; the Nomura Cup team at Namseoul Country Club in Korea

Third Place Finishes for Lion City and Santi Cup Teams Though it was not to be the historic day Hong Kong golf followers had hoped for, it was still a week to remember with the SAR recording third place finishes in both the Lion City Cup and the Santi Cup, which was played concurrently with the Southeast Asian Men’s Amateur Team Championship (the Putra Cup) late August. Played at the Santiburi Country Club in Chiang Rai, Thailand, the under-18 Lion City Cup team, represented by Steven Lam, Liu Lok-tin, Terrence Ng and Shinichi Mizuno, got off to a strong start and led after the first day’s play, thanks largely to Lam and Liu’s level par rounds. Although the team lost ground during the second round, Lam’s 69 and contributions from Liu and Mizuno on the third day gave them an outside chance of overhauling the host nation in the final round. It wasn’t to be however, as Thailand – led by the highly gifted Poom, who shoot 13-under-par over the final two rounds – went on to win by 13 shots. Singapore finished strongly to steal second. Although the team was disappointed, the result proved to be Hong Kong’s best ever showing, and Lam ended up placing third in the individual competition. “It was our first trophy in the event but we could have finished one spot higher,” said National Coach Brad Schadewitz. “The team played great but I think they were a little nervous when they had the lead. They’ll learn from this and look forward to competing for the title next year.” In the inaugural Santi Cup, a ladies-only version of the Putra Cup, Hong Kong, represented by Demi and Ginger Mak, Tiffany Chan and Kitty Tam, recovered from an indifferent start to the event to reel in Malaysia on the final day to earn a top-three finish. Thailand won the event by a mighty 30 strokes from the Philippines in second. Demi Mak led the way for Hong Kong, carding rounds of 77, 72, 74 and 72 to finish the individual competition in a share of fifth. Although the Putra Cup team of Mickey Chan, Roderick Staunton, Martin Liu and Max Wong couldn’t find the consistency required to challenge for any silverware, Staunton’s brilliant 67 on the final day and Chan’s steady display auger well for future events. 56

HK Golfer・OCT/NOV 2009

HK Suffers Back Nine Trouble at Nomura Cup Three weeks after the conclusion of Putra Cup, a new-look Hong Kong team flew to Korea for the 24th Asia Pacific Amateur Golf Team Championship (Nomura Cup). For the team, represented by Roderick Staunton, Steven Lam, Jason Hak and Liu Lok-tin, it was very much a case of what could have been, with the players routinely getting off to excellent starts to their rounds at Namseoul Country Club, only to come unhinged on the back nine. Of the 24 teams participating, Hong Kong finished in a share of 12th alongside India. Korea won the event with some ease, posting an 18-underpar total of 846, 24 strokes better than secondplaced Chinese Taipei. Japan finished in third, a further 10 shots adrift. “There were a lot of positives to be taken out of the tournament,” said Schadewitz. “But again, they could and perhaps should have finished higher. The back nine really cost us on a few days. Nonetheless, the camaraderie was great among the guys, which is always important, especially for a new team.” HKGOLFER.COM

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Steven Debuts at Duke of York Champions Steven Lam has been quite the traveller of late. Prior to his heroics at the Asia Pacific Panasonic Open in Japan where he made his first cut at a professional event, Steven represented Hong Kong at the Nomura Cup in Korea and, the week before that, played at the exclusive Duke of York Young Champions Trophy in Scotland, becoming the first Hong Kong player to do so. Tackling the tough Dundonald Links, Loch Lomond’s sister course in Ayrshire, the 16-year-old carded rounds of 81,80 and 80 for a total of 241 and a share of 41st place. “Although I didn’t play as well as I would have liked, it was a really great experience,” said La m, who qua lif ied for the event by virtue of his win at the Hong Kong Close Amateur Championship earlier in the year. “The field was strong and we played on a great golf course. I really enjoyed the week.” Lam also had t he opportunity to meet H R H T he D u ke of York, who established t he tourna ment in 2 0 01 t o e n c o u r a g e competitiveness and f r iend sh ip b e t we en individual champions from around the world. “He was very friendly and a lot funnier than I expected,” said Steven.

Stephanie and Kitty Make Faldo Field As a result of finishing as the two highestplaced Hong Kong players at the Helene et Henri Hong Kong Ladies Open Amateur Championship at Discovery Bay, Stephanie Ho and Kitty Tam have qualified for the Faldo Series Grand Final to be played in March 2010 at Mission Hills Golf Club, where they will go head-to-head with the region’s brightest prospects. Qualifying for the boys’ event will take place on October 14-15 at Kau Sai Chau.

results

Around the Clubs The Hong Kong Golf Club DWB Monthly Medal – Gross Section 28 August BPM Ma won the DWB Monthly Gross Section with a 62. DWB Monthly Medal – Nett Section 28 August HY Hung won the DWB Monthly Medal Nett Section with a 52. Monthly Medal – Gross Section 5 September T Orgill won the Monthly Medal Gross Section played over the New Course with a 72.

Tam Siblings Top Esprit Series Junior Order of Merit Anthony and Kitty clinched the overall titles, while brother Ambrose won his age division in a remarkable run of form for the Tam family. The Esprit Series is played over four events – the Kau Sai Chau Junior Open, the Zhaoqing Junior Open, the Hong Kong Junior Open and the Zhang Lian-wei Cup Junior Invitational – and Kitty excelled in all, picking up four straight wins. Ambrose also secured a 100% winning record, although declined to play in the final tournament, while Anthony also won three events, his only dropped points coming at the Zhang Lian-wei Cup where he finished fifth. A full report will appear in the Dec/Jan issue of HK Golfer. Visit www.hkga.com for more results.

Girls’ Division Standings 15-17 Winner:

Tiffany Chan

52

13-14 Winner:

Cheria Heng

56.5

11-12 Winner:

Kitty Tam*

80

9-10 Winner:

Michelle Lee

51

8 & under Winner: Colette Szeto

62

Boys’ Division Standings

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HK Golfer・OCT/NOV 2009

Sayo White (75) Yoko Takemoto (36 points) Mimi Ho (82)

Men’s Match Play 2009 Winner: Matajiro Nagatomi (won in extra holes) Runner-up: BW Park Semi-finalists: Bruce Dann & KW Choi

HKPGA Yinli HKPGA Order of Merit 2009

Monthly Medal – Nett Section 5 September PJ Brown won the Monthly Medal Nett Section played over the New Course with a 67 on countback from R Pyrke.

15-17 Winner:

Steven Lam

44

13-14 Winner:

Anthony Tam*

66.5

11-12 Winner:

Ambrose Tam

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9-10 Winner:

Andrew Chin

64

8 & under Winner: Aaron Lam

33.7

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Amateur Roderick Staunton finished in a share of second at the rainshortened HKPGA event at Discovery Bay.

Deep Water Bay Cup 13 September N Shroff won the Deep Water Bay Cup with a Nett score of 54. A Jewkes was the runner-up with 55 on countback from DT Wong and J Collier.

Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club Ladies Section

August Stableford 19 August Division 1 Winner: Oshima Kok (34 points) Runner-up: Diana Ting (33) Division 2 Winner: Linda Wang (36) Runner-up: Cecilia Szeto (32) August Medal 26 August Division 1 Gross Winner: Oshima Kok (82 C/B) Nett Winner: Diana Ting (68) Nett Runner-up: Sunny Kang (75) Division 2 Gross Winner: Fizzy Pavri (92) Nett Winner: Michiko Motogui (73) Nett Runner-up: Liz Mangum (78)

Men’s Section

Steven in Scotland: "Everyone liked my hat," claimed Lam; meeting HRH The Duke of York

Ladies’ A Winner: Ladies’ B Winner: Best Gross:

Captain’s Cup 15 August Gross Winner: David Hui (83 C/B) Gross Runner-up: James Fung (83) Nett Winner: James Fung (71) Nett Runner-up: Paul Cheng (75) Chairman’s Cup 15 August Winner: Ray Cheung (37 points) Runner-up: Simon Poon (36)

Discovery Bay Golf Club Monthly Medal 30 August Men’s A Winner: Bruce Dann (70) Men’s B Winner: DS Koh (68) Best Gross: Shinichi Mizuno (73) Men’s C Winner: Edward Lau (39 points) HKGOLFER.COM

HKPGA Leg 5, Discovery Bay Golf Club, 28 September 1 Wong Woon-man 70 2= Wilson Choy 71 Fung Wai-kit 71 Roderick Staunton (A) 71 5= Paul Riley 72 Tang Man-kee 72 7= Terrence Ng (A) 73 21= Liu Lok-tin (A) 78 HKPGA Leg 4, Kau Sai Chau, North Course, 1 September 1 Derek Fung 70 2= Lam Chun-cheung 71 Wilson Choy 71 4= Fung Wai-kuen 72 Tang Man-kee 72 David Freeman 72 15= Liu Lok-tin (A) 76 Terrence Ng (A) 76 45 Oliver Roberts (A) 86

HK Golfer・OCT/NOV 2009

Charles McLaughlin

junior news

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hkga academy

Perfect Your Putting By National Coach Brad Schadewitz Set-up: Bend from the hip, with the arms hanging out over the toes to give a “suspension point ” straight down from the shoulders (photo 1). This allows the arms to swing like a pendulum. I believe this is key to keeping the putter on a consistent path. Your shoulders, forearms and eye line should be parallel to your target line, with your left eye directly over the ball. Put your weight on the middle of your feet (not the heels or the balls) with a fraction more weight on your left foot (for a right-handed player). Two great practice drills for developing a pendulum stroke are the right arm-only drill (photo 2) and the belly wedge drill (photo 3). Both drills encourage a longer stroke with a smooth tempo.

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s my role with the national team now i nvolve s sp end i ng more time with our elite players, one of my first objectives is to work on improving their short games. Generally speaking, Hong Kong golfers have traditionally struggled in this department partly because of the lack of short game facilities available. Working on your putting and shots around the green will lower scores more quickly than spending the same amount of time spent on your long game. The oft-quoted stat that putting is accounts for around 40-50% of your shots is entirely correct – so this is where I will spend the majority of the time with the national team members. Once they combine improved putting with chipping and then pitching exercises and greenside bunker play the effect on their scores should be substantial. The first thing I evaluate in a player for any shot is the ability to set up and aim correctly. Here are some keys I look at in putting.

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The most important thing when addressing those longer putts of 20 or more feet is getting the correct pace. Pros only make around 10% of their putts from this range, but they’ll rarely threeputt because their speed is normally so good. To improve your distance control you need to visualize. Try looking at the hole when you make your practice strokes. This will give you a much better perception of the length of backstroke required. Drill: Practice with four balls from 30-feet. Putt the first two with your eyes up and looking at the target (photo 4) and then putt the next two with your normal set up.

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The “money” putts are from 10-feet and in. These are the putts you have to make. When practicing these length putts, I believe it’s very useful to use some type of directional aid (be it the shaft of a club, a chalk line or an alignment string (photo 5). These tools will help give your set up and aim more consistency, which will in turn build a more confident and repetitive stroke. Confidence is everything from this distance. HK Golfer・OCT/NOV 2009

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special feature

Golf ’s Top-10

PRODIGIES Mak Lok-lin, HK Golfer's roving correspondent, reflects on his credentials as a wunderkind and profiles the players - both past and present - that did amazing things at an incredibly young age

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s we watch our local junior golfers performing so well, it’s tempting to think of them as “prodigies” and imagine a glory filled future for them all. However, the prodigy who becomes a successful adult is a very rare breed indeed. Surprisingly (at least to my way of thinking) the term itself has nothing to do with Calvinists or big beat bands. Instead it comes from the Latin prodigium, meaning omen or portent, a harbinger of change. It can also mean something that violates the natural order. It tends to be used to describe precocious talent in the very young, more formally “a child, typically younger than 15-years-old, who is performing at the level of a highly trained adult in a very demanding field of endeavor” – and every year we hear of numerous supposed examples from all walks of life. However, when one looks at the startling achievements of, say, Mozart or Picasso as children, it’s clear the term is somewhat overused, although Hong Kong’s own March Tian Boedihardjo probably qualified when, in 2007, he became the SAR’s youngest university student at the age of nine. Given the “adult level” performance criteria, sports and especially contact sports tend not to have many prodigies. Nevertheless, golf seems to be particularly “blessed” with supposed wunderkinder. The internet is groaning under the weight of videos showing kids with great swings, which may make them better than their peers, but which hardly qualifies them as true prodigies. As a self-proclaimed borderline golfing prodigy myself (perhaps failing on the talent and age criteria, but undoubtedly violating the natural order), I went looking for past and current examples. From the innumerable claimants, I found what I believe to be ten of my fellow early achievers and gave each a Prodigy Rating (PR):

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Tiger Woods

Ever since a two-year-old Tiger appeared on the Mike Douglas Show (with Bob Hope as a fellow guest), there have been innumerable examples of similar shows where “the next Tiger Woods” toddler has been paraded in front of the cooing viewers, only to then (mercifully) vanish from sight. The difference with Woods is that he never faded from public view. With father Earl ensuring the media were never far away, Tiger won six Junior World Championships, the first when he was only eight-years-old. At 15, he became the youngest winner of the US Junior Amateur and the following year, the first ever multiple winner of that event. He made it three in a row before moving on to become, in 1994, the youngest winner of the US Amateur, which he also won three years in a row. In August 1996, Tiger turned pro, winning two PGA events in three months before claiming the Masters – his first Major title – by a staggering 12 strokes in April 1997.

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Getty Images

HK Golfer PR: The real deal. A definite prodigy. HK Golfer・OCT/NOV 2009

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4

Alexis Thompson

After winning the Junior PGA Championship in 2007 at the ripe old age of 12, “Lexi” became the youngest player ever to qualify for the US Women’s Open, although rounds of 76 and 82 meant she missed the cut by some margin. In 2008, she qualified again, but despite an improved showing she once again failed to make it to the weekend. 2009 has so far proved to be a far more fruitful year for the 14-year-old. She finished in 21st place at the first Major of the season, the Kraft Nabisco, and then played all four rounds at the US Open. Indeed, after the second round, Thompson was lying only five shots off the lead, but a disappointing 78 on Saturday scuppered any title hopes. Nevertheless, her tie for 34th was a magnificent effort for one so young. These Major showings preceded the Junior Solheim Cup, where she won every match. Home-schooled since the age of 11, Thompson comes from a strong golfing family – her brother Nicholas has won more than US$3 million playing on the PGA and Nationwide tours – and is coached by the legendary Jim McLean.

HK Golfer PR: She seems to have it all, but watch this space…

5

Bobby Jones

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Matteo Manassero

Getty Images (Manassero); Dr Milton Wayne ("Young Tom" Morris)

With average drives of over 290 yards and the best sand save record in the championship, perhaps it wasn’t a surprise that Manassero finished only one shot out of the top-10 in the Open at Turnberry earlier this summer. Those kind of stats generally reap rewards. The Italian also didn’t look out of place playing alongside Tom Watson and Sergio Garcia in the first two rounds. What is a surprise is that that Matteo is only 16-years-old and is the reigning British Amateur Champion – the youngest ever, and the first from Italy. He took over two years off the record of Bobby Cole which had stood since 1966. He was not however the youngest ever Open contestant (see below). A native of Verona, Matteo is almost 6ft tall and will undoubtedly get even stronger and longer as he grows older. He has already won many fans for his smooth swing and roguish Latin charm, but is also refreshingly brisk on the course. Whilst at first glance he cuts a dashing, Seve Ballesteroslike figure, he also seems to be sporting a nascent beer belly, which implies he may end up resembling fellow countryman and former Open Championship runner-up Constantino Rocca instead. We eagerly await his appearance at next year’s Masters, but it should be pointed out that after his Open heroics, young Manassero failed to progress beyond the third round of the British Boys’ Championship.

HK Golfer PR: Early days, but prodigious feats already accomplished. Great things expected. 64

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Getty Images (Thompson / Ishikawa); Augusta National/Getty Images (Bobby Jones)

Famed for his Grand Slam year of 1930 (the “Impregnable Quadrilateral”), and considered by many to be the greatest player of all time, Jones shocked the golfing world when he retired at the age of 28. Having taken up the game at the age of five, Jones swept all before him throughout the southern states before exploding onto the national and international stage in 1916 when he competed in the US Amateur at the age of 14. Competing against some of the most famous names of the day, young Jones reached the third round, his progress garnering countless column inches in newspapers the world over. Clearly he meets the “performing at the level of a highly-trained adult” criterion, but he also had the unfortunate habit of using badly-trained adult language; his on-course tantrums and expletive-filled rants became a cause of significant concern to the USGA. Jones suppressed his inner demons enough to win the US Open in 1923, the first of 13 Majors in twenty attempts before giving up competitive golf two years shy of his thirtieth birthday.

HK Golfer PR: Without question, a wunderkind.

Tom “Young Tom” Morris

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HK Golfer PR: No question. Golf’s Mozart.

HK Golfer PR: A genuinely exciting prospect and a real prodigy.

Ryo Ishikawa

There was much hilarity in the TV commentary box at Turnberry when a young player arrived on the first tee with club head covers that were based on his own likeness. It got worse when close-up cameras revealed his own face with beaming grin was on each of his golf balls. Quite ironic for someone whose nickname is “Hanikami Oji” aka the bashful prince. The young man was 17-year-old Ryo Ishikawa, and he was in Tiger Woods’ group, having qualified by winning the Yomiuri Classic in Japan – his fourth win on that tour. What sets Ishikawa apart is that he won his first tournament as an amateur, aged 15, and three more since turning pro aged 16. He is by far and away the hottest property on the Japan Tour and its most marketable personality. Upwards of 100 members of the press flew in to cover his exploits at the Open. One could be kind and say he matched Woods stroke-for-stroke. Unkindly, that meant they both missed the cut. Cynicism aside, Ryo is one of the very few phenoms who is more than a one-hit wonder, and his achievements to date are very impressive indeed.

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Son of “Old Tom” - an outstanding player who himself won four of the first eight Opens played - “Young Yom” remarkably proved to be as good if not better than his legendary father. After playing in professional tournaments and winning an exhibition match aged 13 in 1864, he became the youngest ever Open Championship participant just one year later. His first professional tournament win came at the age of 16 (at Carnoustie of all places), then in 1868 he won his first Open, scoring the event’s first ever hole-in-one in the process. Aged 17, he is still to this day the youngest winner of any Major. Over the next few years there was no stopping “Young Tom”. After racking up his third win in a row at the Open in 1870, he was allowed him to keep the Challenge Belt, the “silverware” awarded to the champion. When he won the Open for a record fourth consecutive time in 1872 (no championship was played in 1871), his was the first name engraved on the Claret Jug, which had been bought to replace the belt. Sadly, Morris died just a few short years later at the age of 24.

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7

Sergio Garcia

HK Golfer PR: El Nino is still a relatively young man, and (major wins aside) has been hugely successful on tour. A true prodigy.

8

Michelle Wie

The Hawaiian phenom burst onto the scene in 2000 when, aged 10, she became the youngest ever qualifier for the Women's US Amateur Public Links Championship. By 11 she won the Hawaii Women's Championship and advanced to the match play stages of the Public Links. In 2002, she won another Hawaiian tournament, and as a result became the youngest ever qualifier for an LPGA event. In 2003 she became the youngest winner of a senior USGA event when she won the Public Links. She also featured prominently in several Majors that year, including at the Kraft Nabisco where she fired a third round 66 and ended up playing in the final group. Over the next few years, she continued to play well, but all was not rosy in the Wie garden. Her father received criticism for his behavior when caddying for Michelle, and her career took an unexpected turn when her management company (with her family’s consent) started entering her for men's events. A week before her sixteenth birthday she turned professional and became instantly wealthy, thanks to over US$10 million worth of annual sponsorship deals with the likes of Nike, Sony and others. Unfortunately, the bad press continued, with thinly veiled accusations of cheating when Wie quit during a round when 14-overpar through sixteen holes. There is an LPGA regulation that anyone scoring 88 or over is banned from any further events that season. Wie said her wrist was sore, but the incident further damaged an already tattered reputation. Her recent demeanor and form (including an excellent showing at the Solheim Cup where she was undefeated) has pundits once again predicting great things. Having only just turned 20, Wie certainly has time on her side, but it should be noted that she hasn’t won a tournament of any kind since she was 13 and she has also never won a 72-hole stroke play event. Surely that will change?

HK Golfer PR: Genuinely gifted youngster who has been appallingly mismanaged from a golfing aspect. 66

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9

Jack Nicklaus

Arguably the greatest player of all time, not many remember that the 18-time Major champion was also a prolific amateur player before turning pro in 1961. As a child, the Golden Bear successfully overcame a bout of polio and was then advised to try the healthy sport of golf. He took up the game aged 10 and reportedly scored 51 over the first nine holes he ever played. By 13 he had broken 70 for the first time and had captured the first of five straight Ohio State Junior titles. At 15, he qualified for his first US Amateur, but he wouldn’t win the first of his two titles until four years later. His “prodigy” label stems from his victory over a professional field at the 1956 Ohio Open, aged 16. As was common in those days, Jack remained an amateur until he was 22, by which time he had posted the low score for an amateur at the US Open – 282 when finishing second to Arnold Palmer in 1960. Nicklaus is also one of a select group whose first professional win was the US Open, which came just two years later at Oakmont.

HK Golfer PR: A great junior record, which perhaps could have been even better had he ventured outside his home state of Ohio more regularly. HKGOLFER.COM

10 Jason Hak

Hong Kong’s very own candidate for wunderkind status. In 2008, the Tsim Sha Tsui-born, now Florida-based Hak qualified for the UBS Hong Kong Open by winning the qualifying event held over the North Course at Kau Sai Chau. Impressive, but he eclipsed that achievement by making the cut, and in doing so breaking the record previously held by Sergio Garcia. What made Jason stand out however was the manner in which he made the weekend play: seemingly out of contention, he birdied the final two holes of his second round to make it right on the number. In the final round Hak fired a twounder-par 68 playing alongside two-time Masters Champion José María Olazábal, beating the Spaniard by a shot thanks to a gutsy last-hole birdie. Since last year’s heroics, Jason has continued to impress in junior events in the US, the highlight of which came at Walnut Cove where he shot a 64 in winning the AJGA Cliffs Championship.

Sports Illustrated/Getty Images (Nicklaus); Charles McLaughlin (Hak)

Getty Images (Garcia / Wie)

His wunderkind credentials include his early nickname, "El Nino", which means the golden boy (in his native Spain it's a term for the Christ-child). Sergio started playing when he was three years old, and won his first adult tournament aged 12. In 1995, aged 15, he became the youngest player to win the European Amateur and also became the youngest player to make a cut on the European tour. This record stood until it was broken by Hong Kong’s own Jason Hak in 2008 (see below). Garcia turned professional in 1997 and became a media star overnight when he narrowly lost in a duel with Tiger Woods for the PGA Championship at Medinah two years later. His miraculous recovery shot from behind a tree at the sixteenth hole in the final round of the event remains one of the championship’s greatest ever. Also in 1999 he became the youngest player to play in the Ryder Cup and his record in the biennial team event is exceptional. Garcia is currently saddled with the dreaded "Best Player to Never Win a Major" tag, with 15 top-10 finishes. While he has consistently some of the best ballstriking stats on the PGA Tour, he also has some of the worst when it comes to putting. When his flatstick is working, he is almost unbeatable; but it remains his achilles heel. A joy to watch when he is happy and playing well, he is a miserable piece of work when things aren't going his way. From spitting in the hole at a PGA Tour event a couple of years ago to muttering about bad luck and conspiracies, he is also known as “Surly Sergio” among golf followers. As with many intuitive players his emotional style of play is both his biggest strength and his core weakness.

HK Golfer PR: The record books already show a prodigious achievement. So, great players one and all, and from amazingly young ages too. Sadly, history tells us that the odds are that Matteo, Alexis, Ryo, Michelle and Jason will slide into obscurity, but who knows? Let’s hope that one or more of these shining stars will go supernova for us and confirm that we’re currently witnessing the emergence of the next generation of golfing legends. HK Golfer・OCT/NOV 2009

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city golf Thai treat: the riskreward fourth at Thai CC is one of Bangkok's great parfives; the superblyappointed clubhouse at Thai CC overlooks the home hole (inset) 68

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iven the economic kudos attached to playing golf in China, not to mention the ever-strengthening renminbi, a weekend round on an upscale course in Guangdong can cost the visiting golfer upwards of HK$2,400. Okay, this generally includes transportation, lunch, cart hire and a little something for the caddie, but even so, this seems wrong. This seems especially wrong when you consider the potential rigmarole of actually crossing the border: overzealous immigration officials, cursed health declaration forms and – horror of horrors – that blasted yellow bus. “It’d be cheaper flying down to Bangkok for the day,” I told a similarly disillusioned golfing chum a few months ago, “and probably less hassle.” I had it all planned. Take the early morning flight, grab a cab to Thai Country Club, which has the advantage of being, a) a great course and b) only twenty minutes from Bangkok’s new(ish) international

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Thai Country Club HHHHH

The HK Golfer Guide to Golf in the City of Angels airport, play eighteen holes, wash down a fiery chicken curry with a swift couple of bottles of Singha and scurry back to catch the last plane home. Judging by my calculations we’d return to our respective apartments just before midnight. It would be an exhausting day but, I reckoned, no more tiring than lugging our clubs over to Dongguan and back. It would have been cheaper too, largely due to the fact that we’d have expunged 20,000 Asia Miles on the flights. Point proven, albeit with an asterisk or two. Flying to the Thai capital for a one-day golfing trip is, of course, hardly ideal. You’d be far too rushed. There’d be no time to linger on the clubhouse verandah discussing that brilliant par-save at the HKGOLFER.COM

The class of the capital, Thai Country Club is owned and managed by the Peninsula Hotel group – and it really does show. The service is magnificent, F&B is first rate, the terracotta-coloured clubhouse, which rises magnificently from a lake overlooking the eighteenth hole, is superbly appointed. But the jewel in the crown is the Denis Griffiths-designed course, which was routinely awarded the Asian Tour’s “Venue of the Year” during its tenure as host of the season-ending Volvo Masters of Asia. Palm-fringed fairways, large, sophisticated green complexes and the almost constant threat of water – resulting in more than a handful of memorable riskreward holes – characterize this most appealing of courses. Sensibly, Griffiths has given width to his landing areas and kept the number of forced carries to a minimum, making this an undoubtedly challenging, yet very playable course for players of average ability. Preferential rates and packages are given to guests of the Bangkok Peninsula (see sidebar), although regardless of wherever you choose to stay, TCC is a must. YARDAGE: 7,157 PAR: 72 DESIGNED BY DENIS GRIFFITHS GREEN FEE: THB3,600-6,000 GETTING THERE: 60 minutes from downtown Bangkok; 20 minutes from airport CONTACT: www.thaicountryclub.com HK Golfer・OCT/NOV 2009

Courtesy of Thai Country Club (course); Charles McLaughlin (clubhouse)

The Best of Bangkok

fourteenth and there would certainly be not time to experience the muscle pummeling and joint twisting that is a Thai massage. But crucially, there would be no time for any more golf - and given the quality of Bangkok's courses, this would be unforgiveable. Thanks to the Thai golf boom of the 1990s the city is almost saturated with courses – and they all have one thing in common: pancake-flat terrain. If you’re hoping for sweeping vistas and dramatic shifts in elevation then you should catch a domestic flight to Koh Samui and try your luck on the island’s only track, Santiburi Samui, a track so mountainous you’d be better off wearing crampons than softspikes. As a result, the capital’s courses work hard on impressing golfing tourists with their strategic design, their excellent conditioning, well-appointed clubhouses or their faultless service. A select few manage all four, while very nearly all offer tremendous value for money. Here is a smattering of the best of Bangkok, places where you really get more bang for your baht.

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Navatanee Golf Course

Vintage Golf Club HHHH

Little known Vintage could be Bangkok’s best kept golfing secret. This Arthur Hills gem, located within easy reach of the city’s upmarket hotels, serves up an excellent blend of holes in near-championship condition. Hills has carved out quite the reputation in his native America, and he succeeds here by providing an imaginative routing while not hiding the

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trouble from view. On every tee, the golfer can see where the danger lurks and there’s seemingly always a “safe” route for those who wish to err on the side of caution. That said, the course is quite the test, with landing areas flanked by tournament-high rough, which is why you’ll see many Vintage veterans eschewing the driver in favour of something with a little more loft. Off the course, Vintage continues to impress. The mock-Tudor clubhouse might be somewhat incongruous but inside it oozes discrete luxury. The locker rooms are well appointed and there’s a lovely terrace overlooking the eighteenth green (why can’t all clubs have such things?), the perfect venue for those post-round libations. Service is top-notch. Highly recommended. YARDAGE: 6,579 PAR: 72 ARCHITECT: Arthur Hills (1996) GREEN FEE: THB2,500-3,350 inclusive of cart and caddie GETTING THERE: 60 minutes from downtown Bangkok CONTACT: www.vintagethaigolf.com

Lam Luk Ka Country Club HHHH

Lam Luk Ka boasts two courses – something of a rarity for a Bangkok club – and its rather out-of-the-way location means getting a tee time is never usually a problem. Occupying a wetland area northeast of the city, the championship course here, the East, features water in abundance and plays much longer than its yardage due to its spongy, somewhat thatchy fairways. This is something of a surprise because the superintendent has kept the rest of the course in terrific shape – both the greens and the bunkers are immaculate. Although it’s often rated as one of the city’s better tracks – and there are a number of excellent holes – it’s fair to say the East lacks the variety of a truly great course. Nonetheless, if you can afford the travel time it’s

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worth a look. The club only opens both courses on weekends (they alternate during the week), so if you want to play experience all thirty-six holes in one visit you’ll have to make it a Saturday or Sunday. The West Course was not reviewed. YARDAGE: 7,012 (East Course) / 6,605 (West Course) PAR: 72 ARCHITECT: Roger Packard (1994) GREEN FEE: THB1,500-2,500 exclusive of cart and caddie GETTING THERE: 90 minutes from downtown Bangkok CONTACT: www.lamlukkagolf.net

Subhapruek Golf Club HHHH

Popular with tour groups (which can make rounds torturously slow on occasion), this 18-holer, a product of US-based Dye Designs, has the potential to be one of the city’s best, thanks largely to its arresting design and thoughtful placement of hazards. The par threes are a particularly good set of holes, as is the eleventh, a short, water-laced par-five featuring an almost Sawgrass-like railroad tie-supported green. Unfortunately, at the time of our visit, the bunkers, a key design feature here, were in a state of neglect and the caddies barely knew their divot mix from their pitchmark repair tools (they used neither). The small greens, however, were running at a brisk ten on the stimp, while the clubhouse is nicely appointed, despite some rather grandiose artwork in the lobby. Improve the bunkers and limit the number of “package golfers” and they’ll be on to a real winner. YARDAGE: 6,837 PAR: 72 ARCHITECT: Dye Designs (1993) GREEN FEE: THB2,500-3,350 inclusive of cart and caddie GETTING THERE: 60 minutes from downtown Bangkok CONTACT: www.subhapruekgolf.com

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HHH Made famous for hosting the 1975 World Cup of Golf (which was won by the American pairing of Johnny Miller and Lou Graham), Navatanee lies firmly entrenched in the “old-school” of golf course architect ure, feat uring attractive Rosewood treelined fairways, small tricky greens, the intelligent use of water and refreshingly modest bunkering. Although it’s consistently ranked as one of Thailand’s top layouts, it’s fair to say that course has become a little scruffy around the edges of late and would benefit significantly from a maintenance overhaul. The club operated a strictly members only policy until fairly recently, although visitors are still not permitted to play on weekends. Visitors are also forced into renting carts, which is a shame because the course would be a joy to walk during the cooler winter months. Navatanee’s proximity to the city centre is a boon. YARDAGE: 6,902 PAR: 72 ARCHITECT: Robert Trent Jones, Jr (1973) GREEN FEE: THB2,500-3,000 inclusive of cart and caddie GETTING THERE: 30 minutes from downtown Bangkok CONTACT: www.navatanee.com

Charles McLaughlin

Golf in the Kingdom: The Vintage Club (left) is one of the city's best-kept secrets; water comes into play on nearly every hole at Lam Luk Ka's East Course (right); a friendly caddie at LLK (overleaf)

HK Golfer’s Hotel of Choice Bangkok is home to some of the most highly-rated hotels on the planet, but it’s hard to imagine anywhere finer than the Peninsula. Occupying an excellent location on the banks of the Chao Phraya River in Thonburi, close to the Sathorn Bridge, each of the Peninsula’s 370 luxuriously-appointed guestrooms and suites offer commanding views of the city and are the perfect haven for the discerning traveller. Having the hotel’s plethora of first-class leisure amenities, including the award-winning Peninsula Spa, at their disposal, golfers are especially well catered for and are given preferential rates at the Peninsula’s sister property, the Thai Country Club. For rates and golfing packages visit www.peninsula.com/bangkok

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Lotus Valley Golf Resort HHH

Formerly known as World Trade Golf Club and originally designed by Gary Player, the course re-opened last year after receiving a major overhaul from Jon Morrow (designer of Phuket’s infamous Red Mountain) following a change in

ownership. Morrow’s changes focused mainly on lengthening the course and beefing up the greens – and he certainly didn’t hold back. Not only is Lotus Valley one of the most water-laced courses in Thailand, it is also home to some of the most severe putting surfaces: find the wrong tier on some of his split-level greens and you’ll do very well to get down in two. Regardless, this course is fun. While Player’s preference to keep most of the trouble down the left rather limits the variety of tee shots required, there are spectacular moments, especially at the tenth, a fabulous short risk-reward par-four, and the par-five eighteenth, one of the city’s best closing holes. Replete with an enormous modern clubhouse and a superb array of postround amenities (including a lodge for those who feel the three hour roundtrip from the centre of town is too much to be tackled in one day), Louts Valley is one of the most impressive facilities in the area. YARDAGE: 6,955 Par: 72 ARCHITECT: Gary Player (1992) Jon Morrow (2008) GREEN FEE: THB1,500-2,500 exclusive of cart and caddie GETTING THERE: 90 minutes from downtown Bangkok; 50 minutes from airport CONTACT: www.lotusvalley.co.th

1-5F, 52 D’Aguilar Street, Lan Kwai Fong, Central, HK Tel: 2526 6918 83A Hollywood Road, Central, HK Tel: 2517 0939 LG/F, The Ovolo, 2 Arbuthnot Road, Central, HK Tel: 2869 0939 140A-1, 1/F Block C, DB Plaza, Discovery Bay, HK Tel: 2987 9198 G211, 1/F, The Repulse Bay Arcade, 109 Repulse Bay Road, HK T. 2592 9668 72

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Champagne Deutz James Bradshaw reports on the continuing rise of one of France’s oldest Champagne houses

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hampagne has always been a drink associated with the lifest yles of t he rich and famous, and still, almost two centuries since the Champagne region grew the first roots of the commercial machine it has become today, that same association with pomp, circumstance, celebrity and status is as strong as it has ever been. France's famous sparkling wine still exudes the image of a sexy but refined wine. With Champagne, it's better to be seen drinking it, and the name on the bottle is as important as the label on the inside of one's jacket. Within the Champagne region of France, located in the north of the country about a hundred miles east of Paris, there are currently more than 100 Champagne houses making sparkling wines and over 15,000 vignerons (vine growing producers) growing grapes for the production of this highly sought after drink. This appellation, or region, is set to expand as the French government has approved a further forty grape-growing areas, accounting for an extra 2500 acres of land. There will not, however be any immediate impact in the shops and restaurants as vine planting will not have completed until 2015 – and don't expect to see any wine from these vines until at least 2020. Sales of the world's most luxurious beverage have escalated in recent years with India, Russia and China overtaking traditional markets as the world's leaders in Champagne consumption. Fashion is creeping into the lives and the cultures of all booming economies and those benefiting from this economic and financial snowball are guzzling it by the gallon. Grapes that are used to produce Champagne are Chardonnay, a white grape, and Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, both black grapes. It’s the blend of these grapes that Champagne houses hold in such high regard – and in most cases the final blend is kept a highly confidential matter. It's these unique blends that give each Champagne its own distinct characteristic, none more so that one of France’s oldest Champagne houses, Champagne Deutz. HKGOLFER.COM

While Champagne sales are dominated by the big spenders in the marketing world, there is an increasing demand for elegant, almost boutique-style Champagnes, such as Deutz, and this fine Champagne is making its mark on a global scale. Champagne Deutz is steeped in history. Founded in 1838 by William Deutz, the company has made Champagne production an art form. Today, the past and the present coexist in the house of Champagne Deutz, as do the rules of tradition and modern methods of management. Champagne Deutz's continuous pursuit for exceptional quality, whilst maintaining many of the wine-making techniques and philosophies instilled since the early times, has created one of the most sought after brands on the Champagne market. Champagne Deutz Brut Classic was first released in 1994 and this fine multi-vintage Champagne, blended from selected harvests, has been the latest step in the brand’s evolution. Champagne Deutz Brut Classic is renowned for its smooth silky style and texture on the palate. With light and easy effervescence it is a pleasurable Champagne to quaff, but retains the complexity and sophistication of a very fine wine. Over time, the brand has been rewarded with numerous gongs. It is has won silver, bronze and regional medals at Decanter’s annual World Wine Awards, while at London’s prestigious International Wine Challenge, Champagne Deutz won gold and silver awards for both its Brut and Rose styles of Champagne. The winery’s most recent Deutz Classic Brut release was awarded a silver medal in the Decanter 2009 World Wine Awards last month. Those at the House of Champagne Deutz refuse to let their Champagne become a product of the past. The evolution of wine-making practices and their commitment to quality has taken their quest for fine Champagne, through the merging of tradition and technology, to an entirely new level. Champagne Deutz has truly become one of the world’s most highly respected Champagnes.

For additional information and orders contact: Montrose Fine Wines Email: james@montrose.com.hk Tel: (852) 2555-8877 www.montrose.com.hk

HK Golfer・OCT/NOV 2009

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final shot

Golf ’s hottest architect on Carne, probably the best links course you’ve never heard of

My Favourite Course By Jim Engh

S From top: courtesy of Carne Golf Links/LC Lambrecht; courtesy of Jim Engh

ituated on Ireland’s rugged and windswept northwest coast, Carne holds a very special place in my heart. I first saw pictures of the course in the late 1990s, a few years after it opened, and said to myself, ‘I’ve gotta go to that place.’ So I did – and I was absolutely stunned. It was the wildest course I’d ever seen. There’s so much diversity. The front nine traverses pure rolling linksland, while the back side plunges down through monstrous sand dunes, which have to be some of the biggest in golf. The first time I played it I giggled the whole way round. Some of the holes are so quirky that they’re bad, but they’re so bad they’re brilliant. I quickly joined as an overseas member. Carne has taught me a lot as a golf course architect and has had a profound effect on my work. The course’s wacky features – both natural and man-made elements – gave me the confidence to push the envelope as a designer; I realized, architecturally speaking, there really are no rules. I was at Carne when I discovered why I enjoy Irish golf so much. After several trips it hit me. I constantly had a smile on my face, I was switched on; endorphins were rushing around inside my head. It was an adrenaline rush, pure and simple. American golf is not like that – it’s too “rigid”. It doesn’t require anywhere near the same amount of imagination. In the States you see the flag and hit your ball towards it. In Ireland and at Carne in particular, you might not even be able to see the flag, but even if you can, you have so many more options when it comes to shot-making. I don’t want to recreate Ireland verbatim when it comes to my new designs, but I want to recreate that feeling – the variety, the exciting features: something that creates mental stimulation. My best round at Carne is a 73. If I’m playing well at other courses I might hit thirteen or fourteen greens in regulation. But at Carne, it’s more like five or six. The landing areas have a lot of width, which given the wind that howls through it certainly needs. When I’m over there – and I normally visit every spring – I’ll play 74

HK Golfer・OCT/NOV 2009

twenty-seven holes a day: eighteen in the morning and another nine in the afternoon. I rarely take more than seven or eight clubs with me. You don’t need any more than that. You can turn a seveniron into a six-iron just by playing the ball back in your stance. That’s the kind of golf I love. The “craic” in nearby Belmullet is worth the trip alone. For a town of only 1,200, Belmullet has an extraordinary number of pubs and inns, which gives a good indication how the people here like to enjoy themselves. The Irish really are among the friendliest people in the world – and I’ve made many new mates there over the years. Golfing tourists who go over to Ireland normally do so as part of a tour, which is okay as long as they make the effort and mix with the locals. Honestly, walk into a pub by yourself of an evening and you’re guaranteed to make a bunch of new friends. A few years ago the club decided to build another nine holes and I became involved. To have the opportunity to work on land like that is a real blessing. Unfortunately, due to the current economic slowdown, it might take a little while before our plans are realized, but that’s alright: there’s plenty of time and we’re in no rush at all. –As told to Alex Jenkins HKGOLFER.COM


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