HK Golfer Lifestyle: Laurent Ferrier watches, The Macallan Bar, Colonial Estate wines
THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE HONG KONG GOLF ASSOCIATION
China's Best New Courses
How he became the world's best DISPLAY UNTIL OCTOBER 15
Event Season: SE Asian Championships Preview
32 On the Cover:
Luke Donald might not have won a major but his consistency has earned him the coveted world No. 1 position – and deservedly so Photo by AFP
32 | Rallying Rookie
21 | Tee Time
It has been a wonderful year of major championship golf and Keegan Bradley's triumph at the USPGA provided a thrilling – and fitting – climax By The Editors
38 | Setting the Stage
A preview to the Southeast Asian Golf Team Championship, which will be played in Hong Kong this month By The Editors
42 | Putra Cup Memories
Alan Sutcliffe, who was a member of the Hong Kong team that won the inaugural Putra Cup, recalls his days of playing in Southeast Asia's premier amateur championship Interview by Alex Jenkins
50 | Out With the Old
The last couple of years have been a particularly fruitful time for course development in China. We check out six of the best new layouts that have opened By Alex Jenkins
58 | Retail Restoration
The legend of Old Tom Morris lives on at the Home of Golf with the unveiling of the four-time Open champion's renovated workshop By Lewine Mair
62 | Liang Wen-chong
China's best player talks about the importance of decision making as part of a series of 'Great Minds' interviews for this year's Ballantine's Championship By The Editors
70 | Final Shot
HK Golfer・SEP 2011
Luke Donald took some by surprise by becoming the world's number one ranked player, but nobody in more deserving By Alex Jenkins
The HK Golfer watch editor profiles Laurent Ferrier, the man who has defined the classic watch scene with his clean aesthetics and technical mastery By Evan Rast
26 | Single Malts
We take a trip "doon the water" to The Macallan Bar in Macau By John Bruce
28 | Liquid Assets
A report on the myriad delights of The Colonial Estate's famous Exile 2003 vintage, including a special reader offer By Scott Ishbern
30 | Money Matters
Our financial column discusses the advantages of the FLP – Family Limited Partnership By Howard Bilton
44 | Junior Golf
A wrap of the EFG Summer Junior Classic, which was played at the Hong Kong Golf Club's Deep Water Bay course in August By The Editors
58 | Players to Watch
A look at the remarkable rise in form of Tommy Gainey – a one-time TV game show contestant who is now hitting the big time on the PGA Tour By Alex Jenkins
66 | Global Tournament News
Reports on the latest professional golf news and world rankings By The Editors HKGOLFER.COM
THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE HONG KONG GOLF ASSOCIATION SEP 2011 • Issue 56
Editor: Alex Jenkins email: firstname.lastname@example.org Editorial Assistant: Cindy Kwok Playing Editor: Jean Van de Velde Photo Editor: Daniel Wong Contributing Editors: Lewine Mair, Ariel Adams, Robert Lynam, Evan Rast, David Cunningham III Published by:
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From the President
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HK Golfer・SEP 2011
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HK Golfer Mailbag Editor’s reply: I’m with you, Jeffrey: the long putter was of no help to me either. It’s not the long putter per se that some people take issue with, rather the act of anchoring the putter against the body, which provides a third point of contact between golfer and club (after his or her hands, of course). Critics argue that this anchor serves as a fulcrum point for making a pendulum putting stroke, which in turn makes it easier to get the ball rolling on the intended line. Whatever happens in the wake of Bradley’s win rules-wise remains to be seen, but you have to think the governing bodies will be keeping a very close eye on whether more top pros will follow him and the likes of Adam Scott in adding one to their bag.
Have clubs, will pay more?
On a recent golf trip to Thailand, Cathay Pacific did something they’ve never done before – charge me extra for taking my clubs. I was appalled. I thought that sports equipment was exempt from the airline’s baggage allowance. In over 25 years of travelling on golf trips I have never had to pay more for taking my clubs, so this must be a new policy. Are there any airlines I can travel on that won’t charge me extra? Name and address withheld
Long Putters – What’s the Fuss?
So Keegan Bradley becomes the first player to win a major championship with a belly putter and the critics are immediately out in force, saying that long putters – both belly and broomstick versions – should be ruled non-conforming by the USGA and R&A. I honestly can’t see what all the fuss is about, especially in this day and age when people are playing with diver heads the size of dinner plates and golf balls that fly further and are less affected by the wind than ever before. How could you ban the long putter, yet allow the vast improvements to both drivers and other clubs and the golf ball to continue? I don’t use a long putter but I have tried one. It did nothing at all for me; rather the opposite: I didn’t hole a thing! If long putters were so much of an advantage, then everyone would be using them.
Editor’s reply: We checked and Cathay is not charging for the actual transport of your clubs but obviously the weight of your clubs combined with your other baggage exceeded the allowance for the class you were travelling – typically 20kg for Economy, 30kg for Business and 40kg for First – which explains why you had to pay extra in this instance. It’s worth noting that Marco Polo Club members are entitled to additional baggage allowance – 10kg for Silver members, 15kg for Gold members and 20kg for Diamond members. So, if you’re a Gold member flying in Business Class you’re permitted up to 45kg in all. Exempting golf equipment from general baggage allowances is very rare these days, and of the major airlines only Emirates seems to do it.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also include your address, contact number, email and HKGA #. The winner of the best letter will receive a bottle of Champagne Louis Roederer courtesy of Links Concept.
Jeffrey So Mount Butler Road 10
HK Golfer・SEP 2011
Local Focus Down by the Bay Emily Vickie Leung hits her tee shot down the final hole at The Hong Kong Golf Club's Deep Water Bay course during the EFG Bank Summer Junior Classic held in early August. Thirteenyear-old Leung fired a round of 66 over the picturesque par-56 to win the Girls' 13-14 age division by two strokes from Claudia Ng in second. Taiga Iwasa claimed the equivalent title in the Boys' category. For a full report and scores turn to page ?? Photo by Daniel Wong
Global Focus A Tale of Two Caddies Tiger Woods marked his return from injury in August by immediately firing his long-time caddie Steve Williams, the New Zealander who was by his side for 13 of his 14 major championship wins. All things considered, the timing was mind-boggling â€“ and it was Williams who took advantage by snaring the bag of Adam Scott, who promptly went out and won the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Woods' comeback tournament, in fine style. Instead of enlisting the services of a seasoned looper, Woods gave the bag-carrying duties to his childhood chum, the bespectacled and goateed Bryon Bell, and the results weren't stellar. Woods finished the no-cut tournament in a share of 37th place. Photo by AFP
Major Focus Dufner's Major Demise Five strokes ahead with four holes to play at the PGA Championship and Jason Dufner was looking odds-on to claim not only his first major but also his first win on the PGA Tour. It wasn't to be however, due to reasons both in and out of his control. Dufner, seen here teeing off on the gruesomely long 260-yard par-three 15th at Atlanta Athletic Club, made a gutsy bogey on the hole after dumping his approach into the greenside lake. But two more bogeys over the next two holes â€“ coupled with brilliant birdies by rookie Keegan Bradley over the same stretch â€“ resulted in a three-hole play-off, which Bradley won by a shot. Photo by AFP
Macau Open Returns to Tour Schedule
McIlroy to Headline China Odyssey
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US Open champion Rory McIlroy has signed up to headline a made-for-television golf odyssey through China next month to showcase the sport in the country and the nation's fast-growing cities to the rest of the world. Three-time major champ Ernie Els, reigning UBS Hong Kong Open winner Ian Poulter and China's number one Liang Wen-chong will also compete in the four-man event from October 10-16, at which the quartet will play just 18 holes, competing on two or three holes at each of the eight venues hosting the tournament. The event, sponsored by property development company Shui On Land, will tee off in Shanghai before heading to the northern cities of Dalian and Beijing, west to Chongqing then south through Haikou on the tropical island of Sanya, Dongguan and the former Portuguese colony of Macau. There has been no word if prize money is on offer, but McIlroy said the event was more about the experience. “I’m always keen for a challenge, but this is different to any golf tournament I’ve competed in," said McIlroy, who will return to Hong Kong in December for this year's UBS Hong Kong Open. "For me, this will be as much about exploring China as competing, and I’ve got some good travel companions in Ian, Ernie and Liang. Hopefully Liang can give us some local tips on the best food,” joked the popular Northern Irishman. “It’s a frenetic schedule as we’re flying six times in the middle five days. The only days we’re not on a plane are the first and last days, but don’t forget that we have to fly in and out of China before and after the event, so this will be a serious test of endurance!” Hong Kong-based Infinite Ideas International is organizing the tournament.
The Asian Tour has announced that the Macau Open will be played this month, from September 15-18 at Macau Golf & Country Club, after a hiatus of one year. Thaworn Wiratchant is the reigning champion having won the 2009 edition, which was the last time the Macau Open was played. The news was greeted with some surprise by those in the industry – and not just because of the timing of the announcement, which came less than three weeks before the start date of the tournament. There had been strong rumours that the event was due to be sponsored by a leading Macau casino, with Caesars Golf Macau, the Harrah's Entertainmentowned facility, expected to host the tournament, which was first played in 1998, for the first time. At the time of press, no title sponsor has been announced, although this year's tournament will see the biggest prize fund in Macau Open history – US$750,000. Past winners of the tournament include Lee Westwood, Vijay Singh, Colin Montgomerie, Simon Dyson and Zhang Lian-wei. Threetime European Tour winner Jeev Milkha Singh is among those scheduled to play this time around.
“There's no reason for me to wait until September 26th to pick Tiger. He's the best player in the world forever.” - US Presidents Cup team captain Fred Couples explains his reason for selecting Tiger Woods as one of his wildcards for the biennial matches, to be played in November at Royal Melbourne. Woods is currently ranked between Kevin Na and DA Points at 28th in the American team's standings.
HK Golfer・SEP 2011
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CLUBHOUSE Away from the Fairways
Best Kept Secret: Laurent Ferrier's Galet Mysterieux
The Man of the Hour Evan Rast talks to independent watchmaker Laurent Ferrier about how he has redefined the classic watch scene with his clean aesthetics and technical mastery
CONTINUED OVERLEAF HKGOLFER.COM
HK Golfer・SEP 2011
Sophisticattion: The timeless Galet Classic Double Spiral Tourbillon from Laurent Ferrier (top) 22
HK Golfer・SEP 2011
n the universe of modern horology, the biggest planets are Richemont, the Swatch Group and LVMH, fol lowed by t he la rgest si ngle watch brand, Rolex. Then come some important privately owned watchmakers, like Patek Philippe. We do not often hear of the smaller planets, which to the watch industry are known as the independents, but when one of these watchmakers makes waves like Laurent Ferrier has, we have to sit up and take notice. Ferrier is the epitome of the watches he designs: simple yet extremely polished, understated, but hinting of technical genius. This gentleman started his watch brand in 2008, at a period when the watch industry was undergoing a great change. He admits it was a big risk to start a business at the midst of a financial crisis, but as it turns out, he timed it perfectly. Having worked for 37 years at Patek Philippe, Ferrier style was understandably sophisticated yet discrete, and 2008 was the year that brought a resurgence of classicism and a return to traditional values in watchmaking. He re cou nt s: “ T here were so ma ny timepieces that came out that would hardly tell you the time. There were huge mechanisms, but small openings showing you the time. It didn’t make any sense for me to try to do what others already have done, I felt when I was still at Patek Philippe that people wanted to go back to the more simple and discreet things.” His first piece, the Galet Classic Double
Spiral Tourbillon, took the watch world by storm. Everyone marvelled at the ref inement of the design, combined with a tech n ica l master y that only someone with decades’ worth of watchmaking experience could achieve. Ferrier himself was surprised at the success of his first project, a watch that won the Golden Hand for the Men's Watch category a t l a s t ye a r ' s G r a n d Prix d' Horlogerie de Geneve, which, to put in perspective, is like getting an Oscar if you were an actor, or a Laureus award if you were a sportsman. The watch boasts a very unique movement. It is the first tourbillon in the world to have a double balance spring, which helps keep the centre of gravity perfectly in the middle of the watch, even with constant movement; in effect offering very accurate and precise timekeeping. Ferrier says: “The whole product concept is taking inspiration from old pocket watches and recreating them with new engineering methods. We are not doing old movements, but rather taking inspiration from them and doing them in a modern way. We are not pretending to reinvent watchmaking, but rather taking tradition further down.” Ferrier was the head of product development at Patek Phiilppe when he left in 2008, but it wasn't his career as a watchmaker that gave him the idea to create his own brand. It was Le Mans. A passionate racing driver, Ferrier participated in the Le Mans 24 Hours seven times. In 1979, he won third overall with Porsche, and was so happy that he gave his codriver a Nautilus. (Yes, it does pay to be good friends with a Patek Philippe watchmaker!) He recalls: “My co-driver, a French entrepreneur and a good friend until now, thanked me but asked why I didn't make my own watches. It took him 32 years to convince me, but he finally did!” According to Ferrier, the development of the Galet Classic Double Spiral Tourbillon was initially something to celebrate his many years in the business. Ferrier's son, Christian, who originally worked at Roger Dubuis as a movement constructor, had moved to a small company called La Fabrique du Temps, with HKGOLFER.COM
Master of his Craft: Laurent Ferrier worked for nearly four decades at Patek Philippe before starting his own company
Monaco Marvel: The first prototype of Ferrier's Galet Micro-rotor (above) will be donated to the Only Watch auction, which supports research to find a cure for Duchenner
Michel Navas and Enrico Barbasini, both of whom had worked with Laurent at Patek Philippe as master watchmakers. It was these four who built the first tourbillon calibre from the ground up. Ferrier explains: “In coming up with the concept of the product, we wanted to focus on very high quality because doing the same as an established brand wouldn’t be sufficient to establish ourselves. So we go much further than many brands in terms of finishing. We have about 20 engaging angles done by hand, on the bridges, on the tourbillon bridges, all hand engraved. That’s quality of finishing that you will not find on an established brand. To give you an example, on a Philippe Dufour watch you will find similar quality of finishing, with different technique though, but similar quality. A big brand producing 100 tourbillons a year and another 20,000 watches can’t do that
anymore. That’s our competitive edge.” The success of the Galet Classic has led to further developments in the line. An amazing watch that was presented at the GTE in Geneva early this year is the Galet Mysterieux (French for secret). It's a variation using Ferrier’s Galet Classic Tourbillon calibre, but taking a more specialised approach on the dial. The watch features a complication that resembles a fan that slowly reveals a unique, customised dial underneath. Each watch is one of a kind, since the owner will have a hand in the inner dial's design. The time at which the special scene is revealed and concealed is up to the lucky owner as well. A simple push of the crown opens the dial manually. Only 20 of these watches, priced at $270,000 will be made, at a pace of two-three pieces per year. The latest model from Laurent Ferrier is going to be presented in Monaco on September 22. The brand is donating its first prototype of the Galet Micro-rotor, housing its second inhouse calibre, to the Only Watch auction, which supports research to find a cure for Duchenner muscular dystrophy, a disease that affects one out of 3,500 people. The watch features a unidirectional microrotor with a silicon direct impulse balance, and an 80-hour power reserve. The case comes in steel, and the elegant brown dial is guillochefinished, with a seconds sub-dial at six o’clock. Golden needles in the shape of spears form the hours and minutes, and straight lines form the seconds. The overall aesthetics of this watch is clean, polished, and without distraction, the signature of Laurent Ferrier. This unique piece has the words “Only Watch” and “prototype No. 1” engraved on the rotor and the barrel bridge, and the back, as Ferrier’s other models, offers a generous view of essential parts of the movement. As Ferrier explains, he wants his brand to be known for quality, reliability and purity of aesthetics. Each of his creations is meant to have sturdy movements, to last, and to be very precise in regulating: chronometer timepieces. That is why he takes testing to the extremes, regulating the movements to only +/- twosecond difference per day, a rarity in mechanical timepieces. When asked about his vision of the perfect timepiece, Ferrier answers with a statement that describes his work explicitly: “I think that the watches I make are very low-key, very subtle. They’re no show off, just like me. I create what I think mechanical watchmaking is all about.” Laurent Ferrier is represented in Hong Kong by MAD & Associates. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org / 2572 2386
HK Golfer・SEP 2011
At the end of a great day...
Raising the Bar Whisky editor John Bruce takes a trip “doon the water” to The Macallan Bar in Macau
n the halcyon days of Scottish domestic holidays it was a great treat to take a wee trip “doon the water”, and if one was particularly lucky there might be a nice meal and perhaps a dram or two to finish the day off. Perhaps it was the positive role played by Scottish Development International in putting the people from the brand new Galaxy Resort in Macau together with those from The Macallan that inspired my invitation to travel to the enclave and enjoy a meal and a tour of the new The Macallan Bar. Whatever it was I readily agreed and viewed the sojourn as an Oriental homage to the grand age of the Clyde day out. Of course the TurboJet is a pale imitation of the Waverley, the world’s last sea-going paddle steamer, but I am sure that the day trip from Brodick to Campbeltown never featured such sumptuous fare nor quite as many delightful single malts. I will admit that I was prepared to be underwhelmed as, with the exception of the Canny Man in Wanchai, I often find Hong Kong bars to lack the appropriate ambience to enjoy a good malt. However, it was immediately apparent that great effort and no small amount of knowledge of the subject had been put into getting this newest attraction in Macau right. The room itself is impressively large, well upholstered and dominated by an imposing semi-circular bar. The decoration is reminiscent of the bars one finds in Scottish hotels of stature and the large leather chairs invite one to spend a few hours with a good book and a better malt. There were many of the latter on display. Indeed, as our hosts explained, The Macallan Bar does have a particularly extensive range of The Macallan’s best expressions but it also features a wide range of fine Scottish single malts, some of which would be difficult to find even in Scotland. Much effort has been put into sourcing this range and I saw some rare bottles that would tempt even the shortest armed, deepest pocketed Scotsman to loosen the purse strings. However, this was a day devoted to The 26
HK Golfer・SEP 2011
... a sublime experience
Macallan and we were treated to three expressions of this fine distillery’s product during our visit, with the added bonus of there being more glasses than people for each. I have previously commented on some of the exceptional expressions produced by this giant amongst Scottish distilleries but with great malts one can never really try them too often – and Ryan Hill on behalf of the hosts was an erudite and enthusiastic ambassador as he led the tasting. It is not possible to say readily that one is better than another but I did particularly enjoy the 18 Year Old Fine Oak that we sampled. This Highland malt, perhaps not surprisingly, has an initial oaky flavour, although this is complemented by significant citrus; I would say apple tones. The body has a hint of oiliness in that it lines the mouth and does not immediately leave as the whisky is swallowed. The finish is spicy if perhaps not as lingering as some. I would confidently offer this expression to even the most discerning of aficionados. If you are a regular reader of this column, you will know I have an occasional tendency to meander in the course of the narrative, which is what leads me now to Kevin Costner. I'm not Kevin's biggest fan but in Field of Dreams, as Ray Kinsella, he had a role in which he excelled. "If you build it, he will come" resonates throughout this paean to the great American game of baseball. The same ambition is evident in the efforts of The Macallan and the Galaxy Resort to build this great bar in what, one has to admit, is still a hard core gambling destination rather than the relaxing locale that would usually feature such an oasis. They deserve to succeed and I would recommend an extended evening in the company of friends where time can be taken to enjoy both the fine selection of malts and the delightful setting. In my previous article on The Macallan, I paid tribute to the late great rugby commentator Bill McLaren. I don’t suppose that he will come, but now that The Macallan have built it, we should go. HKGOLFER.COM
As Jim Murray said in his Whisky Bible, “…A whisky that gives you the will to live !” We chose this as our first release because we had never tasted a distilled spirit at once so old – and so young. Only a taste can tell you how splendid it really is. And when it’s finished (which is very soon, now) there may not be anything like it for a while; it took us many years to find these 1,348 bottles, and it will be a long search for its successor. Meanwhile, we suggest you have a look at our cognac 1950, 478 bottles of which have just been released.
email@example.com; (852) 3590 4153 lastdropdistillers.com
The Exile Returns Scott Ishbern reports on the myriad delights of The Colonial Estate's famous Exile 2003 vintage, including a special reader offer
tribute “Good Times, Bad Times” top of the he Colonial Estate winery was bunch, being ranked alongside the best from created in 2001 from a collection Opus One, Baron Philippe de Rothschild's of small plots of old vines in successful Californian venture. Australia’s Barossa Valley and was However, as the world lurched and stared into the brainchild of the genius that the financial abyss, something had to give and it is Jonathan Maltus. was The Colonial Estate which went under. The Maltus, an Englishman, rose to global prominence with his purchase of the mediocre rapid expansion, using the techniques which led Chateau Teyssier in St Emilion in 1994. By to success on a smaller scale, would only have buying parcels of better vines from the area and been sustainable if the premium pricing of old introducing New World techniques to the region, had been possible. In the event, it wasn’t, and he transformed the sleepy Teyssier into one of the the shooting star of a mere seven years crashed best estates in St Emilion. to earth and went into receivership. Of particular note are the series of single Maltus’ two other ventures continue to excel, vineyard wines he created, especially Le Dôme, Le and it is with a sense of what might have been Carré and Les Astières, all of which have achieved that we look back at one of the outstanding cult status. He personified the garagiste sobriquet creations The Colonial Estate produced. and was justifiably lauded for his achievements. The early vintages are almost impossible In 2001 he ventured to Australia for his next to obtain in any quantity and the 2003 Exile adventure and The Colonial Estate exploded in particular is extremely rare. This, only the onto the scene in 2002 with the release of its second vintage produced, was rated 94 by Parker first vintage. The names of the wines imply a and is a magnificent successor to the perhaps man feeling somewhat far from home: L’Expatrie, slightly overrated 2002. Explorer, Exodus, Émigré, Envoy and others, including laterally a series of With vines planted in the 19th century single vineyard offerings he named after legendary explorers. The flagship label, forming the core, and aged in new French oak, however, was The Exile. This stunning creation was the product of a single this is a vast wine, port-like in its appearance ancient vineyard from the 1800s in northern Barossa – 75-85 per cent Shiraz, and power. The colour is a stunning dark purple then mainly Mourvèdre and a smidge of Grenache. which promises depth and length – and one isn’t Robert Parker gushed over this new star in the firmament, giving the first disappointed. Decanting is essential and will vintage of Exile, the 2002, 98 points and heaping praise on what Maltus was reward the forward planner who gives this four bringing to the Barossa. With 20-20 hindsight, this instant success may have set or five hours to open up beautifully. the stage for the ultimate collapse of the operation in 2009. Parker found “hints of truffles, blackberry However, from 2002 to 2008, Maltus took the Colonial Estate on a superb liqueur, smoke, and licorice” here, but the run, producing vintage after vintage of 90+ rated issues. As before, The Exile overwhelming sensation is that of dark chocolate was the star of the show attracting top rankings every year. Needless to say, this and masses of fruit lingering in the never-ending was reflected in his pricing, with a very hefty premium on most of his releases, finish. This is an outstanding wine, which may and for the first few years all production was exclusively sold overseas. just be shading the 2002 at this stage in its Throughout all this growth, he insisted on retaining the painstaking manual development. Drinking superbly now and for processes that gave the wines their distinctive craftsman quality. These were the next five to six years. without question lovingly handcrafted gems, with the massive Exile sitting proudly at the forefront. Special Reader Offer In 2008, and by now known as JCP Maltus, Vigneron and HK Golfer can offer a very small parcel of the extremely rare The Colonial Winemaker, he went to California and did it again, creating Estate Exile 2003. At their peak, retail prices reached HK$2,000 per bottle World’s End winery in Napa Valley. Once more, he brought but we can offer the wine in cases of six OWC for only HK$900 per bottle, painstaking manual techniques to play, with close cropping, which includes delivery to anywhere in Hong Kong. Minimum order of 6 hand-picking, double-sorting, and lees in suspension and created bottles; professional storage available if required. Please order by email something exceptional. His first release of single vineyard wines to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (852) 3590 4153 again were all rated 90+, with the quaintly named Led Zeppelin 28
HK Golfer・SEP 2011
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Family Affairs Howard Bilton explains how setting up a Family Investment Company (FIC) can help keep you in control of your estate while liming stringent inheritance tax charges
obody likes to think about their own mortality. It is a surprising statistic that in the UK two thirds of the population die without leaving a will. I would presume that the figure in similar in other countries. In the majority of cases this is not the biggest problem in the world because there is not much of an estate to bequeath and what there is automatically goes to the next of kin – which is probably exactly in line with their wishes. For wealthier people, this is likely to be a major problem, but such persons normally take a little more care over their wealth and how it is passed on. The alternative to a will is a trust. Trusts can have huge advantages. They allow the distribution of the wealth to be controlled so that children get looked after but do not necessarily get a huge lump sum of cash which might cause them to go party mad and disincentivise them from having a career. Frequently, wealthy bread winners want their spouse to be well looked after but they do not want to run the risk of the spouse re-marrying and the new partner running off with all the money. They want the bulk of their capital to be preserved for the children or even grandchildren. All this can be achieved through trusts. Setting up a trust also forces the settlor to put his affairs in order early by transferring the assets to the trustees, so that on death there is little or nothing to be done, thereby saving those left behind the heartache, worry, expense and delays which are necessarily involved in administering an estate. Even a simple estate can cost up to six per cent of its value in fees to administer and take a minimum of two years to get sorted. This is not attractive for anybody – apart from the lawyers. Trusts provide a means of avoiding all that. The disadvantage of a trust is that it involves … well, a level of trust. Assets have to be passed over to trustees and the settlor loses control. In a previous article I wrote about the joys of private trust companies. These provide a method of setting up a trust and retaining a good degree of control. They remain attractive and are being used increasingly by the sophisticated client. There is another option. This is being increasingly used by UK domiciled persons who are restricted in their ability to transfer assets into trust by the 20 per cent lifetime inheritance tax charge which applies to substantial transfers. These entities will be attractive to a whole range of people because they are simple and easy to understand and relatively simple to set up and administer. They are known as Family Investment Companies (FICs) in the UK. We also refer to them as common law foundations as they are similar to the civil law foundations found in Lichtenstein and elsewhere but are much easier to understand by those brought up by in a common law system. FICs are companies. The usual form of a company is limited by shares. A share has three important characteristics being: a) The right to vote and therefore control the company; b) The right to receive income in the form of dividends; c) The right to the capital and the underlying assets owned by the company. 30
HK Golfer・SEP 2011
Usually a share will carry all three rights but it is quite possible for it to carry only one or two of these three. By splitting the rights and obligations we can create interesting results. For example, let us assume that Mr A is a UK national living in Hong Kong. He does not intend to spend the rest of this life in Hong Kong so is almost certainly UK domiciled and subject to UK IHT (inheritance tax) on his worldwide estate. His first preference would be to pass the assets into trust to avoid UK IHT but he cannot do so as the transfer to the trust would attract the 20 per cent charge. If he gives assets away to another individual seven years before his death then he avoids UK IHT and the 20 per cent charge entirely, but that would leave him without assets to look after himself and he would therefore be reliant on his beneficiaries. He would also lose control of those assets. Neither is attractive. Instead we set up an FIC. Mr A is issued with all the voting shares and therefore keeps total control. He also jointly retains, along with his wife, the income producing shares because, although he does not envisage spending the capital, he does want to ensure his lifestyle and spend the income. The capital shares can be given away to his wife and children while he is in good health. This structure means that all his assets are conveniently bundled together in one package so his executors do not have to try and find them, take control and administer them according to the will. UK IHT is massively reduced as he has given away the capital seven years before death. Clearly, the income producing shares do have some value but it is minor compared to the capital shares. Sweet and simple. This type of structure would be effective for most persons who are in danger of being subject to inheritance tax or estate duty in their home country or anywhere else in the world. There is HKGOLFER.COM
no estate duty in Hong Kong but just because you are resident in Hong Kong does not mean you are exempt from estate duty everywhere else in the world. Assets are frequently charged to estate duty in their country of location, irrespective of who owns them. If they are owned by a company then, because a company never dies, local estate duty is eradicated. Hong Kong residents will often have estate duty considerations in their own county of birth and anywhere they have invested, but this type of structure can remove those liabilities. The structure above will also be of relevance to those who have parents back in their home county with wealth to pass on. The plan can further be refined by using a company limited by guarantee or a company limited by both guarantee and shares. Most people will be familiar with companies limited by guarantee even if they do not know it, as this is the basis of most clubs and societies. When you join a club you become a member, rather than a shareholder, of a company limited by guarantee. That membership is retained only for as long as you are alive or for as long as the club (company) committee decides you are worthy. This type of company can be used as an FIC. Using an FIC avoids the need for a will and
This structure means that all his assets are conveniently bundled together in one package so his executors do not have to try and find them, take control and administer them according to the will.
probate on the underlying assets as they are all owned by the company. This type of structure is the latest big news in UK estate planning but can be used by anyone anywhere else in the world to good effect. It doesn’t remove the need for a will, as there will always be personal assets outside the structure, but it does provide a convenient and relatively cheap and simple method of dealing with the majority of a person’s estate. Howard Bilton is a UK Barrister, Professor or Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego and Chairman of the Sovereign Trust (Hong Kong) Ltd, which specialises in international and offshore tax planning.
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HK Golfer・SEP 2011
us pga review
comeback t hat ra n ks among the best. A collapse that few saw coming. There was even a player in a red shirt, pumping his fists with each clutch putt in the final, frenzied hour of the USPGA Championship. That player wasn't Tiger, of course. Woods had left the scene 48 hours earlier, having missed only his third cut in a major. The player in question was Keegan Bradley, a 25-year-old PGA Tour rookie, whose name sat amid a leaderboard littered with unfamiliar names. And it was he who delivered a memorable finish. Bradley was f ive shots behind the equally obscure Jason Dufner with only three holes to play after sculling his chip shot through the 15th green and into the water, leading to a triple bogey. He looked dead and buried, but reminded himself that no lead was safe on the final four holes of Atlanta Athletic Club, one of the most penal courses to have hosted the US PGA. "I just kept telling myself, 'Don't let that hole define this whole tournament,'" said Bradley. True to his word, the rake-thin Bradley, nephew of LPGA Tour great Pat Bradley, made back-to-back birdies, including a 40ft monster on the 17th, which put the heat well and truly on Dufner, who, quite simply, capitulated.
Montana Pritchard/PGA of America
The US PGA Championship – or Glory's Last Shot, as the PGA of America is wont to describe this end-of-summer major shindig – produced what is has time and time again: a winner that nobody has ever heard of. But that didn't matter one bit. It has been a wonderful year of major championship golf and Keegan Bradley's triumph at an uncompromising Atlanta Athletic Club provided a thrilling – and fitting – climax 32
HK Golfer・SEP 2011
Major Men: Keegan Bradley (left) staged a remarkable comeback to become only the third player to win a major on his debut; Jason Dufner (inset), who had been rocksolid for 14 holes of the final round, fell to pieces over the incredibly challenging closing stretch at Atlanta Athletic Club HKGOLFER.COM
HK Golfer・SEP 2011
And what of US Open champion Rory McIlroy, the pre-event favourite and most popular player in the world right now? Well, on just the third hole of the tournament, and with his ball resting very close to – if not actually on – a tree root, the 22-year-old decided to take a good old whack at it. Bad move. In attempting the shot, McIlroy injured his arm so badly that it needed to be taped up. He carried on and made the cut but finished 19 shots off the pace. Bradley's win makes it seven straight majors by players who had never before captured a Grand Slam event, the longest streak ever. "I don't want to be one of the guys that kind of disappears," said Bradley, in reference, perhaps, to the likes of Rich Beem and Shaun Micheel who have won this championship and precious little else. "I would love to be up in a category with the best players and be mentioned with Phil Mickelson, one of my idols. I hope I don't disappear. I don't plan to." Mickelson had been the last American to win a major at the 2010 Masters, and perhaps it was only fitting that one of his protégés ended the drought. Mickelson has been playing money games during practice rounds at the big tournaments with Bradley, wanting him to be prepared to play for something more prestigious than cash. Bradley clearly took the lessons to heart.
Scandinavian Surge: It wasn't Rory McIlroy but Anders Hansen (above) and Robert Karlsson (right) that led the European challenge at AAC, the duo putting in tremendous final-round displays to narrowly miss out on the play-off 34
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Unflappable all afternoon, Dufner had been cruising. Finding nearly every fairway and hitting crisp iron shots to the heart of nearly every green, the 34-year-old, who had never won a tournament despite 10 years on the PGA Tour, was grinding out the kind of performance that Nick Faldo in his heyday would have been proud of. Until, that is, he reached the tee at the 15th, a gruesomely long par-three with water fronting the green. It was the water Dufner found, and although he managed to get up and down for a gutsy bogey, the tide was already turning. Knowing Bradley had birdied the 16th to cut his lead further, Dufner made two more bogeys – for three in a row – and only a good two-putt par at the water-laced 18th hole saved him from losing the championship in regulation play. While Dufner's fall wasn't as spectacular as Jean Van de Velde's at the Open at Carnoustie in 1999, it was surely just as painful, although the man himself put on a brave face after finishing a shot behind Bradley in the three-hole play-off. "Everyone struggled on them," said Dufner of the closing four holes. "Unfortunately, I had the lead and I struggled on them ... That was the deciding factor, and Keegan made a couple of birdies. But there's a lot to be learned from this and a lot of experience to be gained from this."
2011 US PGA Championship Results 1
71 64 69 68
70 65 68 69
68 69 70 66
72 71 65 67
67 69 69 70
70 71 67 67
69 69 70 68
71 68 70 68
70 71 68 68
72 69 70 67
69 67 71 71
71 71 66 71
68 73 69 69
70 71 68 70
70 70 71 68
63 74 69 73
72 69 69 69
69 71 71 68
71 71 68 70
71 70 69 70
* Won following three-hole play-off
But to the victor goes the spoils and Bradley, who became only the third player in a hundred years to win a major on his debut, shared his joy with a spot of social networking. With the enormous Wanamaker Trophy at his side, Bradley took out his phone and snapped a picture of it. Before long he had posted the item on Twitter with three hash tags – "pgachampion. triplebogies. happiness." It feels unbelievable," Bradley said. "It seems like a dream and I'm afraid I'm going to wake up here in the next five minutes and it's not going to be real." The final major of the year was hard to believe for so many reasons. For a start there was the belly putter that Bradley was using. Traditionalists will balk at the thought of a man in his mid-20s using such a club, but in doing so Bradley became the first player in history to win using a long putter. (Angel Cabrera used a longer than normal putter when he won the Masters in 2009, but the crucial difference, say the experts, is that Cabrera didn't anchor the club to his body, a la Keegan). Secondly, it was Bradley who ended the United States longest drought in a major that had reached six. It wasn't Dustin Johnson and it certainly wasn't Tiger Woods that lifted American spirits – rather, it was the then No. 108 ranked Bradley who saved the day. HKGOLFER.COM
HK Golfer・SEP 2011
An intelligent filter From the President September prom ises to be a n especially memorable month for Hong Kong golf, with the Southeast Asian Team Golf Championship returning to our shores for the first time since 2002. The Championship, which includes the long-running Putra Cup (the men's competition), the Lion City Cup (for under-18 boys) and the Santi Cup (the ladies' event) will take place from September 5-9 at Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club and will feature teams from nine nations – Thailand, Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and, of course, Hong Kong. I have no doubt that we as hosts will put on an excellent show and that all the competitors will enjoy both the hospitality of our city and the wonderful course at Clearwater Bay – it is a fantastic venue for such a prestigious event. Although Hong Kong hasn't triumphed as a team at the championship since the inaugural event in 1961, I am confident that our representatives have what it take to impress on home soil. Certainly, recent results would indicate that. As was reported in the last issue of HK Golfer, the junior squad put in some excellent showings on their summer tour of the United States, with Tiffany Chan in particular
proving she can be considered among the top junior golfers in the world having featured prominently for the World Junior Golf Championship in San Diego. Tiffany is one of the great success stories of the HKGA's Junior Development Programme and I'm delighted to hear that on the back of her golfing and intellectual prowess she has secured a scholarship from Arizona State University, one of the foremost golfing colleges in the country. It is richly deserved and we at the HKGA wish her the very best. Of course, the success of the Junior Development Programme is dependent on many people and sponsors, principally EFG Bank which has supported the programme for the past three years. EFG's involvement has resulted in an increase in playing opportunities for young golfers throughout Hong Kong, an example being the EFG Bank Summer Junior Classic, which was held in early August at Deep Water Bay. Our continued thanks to Albert Chiu, Chief Executive of EFG Bank (Asia), and his team for their unwavering commitment to this important cause.
The judgement to spot talent early; the expertise to nurture it. Blending the finest solutions for clients.
Proud sponsors of the EFG Bank Hong Kong Golf Association Junior Golf Programme.
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Juniors Contend at Asia Pacific Championships Tiffany Chan (pictured) and Liu Lok-tin flew the flag for Hong Kong at the 32nd edition of the Asia Pacific Junior Golf Championships in early August, with the duo recording fine results over the Royal Hills Golf Resort & Spa layout in Thailand. Chan, like the majority of the Hong Kong contingent, arrived in the Land of Smiles on the back of the busy summer tour of the United States, but showed little sign of fatigue with a fine showing in the Girls' 15-17 age division, finishing in second place. Her three -day total of 223 (seven-over-par) was five shots behind runaway winner and local favourite Supamas Sangchan. Chan's efforts helped Hong Kong (also represented by Michelle Cheung and Kitty Tam) finish the Girls' team event in third place. In the Boys' equivalent age bracket, Liu, the 2010 Hong Kong Amateur Open and Close champion, placed seventh after firing four solid rounds in the 70s. The team of Liu, Terrence Ng, James Inge and Ambrose Tam finished the Boys' competition in fifth. Other notable performances included Kitty Tam's tie for seventh in the Girls' 13-14 division, Estee Vivian Leung's eighth place in the Girls' 11-12 bracket and Leon D'Souza's tie for eighth place in the Boy's 11-12 group. 36
HK Golfer・SEP 2011
Practitioners of the craft of private banking
Hong Kong: 18th Floor, International Commerce Centre, 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon, Hong Kong, T +852 2298 3000 s Singapore: 25 North Bridge Road, #07-00 EFG Bank Building, Singapore 179104, T +65 6595 4888. Also in Bangkok, Jakarta, Manila, Seoul and Taipei. EFG Bank is part of EFG International, which operates in 55 locations in over 30 countries. www.efginternational.com
Setting the Stage
The HK Golfer guide to the Southeast Asian Team Golf Championship, incorporating the 51st Putra Cup, the fifth Lion City Cup and the third Santi Cup, which will be played at Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club from September 5-9. 38
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Early Years and Later Expansion
The Southeast Asian Team Golf Championship (The Putra Cup) was inaugurated in 1961 by the late Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-haj, the then Prime Minister of Malaya, to develop close relations and to raise the standard of golf among countries around the region. The trophy the teams play for – the actual Putra Cup – was donated by the Prime Minister.
Special Setting: Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club will host this year's Southeast Asian Team Golf Championship, a tournament that was inaugurated by the late Malaysian Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman (inset) in 1961 HK Golfer・SEP 2011
Most Successful Nation
With 17 wins, the Philippines has won more Putra Cup titles than any other nation. Much of the Philippines' success came in the late 1960s and 70s, when they recorded six straight wins from 1968, a lt hough t he country last tasted victory in 1996. Thailand has 14 titles to its credit and has dominated the championship in recent times, winning seven of the last 11 events. Malaysia has the third best record, with seven wins.
The first Putra Cup was played on July 19, 1961 at Royal Selangor Golf Club and saw teams from Burma (now Myanmar), Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam taking part. Royal Selangor also hosted the next three events, but from 1965 it was decided that the venue should rotate among the participating countries in alphabetical order. Since its inception, the Putra Cup has expanded to include more nations. The Philippines entered in 1963, with Papua New Guinea, Brunei, Cambodia and Laos joining in later years. In recent times, the championship has expanded yet further to include a junior Putra Cup event (the Lion City Cup, which was first played in 2007) and a ladies' team championship (the Santi Cup, which debuted in 2009).
1 50 823
Golem's Genius Numerous players have won the individual competition on more than one occasion but the most successful of all was undoubtedly the Filipino amateur great, Luis "Golem" Silverio. Silverio, who became the first Asian golfer to play at the Masters when he was invited to Augusta for the 1966 event (where he made the cut), won a total of six individual Putra Cup championships between 1963 and 1974. Such was Silverio's ballstriking ability that it was said "he could stop a three-iron on concrete". Silverio never turned pro and worked as a golf club manager in his homeland for more two decades before passing away in 2008.
The number of times Hong Kong has won the Putra Cup. Hong Kong's solitary victory came at the inaugural event in 1961 at Royal Selangor in Kuala Lumpur when they triumphed by a massive 33 strokes. Three golfers from Hong Kong have won the individual title.
Singapore's winning aggregate total – a Putra Cup record – from the 2008 championship, which was held at the Bukit Course at Singapore Island Country Club. Represented by Choo Tsz-huang, Jonathan Leong, Quincy Quek and Jerome Ng, Singapore finished an impressive 29-under-par.
As one would expect from Southeast Asia's most prestigious amateur championship, the Putra Cup has showcased the talents of many young amateurs who have gone on to make a name for themselves on the professional stage. Thai stars Boonchu Ruangkit, Thongchai Jaidee, Prayad Marksaeng and Prom Meesawat have all represented their country at the Putra Cup, while Filipinos Felix Casas and Frankie Minoza cut their teeth in the championship before becoming regular winners on the Asian Tour. Mardan Mamat, who won the Singapore Masters, a European Tour event, in 2004, is another former Putra Cup individual title winner. He helped Singapore to the team win in 1993 at the Hong Kong Golf Club.
Hong Kong Success
Hong Kong's only Putra Cup victory to date came at the inaugural championship in 1961. Represented by Hugh Staunton, Alan Sutcliffe, Jock Mackie and Bill Leighton, the team won by 33 strokes from Singapore in second place. The individual title has been won by three Hong Kong players – Hugh Staunton (1961), Alan Sutcliffe (1962) and Brooke Carter (1976). To learn more about Hong Kong's win read Alan Sutcliffe's account on page 40.
YEAR (Host Nation) 2010 (Malaysia) 2009 (Thailand) 2008 (Singapore) 2007 (Philippines 2006 (Papua New Guinea) 2005 (Myanmar) 2004 (Indonesia) 2003 (Brunei) 2002 (Hong Kong) 2001 (Malaysia) 2000 (Thailand) 1999 (Singapore) 1998 (Philippines) 1997 (Papua New Guinea) 1996 (Myanmar) 1995 (Malaysia) 1994 (Indonesia) 1993 (Hong Kong) 1992 (Brunei) 1991 (Thailand) 1990 (Singapore) 1989 (Philippines) 1988 (Papua New Guinea) 1987 (Indonesia) 1986 (Hong Kong) 1985 (Malaysia) 1984 (Myanmar) 1983 (Thailand) 1982 (Singapore) 1981 (Philippines) 1980 (Papua New Guinea) 1979 (Malaysia) 1978 (Indonesia) 1977 (Myanmar) 1976 (Hong Kong) 1975 (Thailand) 1974 (Singapore) 1973 (Philippines) 1972 (Malaysia) 1971 (Indonesia) 1970 (Hong Kong) 1969 (Myanmar) 1968 (Malaysia) 1967 (Singapore) 1966 (Thailand) 1965 (Philippines) 1964 (Malaysia) 1963 (Malaysia) 1962 (Malaysia) 1961 (Malaysia)
TEAM CHAMPIONS Thailand Thailand Singapore Thailand Singapore Malaysia Thailand Thailand Thailand Malaysia Thailand Thailand Thailand Thailand Philippines Philippines Indonesia Singapore Indonesia Thailand Philippines Thailand Indonesia Philippines Thailand Thailand Malaysia Philippines Philippines Philippines Myanmar Malaysia Indonesia Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Malaysia Philippines Philippines Philippines Philippines Philippines Philippines Singapore Malaysia Philippines Philippines Philippines Malaysia HONG KONG
TOTAL 864 846 823 860 868 857 837 855 838 876 877 858 876 877 962 852 848 640* 874 859 864 913 897 851 870 865 911 913 872 868 891 874 869 900 883 902 897 887 889 895 673* 915 889 897 894 914 920 922 974 941
INDIVIDUAL CHAMPION Poom Saksansin (THA) Thanyakorn Krongpha (THA) Thanyakorn Krongpha (THA) Quicy Quek (SIN) Choo Tze Huang (SIN) Ben Leong (MAS) Wisut Artjanawat (THA) Ben Leong (MAS) Prom Meesawat (THA) Prom Meesawat (THA) Prom Meesawat (THA) Prom Meesawat (THA) Thongchai Jaidee (THA) Thongchai Jaidee (THA) Antonio Lascuna (PHL) Sukamdi (INA) Sukamdi (INA) Mardan Mamat (SIN) Sukamdi (INA) Preecha Senaprom (THA) Felix Casas (PHL) Prayad Marksaeng (THA) Sukamdi (INA) Robert Pactolerin (PHL) Sanchai Senaprom (THA) Boonchu Ruangkit (THA) Suffian Tan (MAS) Antolin Fernando (PHL) Frankie Minoza (PHL) Gil Ababa (PHL) Frankie Minoza (PHL) Sahabuddin Yusof (MAS) Frankie Minoza (PHL) Muang Pyone (MYN) BROOKE CARTER (HKG) David Hernandez (PHL) Luis Siverio (PHL) Luis Siverio (PHL) Luis Siverio (PHL) Luis Siverio (PHL) Ed Unson Jr (PHL) Bobby Lim (MAS) Luis Siverio (PHL) Phua Thin Kiay (SIN) Darwis Deran (MAS) Luis Siverio (PHL) Alan Gaston (PHL) Luis Siverio (PHL) ALAN SUTCLIFFE (HKG) HUGH DE LACY STAUNTON (HKG)
Dominant Display: Before turning pro, Thai stars Prom Meesawat and Thongchai Jaidee (top) won the individual championship at the Putra Cup for six years running, from 1997 to 2002
The Putra Cup has been played this many times. The Philippines has the best team record at the event, with 17 wins, followed by Thailand, which has 14 titles to its name. Luis "Golem" Silverio accumulated more individual titles than any other player, with six.
The Singapore team that won the 2008 Putra Cup holds the record for the lowest aggregate with a blistering total of 823 - 29-under-par, which was recorded over the Bukit Course at Singapore Island Country Club. The scoring format used in the championship counts the three best daily rounds from each four-man team. The Putra Cup, like the Lion City Cup and Santi Cup, is contested over four rounds.
Putra Cup Honour Roll
HK Golfer・SEP 2011
HK Golfer・SEP 2011
Putra Cup Memories Alan Sutcliffe, who was a member of the Hong Kong team that won the first edition of the event, recalls his days of playing in Southeast Asia's premier amateur championship
I Alex Jenkins
have very fond memories of the Putra Cup. I played in a number of the events and will always remember the atmosphere and camaraderie that the Putra Cup provided. It was Abdul Rahman, the Prime Minister of Malaya, as the country was called at the time, who got things started. He had the opinion that Southeast Asia should have an amateur team championship, much in the same vein as the Eisenhower Trophy [the world amateur team championship]. It proved to be a wonderful idea. 1961 was the first year the event was played and the Hong Kong Golf Club had been asked to send a representative team. Aside from the occasional Interport matches that the Club played, we didn't travel around the region for golf events that often, so to visit Malaysia for the Putra Cup was a very exciting opportunity. We had to pay our own way to get there, but accommodation and meals were kindly provided by our hosts. 42
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The Hong Kong team that year comprised Jock Mackie, Bill Leighton, Hugh Staunton and myself. John Wei was the non-playing captain. Many will remember John's wife, Teresa, who was the great lady champion at Fanling at the time. You have to remember that in those days the standard of golf wasn't brilliant, but we certainly took the competition seriously. We were all very much amateurs and only played on weekends. Level 74s or 75s over four rounds was considered very good playing indeed. Once we arrived in Kuala Lumpur we stayed in government-owned chalets, which HKGOLFER.COM
were very pleasant. The organizers were keen for us to enjoy ourselves and we were very well looked after. A s for t he gol f, wel l, we won fa irly comfortably [Hong Kong won by a thumping 33 shots from Singapore in second place]. Most of the teams, with the exception of Malaysia and Thailand, were made up of European golfers; there weren't so many indigenous golfers at the time. Hugh [Staunton] was the individual champion and I finished in second, one shot behind. We all had a wonderful time and were very keen to return the following year. In 1962 we were back at Royal Selangor Golf Club, which had quickly become my favourite course in Asia. It was a bloody good test of golf and in much better condition than Fanling. Because it had been built on tin mining land it drained beautifully. Roya l Sela ngor was a lso much more demanding than what we were used to. Your course management had to be very good and it was easy to rack up triple bogeys without hitting a bad shot. Anyway, we didn't quite manage to retain the Cup but I was luckily enough to win the individual championship. My four-round score was 311 strokes, which wasn't very brilliant but it was a difficult course to score well on. I went back to Royal Selangor in the mid-1990s for the Asia Pacific Seniors Championship and it hadn't changed much: a great golf course. Seven years later, in 1969, t he Putra Cup was held at the Rangoon Golf Club in Burma [Myanmar], which was an experience. Everything was run by the military, but while there wasn't a great deal of luxury they put on a good show. The Philippines, who didn't play in the first couple of editions of the Cup, won that year, thanks largely to Luis "Golem" Silverio. What a fantastic golfer he was! The Philippines needed a four at the last hole to win and Luis knocked it in from 30 feet for a fantastic three. Golem was easily the best player I'd ever seen from Southeast Asia. He won the old Colony Cup in Hong Kong too, beating me by at least six shots. He was great fun, a lively character. Golem could easily have turned pro but he had too much fun as an amateur. He died a couple of years ago and is greatly missed. In 1970, Hong Kong hosted the Putra Cup for the first time. Sir David Trench, the Governor, hosted the opening party at the Governor's Lodge at Fanling and it was a wonderful. The Royal Hong Kong Regiment performed the Beating Retreat up the 14th fairway of the New Course. It was a very impressive sight. But the Saturday, which was the final day of play, was wiped out by a typhoon. The Governor had been marooned on Hong Kong Island but HKGOLFER.COM
"To visit Malaysia for the Putra Cup was a very exciting opportunity ... The organizers were keen for us to enjoy ourselves and we were very well looked after. We were very keen to return the following year."
managed somehow to get across the harbour to the hotel in Mody Road where we were having the farewell lunch. That just showed how much it meant to him. Years later [in 1986] Jock [Mackie], Hugh [Staunton] and I were invited to attend the 25th Putra Cup, which was once again held at Royal Selangor in honour of Abdul Rahman. He was well into his 80s by then but he indicated that he remembered us, which was very good of him. We had a wonderful time, and just like they did all those years before, the organizers looked after us all very well. Nowadays, of course, the Putra Cup is a highly competitive event. The standard of play has improved and there have been some wonderful winners. It has become a truly topclass tournament and I'm very pleased to have been a part of it. – As told to Alex Jenkins
Hong Kong Heroes: Hugh Staunton and Alan Sutcliffe (opposite page) were the first two individual winners at the Putra Cup - claiming the title in 1961 and 1962 respectively; Sutcliffe (this page) showing the form that made him one of Hong Kong's top amateurs for over three decades HK Golfer・SEP 2011
macgregor junior open
Overall Boys’ Division 1
Michael Regan Wong HKG
Overall Girls’ Division 1
Top Talents: Boys' champion Tsai Tsung-yu (main photo) tees off on the challenging par-four 13th hole at Clearwater Bay; Sathika Ruenreong of Thailand (bottom left) fired a fine 68 in the final round to win the Girls' division, while Isabella Leung (bottom right) was Hong Kong's best performer
Hong Kong players fared well at the Junior Open but concede top prizes to Taiwanese and Thai players
Photography by Daniel Wong
aiwan's Tsai Tsung-yu claimed his first MacGregor Hong Kong Junior Open Championship title with a convincing final-round display at Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club in mid August. Tsai followed up a first round of 69 with a level-par 70 over the scenic cliff-top layout to win the boys' division by three shots from Jonathan Lai of the United States, who closed with a brilliant 67. Thailand's Smithti Teeratrakul placed third, a further three strokes adrift. With Hong Kong missing four potential starters because of Nomura Cup duties in Fiji, Bibendum Leung raised local hopes with a solid 72 on the second day. The round enabled Leung to finish in solo fifth spot, 10 shots off the pace. Thailand’s Sathikia Ruenreong staged a remarkable comeback to take the honours in the girls' event. After recording a lacklustre 78 on day one, the 44
HK Golfer・SEP 2011
17-year-old roared to a three-shot win thanks to an almost blemish-free 68. China's Yin Zi-jun placed second, with Isabella Leung left flying the flag for the SAR. A final round 74 gave her a highly credible third. It proved to be a disappointing tournament for pre-event favourite Tiffany Chan however. The Diocesan Girls' School student, who placed fifth in the World Junior Championship in San Diego just a month ago, looked out of sorts throughout and finished eight strokes off the pace. HKGOLFER.COM
HK Golfer・SEP 2011
macgregor junior open
EFG Bank Summer Junior Classic Taiga and Emily reap rewards in top divisions
he Hong Kong Golf Club's Deep Water Bay course was the venue for the third edition of the EFG Bank Summer Junior Classic in early August. Featuring a full field of young golfers, the event, which was open to players up to the age of 14, once again proved to be a great success and was highlighted by a number of fine individual performances. Taiga Iwasa took the honours in the Boys 13-14 age division after carding a 60 over the par-56 layout to win by four strokes from Justin Lok and Jonathan Chow in second place. In the Girls 13-14 age bracket, Emily Vickie Leung (see Local Focus, pages 10-11) was pushed all the way by Claudia Ng but eventually prevailed to win the division by two shots following a 66. Other notable scores included Yannick Nathan Artigolle's fine 63, which won him the Boys 11-12 age bracket, and Max Yiu's nine-hole score of 31 in the Boys 9-10 group. As sponsors of the HKGA's Junior Development Programme, EFG Bank's role in local youth golf is highly significant, with the Summer Junior Classic and the Junior Tour illustrating the increased number of playing opportunities now available to budding young golfers in the city.
Championship Contenders (clockwise from top): Taiwan's Chen Yu-ju, America's Jonathan Lai, Hong Kong's Michelle Ho, Thailand's Smithi Teeratrakul and Hong Kong's Tiffany Chan
Summer Spectacle (from top): The winners show off their silverware at the end of the day; two young golfers in the swing of things; Taiga Iwasa and Emily Vickie Leung were the champions of the Boys 13-14 and Girls 13-14 age divisions respectively
Champions Taiga Iwasa Emily Vickie Leung Yannick Nathan Artigolle Yuka Murakami Max Yiu Selina Li Jason Ma Chloe Chan
Boys 13-14: Girls 13-14: Boys 11-12: Girls 11-12: Boys 9-10: Girls 9-10: Boys 7-8: Girls 7-8:
For a full list of results visit www.hkga.com 46
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HK GolferăƒťSEP 2011
HK Strong at Nomura Cup Hong Kong's youthful men's team finished in a highly respectable ninth place at the recent 25th Asia Pacific Amateur Golf Team Championship (Nomura Cup) held in Fiji. Represented by Liu Lok tin, Terrence Ng, Mickey Chan and Shinichi Mizuno, the quartet combined well over the two venues played – the Denarau Golf & Racquet Club and the challenging Natadola Bay – to end the tournament in the top half of the standings. Australia emerged as the champions, with New Zealand and India finishing in second and third place respectively. Long-hitting Liu proved to be the steadiest performer for Hong Kong during the week, his four-round total of 298 (10-over-par) earning him a share of 19th spot in the individual competition. But as National Coach Brad Schadewitz and non-playing captain Robert Keys were quick to point out, the result was down to strong collective showing by the team. "Overall, it was a great team effort," said Keys, a former Hong Kong international, "as each player contributed at least two scores to the eventual total." Schadewitz agreed. "We had a very good team chemistry during the week and the guys showed a lot of maturity," he said. "We had a good game plan and the boys were mentally ready for a tough challenge. They knew they had to keep grinding and that's exactly what they managed to do."
Michelle's Florida Success
Charles McLaughlin (Chu)
Michelle Yan put in an exceptional performance at the PGA National Resort & Spa in Florida late July, earning third place in her age division at the renowned Optimist International Junior Golf Championships. Michelle fired rounds of 76, 71 and 73 in the Girls' 10-12 bracket to finish among the prize winners. Michelle's younger sister, Vanessa, placed ninth in the same division, while Kitty Tam put in a solid final 36 holes to end the Girls 13-14 tournament in a share of sixth. 48
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HKGolfer Mission Hills Chairman Chu Dies Dr David Chu, founder and chairman of Mission Hills, the world’s largest golf facility, died last month following a long battle with nasal cancer. He was 61. Often described as one of the most powerful men in the game, Chu, a Hong Kong native who invested on the Chinese mainland before the implementation of the country's “Open Door” policy, played his first round of golf in Toronto in the late 1980s. Inspired, the entrepreneur bought a sizeable piece of land to the north of Shenzhen and called in 18-time major legend Jack Nicklaus to design Mission Hills' first course, which hosted the World Cup in 1995. Ten years later, Mission Hills overtook Pinehurst as the largest golf club in the world with the opening of the Norman Course, the resort’s 10th layout. Today, there are 12 courses at Mission Hills Shenzhen and another 10 courses at the group’s Haikou complex, which opened last year on Hainan Island. The World Cup will be played at the Haikou resort in November. Chu, seen here in 2009, was also the chairman of t wo listed companies in Hong Kong, and three years ago set up the Dr David Chu’s Care Fund for Orphans following t he devastat i ng Sichuan earthquake. Chu's eldest son Ken, 37, is expected to ta ke over t he cha irma nsh ip of the Mission Hills Group. HKGOLFER.COM
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Out With the Old ... The last couple of years have been a particularly fruitful time for course development in China. Alex Jenkins checks out six of the best new layouts that have opened
A Player’s Guide
Photography by Tom Breazeale and Ryan Farrow
hina's importance to the global brotherhood of golf course architects cannot be understated. The country, which effectively outlawed the game for decades following the Second World War, has since become the centre of the course design universe. Every notable architect, with the exception of the US-centric Tom Fazio, has a presence on the mainland. The reason is perfectly simple: Asia, with China leading the way, is the one place where developers actually want to build new courses; development in the golf saturated States and large swathes of northern Europe has pretty much ground to a halt.
Volcanic Vision: The Lava Fields Course at Mission Hills Haikou
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Middle Kingdom Marvels: The impressivelybunkered Blackstone Course at Mission Hills Haikou (below); Hidden Tiger (right), in southern Anhui province, is a strong candidate for most beautiful course in the country
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This is not exactly news. Since the opening of China's first modern-day course – the Arnold Palmer-designed layout at Chung Shan Hot Spring in neighbouring Guangdong – in 1984, approximately 600 courses have come online. While commentators had once previously questioned golf's popularity among the country's one billion-plus populous, the last few years have seen an undoubted surge in player numbers. Official statistics where the game is concerned are famously hard to come by in China – depending on which reports you read there are anywhere between 300,000 and three million "regular golfers" – but try booking a last-minute weekend game at an upscale course across the border and you'll likely be disappointed. Ten years ago you could have pitched up without phoning in advance and literally stroll onto the first tee at your leisure. Much has changed, which has been reflected in the price one pays. Even taking into account the continued strength of the renminbi, green fee rates have soared on the back of increased demand, making China one of the most expensive places in the world to play. You don't get much change out of RMB2,000 for 18 holes and the obligatory cart and caddie combo (plus tip!) these days. Although it would be rash to suggest that
the mainland golf market has reached maturity, the way courses are built and maintained has certainly improved in recent times. With its diverse landscapes and topography, China is not short of wonderful golf sites. Unfortunately, back in the early to mid 1990s, at the time of the mainland's initial golf boom, the skills required to build world-class courses were generally lacking. It was often said that China had some of the most spectacular golfing terrain in the world, but that it was wasted by the construction of mostly humdrum layouts which were usually found in lacklustre condition. More often than not, this was down to inexperienced architects, poor build quality, short-sighted owners or a combination of all three. The last few years, however, have been good for Chinese golf – at least from a golf course point of view. While the eminently likeable Liang Wen-chong remains the country's only professional ranked inside the world's top 200, a number of new layouts have emerged that have gone straight to the summit of the standings as China's best. Intelligently designed, expertly shaped and – most crucially of all – great fun to play, these courses, the oldest of which opened barely two years ago, have the potential to leave a lasting impression on the world's golfing map.
Mission Hills Haikou Double Happiness
Hidden Tiger GC Picture Perfect
Mission Hills isn't the type of organization that does things by halves – you only have to visit the club's original complex in Shenzhen, with its 12 courses and endless post-round amenities to realize that. But the new Mission Hills facility in Hainan – which already comprises 10 courses (and counting) located just 15 minutes from Haikou's airport – is arguably even more impressive, at least from an architectural standpoint. Brian Curley, who is without question the most prolific designer in China – and therefore the world – today, has done a staggering job in creating enough diversity to make every layout here, even the two par-three tracks, worth playing. But the undoubted stars of the show are the championship-rated Blackstone and Lava Fields courses. The former, which will host the World Cup in November, features striking, ragged bunkering and numerous carries from the tee is a particularly stout and lengthy test, one that recreational golfers are well advised to tackle from a suitably forward tee. Lava Fields is very similar in scope to the Blackstone but is rather more forgiving thanks mainly to the width of the landing areas. It's also, in our view at least, a touch more subtle, especially around the greens. Throwback-style bunkering and interesting shifts in topography, plus a brilliant set of par-threes, makes Lava Fields the pick of the bunch. www.missionhillschina.com
Gary Player describes his course at the IMGmanaged Hidden Tiger in Anhui province as a gift to nature, and he's absolutely right. Perched on the shores of mystical Lake Taiping with the famed Huangshan mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, providing a gorgeous backdrop, this is surely one of the most picturesque places in the country in which to tee it up. Thankfully, nine-time major champion Player and his design team understood their market well, and rather than create a monstrously difficult layout for the amateur, they have sculptured an approachable and wonderfully balanced course from the hilly terrain. Make no mistake: trouble, in the form of native grasses, attractive bunkering and, of course, the lake itself, lie in store for the wayward, but this is an enormously enjoyable track, one that is refreshingly free from residential sprawl. Admittedly it does require some effort getting to Hidden Tiger. The club is a three to four hour journey from Hangzhou airport, which you can fly directly in to from Hong Kong, but there's also the option of crossing the border and flying from Shenzhen or Guangzhou into Huangshan, which is about an hour's drive away. Adding to the allure: the five-star Crowne Plaza Hotel on Lake Taiping is set to open next summer. www.hiddentigergolf.com
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Stone Forest International CC The Stone is the Show
The Dunes at Shenzhou Peninsula Sandy Splendour Tropical Hainan is quickly evolving into China's golfing mecca, with new courses popping up all over the island at a quite startling rate. But perhaps the best of them all – and a strong candidate for the country's most outstanding project – is The Dunes at Shenzhou Peninsula, which features two Tom Weiskopf-designed layouts abutting Hainan's pristine southeastern coastline. Featuring windswept dunes, craggy rock outcrops and large, natural sandy wastes, the 54
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West Course here, which opened earlier this year and is the 1973 Open champion's first course in China, is as natural a layout that you're likely to find anywhere in the Middle Kingdom. While not a links course in the strictest sense of the word, the West is often referred to as one because of its firm and fast playing surfaces and proximity to the sea. The East Course is slated to open in November and promises to be no less enthralling. Indeed, it could even top its slightly older sibling, with more of its holes running along the shore's edge. The club's Composite Course – comprising five holes from the West and 13 holes from the East – has been earmarked to host competition play. www.shenzhougolf.com HKGOLFER.COM
For sheer spectacle there can be few places in the world that rival Stone Forest up in the hills of Kunming. Built beside the Stone Forest National Park, a popular attraction in its own right, the three courses at this impressive complex have been threaded through a primeval landscape of limestone karst formations, dense pines and lakes. Playing here is a seriously surreal experience; one half expects to stumble upon the odd brontosaurus or two when cresting a few of the more hilly landing areas. Of the three layouts – which were all designed by Brian Curley – the Masters Resort (B Course) has been tagged as the tournament course, but as spectacular as it is, we prefer the other two – Yufeng Ridge (A) and Leader's Peak (C) – because of their playability and jawdropping selection of holes. Unfortunately, Leader's Peak, which combines a front nine that thunders through tall pine trees and a fabulously fun finishing stretch in among the rocks, is open to members only. Conditioning at all three layouts is nearly flawless, with the cool season grasses providing sublime playing surfaces throughout. www.stoneforestgolf.com
Sand and Stone: The West Course at the Dunes at Shenzhou Peninsula (left) is a Tom Weiskopf design that features stunning seaside vistas; the magnificent limestone karsts at Stone Forest (above) make for an amazingly surreal playing experience HK Golfer・SEP 2011
What really makes this track stand out, however, is its distinctive scenery. Large red natural rock formations frame many of the holes on the Moon Course and Jacobson deserves credit for taking advantage of these monoliths and weaving a wonderfully varied course through them. Lion Lake is home to a second 18, the Moonlight Course, another Jacobson design, and is operated by Troon Golf, the American course management company. www.lionlake.com
Jian Lake Blue Bay GC Coastal Cracker Lion Lake CC A Roaring Rebirth The Moon Course at this fully-fledged resort, situated on the outskirts of Guangzhou, has been making waves since it opened for play at the end of 2009 – and it's easy to see why. Rick Jacobson, who was formerly with Jack Nicklaus' design company, is the man responsible for the work and he has sculpted a full-bore track that rolls across pleasing, undulating terrain. (The course was built in part over the original Lion Lake course, a disappointing Larry Nelson design that the new owners of the development were quick to bury). Artfully bunkered, with large, jagged-edged pits protecting generally small, well contoured greens, it's fair to say that the Moon Course provides a serious challenge. Our advice: don't leave home without a deft short game.
Although not set to open until early next year, this Mark Hollinger (JMP) design, situated on Hainan's eastern seaboard, has the makings of something very special indeed. Developed by the same owner as the highly rated Jian Lake in Hangzhou (another Hollinger design), Blue Bay is a visual stunner, with sandy wastes and pot bunkers contrasting magnificently with emeraldcoloured playing surfaces and the azure waters of the South China Sea. The finishing stretch of holes, which takes advantage of a spectacular oceanfront routing, can play especially tough when the wind whistles through. Because of its length, the wonderful short par-four 15th offers a birdie chance but only if the correct tier of the multi-terraced green is found with the approach. The 17th, meanwhile, could well become a candidate for China's toughest par-three. Stretching to over 230 yards from the tips, the tee shot has to carry a salt water estuary to a large green bisected by a pair of bunkers. Perhaps not entirely conventional, it's certainly memorable.
Provincial Pleasures: Jian Lake Blue Bay (above) in Hainan looks set to become something special; Rick Jacobson's Moon Course at Lion Lake CC (right) is an exacting and memorable test 56
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The legend of Old Tom Morris lives on at the Home of Golf with the unveiling of the four-time Open champion's renovated workshop, writes Lewine Mair
Courtesy of St Andrews Links Trust
heila Walker, the great-great granddaughter of St Andrews legend Old Tom Morris, will never forget that dark evening last winter when the workmen who were renovating Old Tom’s Shop – which overlooks the 18th green of the Old Course – tapped on her door. They called her down from her second-floor home under pretext of wanting to show her how part of the chimneybreast had fallen in. Only when she got there did they say, “There’s something else you need to see.” In one of those eureka moments, they had uncovered Tom Morris’s original locker – Locker No 1. “It was a truly amazing night,” says Walker. “The workman found a couple of doors from the other 15 or so lockers but Old Tom’s was the only locker which was intact.” 58
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Today, it is on display in a glass cabinet, one of several Old Tom artefacts to give visitors to T Morris, as the shop is back to being called, the feeling that they are sharing in the former Open champion’s life and times. “I think interest in him is escalating, if anything,” says Walker, who adds that they also unearthed a brown and gold-leaf sign saying that the business had been under continuous family management. That was one object she kept under wraps, the reason being that she is not managing the shop. “I am just the owner – HKGOLFER.COM
but a very happy one at the way the business is being handled.” The St Andrews Links’ Trust, who took over Tom Morris Ltd last year, are the people at the helm, with their chief concern one of ensuring that future generations will continue to revere Old Tom and the contribution he made to the game of golf. Yo u w o u l d h a v e thought that winners of the early Opens, where there were only a handful of competitors, would not have come close to making the same great names for themselves as the players of today but Old Tom was as much of a character as any Tom, Jack or Gary. Indeed, it was said of him during his lifetime that he was “known, it may be said without contradiction, in each of the four continents of the globe”. Old Tom won his Opens in 1891, 1862, 1864 and 1867. He was 46 for the last of those victories and, to this day, remains the oldest Open champion of them all. Just as his 17-year-old son, Young Tom, was the youngest when he followed on from his father in taking the title in 1868, 1869 and 1870. At that, he won the red leather and silver Championship Belt outright. Old Tom’s shop had opened in 1866, two years after he had been recalled to St Andrews from Prestwick where he had served as Keeper of the Green for 15 years. Almost certainly, his premises in St Andrews would have had a busy time of it in 1873, the first year the Open moved from Prestwick to the Old Course. There were 21 entrants on that occasion and all of them, including the winner, Tom Kidd, would almost certainly have gone to Old Tom for balls and club repairs. The reason the town so wanted Old Tom back in their midst was because they believed that this master of the links, with his wisdom and his diverse talents, would help to make St Andrews “the undisputed capital of golf”. “He was a multi-tasker,” says his greatgreat grand-daughter, who points to how HKGOLFER.COM
Old Tom was so much more than Keeper of the Green. Apart from running his shop and making his Tom Morris clubs and balls, he oversaw alterations to the Old Course and laid out the adjacent New Course, Old Tom’s thick wooden workbench was another of last winter’s discoveries. “I had no idea it was still there,” marvels Walker. The workman had removed the boarding which had covered it up for so many years – and there it was, unchanged from the Old Tom’s time. “It is a north-facing window, which is what an artist would want,” explains Walker. “There wouldn’t have been any shadows.” That north-facing window was necessary on two counts. Apart from the quality of light, it enabled Old Tom keep a watchful and proprietorial eye over the 18th green. If any local lads were fooling around on that hallowed piece of turf, he would be out of his shop in a trice. His dog, Silver, his constant companion in his later years, would no doubt have played his part in sending the youths packing. The fireplace where Old Tom would shape the gutta-percha balls is similarly back to how it was when the business started. Then, there would have been a spherical iron mould, with each gutty starting out as warm putty and coming out as a near-perfect sphere which was then hammered all over to make it fly better. Following the hammering, it would be given two coats of white paint and set aside for three months to cure before being sold. Each ball would be stamped with the same "T Morris" as was emblazoned across the shop front. Old Tom’s life was touched by tragedy as well as triumph. Young Tom died in 1875, they said from a broken heart. In September of that year, he and his father had gone to North Berwick to play one of their famous challenge matches against the Parks of Musselburgh and, during the course of the day, a telegram arrived calling for Young Tom to return home at once. His wife was in labour and dangerously ill. A member of North Berwick took father and son home by yacht and, when they arrived, mother and child were dead. Old Tom’s other children, including Jack, who spent his life in a wheelchair although he was entirely fit enough to help his father with the club-making, all died before he did, with the same applying to his beloved wife. This endlessly good and God-fearing man believed it was all part of the Lord’s plan.
St Andrews Style: The new facade at T Morris, which stands just beyond and right of the 18th green of the Old Course (left), the famous portrait (below) of father and son (Old Tom and Young Tom), captured in the 1870s
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The Old and the New: The calm and agreeable interior of the new T Morris shop; Old Tom's original locker on display 60
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Young Tom’s championship belt, which today sits in the hallway of the R&A, remained his proudest possession and he would show it to all the writers of the times. No less than would apply today, sporting scribes queued up “to fill their notebooks with what they must have hoped would be his last words.” Old Tom stayed busy. He continued to serve as a starter for important events on the links, he never stopped singing Young Tom’s praises – and he never lost his sense of humour. When, for example, a neighbour was showing off a new telescope, Golf’s grand old men took one look at the moon and declared, “She’s terrible full o’bunkers.” In 1908, six years after the R& A had commissioned a picture of him which has pride of place in their clubhouse, the then 87-yearold Old Tom finally died himself. He had been at the New Club where, after an afternoon of looking over a sunlit links with his fading sight, he mistook one door for another and fell down a stone stairwell. His funeral was an occasion for universal mourning in the town, for no citizen of that old grey town was more respected. “His coffin was followed by professors of the university, members of the R&A and other golf clubs from
o u r t y pica l PG A Tour journeyman professional has long b e e n c o n sid e r e d a r at h e r f ac ele s s i n d i v i d u a l . Ye s , he may well have accumulated vast riches for his solid, if unspectacular displays at the lesser tour stops, but with his khaki chinos and solid pastel shirts, he's not one to stand out from the field. This summation is probably a little harsh, but the fact remains: finishing in second place at the Children's Miracle Network Classic, an event that the likes of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and others of their ilk go out of their way to avoid, doesn't necessarily catapult you into golfing stardom. Unless, of course, you're Tommy Gainey. Gainey, who goes by the nickname "Two Gloves", is definitely not your average professional golfer. As his moniker suggest, he sports a glove on each hand (they're both rainwear models, regardless of the conditions he's playing in) and grips the club as if he's holding a baseball bat. His unorthodox swing gives hope to all of us weekend hackers, but despite all this, and to borrow a phrase: the man can golf his ball. A side from his advent ures at t he aforementioned Children's Miracle Network Classic in 2008, a result he achieved by firing a final-round 64 to earn him conditional status on the PGA Tour for the following year, the South Carolina native has enjoyed something of a breakthrough season in 2011. In total, "Two Gloves" has recorded six top 10s and nine top 25 finishes in the past eight months alone. Gainey has amassed over US$1.5 million in prize money and qualified for the FedEx Cup Playoffs in a highly credibly 30th place, which is higher than such luminaries as Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose and Vijay Singh. Fans of the Golf Channel's Big Break, a programme that pits unknown professionals against each other over a succession of golfrelated challenges, will remember Gainey from the Ryder Cup-style USA vs Europe series, one
Players to Watch # 2
Tommy Gainey This unconventional PGA Tour pro, a former star of the Golf Channel's Big Break, has been making waves of late, writes Alex Jenkins
of the more watchable Big Breaks, filmed in 2005. With his southern drawl and unconventional manner, Gainey proved to be a hit, with his fellow competitors describing his ball-striking abilities as that of a seasoned tour pro. Unfortunately, after shanking his shot over the fabled 18th green at St Andrews, Gainey was eliminated from the sixth episode. Despite the exposure generated by his appearance, it was only in 2007 that Gainey earned his Nationwide Tour card. Having status on any tour was a definite achievement for a man who, prior to turning pro in 1998, worked on an assembly line in a water heater factory. [Wonderfully enough, the water heater factory in question, AO Smith Corporation, now sponsor Gainey and have bagged the all-important advertising space on his cap]. As is so often the case with talented up-and-comers, the Nationwide Tour provided the perfect training ground for Gainey and he would finish the year on a high by making it through PGA Tour Q-School by clinching a tie for 19th. Whether Gainey can really break through and claim his maiden PGA Tour win remains to be seen. The Gainey File But he's certainly one to follow: the man is a birdie BORN: August 13, 1975 machine! Thirty-six-year-old Gainey, No 101 in the TURNED PRO: 1998, aged 22 world standings, is currently ranked fourth on tour PROFESSIONAL WINS: 7 (Nationwide Tour: 2; Others: 5) in Total Birdies (with 332 of them so far) and is BEST PGA TOUR FINISH: 2 - Children's Miracle Network Classic (2008) among the tour's most lengthy drivers. 3 - The Heritage (2011); Wyndham Championship (2011) Maybe he's not such a journeyman, after all. STATS: WORLD RANKING:
3 - Total Birdies; 41 - Total Driving 101
David Cunningham III contributed to this story HK Golfer・SEP 2011
Courtesy of St Andrews Links Trust
"That north-facing window was necessary on two counts. Apart from the quality of light, it enabled Old Tom keep a watchful and proprietorial eye over the 18th green. If any local lads were fooling around on that hallowed piece of turf, he would be out of his shop in a trice."
far and near. Old caddies came too and the Earl of Stair, who was captain that year, was one of the pall-bearers,” rememb ere d A nd r a Kircaldy, a well-known caddie, club-maker and golfer of the day. Walker inherited the shop from her mother when she died in 1996, with the property having come down through the female line. “None of this should have come to me at all,” she says. “My grandfather had a son called William Morris Hunter but he died at school at the age of 15.” The ref urbished shop has its own range of Tom Morris clothing – burnished orange and olive green were the main autumn colours – with all items bearing a modernised version of the old logo which Old Tom had been shrewd enough to design for himself. The glass display cabinet features a selection of the old champion’s favourite clubs, as well as his locker, while his picture hangs above the aforementioned fire-place with other family portraits around the walls. T Morris is an oasis. Far from being filled with sweaters and shirts and blaring music, as applies to so many of today’s golf stores, there is a sense of space and calm. If only in the imagination, you can almost hear Old Tom tapping away at his workbench.
Liang Wen-chong Chinese golf's leading light, Liang has become a truly global golfer. Here he talks about the importance of decision making as part of a series of 'Great Minds' interviews for this year's Ballantine's Championship
ow important is decision making in golf? Decision making is definitely a big chunk of playing golf. Decision making has a lot to do with whether you make mistakes and your probability of success, so if your decision making on the course is good, you’ll definitely be able to control the mistakes. Having said that, a good decision has a lot to do with practice and the experience you’ve accumulated in the past. You can draw a lot from your past experience in terms of avoiding mistakes and learning other lessons. Do you think your decision making improves as your career progresses? My performances have improved significantly over the years and of course my decision making ability has also improved. However, I have to realise that I’m always on a learning curve in my career. Some issues or problems, even though they happened in the past, may pop up in the future, so I must always be aware and learn from these experiences. When you make big decisions, how much is gut instinct and how much is calculation? I will use my experience at the US PGA Championship last year [when Liang finished tied eighth] to emphasise that you should remain focused and not be distracted. In the third round [when he shot a 64], I felt like there was only the shot and myself. I was super confident and I felt great every time I made a shot. However, on day four, I knew that it was a very important round and that I had to perform very well, so there were some minor distractions and my conclusion is that you need to be solely focused on the shot and try to minimise distractions.
Courtesy of Ballantine's Championship
What is your perfect state of mind when you stand over a shot? How does this help you make the right decision? Basically, there are three elements. First of all, you need to say to yourself that I’m here to enjoy the game. This is very important. Secondly, you need to be hungry to play well, hungry to make a good shot. Thirdly, you need to listen to yourself, because you have practised so much, played so many rounds, so you should follow your natural way of playing golf. Also, when you're off the course and practicing, you need to train yourself to have a positive mindset. You don’t have a classic golf swing, but have become one of Asia’s top players. How important has your mental game and inner strength been in helping you fulfil your potential? I believe there are two points. You need to think positively and you need to be confident in yourself because ultimately the swing itself is not important. It’s 62
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important how you feel and whether you think the shot will put the ball close to the hole or roll into the hole. My second point is that you need to have tenacity. You need to be iron-minded to continue to practise, to continue to improve. There are two follow-up points. You need to be very strong in your mindset. You should never give up even if there are problems or uncertainties on the course. You should still stick to your plan. Secondly, after each round, you need to review your performance and understand what you’re good at and what you’re still not good at, and focus on which parts can be improved. You need to be very clear-minded about your objectives. When you’ve played with the world’s top-ranked players in European Tour events and majors, what are the main things you notice about their decision making and what have you learnt? What I’ve seen in these top players is that they all have one thing in common – the long journey they’ve travelled to reach the top. If you look at YE Yang, he went from the Korean Tour to the Japan Tour to the European Tour and the PGA Tour. Look at Graeme McDowell, who did well in Europe and then started to win titles around the world and majors. Everyone follows that journey. You have a trajectory. You need to put in the effort and spend enough time practising in order to get stronger and become a better player. It’s the same with Martin Kaymer; there’s no secret to his success. You have to rely on your practice, as most of the effort is off the course. I also have started to look at myself as I want to summarise and share my experiences with young golfers in the future so they do not have to fall into the same traps I did. HKGOLFER.COM
Flying the Flag: Liang, 33, has been China's number one player since the early 2000s and shows no sign of relinquishing the title HKGOLFER.COM
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two-way because when you’re on the course and you want to hit the ball on to the green, you need to know which part or side of the green is safe and which is not safe. Back in life, you also need to be able to frame your choices this way – what you should do, what you should not do.
Can you pinpoint a personal moment of good decision making on the course? Decision making on the course is obviously very important, but equally your homework off the course is very important. You need to know the course very well before the tournament. Your mind needs to be crystal clear about which holes you can attack and which holes you can’t. You need to have your strategy formulated before the round. If I have to focus on a single shot, it was in the Singapore Masters in 2007, which was co-sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours. It was at the last hole and I chose to use a nine-iron to carry 140 yards and it landed close to the hole. [Liang won the event for his first European Tour title]. Which golfer, past or present, personifies good decision making and why? Ernie Els. First of all, his performances over the years have been very stable. Secondly, his swing is very good, very natural. Thirdly, he’s a very nice person, a gentleman. I’ve never seen him lose his temper, so that’s also very important. Because he’s so consistent and stable in his performances, he must have made many very good decisions. I admire him very much.
Courtesy of Ballantine's Championship
Ballantine's Boy: Liang, who is sponsored by the whisky giant, finished the 2011 Ballantine's Championship in a share of 27th place. The Chung Shan-born golfer recorded his best ever result in a major at the 2010 US PGA Championship finishing in a tie for eighth 64
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How has your ability to make decisions on the golf course helped you in life? I believe a good decision-making capability on the course is actually derived from your offcourse life and your practice. When you have a habit of reviewing your performances, when you can draw upon a lot of experiences, you will be able to make better decisions quicker. The most important aspects are your life and your practice. However, I believe the influence is actually
Which businessmen do you admire for their decisions and choices? I'd like to cite Li Ka-shing [founder and chairman of Cheung Kong Holdings and chairman of Hutchinson Whampoa Limited], the richest man in Hong Kong, although, I’ve never met him. Behind every successful business, there’s a different recipe for success. However, I believe common threads between success in business and golf is that you need to be focuses and persistent, because nothing is easy. What's important for a successful business or golfer is that you need to be focused on executing every detail well. I also admire his ideas of giving back to the community. Li Ka-shing has not only made a fortune but also created a lot of jobs and offered a lot of opportunities for local communities and families. Can you talk more about the way you also are giving back? Firstly, the Liang Wenchong Golf Foundation for Juniors is a natural evolution of the tradition of the Chung Shan Hot Spring Golf Club, because it was the first golf club in China and we want the foundation to continue to grow the club. Secondly, there’s also the responsibility to set a good example for the young golfers. Kids are watching me so it’s important I play well but also set a good example. Through the foundation, we can help more kids learn golf. It would be very expensive for families to pay for their kids to learn golf or to become a member [of a club]. When I began to learn golf, I had the support of Chung Shan Hot Spring. My family could not have afforded the golf coaching, so it’s important for me to give other kids those same opportunities. I also believe that golf is more than a game. It also has a very proud history and is about culture, and I’m very keen to grow that tradition through this foundation. I’m very proud that I’m able to make this contribution to carry on this golfing tradition in China. Great Minds Leave Great Impressions Ballantine's is exploring the role that mental strength plays in golf and the importance of making the right decisions at the right time. A host of the world's best players, including Liang Wen-chong, have been reflecting on how success comes to those with the ability to make these big decisions. For more information visit www.ballantineschampionship.com
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Scott Sizzles at Firestone Australian underachiever storms to first WGC title with Tiger Woods' former caddie on the bag
Adam Scott won the Bridgestone Invitational in early August, posting a finalround 65 to notch a four-stroke victory over Luke Donald and Rickie Fowler. Scott, with Tiger Woods' former caddie Steve Williams on his bag, finished with a four-round total of 17-under 263. "I felt good today," said Scott, who finished with a flourish with a birdie at the 72nd hole. "I stayed so patient. I picked my moments." The win was Scott's first WGC title. World number one Donald and Fowler both shot 66 for 267 while Japanese teen phenom Ryo Ishikawa carded a 69 to finish with a share of fourth alongside Australian Jason Day (69) on 268. Ishikawa, playing in the last group, challenged for the lead but Scott pulled away with birdies at 12 and 14 as the 19-year-old Japanese star three-putted 15 to fall back. "I was able to play well to be at least on top for a moment in the first half of the game today," Ishikawa said. "I think the 14th and 15th hole separated everything." At the 12th, Scott chipped in and at 14 he rolled in a putt from nearly 30 feet. He played the last 26 holes without a bogey and his winning total was the lowest at Firestone since Woods' 259 in 2000. Ishikawa's bogey from the trees at the final hole cost him a share of second place. Scott said it was a bonus having a caddie of Williams' experience. Williams caddied for Woods in seven victories at the Firestone course. Woods sacked Williams this summer and the New Zealander, who had caddied for Scott during Woods' recent injury layoff, made his relationship with the Australian permanent. "Obviously he has such a great knowledge of this golf course and the greens," Scott said. "He's seen a guy play incredible golf, the best golf anyone has ever played around here, so many times. "He really guided me around the course nicely – when he needed to step in and 66
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LPGA TOUR just make a point of where we need to be, he did, and had some great little notes in his book about putts on greens." Williams, who carried Woods' clubs for 13 of the American's 14 major titles, told a television interviewer it was "the best win of my life". He thanked family and fans for their support in remarks that were promptly interpreted as a dig at his former boss. The split between Woods and Williams, friends as well as long-time professional partners, caused plenty of buzz in the golf world and Williams admitted to nerves in his first outing as Scott's full-time caddie. "There were a lot of expectations today," he said. "I was nervous ... it's an incredible feeling to back it up." While Scott was happy to discuss what Williams could contribute, he refused to be drawn into any possible feud between Williams and Woods. "I'm not involved in it at all, and they know that," Scott said. "I'm just out here to do my job. They'll figure that out themselves. They're both men."
OFFICIAL WORLD GOLF RANKINGS As of August 29, 2011
10 Jason DAY
11 Nick WATNEY
12 Charl SCHWARTZEL
13 Graeme McDOWELL NIR 4.80 14 KJ CHOI
15 Bubba WATSON
WOMEN'S BRITISH OPEN
Carnoustie Golf Links, July 28-31 Taiwan's Yani Tseng confirmed she is the best player in the world by staging a successful defence of the Women's British Open at Carnoustie at the end of July with a four-shot triumph. The 22-year-old collected her fifth major – the youngest player to achieve the feat – with a final round 69 and a 16-under par 272 total. She won by a comfortable four shots from American Brittany Lang, who closed with a 67. Sweden's Sophie Gstafson, the 2000 champion, claimed third place on 11-under after a 68 and South Korea's Amy Yang was fourth on 11 under with a closing 67. It was Tseng's second major of the season – she won the LPGA Championship by 10 shots in June – and extended her lead at the head of the world rankings. "I feel so good," said a smiling Tseng. "This is a great place to win my second British Open because there is so much history attached to the course. I started out feeling a little nervous, but it was much easier than last year. I knew I could trust myself. I think the key was the ten foot putt I made to save par at the 15th. I had been struggling a bit with my putter but that made me feel comfortable." Tseng is three years younger than when Patty Berg won her fifth major in 1943 and she is now halfway to matching former world No.1 Annika Sorenstam's total of ten. 1 Yani Tseng 71 66 66 69 272 US$392,123 2 Brittany Lang 70 70 69 67 276 US$231,065 3 Sophie Gustafson 68 71 70 68 277 US$161,746 4 Amy Yang 68 70 73 67 278 US$126,536 5= Catriona Matthew 70 69 68 72 279 US$96,828 Caroline Masson 68 65 68 78 279 US$96,828 7= Anna Nordqvist 70 71 69 70 280 US$70,695 Sun Young Yoo 71 70 69 70 280 US$70,695 Na Yeon Choi 69 67 72 72 280 US$70,695 Inbee Park 70 64 73 73 280 US$70,695
CHAMPIONS TOUR SENIOR PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP
Westchester CC, August 18-21 Fred Couples finished off John Cook with a nifty wedge shot to three feet on the third hole of a play-off to win the Seniors Players Championship in mid August. "I knew when it was going, it was a really good shot," Couples said. "I didn't think it was going to be short and trickle down the hill. I just felt like it was going to be right there; I knew it was going to be close." Couples won his first senior major title, closing with an even-par 71 to match Cook (70) at 11-under on Westchester Country Club's West Course – a long time PGA Tour venue where Couples estimated he has played about 100 rounds in 30 years. Peter Senior (71) was third at 10-under. Couples, the 1992 Masters champion, won for the first time this season after winning four times last year in his first season on the 50-and-over tour. He won after having a non-traditional back procedure six weeks ago in Germany, and had to battle the stiff wind and a sore left hip that began giving him trouble during a nearly two-hour rain delay. "I wouldn't say I was playing awesome golf before the rain delay but it wasn't bad," Couples said. "After the rain delay, I just didn't feel very good. I hit some good drives but I was not all that great." Couples joined Jack Nicklaus and Raymond Floyd as the only players to win the Players Championship on the regular and senior tours. 1 2 3 4 5 6=
Fred Couples John Cook Peter Senior Tom Lehman Mark O'Meara Chip Beck John Huston Bernhard Langer Jeff Sluman Hal Sutton
68 66 68 71 69 68 66 70 66 69 68 71 73 67 67 68 68 70 69 69 73 70 69 65 72 70 68 67 71 73 66 67 65 73 69 70 73 68 67 69
273 273 274 275 276 277 277 277 277 277
US$405,000 US$237,600 US$194,400 US$162,000 US$129,600 US$83,700 US$83,700 US$83,700 US$83,700 US$83,700
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GLOBALTOURNAMENTNEWS EUROPEAN TOUR CZECH OPEN
Prosper Golf Resort, August 18-21 Oliver Fisher completed a remarkable change of fortunes by holding off a succession of challengers to capture the Czech Open. Six years after becoming the youngest Walker Cup player in history, the 22-yearold Englishman carded a closing 69 to finish 13-under-par at Prosper Golf Resort and win by two shots. The feat was all the more impressive considering Fisher came into the week 224th in The Race to Dubai, and having missed 20 of his first 21 cuts this season, before finishing 35th in Sweden and 45th in Ireland last month to indicate some improvement. He said: “Getting your first win is obviously special, but especially as I’ve struggled so far this season. My form has been horrific, but golf’s a funny game. I went through a lot of different emotions out there today. I hit it well on the range this morning, so that gave me confidence. I’ve played well since Sweden, and played better every week since. I did a lot of good work back home in the two weeks before this event, and it’s paid off. Hopefully this is the start of big things for me.” 1 2 3 4 5= 9=
Oliver Fisher Mikael Lundberg Fabrizio Zanotti Gary Boyd Lorenzo Gagli David Drysdale Steven O'Hara Steve Webster Gaganjeet Bhullar Tano Goya
71 67 68 69 68 68 72 69 71 71 71 66 71 67 70 72 69 70 74 68 69 72 69 71 70 71 65 75 70 70 71 70 70 74 64 74 73 66 72 71
275 277 279 280 281 281 281 281 282 282
€250,000 €166,660 €93,900 €75,000 €49,650 €49,650 €49,650 €49,650 €30,400 €30,400
JOHNNIE WALKER CHAMPIONSHIP
The Gleneagles Hotel, August 25-28 Denmark's Thomas Bjorn captured the Johnnie Walker Championship, winning a five-man play-off on the fifth extra hole in another step in his resurgence. This was the European Tour's first five-way playoff in 19 years. Bjorn birdied the par-five 18th to defeat South Africa's George Coetzee for his second victory of 2011. Austria's Bernd Wiesberger, Spain's Pablo Larrazabal and England's Mark Foster were eliminated earlier in the play-off on a cold and windy day at Gleneagles. All five players finished regulation at 11-under 277. Foster, who shared the lead entering the final round, had been ahead by three shots with seven holes to play. He bogeyed the 18th when he needed a par to win. Bjorn, winner of the Qatar Masters in February and fourth at the Open Championship in July, shot a final-round 69. He sealed the 12th victory of his career after a sensational seven-iron approach to the fifth extra hole from 150 yards. "The way I played the last three playoff holes, I can't be more proud of what I did," said Bjorn. "That seven-iron was probably one of the best golf shots I've ever hit." Bjorn became yet another golfer over 40 to win on the tour this season following Ernie Els (South African Open), Thomas Levet (French Open) and Darren Clarke (Open Championship). Bjorn jumped 11 places in the world rankings to No. 59.
1 2= 6= 8= 68
Thomas Bjorn George Coetzee Mark Foster Pablo Larrazabal Bernd Wiesberger Stephen Gallacher Joel Sjoholm Victor Dubuisson Kenneth Ferrie Ignacio Garrido
68 69 71 69 77 66 67 67 66 71 68 72 70 68 70 69 69 71 68 69 74 68 67 69 70 71 69 68 69 70 73 67 68 69 73 69 67 69 69 74
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277 277 277 277 277 278 278 279 279 279
€266,629 €106,429 €106,429 €106,429 €106,429 €51,993 €51,993 €35,942 €35,942 €35,942
EUROPEAN TOUR RACE TO DUBAI As of August 29, 2011
10 Simon DYSON
11 Pablo LARRAZABAL ESP €926,829 12 Alvaro QUIROS
13 Miguel Angel Jimenez ESP €852,747 14 Nicolas Colsaerts
15 Ian Poulter
record, which reads eight wins and a half from 11 matches, tells you that. The Ryder Cup is arguably the most pressure-packed event in golf and Donald has the best win-loss percentage in the biennial event's long and rich history. He is also, lest we forget, leading the European Tour's Race to Dubai by nearly US$2 million from his nearest challenge and is currently heading the PGA Tour's Total Money category (if not FedEx Cup standings). Nobody has ever won both tours' money lists. Ever. Donald is in prime position to do so. Doesn't that say something about the man? The problem the critics have is that they're too major-centric. But the assumption that only major winners can be considered as worthy contenders for the numero uno position is flawed. 2011 has been a brilliant year as far as golf's biggest events are concerned, but honestly, even those deeply rooted in the anti-Donald camp would have a hard time arguing that either Darren Clarke or Keegan Bradley is the best golfer on the planet. Schwartzel has followed up his Augusta triumph with some solid performances, but he's still nowhere as consistent as his undoubted talent deserves and is currently languishing outside the world's top 10. As for Rory McIlroy, who in many people's eyes is the natural successor to Tiger's mantle: he might have won the US Open in quite brilliant fashion, but he still only has three professional victories to his credit and, outside of Congressional, has looked decidedly shaky with the flatstick. Can the best player in the world be an inconsistent putter? Maybe. But McIlroy, who is arguably the greatest ball striker in the game today, still has some way to go before he is the finished article. Certainly Donald's peers seem in full accord with his position at the top of the rankings. "He totally deserves it," said Hunter Mahan, shortly after Donald had won the BMW PGA Championship."Nobody has been better." Schwartzel, who is as straightforward a man as you could ever wish to meet, is typically forthright. "He didn't become the No. 1 just by finishing in the top 10. He went out and beat the best player in the world at that stage." Jack Nicklaus, too, has indicated his approval. "There isn't anyone working on his golf game than I've seen in Luke Donald. He's a heck of a player and he's been rewarded for it. I'm very happy for him." But what does the man himself think of it all? Donald, who was born in the English Home Counties but who studied Art at Northwestern University in Chicago and is married to an American, is not the kind of chap that is easily riled. He's certainly not boring – as some would have it – rather, much like his game, he measures his words carefully. HKGOLFER.COM
"The Ryder Cup is arguably the most pressurepacked event in golf and Donald has the best win-loss ratio in the biennial event's long and rich history. What does that tell you?" "I kept thinking I had the ability and talent [to be No.1] Whether it will change me, I don't think so. The goal for me is to always continue to focus on the processes of getting better, and just because I have reached the pinnacle of the world rankings doesn't mean my work is done. I've got my own agenda, and I'm working towards winning, and winning as much as I can, and winning majors." And who's to say he won't do exactly that. He certainly has all the attributes – attributes that already make him the best player in the game right now.
Smiling Assassin: Donald reached the top of the rankings in May and doesn't look like relinquishing his position any time soon HK Golfer・SEP 2011
On Top of the World
Luke Donald took some by surprise by becoming the world's number one ranked player earlier this year, but nobody is more deserving, writes Alex Jenkins
few years ago, an American writer came up with the term "Luke Donald Disease" to describe what he felt was a talented British golfer who was cashing cheques thanks to solid performances but who didn't have the stomach or the drive to compete with the best in the game. It was an affliction, he reckoned. Here was an underachiever, a multi-millionaire before he had turned 30 but one who lacked the desire to make it to the really big time. "Thanks for the cameo, thanks for the cheque," he wrote after watching Donald finish an Open Championship in the top five. "Now back to the States for more of the same." That writer is no longer involved with golf, whereas Donald, now 33, has reached the summit of the world rankings. In normal circumstances that fact alone would be enough to put an end to the story. But the media's coverage of professional golf since Tiger Woods took an extended break following a runin with a tree on a quiet November's evening two years ago has been far from normal. Indeed, Donald's ascension to the number one spot has been met with hostility in some quarters. "As it stands right now, Donald's primary rival for least-deserving world No. 1 is fellow Englishman Lee Westwood," screamed one US newspaper in May. While it is certainly true that both Donald and Westwood, his predecessor, are without a major title to their name, the accusation that the former is undeserving of his current status is downright ludicrous. The flak that Donald has received is largely down to three factors: Tiger Woods' 600-plus week reign as the best player in the universe, the American media's disinterest of the European Tour and, most weirdly of all, the way Donald goes about his game. 70
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Donald, you see, isn't cut from the same cloth a s Tiger, Ph i l or even Westwood. He's a plodder, a master tactician, one who has exceptional control with his irons and an unbeatable short game. He doesn't smash the ball 340-yards off the tee; in fact, his average driving distance on the PGA Tour this year is a humble 282.6 yards, which places him 163rd in those particular rankings and means he's giving up nearly 40 yards to Bubba Watson. But it's in the rather more impor ta nt stat ist ica l departments where Donald rules the roost. Who has the best final round scoring average on the PGA Tour? Who has the best scrambling stats? Who has the most top 10s of the year? The answer is one and the same: Donald. The accusation that has been levelled at Donald almost constantly over the past decade is that he doesn't win enough. There is, I concede, some truth in the matter – the Englishman has only seven tour titles to his name, which is less than Tiger Woods, at his prime, won per season. But here's the thing: Tiger hasn't won – or even looked like winning – for two years, while Donald has picked up four victories in that time. This year alone he has won the WGCAccenture Match Play, where he defeated the then No. 1 Martin Kaymer in the final, and then followed that up by disposing of the next No. 1, Westwood, in a play-off for the BWM PGA Championship, the European Tour's flagship event. In between the two events, Donald very nearly won the Masters, outdone only by the width of the 18th pin and Charl Schwartzel's brilliance down the closing stretch. He has a killer's instinct, too; one look at his Ryder Cup
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