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HKGolfer

HK Golfer Clubhouse: Only Watch 2011, McLaren MP4-12C, Clarendon Hills ...

THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE HONG KONG GOLF ASSOCIATION

HKGOLFER.COM

ISSUE 58

NOVEMBER 2011

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NORTHERN IRELAND CHUBBY CHANDLER STATE OF THE LPGA

Poulter Strides Into Hong Kong

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contents

HK Golfer

Issue 58

64 On the Cover:

Ian Poulter returns to Fanling next month to defend the Hong Kong Open title that he won in such magnificent fashion last year Photo by Charles McLaughlin

Features

Plus…

40 | The Defending Champ

14 | In Focus

We catch up with Ian Poulter as he prepares to replicate last year's Hong Kong Open glory By Ron Totton and Alex Jenkins

48 | Red Hot Huang

21 | Tee Time

54 | Shifting Attitudes

28 | Driving Range

58 | Northern Exposure

HK Golfer・NOV 2011

A report on the recent Only Watch auction in Monaco By Evan Rast Our motoring editor joins Jenson Button for a spin in McLaren's superlative MP4-12C, deliveries of which commence in Hong Kong at the end of the year By Ben Oliver

The HK Golfer guide to the best golf in Northern Ireland, home of major winners Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell By Craig Morrison

30 | Liquid Assets

64 | Golf's Amazing Race

32 | Single Malts

Lee Westwood holds off Liang Wen-chong, Ian Poulter and Rory McIlroy to take the Shui On Land China Golf Challenge, a manic seven-day, seven city, 18-hole dash around the Middle Kingdom By The Editors



A pictorial review of the past 30 days – locally and globally By The Editors

China's number one amateur claims Hong Kong title – and books a berth in next month's Open – following a spectacular display at Discovery Bay Golf Club By Alex Jenkins More and more, women professionals the world over are discovering what they have in common, rather than the reverse By Lewine Mair

28

November 2011

68 | Final Shot - Chubby Chandler

Q&A interview with the most charismatic – and arguably most powerful– agent in the game By Alex Jenkins

We look at the influential Clarendon Hills estate and review its exceptional 2001 Old Vines Hickenbotham By Scott Ishbern Want to know our whisky editor's discovery of the year? Look no further than the Dalmore 18 Year Old By John Bruce

34 | Money Matters

Our financial columnist discusses how "insurance wrappers" can be a powerful tool in legitimately reducing tax By Howard Bilton HKGOLFER.COM


HK Golfer

THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE HONG KONG GOLF ASSOCIATION NOV 2011 • Issue 58

Editor: Alex Jenkins email: alex.jenkins@hkgolfer.com 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:

TIMES INTERNATIONAL CREATION

58 DE PA R T M E N T S 12

HK Golfer Mailbag

14

Local Focus

16

China Focus

18

Global Focus

38

Tour Talk

46

Around the HKGA

50

Hong Kong Open Qualifying

52

Local News

66

Social Scene

HK GOLFER is published by Times International Creation, 20/F, 28 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong. HK GOLFER is published monthly © 2011 by Times International Creation. Published in Hong Kong. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is strictly prohibited. PRINTED IN HONG KONG. 10

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HK Golfer Mailbag

Player of the Year

I have to admit to being totally bemused – and quite amused – by all this talk of Player of the Year. Should it be Luke Donald? What about Rory McIlroy? Even the names of Webb Simpson and rookie Keegan Bradley have been bandied about. While they have all had decent seasons – as you rightly pointed out in the September issue, Donald is very deserving of his number one status because of his sheer consistency – there can only be one candidate in the running: Yani Tseng! I have followed her progress for many years now and am delighted to see her achieving so much. With so many wins – including multiple major victories – already this year, this 22-year-old is my Player of the Year by a huge margin. Rebecca Moore Tai Tam Editor’s reply: I couldn't agree more, Rebecca. Yani has been sensational this year and has totally dominated her sport. We at HK Golfer were lucky enough to spend time with her 12 months ago and she is without question one of the most genuine and friendly professionals we've ever come across. What she is doing for the LPGA Tour and women's golf in general is simply unparalleled. Winning her fifth major at such a young age (Tiger Woods, by comparison, was 25 by the time he netted his fifth) shows what an outstanding impact she has made. Go Yani!

golf course to submit their applications. I understand that Rio de Janeiro has few quality courses, which explains t he need for a new purpose-built facility. But I was shocked to discover that that the winning candidate will only earn US$300,000 for the design. With the likes of Jack Nicklaus a n d G r e g No r m a n normally charging in excess of US$1 million for courses that bear their name, this seems like a rather small sum, especially when you consider that whoever gets the commission will have to set up an office in Brazil for the duration of the project. Do you think that this will rule out some of the more famous architects from submitting proposals?

Noosa Springs Noosa Heads, Queensland )256$/(,121(/,1(25,1',9,'8$//<

Simon Tan Via email Editorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s reply: I, too, was a little surprised by the amount on offer, Simon but in reality it makes perfect sense. The fact of the matter is that the winning firm can expect a slew of offers for new design projects on the back of the Rio course. You can be sure that there will be developers in China and other developing golf markets that would be very interested in securing the services of the winning architects. All the designers realise this â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and indeed, Nicklaus has already gone on record by saying that he and Annika Sorenstam â&#x20AC;&#x201C; his design partner for the Olympic bid â&#x20AC;&#x201C; would do it for free. The winning candidate will be announced on 23 December.

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Have something to say about an article in HK Golfer or a topic affecting golf in our area? Send your thoughts and comments to letters@hkgolfer.com. Please also include your address, contact number, email and HKGA #. The winner of the best letter will receive a bottle of Champagne Louis Roederer courtesy of Links Concept.

Â&#x2021;&KDPSLRQVKLSKROHJROIFRXUVHDQGFOXEKRXVH Â&#x2021;0DQDJHPHQWULJKWVIRUVKRUWVWD\DSDUWPHQWV Â&#x2021;/RFDWHGRQO\NPVIURP+DVWLQJV6WUHHWLQRQHRI$XVWUDOLDÂśVOHDGLQJWRXULVWGHVWLQDWLRQV Â&#x2021;2QHRIWKHODVWUHPDLQLQJGHYHORSPHQWRSSRUWXQLWLHVLQWKH1RRVDUHJLRQ ZZZMRQHVODQJODVDOOHFRPDX

I was interested to read recently that the organizers of the 2016 Rio Olympics have asked architects interested in designing the 12

HK Golferă&#x192;ťNOV 2011

HKGOLFER.COM

EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST Closing Midday (AEST) Wednesday 16 November 2011 Dean Humphries +61 428 408 156 Ben McGrath +61 438 112 192 dean.humphries@ap.jll.com ben.mcgrath@ap.jll.com

Blaze007207

Olympic Designs

Geoff McIntyre +61 417 718 410 geoff.mcintyre@ap.jll.com Brisbane +61 7 3231 1400


Local Focus Huang's Amateur Heroics China's Huang Yongle scorched his way to an emphatic 14-shot win at the Masters Golf Fashion Hong Kong Open Amateur Championship at Discovery Bay Golf Club last month. Huang, who hails from Chung Shan Hot Spring Golf Club in Guangdong, used his power (and a decidedly hot putter) to great effect in a miraculous second round of 10-under 62, which couldn't be counted as a new course record because the preferred lies rule was in place. Nevertheless, the 18-yearold will tee it up alongside the pros at December's Hong Kong Open by virtue of his victory. Photo by Daniel Wong


China Focus Poults' Pat Down Reigning Hong Kong Open champion Ian Poulter experienced some frisky business during the Shui On Land China Golf Challenge in early October. The Englishman, who took part in the sevenday, seven-city event alongside Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood and China number one Liang Wen-chong, is seen here at airport security in Shanghai on day two of the made-forTV tournament before boarding his flight to Zhengzhou. Poulter, who appears on this issue's cover, finished the showpiece in third spot, behind Liang and event winner Westwood. Photo by David Paul Morris/ Shui On Land China Golf Challenge


Global Focus Taiwan's Favourite Daughter Under the watchful eye of tens of thousands of local fans, Yani Tseng romped to a five-shot victory at the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship at the end of October. The 22-year-old Taiwanese star, who became the youngest golfer in history to bag five major titles after her win at the Women's British Open at Carnoustie in July, finished with a flourish, firing a stellar 66 over the tough Sunrise Golf & Country Club course in the final round. In doing so, Tseng extended her lead at the top of the Rolex World Golf Rankings over secondplaced Suzann Pettersen. Photo by AFP


CLUBHOUSE Away from the Fairways

The Jules Audemars Gstaad Classic Chronograph from Audemars Piguet

 TEE TIME

One-Off Wonders

Watchmaking's top players give their philanthropic best with unique creations for a worthy cause. Evan Rast reports on the recent Only Watch auction in Monaco

E

very two years, a special auct ion ta kes place i n Monaco u nder t he patronage of HSH Prince Albert II. Forty of the world’s biggest names in watchmaking come together in a extraordinary collaboration: presenting one-off pieces to be sold for the benefit of the Association Monégasque contre les Myopathies (A MM). The watches are either unique, or the first piece of the collection, and are often specially engraved for the occasion. As expected, the idea of having an “Only Watch” has attracted the attention of watch lovers around the world, particularly in Hong Kong. Our city was one of the stops of a travelling exhibition t hat a l so went t h rou g h Ba n g kok , Singapore, Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, Los Angeles, New York, Milan, and Geneva. Only Watch started in 2005 as a fundraising project of Luc Pettavino, the long-time head of the Monaco Yacht Show – that is, until last year when he stepped down to focus on the AMM and other CONTINUED OVERLEAF HKGOLFER.COM

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DeWitt

Concept Watch No 3: X-Watch The Concept Watch No 3: X-Watch is fittingly named because it houses DeWitt’s third in-house calibre, the DW 8046, which is a reversible movement: a short way of saying that the time can be viewed from the front as well as the back. What’s cool about this one is that it was supposedly inspired by a concrete mixer, and the face of the watch is partially covered by an X-shaped bonnet that is opened by push pieces on the upper and lower part of the case, splitting the X in the middle to reveal the transparent dial. The X-watch comprises several complications, whose mechanisms are cleverly hidden or worked into the design: a double biretrograde hours and minutes display tourbillon on the front, and then a chronograph and a power reserve indicator at the back. The watch comes in a 49mm diameter. The estimated price was between €350,000-€500,000; the watch was sold at €410,000.

Harry Winston

non-profit work. The foundation’s main goal is to fund research on a rare disease called Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), which is an inherited form of muscular dystrophy that leads to rapidly degenerating muscle tissue. It afflicts one in 3,600 male infants and has no known cure. Pettavino’s son, Paul, was born with the disease. So far research has been able to improve the quality of life of those afflicted with DMD, but medical science has yet to find a way to repair the gene defect. Now on its fourth run, Only Watch raised €4.563 million for the cause, adding to the €6.95 million already earned through the previous auctions. Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood and HSH Prince Albert II were among those present at the Salle Belle Epoque of the Hermitage hotel in Monaco on 23 September as 40 unique watches found their way onto their owners’ wrists. We take a look at a dozen of the most innovative, dramatic, and popular (exceeding estimates) timepieces from the auction.

Audemars Piguet

Jules Audemars Gstaad Classic Chronograph 2011 This watch may not have a hexagonal bezel, but with its 41mm case and robust dial design, the Jules Audemars Gstaad Classic Chronograph 2011 was definitely one of the most dashing pieces in the lot. Housed in a pink gold case unique to the Only 22

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Watch edition (the regular version is in titanium), the timepiece was designed in a combination of silver and anthracite, a chronograph, with a tachometric scale on the border of the dial, a central sweep seconds hand, subsidiary dials for the seconds, and a 30-minute register. Originally created for the 2011 edition of the bi-annual Gstaad Classic car rally, which Audemars Piguet sponsors, the model features a specially engraved caseback and a brown crisscross overstitched strap that reinforce the vintage car theme. The watch fetched a handsome €38,000 (from a wish price of €35-45,000) at auction.

Midnight GMT Tourbillon Harry Winston’s piece features a movement from its Ocean collection, f itted into its Midnight case. Coming exclusively in platinum, the 45mm watch has an automatic GMT tourbillon movement, with a power reserve of 110 hours. A ruthenium dial that plays with circles and textures features a secondary time

shown in the smaller dial at 9 o’clock, while Monaco, the auction’s location, takes a place of honour as one of the cities on the time zone display. The watch’s bezel, that subtly presents the three distinct arches of the Harry Winston’s New York Salon, borders the dial. The watch fetched €160,000 at auction.

Auction Aces (clockwise from top): Chanel's J12 Marine; the Concept Watch No 3: X-Watch from De Witt; Hermès' Arceau Time Suspended; the Midnight GMT Tourbillon from Harry Winston

Hermès

Arceau Time Suspended Hermès made a special edition of its much talked about Arceau Time Suspended for the Only Watch auction. If you haven’t heard about this timepiece yet, then you must brush up on the highlights of Basel 2011! It’s an innovation that allows one to conceal or “stop” time on the dial with a mere push of a button. One more push brings you back to the actual time. Though simply explained, the mechanism that allows this feat is truly quite complicated, requiring the watchmakers at Hermes to rethink traditional ways of their craft.. In fact, the construction and gear teeth are patented. The watch features a dial that seems quite simple at first glance, but upon closer inspection you’ll see that it has a triple retrograde movement – a world’s first – that allows time to disappear without interrupting the movement and the date counter. The Only Watch piece comes in a blue dial with a herringbone guilloche motif, and an engraved caseback. The winning bid for this watch was €27,000.

Chanel

J12 Marine Chanel presented a diver's watch for its Only Watch offering, the J12 Marine. Water-resistant to 300 metres, the watch comes in pink gold and black ceramic, with the brand's signature sandblasted case. Gold accents on the bezel, hands and indices distinguish the unique piece from the regular series. The J12 Marine is powered by an automatic 2892-A2 calibre, housed in a 42mm case. Pink gold luminescent hands, indicators and the numeral 12 ensure ultimate readability. A date window is sited between 4 and 5 o’ clock. Engraved with “Unique piece” on the caseback, the J12 Marine sold for €21,000 (wish price at €15,000-€20,000). HKGOLFER.COM

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Laurent Ferrier

Galet Micro-Rotor Laurent Ferrier ’s contribut ion is t he prototype for the next model in his celebrated Galet series. The watch features a unidirectional micro-rotor with a silicon direct impulse balance (offering less friction), and an 80-hour power reserve. The case comes in steel, and the elegant brown dial is guilloche-finished, with a seconds subdial at 6 o’clock. Golden needles in the shape of spears form the hours and minutes, and straight lines form the seconds. The overall aesthetic 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 the essential parts of the movement. The Galet Micro-rotor sold for €41,000, with a wish price of €25,000-€35,000

MB&F

Only Watch HM4 A fan of contemporary art, Max Büsser’s contributions to Only Watch have often been done in collaborations with artists. At the third edition of the auction two years ago, MB&F presented an Horological Machine No.2 with a blued gold butterfly, designed by Californian artist Sage Vaughn. This year the team presented the Horological Machine No. 4, the Thunderbolt, but with an 18k solid gold detachable panda on top, inspired by a painting by Chinese artist Huang Hankang of a flying

panda. The HM4 Thunderbolt is an amazing piece of engineering, with two mainspring barrels that offer 72 hours of power reserve. Instead of a dial, there are two turbine-like pods that display time on the right, and the power reserve on the left. This special watch fetched an impressive €410,000 at auction.

an ultra-thin handwound movement and small seconds at 10 o’clock. Black PVD coating is applied to the case, the buckle and the skeletonized 838P movement, while the dial boasts a guilloché motif, and dauphine hands embellished with pink gold finishing. (Wish price €25,000 - €35,000, sold for €54,000)

Patek Philippe

Reference 3939 Selling for a whopping €1.4 million from a wish price range of €450,000 to €650,000 Patek Philippe’s Reference 3939 was the most successful watch sold at auction. The buzz about this piece started weeks before the actual event, given that the line was recently discontinued. The brand also revealed that the watch is the only reference 3939 in steel (the previous versions were all in platinum) and will be the last ever produced. The watch features a black enamel dial with small seconds, and the caliber R TO 27 PS minute repeater and tourbillon movement, in a 33.3mm case.

Monaco Models (clockwise from top) Laurent Ferrier's Galet Micro-Rotor; the Altiplano Skeleton from Piaget; Patek Philippe's Reference 3939; the Rafael Nadal RM 027 from Richard Mille; MB&F's Only Watch HM4 24

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Piaget

Altiplano Skeleton Selling well over estimates, Piaget’s Altiplano Skeleton is a unique piece at 40mm (the new Altiplano is 43mm), a white gold case housing HKGOLFER.COM

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Richard Mille

Rafael Nadal RM 027 If you have been watching Rafael Nadal this year, you would have noticed the watch he’s worn to all his games since the French Open. Normally, tennis players (like golfers) who are watch ambassadors would wear a watch to press conferences, and before and after play, since they would be too heavy to wear during the game. But Richard Mille created a super lightweight watch, called the RM 027, which is made of titanium and LITAL (a lithium alloy). These materials have contributed to a creation that is less than 20 grams with the strap, making the RM027 one of the lightest tourbillons ever made. Lithium is also known to be a good shock absorber, which allows for the watch to be used in sports. According to reports, Nadal donated the watch he used at the 2011 Monte Carlo championships for the auction, personally handing it to Paul Pettavino after the awards ceremony. The watch sold for €510,000 (estimates between €400,000 and €600,000)

Vacheron Constantin

Métiers d’Art Perspectives d’Art “Dove” Vacheron Constantin presented a piece from its Metiers d’Art collection, which showcases more of the brand’s expertise in hand finishing. The watch is inspired from an MC Escher drawing of doves in flight, symbolizing hope and love. The workmanship is amazing: enameling is used on the red birds, opalescent enameling on the white ones, while hand-guilloché produces the gold birds. In addition, there is one bird set with 40 brilliant-cut diamonds. A 40mm white gold case houses the caliber 2460 SC movement bearing the Geneva seal, with a 40-hour power reserve. (Wish price €80,000 - €120,000, sold for €90,000)

Van Cleef & Arpels

From the Earth to the Moon VCA continues its interpretation of Jules Verne’s classic novels with From the Earth to the Moon. The watch is a colourful example of the brand’s expertise in poetic complications, with a rocket on the right side of the dial indicating the minutes, while a star indicates the hours on the left side of the dial. The stars and planets on the dial are a combination of champlevé enamel and fine gems. The earth and the moon extend onto the bezel of the 42mm white gold case, making the watch a unique piece. Again, this watch exceeded expectations as it sold for €215,000 from estimates of between €100,000 - €120,000.

Artistic Assortment: Vacheron Constantin's Metiers d'Art Perspectives "Dove" (top); From the Earth to the Moon from Van Cleef & Arpels 26

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 DRIVING RANGE

Power Play Ben Oliver joins Jenson Button for a spin in McLaren's superlative MP4-12C, deliveries of which commence in Hong Kong at the end of the year

“I

had a Bugatti Veyron for a few months,” says Jenson Button. The Veyron is the world’s fastest, most expensive car. “But I wouldn’t compare it to this. It just wouldn’t be fair on the Veyron.” Of course, you’d expect Button to be positive about the latest venture from the Formula 1 team that employs him. But his enthusiasm seems utterly genuine; uncontainable, even. We’re sitting talking in the new McLaren MP4-12C supercar as another, bright orange example goes streaking down the main straight at Portugal’s Portimao 28

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circuit. Despite having spent all morning on track, Jenson plainly hasn’t had enough. “Let’s go chasing,” he says, so we reach up, pull the gullwing doors shut and conduct the rest of the conversation at race pace. It’s hard to overestimate the importance of this new car. Ron Dennis, McLaren’s famously detail-obsessed boss, has decided to create, from scratch, a British supercar maker to rival Ferrari. Within five years, McLaren will have a range of three supercars, plus lightweight and open-top derivatives, and will make 4000 of them each year in the Norman Foster-designed factory it is building next to the McLaren Technology Centre, Ron’s Bond-villain headquarters sunk into the English countryside near Woking in Surrey. It’s a risky venture; the market for supercars is slowly recovering, but Dennis and his partners have no guarantee they’ll see the €900m they’ve invested in their road car project again. McLaren has built road cars before. It made over 2000 carbon-bodied, €350,000 SLRs for its partner Mercedes between 2003 and 2009. And most famously, it built just 107 examples HKGOLFER.COM

of the McLaren F1, at the time easily the fastest, most expensive car in the world, and now acknowledged as one of the greatest cars ever made. You’d have paid at least €630,000 if you’d had the foresight to buy one new; now, the best examples sell for €3.5m, if you can find an owner wiling to sell. So will your 12C prove to be as good an investment? It will be a lot cheaper, and McLaren will build a lot more of them; around 1000 of this model each year at €200,000 (HK$3.95 million in Hong Kong), pitching it directly against Ferrari’s sensational 458 Italia. But like the F1 and every McLaren Formula 1 racer since 1981, the 12C gets a carbon-fibre chassis, making it around 50kgs lighter than the aluminium Ferrari. It has more power too; its all-new twin-turbocharged V8 engine has a colossal 600PS to the Ferrari’s 577. So how quick is it? When the McLaren F1 first appeared it redefined fast, but the 12C accelerates even faster, and for a third of the price. It gets to 100kph in 3.1 seconds, shading the F1 by two tenths, and is half a second faster to the benchmark 200 kph at just 8.9 seconds. Less power means its top speed isn’t as high, but 330kph is hardly slow, beating the Ferrari by just 5kph. Privately, McLaren’s engineers say that number is conservative. I’d agree. On test, a couple of miles of clear, straight road I easily hit a genuine 309kph. The car was still pulling like a freight train; there was plainly lots more to come. The brawny turbocharged V8 delivers its grunt lower down the rev range than the highly-strung Italian, and the sensation under full acceleration is closer to the mighty Veyron. The seven-speed, twinclutch gearbox works like a proper F1 shifter. Hinged around the wheel, you can pull with your right hand or push with the left to change up, and there’s a hard, hollow howl as you home in on the 8500rpm redline. The way it stops as almost as impressive as the way it goes, and so is the way it goes around corners. The radical new ProActive chassis control system delivers both near-flat cornering on fast roads or racetracks, and a limo-like ride on cratered urban tarmac; they’re usually mutually exclusive. And the handling is incredible, the 12C using the Brakesteer system, developed by McLaren for its F1 cars but banned by the sport’s bosses, to gently brake the inside rear wheel through corners, sucking the nose tight into the apex. It’s even good as a daily driver. Supercars are usually a pain to get into, see out of, and park. No such issues here; the gullwing doors look dramatic but make access easy, and the terrific visibility, comfortable ride and quiet (maybe too quiet in ‘normal’ mode) exhaust make the 12C HKGOLFER.COM

a car you’ll be happy to bimble around town in. Bet you never thought you’d read that about a McLaren. The only real flaw we can find with the MP412C is its flawlessness. It’s oddly cool and aloof. Criticizing a car for being too perfect seems odd, but in a supercar, character and emotion and idiosyncrasy count for a lot too. Not that this is bothering Button, still out on the track and driving like his hair is on fire. When does he get his? “They haven’t given me a date yet. But I’ve ordered it. Black paint, black wheels, black cabin, red brake calipers and red stitching on the seats. It looks terrifying.”

Flawless Formula (clockwise from top): The MP4-12C accelarates faster than any road car McLaren have built before, reaching 100kph in just 3.1secs; Jenson Button shows our man how it's done at Portugal's Portimao circuit; from whichever angle you look at it, this supercar packs just as much beauty as brawn

SCORECARD How much? Engine: Transmission: Performance: Construction: How heavy?

HK$3.95 million 3799cc twin-turbo V8 592bhp @ 7000rpm 443lb-ft 7-speed automatic dual-clutch 3.1sec 0-100kph, 330kph Carbon fibre 1434kgs

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 LIQUID ASSETS

Clarendon

C

Hills Classic

Courtesy of Clarendon Hills

larendon lies about 25 miles south of Adelaide, just northeast of McLaren Vale. Boasting a unique micro-climate the area attracted the attention of a visionary biochemist with a blazing passion to produce some of the world’s best wines. Roman Bratasiuk, the larger than life vigneron, redefined Australia’s fine wine landscape when he began Clarendon Hills winery in 1990. Now, in a remarkably short period of time, international critics consider him amongst the greatest winemakers in the world. Simply put, his stated vision was to create single vineyard wines equal to anything in the world. Working with old, dry-grown vines almost a century old and performing every step of the process by hand, Bratasiuk sought to redefine the Australian fine wine landscape by solely conveying the imprint a vineyard forges on the varietal expression. Every year the pragmatic and calculated winemaker learned a little more about his vineyards capabilities and pushed a little further to propel each one of the 100 per cent varietal wines ever upward. The winemakers of Clarendon Hills refer to themselves as “varietal expressionists” and it’s easy to see why. They 30

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pride themselves on their creation of individual expressions, vineyard by vineyard. The winery boasts almost 20 separate vineyards, each with their own distinct and varied soils, sub-soil geological phenomena and aspect. The Clarendon pocket benefits from it’s elevation, parts being over 300m above sea level, and this gives the vineyards a distinct quality compared to the flatlands of nearby McLaren Vale. The topography of the land allows the cooling afternoon sea breeze from the Southern Ocean to move quickly through the canopies. It also allows picking to take place two to three weeks later than at the lower McLaren Vale strata. The vines are an original species of prePhylloxera vines which aren’t genetically HKGOLFER.COM

With a number of high profile fans, including the all-important Robert Parker, Clarendon Hills Grenache has attracted a great deal of attention. Scott Ishbern looks at this unique creation of legendary vigneron Roman Bratasiuk and samples the exceptional 2001 Old Vines Hickenbotham modified. These pre-Phylloxera vines display an incredible forecasting ability by calculating the conditions and resources, and adjusting their behavior accordingly. It is this “will to survive” that gives these plants their amazing longevity. A key vineyard in the Clarendon Hills stable is the Hickenbotham Estate. Alan Hickinbotham bought the estate in 1960 and his family have been instrumental players in the Australian wine industry ever since. Clarendon Hills sources grapes from this stately vineyard to produce a single site old-vine Grenache. Richly compact soils provide depth and a signature across the varietal spectrum, and the ancient vines supply the extraordinary fruit for this superb single varietal gem. HKGOLFER.COM

Matured in one and two-year-old Burgandy oak casks, Roman maintains that Grenache is ideally suited to warm, dry climates, the vines displaying a remarkable ability to ‘not shut down’ when the weather gets too hot. Significantly, Robert Parker is a fan of Clarendon Hills, especially the Grenache. As he said in 2001: “I have long been an admirer of the Clarendon Hills Grenache cuvees, and have purchased and drunk more than my fair share, always with exceptional pleasure.” In particular, he singled out the 2001, declaring that: “Barrel samples of this wine look to be one of the greatest Grenaches this extraordinary winery has yet produced. There are about 800-1,000 cases of this single-vineyard Grenache, which is made very traditionally in open-top fermenters with punching down. To reiterate, it goes in the bottle after indigenous yeast fermentations. This wine spends 18 months in primarily old oak prior to being bottled without fining or filtration. It is among the finest Grenache-based wine made outside of France's Southern Rhone Valley. 92-93 points.” He later added that “The 2001 Grenache Old Vines Hickinbotham Vineyard is a winner. This full-bodied, earthy, peppery wine is loaded with licorice-imbued black and red fruits. Expressive, elegant, and lush.” Harvey Steiman agreed in Wine Spectator, writing that the wine “strikes an uncanny balance between its elegant, refined frame and its dark, powerful black cherry, blackberry and rose petal flavors, hinting at white pepper and cream as it all lingers effortlessly. 92 points” Now a decade old, the 2001 has matured beautifully. It is a lovely rich wine, earthy and with rich red-berry fruits. Delightfully fullbodied it is almost port-like in appearance. It has velvety tannins and boasts a long smooth finish. Patience is rewarded, and this should be decanted an hour before enjoying. This is an exceptional wine, one that is drinking beautifully right now.

Master of His Craft: Clarendon Hills' Roman Bratasiuk (left), one of Australia's most highly respected winemakers

Special Reader Offer HK Golfer can offer a very small parcel of the 2001 Clarendon Hills Grenache Old Vines Hickenbotham. At their peak, retail prices exceeded HK$1,000 per bottle but we can offer the wine in cases of 12 for only HK$550 per bottle. Minimum order of 12 bottles; professional storage available if required. Delivery anywhere in Hong Kong at cost. Offer expires 15 December, 2011. Please order by email: wine@hkgolfer.com or call (852) 3590 4153.

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At the end of a great day...

 SINGLE MALTS

A Triumph of the East Whisky editor John Bruce reviews the Dalmore 18 Year Old, which he describes as his greatest discovery of the year

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hose of you who read October’s edition may recall that the second half of my “two for £70” at Heathrow offer, along with an Isle of Jura expression, was an 18 year old Dalmore. Dalmore distillery is situated on the northern shores of the Firth of Cromarty and it is a true Highland malt both by location and characteristics. It is positioned far to the north and east of Jura geographically but the origins of this malt whisky owe much to events considerably further east than the Black Isle which the distillery overlooks. Although it is now owned by Whyte and Mackay, the founder of Dalmore distillery in 1839 was one Alexander Matheson, who apparently made his fortune by importing illegal opium in the Far East. I am fortunate enough to get invited to the St Andrew’s Day celebrations in the Penthouse of Jardine House which of course, revolve around a bottle of whisky so I think perhaps, given this coincidence of history, that the Taipan might consider The Dalmore as his malt of choice. Wishing to retain my invitee status, this is only a suggestion of course! Closely associated with the Clan Mackenzie, each bottle of Dalmore bears the Clan emblem of a 12-pointed stag, and this distillery has enjoyed great success, particularly with its limited edition expressions. In particular, the 62 Year Old, which was a blend of five casks from 1868, 1878, 1922, 1926 and 1939, and broke the world record three times for the price of a single bottle of malt whisky. In 2002, a bottle sold for the absurdly large amount of £22,000 but this was surpassed with some panache by a gentleman who in 2005 paid £32,000 at a hotel in Surrey and promptly drank it with friends. This tale encapsulates my thoughts on malt whisky as an investment; it’s potentially tremendously profitable but, like Robert Louis Stevenson, can easily suffer from consumption. 32

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... a sublime experience

However earlier this year, a bottle of the 62 was sold to an anonymous Chinese gentleman in Singapore airport duty free for the handsome sum of £125,000. There were only ever 12 bottles of the 62 produced and some have no doubt gone the glorious way of the Surrey bottle but the few that remain will be true collectors’ items. The Singapore record seems to repeat the tale of Alexander Matheson in that, once again, the Scots have headed east to make their fortune (as have many of this publication's readers, no doubt). Though as the Heathrow offer shows, not all Dalmore in airports is beyond the reach of the ordinary aficionado and the 18 Year Old expression that I bought was £35 particularly well spent. This expression has won many awards and it is immediately apparent why this is the case. The water for the whisky comes from Loch Morie via the river Alness, a famous salmon fishing waterway that runs beside the distillery. It is distilled in large copper stills, matured for 14 years in American white oak barrels before being finished in Spanish sherry casks. These ingredients and methods all contribute to a unique Highland malt as does the proximity of the distillery to the sea with the salt air adding its own influence to the complex flavours of this whisky. The nose is sweet and somewhat citrus and there is a hint of something smoky. The initial taste is both fruity and woody but the finish is where this whisky excels. It almost sets in the mouth as the liquid seems to thicken with a rich and sweet finish akin to a “Terry’s Chocolate Orange” imbued with a sublime and ever so slightly smoky alcohol. My enthusiasm for this Dalmore expression is such that on my orders, my recent visitor from Scotland spent £70 on two further bottles which I look forward to appreciating as I need corroboration from learned palates of my total regard for this malt, which I consider to be my greatest discovery of 2011. This distillery founded through the results of the Scottish Diaspora, produced the first malt whisky to be exported to Australia and its current expressions have followed the path to success in the East of its founder. The 18 Year Old expression comes very highly recommended. 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.

lastdrop@hkgolfer.com; (852) 3590 4153 lastdropdistillers.com


 MONEY MATTERS

Premium Savings Howard Bilton discusses how "insurance wrappers" can be a powerful planning tool in legitimately reducing tax for expatriates

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istorically, high tax governments have always encouraged their residents and citizens to insure their lives, provide for their retirement and give to charities. It is unlikely that this is going to change. If the head of a household does not insure his life, on his death his family may have insufficient resources to look after themselves, so governments encourage life insurance by allowing the investments held by life insurance policies to grow tax free. In addition, the policy holder is not taxed on the underlying income and capital gains until it is actually paid out. If a person does not provide adequately for their own retirement then they and their family may need government support and resources to maintain themselves. So governments give tax deductions for payments into a pension fund to encourage everyone to save for their retirement. Charities undertake work which governments either should or would otherwise have to do and therefore they help to ease the burden on government finances. As a result, governments give tax breaks to those who donate to charities as long as the charity in question has government approval – i.e. the government have decided that its work is worthy enough to be granted charitable status. One of the greatest critics of charitable efforts was, surprisingly enough, Florence Nightingale. She argued that the higher the costs of a war the sooner it would end: volunteers helping to care for wounded soldiers reduced expenditure, which made it easier to engage in wars more often and for longer. She found herself at odds with the other great international aid worker of the time – Henry Dunant, who founded the Red Cross. He argued that we should help whomever, wherever and whenever. Nightingale thought his views absurd. In her excellent book War Games, Linda Pullman argues convincingly that many humanitarian disasters are caused or contributed to by aid organizations as their donated money ends up in the hands of those who are actually causing the problems in the first place. Often the perpetrators act in the most horrendous ways purely to get the aid money flooding in so that they can use that to buy weapons and fund vicious campaigns. Governments are becoming ever more sophisticated in countering the clever plans hatched by tax practitioners. They are also becoming increasing intolerant of outright tax evasion and increasingly successful in catching those who rely on confidentiality to avoid or evade taxes. The net result is that it is becoming harder to avoid tax through legitimate planning and much harder to get away with illegitimate tax evasion which frequently revolves around parking money in “secret” Swiss accounts. There are still powerful planning tools available which can be used creatively to achieve legitimate tax savings and life insurance, pensions and charities are those tools. The United Kingdom is particularly generous to insurance companies. The leading case on this matter involved Professor Peter Willoughby, a colleague who lived in Hong Kong for many years. Before returning to the UK he set up what is commonly known as an “offshore bond” through which he made investments into various funds. On his return to the UK the Inland Revenue (now called HMRC) argued that this was done purely for the purposes of tax avoidance and therefore they could rightly ignore the tax advantage achieved and tax him on 34

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the underlying income and capital gains as though the investments were owned by him personally. An offshore bond is a form of life insurance. A lump sum is given to the life insurance company who then invests it in an agreed range of funds and segregates those assets from all other policy holders. In the event of the death of the policyholder the insurance company pays out whatever the underlying investments are worth at that time plus a little extra which represents the real insurance element and differentiates the policy from a savings account. For the policy to be life insurance there must be some level of insurance and risk to the insurance company. Five per cent of the policy amount can be withdrawn each year tax free for 20 years. This is not so generous as it represents just a return of the original capital amount invested in the policy which has already been taxed. Further amounts over and above five per cent per year can be withdrawn but they are taxable. The asset owned by the taxpayer, then, is the life insurance contract which invests in the underlying funds rather than the funds themselves. Hence the lenient and advantageous tax treatment. The Willoughby case went to the House of Lords. There Professor Willoughby successfully argued, with his costs being paid by the insurance company, that Parliament had initiated a statutory concession so only Parliament can take that concession away and the general anti-avoidance principles could not apply to this particular form of tax planning. He won. As often happens, the Inland Revenue applied to change the law to remove the tax break. They had a limited amount of success. A change in the law was passed which meant that where the investment of the funds within the policy were self-directed there would be a deemed capital gain equal to 15 per cent of the insurance premium. However, the substantial tax breaks remain and are now highly unlikely to be altered in the foreseeable future. Thus life insurance remains a powerful planning tool. The offshore bonds sold by the major insurance companies or rather by agents acting on their behalf, do carry some attractions as HKGOLFER.COM

they allow the underlying funds to be bought and sold at reduced cost. For expatriates who will return to the UK at some stage they will shield the underlying investments from tax just as described on the tin. It is possible to take out tailor made life insurance contracts which can be used to own private investments such as the shares of an offshore company which is doing real business, properties and individual stocks, shares and funds. Such “insurance wrappers” can be a powerful planning tool and, again, shield the underlying assets from being taxed. Most countries around the world give similar tax breaks to this type of product, so if you are living or going to live in a high tax country which taxes worldwide income irrespective of source (most high tax countries do this) then it could be that this type of insurance policy, adapted for the laws of the country in question, will be equally as effective now as it will be on return to the UK. Recently in the news has been the Swiss banks giving up details of account holders to various tax authorities. Having that account held by an insurance wrapper would have meant that no report of the account and the income and capital gains made within it would have been required nor would any tax have been illegally avoided. This is still the case. Why this solution has not better been used by the Swiss banks is a mystery. So don’t set

The offshore bonds sold by the major insurance companies do carry some attractions as they allow the underlying funds to be bought and sold at reduced cost. For expatriates who will return to the UK at some stage they will shield the underlying investments from tax just as described on the tin. up “secret” accounts and hope to avoid tax by not being caught: use a legitimate and very effective planning tool – the life insurance wrapper. Residents of Hong Kong are taxed at low levels and only on Hong Kong source income so these insurance products will have little attraction. But many expatriates eventually return home, retire to another high tax country (such as THE UK, France or Spain) or just spend so much time in another country that they become tax resident there even if they maintain their Hong Kong links. For them life insurance may just be one of the few legitimate ways of reducing their taxes. Howard Bilton is a UK barrister, professor at 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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tour talk

Strong Field Set for HK Open Justin Rose will join US Open champion Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter and teenage sensation Matteo Manassero at next month's Hong Kong Open, to be played from 1-4 December at the Hong Kong Golf Club. Rose, who recently captured his third PGA Tour title, will be making his debut at Fanling and is confident of replacing the success of last year's winner Poulter – his teammate at the Omega Mission Hills World Cup, to be played at the end of November – in claiming the title. If successful it would be his first European Tour victory since 2007. "I'm looking forward to being part of what is shaping up to be a tremendous field for the Hong Kong Open," said 31-year-old Rose, who famously finished fourth at the 1998 Open Championship when still an amateur. I know there was great atmosphere when Ian won there last year and I cannot wait to be part of it. It would be great to round the year off with a victory in Hong Kong." Other confirmed entries (at the time of press) include 2009 US PGA champion YE Yang, double Hong Kong Open winner Miguel Angel Jimenez, England's Ross Fisher, Ryder Cup player Edoardo Molinari, Spain's Alvaro Quiros and Peter Hanson of Sweden.

Brilliant Donald Tops US Money List

AFP

World number one Luke Donald played arguably the round of his life to claim the PGA Tour money list by a whisker last month. Only joint 14th and five shots behind the leader starting the final round of the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic in Florida, and possibly needing to win to overhaul American Webb Simpson, Donald fired a superb 64 to claim the title by two shots. It was his first stroke play win on the PGA Tour for over five years and gives him a great chance of becoming the first player to top the money lists on both sides of the Atlantic in the same season. Donald maintains a €1.3 million lead over second placed Rory McIlroy in the European Tour's Race to Dubai standings. "Everything was on the line," said 33-yearold Donald. "I'm thrilled and over the moon. I thought my chance might have gone ... it's nice to do it under pressure when I needed to. It's been a tremendous year for me. I answered a lot of critics' questions."

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interview

The Defending

Champ Ron Totton and Alex Jenkins catch up with Ian Poulter as he prepares to replicate last year's Hong Kong Open glory

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welve months ago Ian Poulter put on a four-round master class at the Hong Kong Open to secure his second tournament win of the year. By anyone's reckoning, his play was sublime. Kicking off with a tidy 67, the outspoken Englishman wowed the Fanling galleries on the second day when he tore round in just 60 strokes. Following up with rounds of 64 and another 67, Poulter – the golf world's most popular tweeter with a staggering 1.2 million followers – eventually prevailed by a shot from countryman Simon Dyson and exciting young Italian talent Matteo Manassero. That epic performance, many thought, would have been the catalyst that lifted Poulter on to bigger things. Yes, he finished second a week later at the Dubai World Championship – famously incurring a penalty in the play-off after accidentally dropping his ball on his diamond-encrusted platinum marker to lose to Robert Karlsson – and then he won the World Match Play event in Spain in May. But 2011 cannot be considered a standout year, not by Poulter's standards at any rate. Missed cuts at the US Open and The Open were bookended by mid-field finishes at the Masters and US PGA, putting Poulter's major ambitions on hold for yet another season. But the 35-year-old is not one to dwell on past misfortune. Indeed, Poulter – once maligned as simply a snapper dresser, one lacking the all around game to challenge for the biggest titles – is nothing if not confident. His pathway into the professional game tells us that. Unlike any other world-class golfer – and Poulter, who in 2010 reached the heady heights of number five in the world rankings, is certainly that – the defending Hong Kong Open champion did not enjoy an impressive amateur career. Indeed, Poulter had no amateur career to speak of at all. Turning pro with a handicap of four at the age of 19, this engaging North Londoner (and avid Arsenal supporter) spent more time in the following three years re-gripping clubs and selling confectionary in the pro shop at a local golf facility near to his hometown of Stevenage than he did practicing. But it was the confidence and belief in himself and his game that took him first to the Challenge Tour and thenceforth to the far grander stage of the European Tour and , in 2005, to the PGA Tour. His story – in the modern game, at least – is unique. Now, of course, he is heralded as not only a wonderful Ryder Cup player – he is something of a match play specialist – but also something of a businessman. Launching IJP Design four years ago, Poulter's energy and enthusiasm (not to mention style) has made a success of his much-talked-about clothing line. But despite his off-course apparel adventures, Poulter remains firmly focused on his original ambition: being a winner, which is something he is all too keen to replicate at Fanling next month.

Charles McLaughlin

Sensational Showing: Poulter's showing at the 2010 edition of the Hong Kong Open was one of the best in the tournament's 53 year history 40

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You came into the event very confident, and even told Graeme McDowell beforehand that you’d win. Was this a gut feeling, or were you just playing so well that you thought you’d leave everyone in your wake? Unlike a lot of players I have an off season at the end of September or early October and last year I was working really hard on my game and my fitness during my break. I came back to the Asian swing [of events] with confidence, feeling fresh and revived and ready to take on everyone. I was having lunch with Graeme and I told the lads that I was going to win that week! Everyone started to laugh but I told them that I just knew I was going to win – I just felt so good and so confident and I did it! Where does the self-belief come from? Do you do anything to work on confidence? As a young boy I always had the belief in my ability and this was instilled by my father. Whether it was football, pole vault, anything – I believed if I applied myself and did it to the best of my ability that I could achieve anything. I have always enjoyed being under pressure and to be forced to go out and deliver – I just love pressure and I thrive on it. When I think back to my school reports they always would suggest that when I applied myself I can accomplish anything ... but also the report said that I was easily distracted. That is maybe why my record in match play is better than that of stroke play events. It has highlighted something I have really worked on – staying focused on the shot at hand and I have been working on that in my game to take to stroke play events.

"It was very exciting to come down the home stretch with a chance to shoot 59. I love playing Fanling – it's very much an 'Old School' layout."

Courtesy of IJP Design

What are your memories of last year’s Hong Kong Open? Great memories of last year’s win at the Hong Kong Open. I had an opportunity to shoot 59 [in the second round] and it was very exciting to come down the stretch with a chance to do it. It was great to have the opportunity and I almost pulled it off – loved the feeling of coming to the end of the round with that kind of opportunity. I was very proud of how I played and I can’t wait to come back to defend as I love playing The Hong Kong Golf Club course – it's very much an 'Old School' layout. 42

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thrive in the match play format and just really enjoy the pressure and just seem to do well. I always have done. With good results at all four majors last year, a couple of wins and a near miss in Dubai you were poised to break into the top 10 in the Official Golf World Rankings. This year has seen your ranking slip a little [at the time of press Poulter was ranked 28]. Is that a result of trying to change anything in your game? Although I won a tournament this year I am disappointed in my performance and in my results. I'm building a new home and have various business interests – I felt I allowed myself to become a little distracted, which affected my game and my performance on the golf course. After some time off at home I have worked hard and am very focused on my game. I'm very excited about getting back on the golf course. I look forward to great results this coming season – although defending my Hong Kong Open title is certainly a big priority before that starts.

You're definitely classed as a world player, but how difficult is it to balance both the US and European tours when there is so much money on offer on both – particularly with the Race to Dubai and the FedEx Cup offering such rewards? Obviously it is tough to travel as much as I do but I have always committed to playing both the European and PGA Tour. I think the most PGA events I played was 18 in one season. Playing both makes Ryder Cup qualifying difficult but I see myself as a global player with a global brand and enjoy playing around the world. I work really hard to maintain my status on both tours and having won tournaments makes that much easier.

Designs on Life: The Englishman keeps a close eye on his highly regarded apparel brand - IJP Design

Your route to the pro ranks was far from conventional. Did you always believe you would become a top player winning PGA and European Tour tournaments and contending in majors? Speaking of which, which major are you best suited to win? Yes, I have always believed in myself since I was young – it is just who I am. I love the atmosphere

Was there ever any doubt about returning to Hong Kong to defend your title? Not at all, as I I love playing in Asia and love playing the Hong Kong Golf Club, which is a great test and has stood the test of time. Every year I plan my schedule around playing this Asia swing and this year I am spending a significant amount of time playing in China and Hong Kong. Hong Kong is a vibrant city with a great buzz. Everyone is very happy to host us and show us a great time. As you say, your match play record is perhaps superior than your stroke play record, with wins at both the WGC Match Play last year and the World Match Play in Spain this year – plus, of course, your stellar Ryder Cup record. You must wish there were more match play events? Yes I do. I was very proud when I won the World Match Play – an event that has also been won by Seve, Player, Palmer, Nicklaus and other famous champions. I think I was the first Englishman to win both of those events. I HKGOLFER.COM

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The Bag

DRIVER My 8.5 degree Cobra ZL Encore has an Aldila Phenom 50 gram X flex shaft.

3-WOOD This is a fairly recent change for me, the Cobra AMP, which has a Project 76 gram X flex shaft.

HYBRID I carry a Titleist 12 degree 909H. The shaft is an Aldila NV 85 X flex.

IRONS My 4-7 irons are Cobra S3 pro Cavity Back; my 8 through pitching wedge are Cobra S3 Pro Muscle Back. The shafts are True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour X100.

PUTTER I've had this customized Rife Island Series putter in the bag for a while now. It obviously suits me.

WEDGES I carry two Titleist Vokey Design Spin Milled C-C wedges; 54 and 60 degrees. They are custom grinded and need replacing twice a year.

Distances

"Although I won a tournament this year I am disappointed in my performance and in my results ... I am very focused on my game and am looking forward to getting back on the golf course."

Daniel Wong

Fanling Fun: Poulter gestures to playing partner Rory McIlroy after holing a birdie putt on the ninth hole during last year's Hong Kong Open 44

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of majors with the excitement and media pressure – there is so much buzz around all of those events. I would love to win all four majors obviously – it is what every player wants. Augusta – we play every year and it is a fabulous golf course and requires imagination that I love and I have played well there and led once after 36 holes. At the same time all the other majors are equally important and it’s always nice to return to St Andrew’s every five years. I have yet to win a major and so I have work to do but I am focusing on trying to hit the right shots at the right time. How is the clothing line going? How much time do you spend on that side of the business and is it a good or bad distraction at times?

Things are going very well. I enjoy business and love learning new things. I believe I may be the first player to actually own my own clothing line and haven’t sold the rights to anyone else. I keep a close eye on it and want to make sure we don’t grow too quick. We have all our Tartan’s registered with the Scottish Tartan Authority and control quality for us is key As much as I love business, I love golf and that is my job! I will leave the logistics to the experts and the distributors and to my great team and focus on my golf game. I am very excited about the fall line up though. David Feherty has made a few snide remarks – in fun – of your clubhead speed. Are you doing anything to improve on this? [Laughs] I have been in the gym working very hard – harder than I ever have to be honest. I figure stronger will lead to more power but I don’t mean bigger, just lean and strong. So working hard along with getting the right mix of equipment will help me increase club head speed which is what we are all after! HKGOLFER.COM

CLUB Driver 3-wood Hybrid (17°) Hybrid (21°) 4-iron 5-iron 6-iron 7-iron 8-iron 9-iron PW GW (54°) SW (60°)

BALL I use the Titleist Pro V1x with a black line to identify it as mine. I will never use a #3 ball.

Short Game Expertise

My short game stats have been down this season, so it's something I am seriously looking at improving. But I really enjoy the short game practice and taking on the tough shots. There are so many different techniques to try but what I think is key is to understand is "bounce" and what it makes your golf ball do. Learn that and you will learn to hit any shot – even the most difficult. HKGOLFER.COM

Twitter

Having 1.2 million followers on Twitter is pretty surreal, I have to say. But amongst us players it's fun and gives us a chance to share with fans some insight into our day-to-day lives. It's amazing how you can share photos and streaming videos ... how we can have some fun and banter between ourselves, freely and openly. There are dangers, but the pluses outweigh the minuses.

YARDS (Carry) 280 250 235 220 210 200 185 172 160 148 135 120 100

Dreamflight

I have been supporting this charity for the past four years and it's something very close to my heart. Every year hundreds of kids with illnesses fly from the UK to Orlando to enjoy the amusement parks for 10 days or so. I get emotional talking about it, to be honest, but it's something I want to be involved in. The charity is wonderful and enables a lot of deserving kids to have a lot of fun. At the end of the day, that's what life should be about. HK Golfer・NOV 2011

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From the President With the heat of summer behind us, we have well and truly entered Hong Kong's traditional golfing season. The latter months of the year are a particularly busy time for the Hong Kong Golf Association with a number of events taking place over the period, and I'm happy to report that we have already witnessed some excellent performances over the city's courses and beyond. Following Hong Kong's excellent display in finishing second at the Putra Cup in September (which was one of the best results the team has recorded in a generation), team member Jason Hak returned to his base in the United States and fired a remarkable 10 birdies in the final round of the American Junior Golf Association's PING Invitational to finish second. Jason has enjoyed a remarkable past 12 months and is among the favourites to earn the AJGA's Rolex Player of the Year honours. Soon afterwards, Jason's teammate Terrence Ng did very well in making the cut at the Asian Amateur Championship, which was played in Singapore. This event, which offers a spot in the Masters to the winner, showcases the very best amateurs from Asia, Australia and New Zealand, so for Terrence to play all four days will have been an excellent learning experience for him. November normally means the Hong Kong Open, but this year the long-running championship, now in its 53rd

year, will be played from 1-4 December over the Composite Course at the Hong Kong Golf Club. This year marks the first time the Government’s Mega Event Fund has supported our show piece event and with their backing we have been able to secure an incredibility strong field, including amongst others the likes of defending champion Ian Poulter, US Open champion Rory McIlroy , Asia’s first ever Major winner YE Yang, the European Tour’s youngest ever winner Matteo Manassero and US tour regular Justin Rose, who will be making his Fanling debut. As we go to press everyone is working very hard to get more players to the event and we are confident that this will be the strongest field yet at a Hong Kong Open. Also, keep an eye out during the event for three amateurs: Shinichi Mizuno (a member of the Hong Kong Putra Cup team), who earned his berth having won the Hong Kong Amateur Close title earlier this year, Ronald Totton, who made it through the rigours of the qualifying event, and China's Huang Yongle, who showed quite brilliant form en route to winning last month's Hong Kong Open Amateur title at Discovery Bay Golf Club. Congratulations and best of luck to them all. I hope to see you at Fanling! —David Hui President

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Han Cruises to KSC International Win Unheralded Richard Han kept his nerve in blustery conditions to claim his maiden Kau Sai Chau International Open title in late October. Forty-nine-year-old Han, who started the final round tied for the lead with junior Ambrose Tam on 10-over-par, fired a solid 75 to ease to a seven-shot win over England's Alastair Hall in second place. Doug Williams, Kelvin Inge, Jeffrey Wang and 2010 champion Michael Chong tied for third, a further shot adrift on a three-round score of 237, although it was the veteran Williams who took home the third-place trophy on count back. With the Gary Player-designed North Course in typically unforgiving mood, Tam, like many in the field, struggled to find his game, slumping to an 85. Switching winds and firm, fast green kept low scoring to a minimum. Indeed, Han's second round of two-over 74 was the best of the tournament. "I didn't expect to win at the beginning of the event, that's for sure," said Dongguan-based Han, who opened with an 80 in the first round. "This is the only tournament I play in Hong Kong all year, so I couldn't be happier with the result. Kau Sai Chau is a beautiful place, but it always plays so tough. I was lucky to be able to keep it together today." 46

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hkga

Final Standings 1

Huang Yongle

CHN

72 62 73

207

2

Steven Lam

HKG

71 74 76

221

3

Park Nam-kyu

SUI

74 74 74

222

4=

Xiao Jie-yu

CHN

72 79 73

224

Vikrant Chandra

FIJ

71 75 78

224

6

Charles Davies

SIN

74 71 80

225

7=

Tang Kei-hin

HKG

77 72 78

227

Sebastian Lorenzo

PHL

73 76 78

227

9

Michael Stott

HKG

74 76 78

228

10=

Neil Keating

HKG

76 78 75

229

Ronald Totton

HKG

74 75 80

229

To the victor goes the spoils

In the Zone: Champion Huang Yongle

Red Hot Huang

Steven Lam bounced back well to place second

China's number one amateur claims Hong Kong title – and books a berth in next month's Open – following spectacular display at Discovery Bay PHOTOGRAPHY BY DANIEL WONG

H

uang Yongle put together one of the most impressive rounds in recent HKGA event history enroute to securing his first Masters Golf Fashion Hong Kong Open Amateur Championship title in mid October – and with it, a spot in next month's Hong Kong Open, where he'll tee it up alongside a host of European and Asian Tour stars. Eighteen-year-old Huang fired an astonishing 10-under-par 62 in the second round of the curtailed championship at Discovery Bay Golf Club, a round that contained an eagle and eight birdies. Huang, who is based at the Chung Shan Hot Spring Golf Club in Guangdong and is mentored by China's number one professional Liang Wen-chong, finished with a three-round total of 207 (nine-under-par) to cruise to a 14-shot triumph. Poor weather on the second day meant the normally 72-hole event was reduced to 54 holes, with the preferred lies ruling in force for the final two rounds. This meant that Huang's 62 couldn't be counted as a new course record, not that the long-hitting Huang was too concerned. "I'm really excited at the prospect of playing at Fanling with the professionals," 48

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exclaimed Huang after the last putt had dropped. "[The 62] is the lowest round I've ever had. Things went my way; I holed a lot of putts and my irons were very solid. I wasn't thinking too much, which helped a lot, I think." Huang, the number one ranked amateur on the mainland, was followed on the leader board by a resurgent Steven Lam, who battled back gamely after a shocking start to his final round. Hong Kong's Lam, 18, who held a share of the first round lead before Huang's second-day fireworks, overcame a disastrous 11 on the par-five sixth with seven birdies in a closing 76. Park Nam-kyu, from Switzerland, placed third, a further shot adrift, in the overall category but managed to scoop the Mid Amateur title, which is awarded to the best performing player over the age of 25.—Alex Jenkins HKGOLFER.COM

Switzerland's Park Nam-kyu finished third

Michael Stott bagged a top 10

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hk open qualifying

Amateur Hour Discovery Bay's Totton Makes Open Field

Ron Totton became the third amateur to make it into the field at next month's Hong Kong Open thanks to a gutsy final round at the 36-hole qualifying tournament held at Kau Sai Chau's North Course in late October. Canadian-born Totton, 40, finished with a two-day total of 148 (four-over-par) to grab one of the three qualifying spots available on the day. Professionals Timothy Tang, an Asian Tour regular, and Cheng Ka-yiu also earned their places at Fanling, returning totals of 146 and 147 respectively. "It's been a lifelong dream to play in a tour event, so I'm absolutely thrilled," said Totton, a member at Discovery Bay Golf Club, who fired two back-nine birdies in his level par round of 72. "I had the belief that I could do it ... I just had that feeling today." Totton's fellow amateurs Shinichi Mizuno (Hong Kong Amateur Close champion) and Huang Yongle (Hong Kong Open Amateur champion) had already earned their places at the 53rd edition of the European Tour event by virtue of their tournament victories.â&#x20AC;&#x201C;Alex Jenkins

Top 10 Standings

Daniel Wong

1 2 3 4 5 6 7= 9=

Timothy Tang Cheng Ka-yiu Ron Totton (A) James Stewart Ducky Tang Paul Riley Jimmy Ko Terrence Ng (A) Park Nam-kyu (A) Winston Wu (A)

74 72 71 76 76 72 74 75 75 75 73 78 80 72 78 74 79 74 76 77

146* 147* 148* 149 150 151 152 152 153 153

*Denotes qualification

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news

Hak Finishes Second After Birdie Blitz Hong Kong's Jason Hak fired an astonishing 10 birdies in a final-round 67 to earn second place at the American Junior Golf Association's PING Invitational last month. Hak, who represented Hong Kong at the Putra Cup in September, finished with a total of level-par 216, two shots shy of AJ McIlnerny's winning score. Another Hong Kong player, Motin Yeung, placed eighth. Tsim Sha Tsui-born Hak, who is heavily fancied to earn the AJGA's Rolex Player of the Year honours, opened up with rounds of 75 and 74 over the 7,388-yard Karsten Creek course in Stillwater, Oklahoma before his birdie blitz catapulted him back into championship contention. Unfortunately for the 17-year-old however, bogeys on both back-nine par-fives halted his charge and he was forced to settle for the runner-up spot.

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Ng Solid in Singapore; Earns Faldo Final Berth Hong Kong's Terrence Ng put in a fine showing at the recent Asian Amateur Championship in Singapore to make his second cut at the prestigious event. Ng fired a four-round total of 294 to finish the championship, which is organized by the Asian Pacific Golf Confederation in harness with the Masters Tournament and The R&A, in a tie for 43rd. Michael Chong, Hong Kong's other representative, narrowly missed the halfway cut, while Steven Lam and Shinichi Mizuno were unable to participate due to school commitments. The tournament was won for the second successive year by Japan's Hideki Matsuyama, who will once again tee it up at Augusta National for the Masters in April. At the 2010 edition of the first major of the year, Matsuyama played superbly, finishing in a tie for 27th place alongside Phil Mickelson. Matsuyama, along with runner-up Lee Soo-min from Korea, also earn a spot each at International Final Qualifying for the 2012 Open Championship. "I struggled at the start of the third round but I picked my game up again on the last day," said 17-year-old Ng. "Overall, I still had a pretty good week. My goal was to make the top 40 but although I didn't quite manage that it was a really good experience." Peter Reed overcame William Chung on the second play-off hole to win the gross section Two weeks after the Asian Amateur, of the Seniors Championship, played over the Eden and Old courses, at the Hong Kong Golf Ng claimed the top spot at the sixth Faldo Club last month; Yu Sam-long claimed the nett section. Series Hong Kong Championship at The In October's Captain's Cup at Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club, Stuart Gethin shot Jockey Club Kai Sai Chau Public Golf a 78 to win the gross division by seven shots from George Leung. In the Chairman's Cup, Course. Carding rounds of 78 and 74 which was played on the same day, Peter Kwan claimed victory thanks to his 42-point haul. over the North Course, Ng qualified for At Discovery Bay Golf Club, Jamo Lo won the 2011 Anniversary Cup with 73 points the 2012 Faldo Series Asia Grand Final over two rounds. William Chung claimed the best gross honours, with 59 points. In the at Mission Hills for the second year in a ladies' section, Elizabeth Lam (71 points) won on count back from Helen Cheung; while row. Jackie Chan, who finished five strokes Rungnapa Winchester topped the gross division with 50 points. A week later, Stephen behind Ng (both pictured), also qualified Pan claimed the James Hui Cup, beating Shinichi Mizuno and BR Kim on count back after for the Grand Final, which will be hosted by the trio tied on a total of 69 points. Sir Nick Faldo, the six-time major winner.

Daniel Wong

Club Results

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opinion

Shifting Attitudes

More and more, women professionals the world over are discovering what they have in common, rather than the reverse, writes Lewine Mair

World Stage: Asian players of the calibre of Ai Miyazato deserve the opportunity to compete in a Solheim Cup-style team event

HKGOLFER.COM

certainly something we might look to develop. Because of the weather in Europe, we’ve had a long tradition of playing in Asia in the winter months and our members love going to that side of the world. At the same time, we have an ever increasing number of Asian players who enjoy coming to our tour, with a group of Chinese girls having just signed on for this year’s qualifying school. “As I say, if there are sponsors out there who are interested in such a match we would like to hear from them.” Asian golfers, of whom 15 currently feature in the top 25 in the world, deserve this kind of a stage in the Western hemisphere. Their individual personalities would come to the fore, while everyone – including the all-important television networks – would enjoy their contrasting style of dress and play. The fact that these great golfers have not been as fully embraced as they should have been outside of their own countries is, of course, not too different from the resentment visited on Swedish players when they first made their presence felt. In the case of the Swedes, there were early accusations along the lines that they were not adhering to the R&A’s Amateur Status regulations. The amateur bodies in the United Kingdom wondered at the Swedish Federation and how, instead of having a firm dividing line between the amateurs and the professionals, the Federation actually helped the amateurs to make the switch. (The UK approach was more about administering the cold shoulder.) All along the line, the Swedes discarded what they did not like in the British system. They never, for example, went down the ‘men only’ club route and instead sought a family environment, one where juniors could be seen and heard. (Intriguingly, though Annika Sorenstam has always been far too polite to make much of it, the fact remains when her family spent time in England in the late 1970s and early 80s, the then 10-year-old Sorenstam was not allowed to do as her parents in joining Royal Mid-Surrey on the grounds that she was too young.) On a slightly different tack, the Swedes looked at women struggling with their long-irons before deciding that there had to be a better way. They then sent players like Sorenstam forth with a battery of higher woods. Laura Davies was just one who will tell you that she was more than a tad exasperated at the time. Though the low irons have always been Davies' forte, she suddenly found herself having to face up to the fact that Swedes were getting by perfectly well without using anything more taxing than a six-iron. The Swedes also took a new look at the mental side of the game. It was Sorenstam who, when she played in the annual Ping Championship at Moon HK Golfer・NOV 2011

AFP

S

hortly after the Europeans had snatched the Solheim Cup from the Americans at Ireland’s Killeen Castle, Mark Casey, Director of Operat ions at t he Lad ies’ European Tour, was assessing the impact. “Add this to the on-going work behind the scenes and it has to help,” said Casey. “The feedback from promoters and sponsors has been fabulous. “We hope to be able to increase our prizefunds but, whatever happens, there will be no sitting back. Our big aim, now, is to win in the States in two years’ time against a team which will presumably include Lexi Thompson, America’s 16-year-old prodigy.” In Casey’s eyes, September's victory was all the sweeter in that there had been suggestions that the Americans should be playing a "Rest of the World" side as opposed to a European team they had beaten at the three previous times of asking. The eventual result – 15-13 – was far too close for anyone to risk the crack that the match should become Europe versus the Rest of the World. However, there is a strong feeling that this might be the moment for the introduction of a Europe versus Asia contest, one which would be taken every inch as seriously as the Solheim Cup itself. That is something that cannot be said of the now defunct Lexus Cup, a rather contrived affair that pitted Asia against an international side on an annual basis from 2005 until 2008. “Our first priority,” said Casey, “must be to secure more full-field events for our members, but a match between Asia and Europe is

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HK Golfer Events

"We are focused on our juniors. But where, before, they spent all the time practicing, they now do more studying." – Won Ko, Korean Golf Association

AFP

Trailblazer: The ubertalented Se Ri Pak led what became known rather unkindly - as the "Asian Invasion" of the LPGA Tour at the turn of the 21st century 56

HK Golfer・NOV 2011

Valley while still an amateur, left the whole of the golfing world open-mouthed when she said that her ambition was to shoot a 54. It transpired that Kurt Enhager, the Swedish psychologist, had told his young charges that two putts on every green were an unnecessary extravagance. They should be aiming at one. When the Asians, with particular reference to the Koreans, first started winning in America in a big way, they were those LPGA members who complained, darkly, that the visitors were taking rather more than they were giving. Because their English still left something to be desired, they were unable – in some cases it was able but unwilling – to make the kind of conversation with pro-am partners which can so often lead to further sponsorships. On an entirely different front, the LPGA home players queried whether Korean parents were doing the right thing by their daughters in keeping them on the practice ground for six or seven hours at a time. Yet even the most determined fault-finders of the Swedish and Asian ways in time turned their attention to what they could learn from the new kids on the block. Twenty or so years down the line, the English Golf Union accepted that the Swedes probably knew more than they did about golf development and signed on a Swedish performance director in Peter Mattsson. Though Mattsson is now going back to Sweden, he has contributed hugely to the advance of the English game over the last six years. More recently, the girls from the LPGA have responded to the Korean advance by working

harder themselves. Karen Stupples, winner of the 2004 British Open at Sunningdale, put it this way: “We are never going to work eight hours a day like the Koreans, it’s just not in our make-up. But what I can tell you is that where I used to do two or three hours’ practice a day, I’m now doing four or five.” The Koreans, in turn, have not been blind to those areas where the Americans and others had the edge over them. In Singapore, during the recent Asian Amateur championship, Won Ko, from the Korean Golf Association, was happy to outline the changes which have been made in the last couple of years. “We are focused on our juniors. But where, before, they spent all the time practising, they now do more studying. It is important to practise but our thinking today is that it is important, too, to spend time with friends and at school. “Like in the other sports in Korea, our youngsters were practising too much. They were tired. Now, the Minister of Education has said that it has to be different.” So how do all those Korean parents who stand over their daughters on the LPGA practice grounds or, rather, the next generation of those parents, feel about this development? “They accept that things are changing,” Ko said. “They have no choice.” More and more, women professionals the world over are discovering what they have in common, rather than the reverse. By way of speeding up the process, how about that fixture, Europe versus Asia? HKGOLFER.COM

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GOLF TRAVEL

Northern Exposure The quality of their country's courses goes a long way to explaining the recent and unmatched success of Northern Irish golfers, writes Craig Morrison

A Player’s Guide

PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF 18 GREATEST GOLF / JOHN KERNICK

Royal Standard: The magnificent links at Royal County Down, one of the most highly rated courses in the world 58

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B

y anyone's reckoning, Northern Ireland is tiny. It has a population of just over one and a half million, which is just three per cent of the total of the United Kingdom. Put another way, there are over four times as many people from Hong Kong as there are from this scenic – if historically troubled – corner of the Emerald Isle. Amazing then that three of the last six major champions – Graeme McDowell, Hong Kong Open-bound Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke – should hail from such a diminutive country. Add to those luminaries the names of Michael Hoey (who after 10 years playing pro golf has won twice in Europe this year) and the comparatively new name of Paul Cutler (the unbeaten star turn at this year’s Walker Cup) and Northern Ireland has a quite remarkable roster of players. While in part true, it’s probably unsustainable to argue that it’s simply a unique product of the gritty Northern Irish character which has made such great golfers of these men. Similar cases are made for Scottish football managers (eight of 20 English Premiership managers at the time

of writing are Scotsmen) but the truth always seems more complicated. Perhaps Northern Ireland’s embarrassment of pro-golfing riches has something to do with its fantastic courses, most famously Royal County Down and Royal Portrush which regularly appear right at the top of the rankings in Britain, Europe and even the world. They are Northern Ireland’s finest tracks and in fact all of Ireland’s greatest courses. They are must-plays on any travel itinerary around the north. Not all the aforementioned players call those clubs home - though McDowell and Clarke are Portrush men – but all regularly tested themselves on them whilst coming through the ranks, so maybe their unique challenge explains something of the players’ successes. Add to those two courses a third must-play, Lough Erne (which Rory McIlroy now represents on tour), a fabulous Faldo layout at Enniskillen, and you have the basis of a near unparalleled golf tour. Lough Erne is only three years old, not a links course, and laid out as the centerpiece of Northern Ireland’s first ever five-star resort. This may sound unpromising to the visitor seeking seaside sport, but it is an undoubtedly brilliant addition to golf in the region.

ROYAL COUNTY DOWN

Royal County Down is an amazing golf course in an amazing location, regularly, almost continually, rated number one in the British Isles. It requires considerable skill: the golfer must be accurate and long. But it offers up much fun too: there are some blind drives, the fairways are fast and the greens furious. The Mourne Mountains, the Irish sea, the glorious gorse, the smell of peat, the little town of Newcastle’s towers: all these add to the golfer’s joy. That Tom Morris, Harry Vardon and Harry Colt have all contributed to the design just adds to the thrill. Perhaps its finest holes are the fourth and the ninth. The fourth is a long par three, so lovely and so tricky it gives great significance to any well struck shot which will forever live in the golfer’s memory. The ninth is probably the course’s most famous hole. It demands two great blows. Cresting the heathery hill over which the blind drive has been struck you are captivated by the sight of the mountains beyond the bay and the lighthouse at St John’s Point. The perfect drive will have been struck square on the spire of the red-bricked Slieve Donard Hotel above the cluster of town roofs, carrying the brow and then dropping 100 feet to the fairway below. Perhaps one can get away with a slightly slack drive, so long as it travels far. But the approach must be threaded firmly and finely amongst a pair of bunkers. The front nine is much lauded, possibly the greatest half in the world of golf. But in fact 60

HK Golfer・NOV 2011

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the entire composition is wonderful. The once slightly mundane 18th now boasts 25 bunkers – not just for the sake of it; the result is rousing.

ROYAL PORTRUSH

What a setting! There are great golden sandy beaches on two sides. The hills of Donegal are to the west. And to the north, looking to Scotland, on a clear day one sees the outline of Islay and other Hebridean islands. Overlooked by Dunluce Castle, a 13th century Norman Fort, the Dunluce Links, Royal Portrush Golf Club’s premier course (there are three layouts here) is a thing of wonder. It’s a very hard course through high dunes, endlessly up and down and changing direction. The 14thhole, "Calamity" (the name tells you everything you might need to know), is basically perched on a cliff edge, the most severe one shotter you can imagine. It is more than 200 yards and golfers play across a vast deep chasm from which no ball can really be recovered. Happily, on a course of small greens "Calamity" boasts a large putting surface. And there is one area for some sort of bail out, "Locke’s Hollow", where South African legend Bobby Locke hit his tee shots on four consecutive days, preferring to pitch and putt rather than risk all with his tee shot. That was in 1951 when Portrush became the only Irish club to have hosted The Open Championship (Max Faulkner won, never once breaking 70 such is the course’s severity). It’s not impossible to imagine The Open’s return, partly

Perfect Pair: The Mourne Mountains provide a wonderful backdrop here at the ninth hole at Royal County Down (left); Royal Portrush, home course of both Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell, hosted the 1951 Open Championship, the first - and so far only - time the tournament has been staged in Northern Ireland HK Golfer・NOV 2011

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a perfect place, more charming than its scale suggests, more refined than its tender age might imply. The 120 rooms and 25 luxury lodges are very special and most afford fabulous views of the water-strewn landscape. The course is laid out, mainly, on 600 acres of land known as Ely Island, a rugged parcel of terrain with wonderful woodland belts stretching across it. We are in County Fermanagh, a beautiful place, all waterways and impossibly green hills. But above everything it’s the golf which is phenomenal. Faldo’s layout is tough but fair, perfectly presented, thrillingly routed through trees, over hills and hard by the water’s edge, always emphasizing the location’s natural charms. Some shots here intimidate and all shots here inspire. Fairways narrow beyond average driving distance but overall the course is not long. It is best played as much by mental agility as physical effort. Faldo often excelled by playing conservatively from the tee and aggressively from fairway to green. If you can manage it, a similar style will yield results here. Don’t go at the drives too hard; but be brave and fire at the pins because the greens here, although fast, are receptive in the US mould.

BEST OF THE REST

The Newcomer: Lynn McCool (left), one of Ireland's best-known female golf professionals, joined Lough Erne as the Director of Golf and Head Professional in 2010; the 10th hole on the Faldo Course at Lough Erne (right) occupies a stunning setting 62

HK Golfer・NOV 2011

because of the recent successes of its famous sons McDowell and Clarke and partly because of the fabulous layout itself, the design genius of its architect Harry Colt. Colt built Wentworth, Sunningdale, Rye and Pine Valley and of course added greatly to Royal County Down, yet he considered Portrush his masterpiece. Its second 18-holer, The Valley Course, is also a thing of beauty.

LOUGH ERNE

Sir Nick Faldo’s course is wonderful, one of the best inland creations to emerge anywhere in recent years. Between Castle Hume Lough and Lower Lough Erne, just outside Enniskillen, Northern Ireland’s first five-star resort is spectacular. Do not balk at the idea of a new resort with golf and real estate attached. It’s

Countless other clubs will reward a visit, including the fast and firm links at Castlerock and at Ballycastle on the northern Antrim coastline. As will the Ireland's most easterly course – Kirkistown, a less well-known James Braid design. Belfast, Northern Ireland's capital, is home to a number of notable clubs, including Malone, Harry Colt's Belvoir Park and the oldest of them all, historic Royal Belfast, another charming Colt creation. But the golfer needn’t travel far from the country’s top two: close to Royal County Down is Ardglass, a thrilling clifftop course with a collection of standout par threes; and hard by Portrush is Portstewart, a great seaside set-up with a spectacular front nine twisting through heaving dunes. Its first hole is rightly considered one of the best in the game. Craig Morrison is the co-author of 18 Greatest Irish Golf Holes, a book described by The Golf Channel as ‘soul-stirring’ and by Forbes Magazine as ‘an instant collectible ... truly beautiful, a must for the golf library collector or a great gift for any golf enthusiast.’ 18 Greatest Irish Golf Holes (as well as 18 Greatest Scottish Golf Holes and photographic prints from both titles) can be purchased from many of the world’s most exclusive golf clubs and from the publisher’s website, 18greatestgolf.com. The books are limited editions and cost US$300. HKGOLFER.COM

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china golf

Golf's Amazing Race Westwood holds off Liang, Poulter and McIlroy to take the inaugural Shui On Land China Golf Challenge, a manic seven-day, seven-city, 18-hole dash around the Middle Kingdom

64

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a lot of time together, so you get to learn a bit more. He’s got a great sense of humour and likes a practical joke. He got me a couple of beauties and I got him back, and I think that has been one of the nicest parts of the week. That’s what drew me to it, really.” Westwood said the event achieved its ambitions of raising the profile of golf in the country after earlier stopping in Shanghai, Zhengzhou, Beijing, Dalian, Chongqing and Dongguan. “It has been a bit of a whirlwind tour, very different, very interesting, very tiring. Well worth coming. I think a lot of people have benefited from it. There has been a lot of autograph signing, so I think my right wrist is going to need physio for about a week now,” the Englishman joked. “Hopefully this will add to the growth of golf in this country. It’s all about raising the profile of golf in China. It gets people involved who don’t usually get to see world-class professional golf up close.” HKGOLFER.COM

David Paul Morris/Shui On Land China Golf Challenge

W

orld number two Lee Westwood continued his love affair with Asia in mid-October by holing a 12-foot birdie putt to beat Liang Wen-chong on the first hole of a play-off for the radical made-for-TV event, dubbed golf's version of the "Amazing Race." The duo parred the day’s two holes at Caesars Golf in Macau to record an 18-hole total of two-under 71, one ahead of Ian Poulter, who birdied the 356-yard, par-four 18th. US Open champion Rory McIlroy, the world number three, finished six-over after an event that featured 5,600km of flights across the east, north, west and south of China. Westwood and Liang replayed the 18th for the playoff and both found the rough with their tee-shots. The Chinese number one hit his approach long into the spectators at the back of the green and chipped close before Westwood capped off a long week with a long putt, then celebrated with 10-year-old Hong Kong junior golfer Nathan Han, his caddy for the day. “I think I do well in Asia because I just adapt well. I adapt to the grasses and I adapt the culture and the food. Playing world golf is all about adapting,” said Westwood, 38, who has twice been world number one in the last 12 months. “I’ve really enjoyed playing with Liang this week. I know him as I’ve played with him many times, but this week we’ve been living in each other’s pockets and spending

Great Tour of China (clockwise from top): Westwood celebrates holing the winning putt; the world number two in action; Liang holes out for eagle; McIlroy congratulates the Chinese number one; the US Open champin in trouble; Poulter framed by the Macau skyline; Liang and Poulter racking up the air miles

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events

The Art of Timeless Precision Audemars Piguet marked the launch of their latest Jules Audemars collection with a photography exhibition and gala party. Held at Ocean Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui between from 5-9 October, the exhibition featured 20 images from talented photographers from Hong Kong and Beijing, as well as two specially commissioned pieces from Hong Kong-based Carsten Schael and Yu Yuntian, the well-known Chinese photographer. The Hong Kong winner was Skene Milne with “The Horae”, an allegorical image of an hourglass. Milne received his prize from David von Gunten, CEO of Audemars Piguet Hong Kong & Mainland China. Following a press conference on 6 October, a gala party was held the following evening at Cucina in the Marco Polo Hong Kong Hotel. – CM

Skene Milne and his portrait "The Horae"

The Jules Audemars Collection on display 66

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Guests looking at the latest Jules Audemars Collection

Skene Milne receives his award from David von Gunten

Sheree Lo

Lisa S

Winnie Young

Gala Party at Cucina, Hong Kong Hotel HKGOLFER.COM

Carsten and Mrs Schael

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Ankie Lau and Ankie Beilke

Nelson Cheung HK Golfer・NOV 2011

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event. But the Americans don't really have a clue and it'll be interesting to see how many of them will play. I am convinced that in 10 years time the China Tour – never mind the Asian Tour – will be well worth playing on. You've been called the most powerful man in golf. Are you comfortable with that description? I struggle with it to be honest. We're just very fortunate to manage who we manage. We have a number of great young players and everything [the major wins] has happened at one. I understand that I do probably have a bit of power but I hate the fact that it's about me and not about them. The fact is the guys are all individuals, but people group them all together because we look after them. They're a bunch of highly talented and highly motivated individuals. We've probably helped to give them a bit of that, but it should be more about them and less about me. Your situation now is obviously a lot different than when you started ISM in 1989 ... Absolutely. I got lucky many times, including naming the company. ISM – International Sports Management – could easily have been Chubby's Promotions. They say you make your own luck. I ran into a young amateur that wanted advice about whether he should turn pro or not. We weren't even talking about management. I had played with him and knew he could do very well. At the end of the chat he said, 'OK, but can you run everything for me; I just want to play golf.' That was Darren Clarke. ISM has traditionally been a very European Tourcentric organisation. But now you're opening new offices in West Palm Beach, Florida. Are you starting to target American players? There's a bit of that – we have a couple of young American lads now – but Rory is going to live in Florida, as are Louis and Charl. West Palm Beach is a good focal point for us. We want to grown our American involvement organically. Is there a danger of ISM getting too big? Yeah, there is. The danger – and it's a throwback to the fact we don't have any contracts in place with anyone, everything is done on a handshake – is that nobody leaves us. We don't have a time limit on anything with our players. But the older ones realise that and understand the emphasis is always going to be on young talent. How involved are you with each player's schedule? Very. I sit down with all of them. Rory is

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finding our right now what he wants to do and how he wants to do it. He goes from one extreme to the other sometimes. He goes from not playing at all, but then he's on the road for 12 weeks. Lee on the other hand is different and I have more input on his schedule. We sat down this week and discussed next year. From the second week of January, after he's had his winter break, through to August, all he thinks about are the majors. Then he has a two-week holiday after the PGA Championship and from September to January he'll play where he wants. I don't think he'll ever join the PGA Tour but there's every chance he'll spend a bit more time here in Asia. You've said that you need to be protective of Rory because you're worried about burnout. How many events is he playing a year? This year will be about 28, 29. Rory makes a lot of his own decisions. He's 22 and finding out. He has no real fixed idea what he wants. He was a member of the [PGA] Tour for a year then jacked it in, and now he's going to rejoin next year. There's a couple of things that have influenced that. Life in Belfast has changed for him and as the US Open champion he feels a responsibility to be a member of the PGA Tour. I could see him in a year or two thinking differently, but the fact is that Rory is always going to be in a position to do what he wants. Rory has his own ideas and doesn't want to be told what to do. He wants to figure it out himself. Some of your players have received criticism, mostly from the American media, for appearing in tournaments in Asia that offer appearance fees. How do you respond to that? Yeah, but there's appearance money in America, they just don't want to admit it. Four tournaments in America offered Rory appearance money this year. They don't see that if you do nine holes with clients, do a hospitality visit and have a dinner – which is all paid for my a company – that is what we call appearance fees. They call it a promotional deal. It's the same thing. The daft thing is that the Golf Channel have been ribbing Rory for playing this week – talking about how much cash he must have made, the fact he's on a bit of a boys' trip – but I know that when we arrive in Bermuda tomorrow, Rory will be the first person they'll want to interview. They want it both ways. They want to absolutely slaughter them but they can't survive without them. What mistakes have you made along the way? GMAC [Graeme McDowell] was one. I hold my hands up. There was a guy working for us who I thought had a very close relationship with HKGOLFER.COM

GMAC. I thought he was giving him the support that he needed. But that didn't prove to be the case. When Rory came onboard, GMAC felt he was being neglected and at the same time he got a good offer to join someone else. But that was down to me. If things aren't working out the buck stops with me, not with anyone else.

Even before his US Open win, the offers must have been pouring in for Rory. How much do you know what to charge people for his services? Absolutely – we constantly get enquiries. It's a good question and it's interesting, because you just find out as you go along. Actually, you find out by people saying 'no'.

GMAC left you before he won the US Open, which was before any of your players had won a major ... Yeah, but luckily I didn't have long to think about it – only three weeks [when Oosthuizen won the Open Championship]. GMAC was a really good champion and opened the door for a bunch of guys who realised they too were good enough to win majors. He may have been the catalyst for what's happened since.

Well Santander [the British retail bank, who recently signed Rory for a multi-year deal rumored to be worth in excess of US$5 million] clearly didn't say 'no' ... That's right. That's a great deal for Rory. The television exposure – Rory will appear in terrestrial TV ads for them – is good for him and good for golf. Santander have five million account holders in the UK and one of their deals is that if Rory wins a major next year, all those account holders will get an extra one per cent interest on their accounts. There are different reasons for doing different things, but the Santander deal is a great one.

Does it get any better than Darren Clarke winning the Open? [Laughs] No. I know how hard he's worked and what he's been through. What he did at Royal St George's was amazing. I think he's probably extended a few guys' careers as a result. I think Westwood took something out of it too. He saw an older guy, competitive but nowhere near as fit as he is. Lee probably now thinks he has eight or 10 more chances at the majors that he did before. Who would you like to manage that you're not currently? Nobody. What about Tiger? That's not a fair question. I'm not going to get the opportunity so it doesn't matter. People ask me what I would do with Tiger's situation before, but I don't know because I don't know the full story. Believe me, we are very happy with where we are and who we've got. I don't look enviously at anything. We've got the number two and number three in the world. I'm very happy.

Westwood Waiting: Chandler believes Darren Clarke's Open Championship win can inspire Westwood to a first major title

With Rory committed to playing in America next year, will that limit his Asian appearances, particularly with regard to the Hong Kong Open? No, I think he'll still come out here at the end of the year. The timing is good. Hong Kong is one of his favourite tournaments. He loves the city, he loves the golf course and he likes the people. There's every chance he'll play again next year.

" GMAC felt he was being neglected and at the same time he got a good offer to join someone else. If things aren't working out the buck stops with me, not with anyone else." AFP

"I understand that I have a bit of power but I hate the fact that it's about me and not about the players."

Looking back, was what happened at Augusta a good experience for Rory? Definitely. He was struggling a bit on that last day and made a couple of wrong decisions. Actually, he didn't stop and think about what was happening. He needed to slow himself down. Some things conspired against him too. It was a slow round, and he's a very quick player. He was playing with a guy [Angel Cabrera] who doesn't speak English and doesn't really engage, after he'd played the previous rounds with his mates [Jason Day and Rickie Fowler]. There were a few things that unsettled him but he learnt from that. HKGOLFER.COM

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final shot

Chubby Chandler Alex Jenkins meets the former pro-turned-sports agent, who has been described as the most powerful man in golf

J

ust three days after interviewing Chandler on the verandah at Caesars Golf Macau following the conclusion of the Shui On Land China Golf Challenge, which starred Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood, word came through that 22-year-old McIlroy had left Chandler's International Sports Management agency to join the same management company as his good friend Graeme McDowell. This was big news. This was also, for the purposes of this story at least, rather unfortunate timing.

Chubby at Congressional: McIlroy's US Open win was the fourth major triumph by a Chandler player

McIlroy is golf's leading light and Chandler is seen as the hottest agent in the game, thanks to an incredible last 18 months that has seen his players –Darren Clarke, Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen and, of course, McIlroy –net major championships. He also manages the interests of world number two Westwood. McIlroy and Chandler's relationship, on the face of things, seemed strong – both have clearly benefited tremendously from their time together. I n t he i m med iate a f termat h of t heir separation – which was announced after the final round of the PGA Grand Slam event in Bermuda – there was speculation that the split had been engineered months in advance, that Chandler knew what was coming. I didn't get that impression at all. Although Chandler, who formed ISM in 1989 after a less-than-stellar playing career that saw him win only once on tour, admitted that McIlroy "has his own ideas and doesn't want to be told what to do", he was full of excitement when talking about the young Northern Irishman. Chandler, a bear of a man with a thick northern English accent, is a straight-talker, one who has strong opinions on the state of the game and isn't afraid to ruffle a few feathers along the way. Whether he can enjoy the same success without the Golden Boy remains to be seen, but there seems little doubt that the 58-year-old is enjoying his life – and his work – to the full. You said recently that he Americans don't get it, that in 10 years time Asia – and China in particular – will have overtaken the States as the dominant power in golf. Has this trip reaffirmed that? Yes, definitely. The interesting thing for me has been seeing the development of China as a country. That's the most staggering thing: how much it is has come on in last 10 years. The wealth has filtered down. It's not just the very top that are interested in golf; there are now the beginnings of a big middle class. The HSBC [Champions] is the biggest tournament in Asia and now it's a WGC

AFP

HK Golfer・NOV 2011

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HK Golfer November 2011  
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