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Luxury: Cartier and Parmigiani at SIHH, 1968 Knockando & more

THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE HONG KONG GOLF ASSOCIATION ISSUE 62

HKGOLFER.COM MARCH 2012

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HK Golfer

Issue 62

March 2012

46 On the Cover:

Australia’s Jason Day has been ever present in the top 10 of the Official World Golf Rankings since recording two runner-up finishes in last year’s major championships Photo by AFP

Features

Plus…

32 | A Day to Remember

10 | In Focus

Despite a humble upbringing, Jason Day has triumphed over adversity to become one of the most talked-about young golfers on the planet By Alex Jenkins

40 | Perfect Send-Off

Before heading Stateside this August, Tiffany Chan secured her third Ladies Close title in a row thanks to a gutsy come-from-behind win By Alex Jenkins

46 | Paddy Power

Without a significant tour title since 2008, Padraig Harrington explains how he’s on the road to recovering his major championship-winning form By Lewine Mair

50 | Western Greens

AFP (Harrington); Daniel Wong (Ho)

From classic golden-era courses to amenity-packed modern resorts, California and Nevada offer golf of the highest calibre. Our correspondent hits the road from Los Angeles to Las Vegas in search of the most memorable places to play By Andrew Marshall

70 | Final Shot: Larry Mize

40 4

HK Golfer・MAR 2012

Twenty-five years since his epic Masters play-off win over Greg Norman and Seve Ballesteros, Augusta’s favourite son talks to HK Golfer about that week, the incredible chip-in that sealed the victory and his green jacket picks for next month’s tournament By Paul Prendergast

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

17 | Tee Time

Cartier’s recent unveiling of its elegant SIHH collection underscored the brand’s technical mastery By Robert Reid

20 | Tee Time Speical

Already known for its passion for mechanical challenges, Parmigiani Fleuerier sets the bar high once again with a new movement, a limited edition watch and a breath-taking automaton By Evan Rast

24 | Liquid Assets

A report on the delights of The Colonial Estate’s fabulous 2003 vintage By Scott Ishbern

26 | Single Malts

Our whisky editor raises his glass to a special expression – the 1968 Knockando By John Bruce

28 | Money Matters

Being appointed as a director is often seen as a badge of success. But not everyone understands the duties and possible liabilities that go along with the position By Howard Bilton HKGOLFER.COM


HK Golfer

THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE HONG KONG GOLF ASSOCIATION MAR 2012 • Issue 62

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

50 D E PA R T M E N T S 08

HK Golfer Mailbag

10

Local Focus

12

Asia Focus

14

Global Focus

16 Divots 38

Around the HKGA

38

From the President

44

Local News

58

Global Tournament News

Alex Jenkins

HK GOLFER is published by Times International Creation, 10A Lockhart Centre, 301-307 Lockhart Road, Hong Kong. HK GOLFER is published monthly © 2012 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. 6

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Publisher: Charles McLaughlin Art Director: Derek Hannah Assistant Designer: Mimi Cheng Office Manager: Moira Moran Advertising: For advertising information, please contact: ads@hkgolfer.com For purchasing information contact: sales@hkgolfer.com For subscription information contact: subs@hkgolfer.com Hong Kong Golf Association Suite 2003, Olympic House 1 Stadium Path, So Kon Po Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Phone (General): +852 2504-8659 Fax: +852 2845-1553 Phone (Handicaps): +852 2504-8197 Fax: +852 2504-8198 Email: hkgolf@hkga.com handicaps@hkga.com In association with: www.thymedesign.hk

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HK Golfer Mailbag

Man of the moment: 2011 US PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley has garnered attention at tournaments of late – and not always for the right reasons

Missing the Bigger Issue

Rory’s New No 1 Fan

I was at the Hong Kong Open with my four-year-old son. We were at the 16th green during the final round and as Rory McIlroy walked past my son said, “Hello Rory.” Rory turned and rolled his golf ball on the ground towards my boy. A lady was just about to grab the ball but Rory put his foot on it, picked it up and handed it to him. My son John was speechless. You have no idea how such an act of kindness can touch a child and I think he is now Rory’s No 1 fan. Watching Rory hole out from the greenside bunker a few minutes later was thrilling, and given what he did for John it made the moment all the more special. A true gentleman won the tournament and we wish him every success in the future. JJ Toohey Via email

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

AFP

I was amused by the reaction to “Spittlegate” – the not-so riveting drama that was Keegan Bradley’s almost constant spitting during the recent Northern Trust Open at historic Riviera Golf Club in Los Angeles. While Bradley, who won last year’s US PGA Championship, seems like a nice enough, if somewhat intense, young man, his expectorating – which was beamed live all over the world – was far from pleasant, although it was hardly a new issue for golf. Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods are two of many other players who have been brought to task for strikingly similar acts. Bradley was admirably contrite when questioned afterwards about it and has vowed to stop. This is good news and hopefully case closed. But the thing that struck me most about Bradley at this tournament didn’t have anything to do with what came out of his mouth; rather, it was his pace of play – or should I say, his complete lack of pace when playing. Whether he was in a bunker or surveying a putt on the green, the man took forever, I mean just a ridiculously long period of time, which in my eyes at least, is as equal if not a bigger sin than spitting. Quite how Bradley got away without being penalised for his snail impression I’m not sure – perhaps because he was playing in the last group. But the point is that he and playing partner Phil Mickelson, who is reckoned to be one of the quicker players on tour, took over five hours to complete the round. Slow play, like spitting, is not a new issue but it seems to be becoming more of a problem in the professional game. I hope Bradley will realise this and vow to do something about it – and soon. Douglas King Magazine Gap Road 8

HK Golfer・MAR 2012

HKGOLFER.COM


Local Focus ‘Three Peat’ Tiffany Tiffany Chan plays a shot from a greenside bunker on the final hole of February’s Hong Kong Ladies Close Amateur Championship. Chan, 18, overhauled overnight leader Michelle Cheung with a solid one-under-par 71 to win the tournament for the third straight year. Only Olivia Yu, who won the championship five times in as many years in the 1990s, has more Ladies Close titles to her credit. To underline the strength of youth golf in Hong Kong, nine of the top 10 places went to players in their teens.—AJ Photo by Daniel Wong


Asia Focus Mardan Ends Drought Singapore’s Mardan Mamat ended a six-year winless period with a commanding – and emotional – wire-towire victory at last month’s ICTSI Philippine Open in Manila. The 44-year-old, who considered quitting the tour and becoming a coach during his barren spell, closed with a one-under 71 over the venerable East Course at Wack Wack Golf and Country Club before falling on to his knees to celebrate his return to the winner’s enclosure. Mamat, who now has three Asian Tour wins to his credit, earned US$47,550 and leapt to the top of the Order of Merit standings.—AJ Photo by Paul Lakatos / Asian Tour


Global Focus Off Track Tiger Three-time winner Tiger Woods was forced to play left-handed out of a waste area on the second hole of his first-round match against Spain’s Gonzalo Fernández-Castaño during last month’s WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona. Woods, who ended up winning the match by one hole, was successful with his escape from the desert but failed to find his form in the next round, losing to fellow American Nick Watney after missing a six-foot putt on the 18th green to extend the match. The championship was won by Hunter Mahan, who defeated reigning Hong Kong Open champion Rory McIlroy 2&1 in the final (see page 58).—AJ Photo by Getty Images/AFP


CLUBHOUSE

divots

Away from the Fairways

Schwab Supports HKGA Rules Event US financial services giant Charles Schwab will sponsor the HKGA Rules Seminar, which takes place at the Hong Kong Golf Club on 31 March. The Seminar, which will be conducted in English and is open to anyone who is passionate about golf and interested in the Rules, includes both theory and practical sessions. If they wish, participants will also be able to sit the R&A Level 1 accreditation exam during the Seminar, making the HKGA the first governing body in Asia to offer this accreditation using locally-qualified referees as instructors. Hong Kong rules officials are internationally recognised and many have refereed at European Tour events. “The Hong Kong Golf Association is delighted to receive the support of Charles Schwab, Hong Kong, Ltd. for this landmark occasion,” said HKGA Chief Executive Iain Valentine. “It promises to be an informative and entertaining day, one that will be of benefit to golfers of all abilities.” The closing date for entries – which can be made through the HKGA website (hkga.com) – is 16 March. For more information call Dolla Chui at 2504 8202.

Exclusive club: only 100 pieces of the Rotonde de Cartier Cadran Lové Tourbillon have been created

New Year Honours for McIlroy, Clarke The publication of the Queen’s New Year honours list saw reigning Hong Kong Open champion Rory McIlroy awarded yet another prize – an MBE. The 22-year-old Northern Irishman was recognised six months after producing arguably the performance of the year to win the US Open. “It is quite humbling to be included in such a list of worthy recipients,” said McIlroy, said the world No 3. Another golfer honoured was Darren Clarke, winner of the 140th Open Championship at Royal St George’s, who was awarded an OBE. The popular Ulsterman won a place in hearts around the world last summer as he defied the odds to win the most coveted prize in golf at the age of 42 and at his 20th attempt.

NUMBERS GAME

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The number of plus 300-yard drives Bubba Watson hit during last month’s Waste Management Phoenix Open. Watson, one of the longest hitters in professional golf, finished the event in a share of fifth place. For every drive over the magical 300-yard barrier, Watson’s equipment sponsor Ping donates US$300 to his “Bubba & Friends Drive to a Million” charity initiative.

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L uke Donald’s ranking in average driving distance on the PGA Tour last season. Donald, the world No 1, averaged 284.1 yards off the tee, which was over 24 yards shorter than JB Holmes, the leader in this particular category. Despite this, it didn’t stop Donald from winning the money list with over US$6.6 million in earnings.

 TEE TIME

Modern Classics

The length, in yards, that Yani Tseng, by far and away the best female player in the game, averaged with her driver in 2011. Tseng, from Taiwan, was the longest hitter on the LPGA Tour in 2011, a season that saw her win 12 professional tournament victories. Leta Lindley was the shortest driver on tour, averaging just 224.9 yards.

Cartier’s recent unveiling of its elegant SIHH collection underscored the brand’s technical mastery, writes Robert Reid

AFP

CONTINUED OVERLEAF 16

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A

Horological highlight: the Rotonde de Cartier Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon is a first for the company. Its complication is tantamount to engineering sorcery 18

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t Ja nuar y ’s Sa lon International de la Haute Ho r l o g e r i e (S I H H ) Cartier presented a host of new timekeeping marvels including a sleek redesign of its signature watch: the Tank. Cartier has long been the flagship luxury watch bra nd of t he R ichemont Group, organisers of SIHH. Much of the brand’s popularity stems from an ability to create timepieces that seamlessly marry the desire for understated, elegant jewellery with the pursuit of precision timekeeping. In Asia in particular, this has yielded legions of adoring fans who value the beautiful aesthetic and craftsmanship. The launch of this year’s collection at SIHH saw the watchmaker solidify its position at the more opulent end of the market. Equally, though, Cartier also revealed ambitious new timepieces that demonstrated a real determination to be considered among the great

technical watchmakers. At this year’s event for example, Cartier unveiled a minute repeater timepiece, the Rotonde de Cartier M inute Repeater Flying Tourbillon. It’s the first time such a complication has been produced by Cartier and is essentially a small chime that audibly indicates the time. In this particular watch the sound can be set for regular intervals and can also be activated on command. The watch is capable of marking the time down to the precise minute by using a series of different tones to denote the hours and minutes. Only a truly exceptional watchmaker has the skill to craft such a complication on the scale required to fit within a 45mm watch case. The ability to also include it in the same timepiece as a flying tourbillion, however, is tantamount to engineering sorcery. Having been in development by Cartier for approximately five years this timepiece is a landmark release. Just 50 of these watches will be produced. CONTINUED ON PAGE 66 HKGOLFER.COM


 TEE TIME SPECIAL

Upstream Mechanics Already known for its passion for mechanical challenges, Parmigiani Fleuerier sets the bar high once again with a new movement, a limited edition watch and a breath-taking automaton, writes Evan Rast

I

ndependent watchmaker Parmigiani Fleurier is well known in the realm of haute horlogerie for its dedication to artistry. The manufacture, though relatively young, has become a favourite among luxury watch lovers for its exceptional quality and attention to detail. Certainly, among Parmigiani Fleurier’s talents is being able to showcase its watchmaking knowledge – partly from restoring historical timepieces – into creative and modern works that show a unique sense of style. The collections, starting from the simpler ladies models going all the way to grand complications and objet d’ art, are easy to distinguish because of their unifying codes: an easy elegance, technical savvy, and polished workmanship. This year, the manufacture presents three exquisite models, each more impressive than the last.

Tonda 1950 Special Edition Paying tribute to the year Michel Parmigiani, the CEO and founder of Parmigiani Fleurier, was born, the Tonda 1950 Special Edition features a unique dial created in the same lines as the collection, which was inspired by the spiral. A unique ‘grille’ that shows a glimpse of the gear trains and was created using the LIGA technique (a combination of lithography, electroplating and moulding that provides very precise results), gives the watch a very modern look. With its round, ergonomic lugs, clean lines and fine profile, the Tonda 1950 Special Edition clearly identifies with the DNA of the brand. Fitted with the in-house automatic calibre PF701 –among the world’s thinnest at 2.6mm – the timepiece offers a 42-hour reserve, with hours, minutes and small seconds at 6 o’clock. 20

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T he 30 m m watch ha s on of f- cent re oscillating micro weight made from 950 platinum, and the finishing that distinguishes haute horlogerie: a sand-blasted, circulargrained and rhodium main plate, and Côtes de Genève-decorated bridges. A limited number of 60 numbered pieces will be produced, all in grade 5 titanium and matched with alligator straps from Hermes.

Tonda Retrograde Annual Calendar

The Tonda collection, with its round case and streamlined design, has featured many complications, including a tourbillon, perpetual calendar and chronograph. Seeing that an annual calendar was missing in the series, Parmigiani Fleurier developed its 17th in-house movement, based on the PF331 automatic, the PF 339 Annual Calendar. HKGOLFER.COM

A function that accounts for the variation in the number of days in each month, the annual calendar is actually quite useful. The complication ensures that the date display will be on track, with no need for adjustment whether there are 28, 30 or 31 days in a month, that is, except if it’s a leap year. In the Tonda Retrograde Annual Calendar, the date is shown by a retrograde display on the outer dial. The date of the week is positioned at 9 o’clock, while the month, shown in numeral form, is at 3 o’clock. A moon phase indicator, that requires only one correction every 120 years, completes the dial with two displays in rose gold detailing: one for the Northern hem isphere, a nd one for t he Sout hern hemisphere. The PR339, offering 55 hours of reserve power, is housed in a 40mm rose gold or white gold case. The dial is either silver or charcoal grey, featuring barley grain décor in the centre and a charcoal or silvered opaline ring.

Attention to detail (from left to right): the Tonda 1950 Special Edition and its unique 'grille' face, which shows a glimpse of the gear trains; the Tonda Retrograde Annual Calendar offers 55 hours of reserve power and is housed in a 40mm rose gold or white gold case HK Golfer・MAR 2012

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Le Dragon et la Perle du Savoir

Saving the best for last, we come to Parmigiani Fleurier’s unique piece, a yearly tradition of creating an objet d’ art that showcases most, if not all, of their watchmakers’ and artisans’ expertise in one amazing product. With a price tag of approximately US$3.5 million, Le Dragon et la Perle du Savoir (The Dragon and the Pearl of Wisdom) is an

With a price tag of approximately US$3.5 million, Le Dragon et la Perle du Savoir is an extraordinary clock that took more than 6,000 hours to produce extraordinary clock that took more than 6,000 hours to produce. Celebrating the Chinese Year of the Dragon, Parmigiani Fleurier brings to life the legend of a carp that possessed enough strength and perseverance to swim upstream to reach the Dragon gate, and was transformed into a dragon as a reward for his efforts. A dragon, sculpted in 18k gold and sterling silver with different animal features, sits on a rock crystal base allowing a view of the mechanism. The dragon‘s fully formed body makes one full turn on his base every hour, with claws stretched toward a globe that represents the pearl of wisdom. The ‘cat and mouse’ mechanism shows the pearl, wrapped in flames and encrusted with precious stones, escaping the dragon’s clutches six times an hour. A gong sounds each time the dragon renews its futile chase. A gilded silver ring (one Chinese hour represents two hours) with jade indexes revolves every 24 hours. All of Parmigiani Fleurier’s movements, cases, dials, and components are done in-house, through five workshops and the combined ef for ts of more t ha n 50 0 watch ma kers and craftsmen.

Annual tradition: Le Dragon et la Perle du Savoir is a stunning piece of object d'art that showcases Parmigiani Fleurier's watchmakers' and artisans' expertise in one amazing product 22

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Our Master Watchmaker never loses his concentration With his legendary concentration and 45 years of experience our Master Watchmaker ensures that we take our waterproofing rather seriously. Gilbert O. Gudjonsson, our Master Watchmaker and renowned craftsman, inspects every single timepiece before it leaves our workshop. As a privately owned and operated company, we have the opportunity and duty to give all our timepieces the personal attention they deserve.

www.jswatch.com

Official HK Agent: Times International Creation ltd. Contact: jswatch@timesic.com Tel: +852-3590-4153


Greenock Creek Winery

 LIQUID ASSETS

Return of the Exile Scott Ishbern reports on the delights of The Colonial Estate’s fabulous Exile 2003 vintage

T

he Colonial Estate winery was created in 2001 from a collection of small plots of old vines in Australia’s Barossa Valley and was the brainchild of the genius that is Jonathan Maltus. Maltus, an Englishman, rose to global prominence with his purchase of the mediocre Chateau Teyssier in St Emilion in 1994. By buying parcels of better vines from the area and introducing New World techniques to the region, he transformed the sleepy Teyssier into one of the best estates in St Emilion. Of particular note are the series of single vineyard wines he created, especially Le Dôme, Le Carré and Les Astières, a l l of which have achieved cu lt status. He personified the garagiste sobriquet and was justifiably lauded for his achievements. In 2001 he ventured to Australia for his next adventure and The Colonial Estate exploded onto the scene in 2002 with the release of its first vintage. The names of the wines imply a man feeling somewhat far from home: L’Expatrie, Explorer, Exodus, Émigré, Envoy and others, including laterally a series of single vineyard offerings he named after legendary explorers. The flagship label, however, was The Exile. This stunning creation was the product of a single ancient vineyard from the 1800s in northern Barossa – 75-85 per cent Shiraz, then mainly Mourvèdre and a smidge of Grenache. Robert Parker gushed over this new star in the firmament, giving the first vintage of Exile, the 2002, 98 points and heaping praise on what Maltus was bringing to the Barossa. With 20-20 hindsight, this instant success may have set the stage for the ultimate collapse of the operation in 2009. However, from 2002 to 2008, Maltus took the Colonial Estate on a superb run, producing vintage after vintage of 90+ rated issues. As before, The Exile was the star of the show attracting top rankings every year. Needless to say, this was reflected in his pricing, with a very hefty premium on most of his releases, and for the first few years all production was exclusively sold overseas. Throughout all this growth, he insisted on retaining the painstaking manual processes that gave the wines their distinctive craftsman quality. These were without question lovingly handcrafted gems, with the massive Exile sitting proudly at the forefront. In 2008, and by now known as JCP Maltus, Vigneron and Winemaker, he went to California and did it again, creating World’s End winery in Napa Valley. Once more, he brought painstaking manual techniques to play, with close cropping, hand-picking, double-sorting, and lees in suspension and created something exceptional. His first release of single vineyard wines again were all rated 90+, with the quaintly named Led Zeppelin tribute “Good Times, Bad Times” top of the bunch, being ranked alongside the best from Opus One, Baron Philippe de Rothschild’s successful Californian venture. 24

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However, as the world lurched and stared into the financial abyss, something had to give and it was The Colonial Estate which went under. The rapid expansion, using the techniques which led to success on a smaller scale, would only have been sustainable if the premium pricing of old had been possible. In the event, it wasn’t, and the shooting star of a mere seven years crashed to earth and went into receivership. Maltus’ two other ventures continue to excel, and it is with a sense of what might have been that we look back at one of the outstanding creations The Colonial Estate produced. The early vintages are a l most impossible to obtain in any quantity and the 2003 Exile in particular is extremely rare. This, only the second vintage produced, was rated 94 by Parker and is a magnificent successor to the perhaps slightly overrated 2002. With vines planted in the 19th century forming the core, and aged in new French oak, this is a vast wine, port-like in its appearance and power. The colour is a stunning dark purple which promises depth and length – and one isn’t disappointed. Decanting is essential and will reward the forward planner who gives this four or five hours to open up beautifully. Parker found “hints of truffles, blackberry liqueur, smoke, and licorice” here, but the overwhelming sensation is that of dark chocolate and masses of fruit lingering in the never-ending finish. This is an outstanding wine, which may just be shading the 2002 at this stage in its development. Drinking superbly now and for the next five to six years.

The Open... "If I had to select the number one Australian winery, it would be hard not to choose the Greenock Creek Winery... the quality that emerges from this estate is extraordinary." - Robert Parker

Exclusive HK Golfer Offer* Email: wine@hkgolfer.com or call on: (852) 3590 4153 Please quote code: GreenockHKG 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon (WA 94) HK$400 2001 Alices Shiraz (RP 98) HK$900 2004 Alices Shiraz (WA 98) HK$500 2006 Alices Shiraz (WA 91+) HK$500 2006 Apricot Block Shiraz (WA 91+) HK$500 2006 Seven Acre Shiraz (RP 93) HK$550 2004 Creek Block Shiraz (RP 99) HK$1,450

Special Reader Offer HK Golfer can offer a very small parcel of the extremely rare The Colonial Estate Exile 2003. At their peak, retail prices reached HK$2,000 per bottle but we can offer the wine in cases of six OWC for only HK$800 per bottle. Minimum order of 6 bottles; professional storage available if required. Please order by email to wine@hkgolfer.com or call (852) 3590 4153

HKGOLFER.COM

2001 Roennfeldt Road Shiraz (WA 99) HK3,000

...and pour *Subject unsold. Terms & Conditions apply


At the end of a great day...

 SINGLE MALTS

1968: A Very Good Year John Bruce raises his glass to a special expression – the 1968 Knockando

I

nitially, given the well documented efficiency of Hong Kong’s anticorruption apparatus, I was somewhat wary of accepting the offer of free malt whisky made to me by a serving police officer with a reputation for chasing women and a long history of partaking in punch ups. Trusting in the fact that ICAC officers would have no time to read golf magazines, and given that the tipple in question was a rare 1968 Knockando, I took the gamble. Given my continued liberty and the delightful tasting that ensued, I am convinced that it was worth it. In order to pre-empt the Vintage malt: “it became a delightful calls to hotlines that may be example of the variations that make made by community-minded malt whisky such a magnificent spirit” golfers who have had a bad round at Fanling, I have to assure our readers that all is not as it seems at first reading. Senior Superintendent B J Smith is indeed a woman chaser, but it is only one woman and that is his long term partner – the unusually named but very feminine Tom. Both BJ and Tom partake in endurance racing, raising funds for charities in the process, but Tom is recognized by everyone as the more able athlete which does indeed lead to BJ chasing her. The reference to his participation in numerous punch ups is at the core of BJ’s charitable commitments, as he is one of the founders of – and a major contributor to – Operation Breakthrough, which has benefitted so many young people in Hong Kong. BJ runs the boxing division of the charity and until recently used to participate in fights. Sadly, his boxing prowess was such that “Tom chasing” became his main sport. Founded by serving police officers, Operation Breakthrough is a highly successful charity and given my editor’s cruel demands for brevity I would advise readers to consult its website, which can be found at breakthrough.hk So, it can be seen that this particular gift horse demanded acceptance and in late January the 1968 was cracked open. The name Knockando originates from the Gaelic phrase “cnoc an dhu” – meaning “little black hill” – and we paid homage to this by holding our tasting on our own wee hill – Mount Butler, at the home of another of Hong Kong’s finest. Knockando is a Speyside malt located in Morayshire with the waters for the distillery sourced from the Cardnach spring that rises from a granite base and flows through peat. Indeed, it is perhaps the imparted peatiness, along with the substantial age of the whisky, that delivered a somewhat aggressive initial taste to the neat sample

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... a sublime experience

we started with. Despite being a Speyside malt, this could have been mistaken for a younger Islay whisky but as we were to discover, water would change the character considerably. What had at first sampled like a potential disappointment was improved immeasurably by slightly less than the same again of water. It became an unusual and delightful example of the variations that make malt whisky such a magnificent spirit. Knockando differs from many single malts in that each bottle notes the year of distillation – and given that this one was distilled in the year of the death of the last really electable Kennedy, the Tet Offensive and the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, it was perhaps inevitable that as the tasting became drinking we started to reminisce. Like a great book that is all the more appreciated because one understands the historical context, I do find that social sampling of older malts can inspire moments of languorous lateral thinking that lend greatly to the experience. Such a Knockando-inspired moment arrived when I remembered the first time I had encountered the name. It was in the 1980s when British race horse trainer Luca Cumani, who is well known to Hong Kong race fans, trained a horse called Knockando that was ridden to six consecutive victories by Ray Cochrane. It would appear that not only is fine malt whisky an enhancer of life but an aid to memory as well. The rarity of the 1968 expression is such that it would be frivolous to recommend it but I have sampled a number of other expressions from the distillery that I would readily endorse. None of them were as remarkable as this complimentary delight but perhaps it was the lack of pecuniary commitment on my part towards the whole glorious experience that further enhanced it. If any other reader wishes to provide empirical evidence of this, please contact the publisher with your sureto-be appreciated offer. 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. HKGOLFER.COM

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

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 MONEY MATTERS

Who Wants to be a Director?

Being appointed as a director is often seen as a badge of success. But not everyone understands the duties and possible liabilities that go along with the position, writes Howard Bilton

D

irectors are employees of a company but they carry added One of the primary reasons for starting a responsibilities and added liabilities as a result. A director has company is to benefit from limited liability. a duty to act in the best interests of the company and for the The shareholders contribute the initial capital benefit of its shareholders. Anything they do in the name of the by paying for their shares at the agreed price. company normally affects the financial health of the company Thereafter they can never be liable for the debts and not themselves, but increasingly directors are being made of the company. Directors are responsible for personally liable for actions which they have undertaken on behalf of the company. the good management of the company but are There is no legal distinction between the duties of an executive and a nonemployees only, so neither share in the profitability executive director. Non-executive directors are generally expected to spend much of the company, except to the extent secured less time on the affairs of the company but they remain equally as liable for the under their contracts, nor are they normally actions of the company as executive directors. responsible for the debts of the company. But in In most countries of the world, including Hong Kong, directors can be cases where the directors have been dishonest or personally liable for the debts of a company, and cannot rely on its liability negligent the courts are increasingly “lifting the protection, if they continue trading and incurring debts on behalf of a company when they knew or It is insufficient for somebody to accept ought to have known that there was little prospect of the company being able to pay those debts. In the position of director – whether paid or Commonwealth Bank of Australia v Frederik Aison unpaid – and fail to get involved or spend & others a non-executive part-time director signed sufficient time on the affairs of the company off on the accounts of a company which were used to solicit loans from the bank. The accounts turned out so that he knows what is going on. Liability to be rather fictitious so the director signing them does land on those who have no intention to was held liable even though it was established that the defraud, mislead or trade whilst insolvent. director did not know the accounts were inaccurate so had not actively misled the bank. The court said he should have known the accounts were inaccurate and should not have signed them without knowing they corporate veil” and making the directors liable were accurate. It was not sufficient defense for him to say that he had been asked to for their actions, or lack of action. Courts do not sign the accounts because the executive directors were away and as a non-executive always allow them to hide behind the limited he could not have known the true financial position of the company. liability status of the company. In a leading Isle of Man case, Agip v Jackson, the directors of a company were Hong Kong is an international financial made personally liable for amounts which had fraudulently passed through the centre and has a large industry devoted to accounts of that company. It was established as fact that they did not know what had setting up companies, offshore or Hong Kong, happened but the court found that liability could be established on the basis of a) for tax mitigation. In most, if not all, offshore actual knowledge, b) willfully failing to take account of the obvious which the court jurisdictions, such as Cayman and BVI, anybody called Nelsonian knowledge – this being a reference to the idea of Nelson deliberately providing corporate services must be licensed failing to see what was in front of him; or c) willfully and recklessly failing to make to do so and are subject to comprehensive such enquiries as an honest and reasonable man would make about the financial and detailed regulations about their conduct. affairs of the company because they may not like the answers they received. St ra n gely enou g h t he le ad i n g on shore Liability will never be avoided by lack of knowledge when knowledge should jurisdictions such as New York, London and have been sought. The job of a non-executive is to ensure they know the business Hong Kong have no regulation of this area. In of the company and provide a check on the executive directors. It is insufficient offshore jurisdictions the authorities have made and always has been for somebody to accept the position of director – whether it clear either by specific regulation or practice paid or unpaid – and fail to get involved or spend sufficient time on the affairs of notes that those who provide directors must be the company so that he knows what is going on. Liability does land on those who knowledgeable in the affairs of the companies have no intention to defraud, mislead or trade whilst insolvent.

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for which they act and should not delegate their authority by handing out signing powers on bank accounts or giving general powers of attorney to third parties. In Hong Kong it is not uncommon for local accountants, in particular, to set up companies, provide directors and then issue general powers of attorney and broad authorities to others. This allows a third party to do whatever they want in the name of the company without the director’s consent or knowledge. This is complete and utter lunacy. The directors remain liable but have no way of protecting themselves. It is the worst practice. Recently a director of a company was prosecuted under the Hong Kong anti-money laundering legislation. That legislation is onerous. It states that if a person or company (represented by its directors) handles the proceeds of crime – or money which might reasonably be suspected to be the proceeds of crime – then they are liable under this legislation. In this particular instance a company was used to receive money from a UK securities operation. It was alleged that the UK company had engaged in some kind of fraud. It was later found out that no fraud had taken place. The HKMA thought that the director should have suspected that the money going through the company into a bank account over which they had no control was the proceeds of crime. If that was correct the directors were guilty of money laundering. This case highlights yet again that directors will be liable for the actions of the companies under their care and control if that company engages in unlawful activity, even if they have no idea that the company is doing. So make sure that if you are a director you actually direct and know what is going on. In another case from the Cayman Islands (the Weavering case) directors of a Cayman Island investment fund were ordered to pay US$111 million in compensation. The promoter of the fund asked his younger brother and elderly stepfather to act as directors. They were not paid anything. Over the six-year period following their appointment they signed anything put in front of them including minutes of meetings which never took place. They made no attempt to understand or investigate the performance of the fund, the way it was run or the accuracy of accounting materials. In short they did nothing to protect the interests of their shareholders and investors. The court was very clear that where directors do nothing they will generally be found to have intentionally neglected their duties and will thus be liable for any losses suffered. On the other hand directors who make a serious attempt to perform their duties but fail as a result of carelessness or incompetence would generally be relieved from liability by virtue of the standard indemnity contained in the memorandum and articles of association of the company or their contracts of employment or otherwise. The fact that a director is paid nothing or little does not relieve him from the necessity of spending sufficient time on the affairs of the HKGOLFER.COM

In Hong Kong it is not uncommon for local accountants to set up companies, provide directors and then issue general powers of attorney and broad authorities to others. This allows a third party to do whatever they want in the name of the company without the director’s consent or knowledge. This is complete and utter lunacy. company to discharge the supervisory duties. Wood & Another v Holden was a tax case but examined in detail the role and duties of directors. The court went so far as to suggest that a clear indication that a director was not likely to have carried out his duties properly was insufficient pay! It stands to reason that a director, who has no other connection to the company other than this appointment, is unlikely to spend sufficient time and energy supervising the activities of a company if he is not sufficiently well paid to do so. A nominal fee may be sufficient to act a director of a static holding company but surely not for an active company. There is no such thing as a nominee director and references to that position immediately indicates a misunderstanding of the nature of the employment and its liabilities and requirements. So, before you joyfully sign on the dotted line and become a director of any company glowing in the certain knowledge that this recognises your status do think carefully about how you are going to fulfill the obligations of that position.

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 HK Golfer・MAR 2012

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profile

Fearless debutant: Day looked like becoming the first debutant since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979 to win the Masters until Charl Schwartzel’s late charge

A Day to Remember Jason Day has triumphed over adversity to become one of the most talked about young golfers on the planet, writes Alex Jenkins

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AFP

or a large part of the final round of last year’s Masters Tournament, Jason Day looked poised to enter the record books as the first Australian winner at Augusta. Showing a coolness that Rory McIlroy would have done well to emulate, Day surged into a share of the lead with a nerveless display of sublime ballstriking and deft putting. It was a performance made all the more remarkable because Day was making his Masters debut. Augusta, we’re constantly told, is a course that takes years to master. You can’t just turn up and expect to contend. Clearly no one had informed the then 23-year-old Day, who swaggered through the Georgian pines like a man who’d seen it all before. What Australian golf fans hadn’t bargained on was Charl Schwartzel. The South African’s birdie blitz over the final stretch has become the stuff of legend. Nobody in the history of the tournament has birdied the closing four holes to win the coveted green jacket but that’s precisely what Schwartzel managed. South Africans rejoiced; Australia’s mourned. How cruel this game can be. Not that Day was feeling particularly sorry for himself. “That’s one of the most exciting tournaments I’ve ever played in,” beamed Day minutes after Schwartzel had been presented with that greatest of apparel prizes.“I’m very happy with how I played today. I was out there and you’re walking down the fairway and there’s so many roars, you don’t know what’s going on and you see a number pop up on the leader board and the crowd is going crazy. “It’s lived up to everything I expected, and more, which is fantastic.” To understand what Augusta means to Day, you need to go back to when Day’s father Alvyn introduced him to golf at the age of three. Back to the ropey old three-wood Alvyn found at the local rubbish dump, which fuelled Day’s love affair with the game. At the age of six he joined his first golf club when he became a junior member at Beaudesert, a friendly club some 20 miles from Queensland’s Gold Coast. Alvyn always believed his son would play the Masters, so much so that as he lay on his death-bed at the end of a long fight with stomach cancer he called Day into his room and made a final request. He asked him to spread some of his ashes on Augusta when he eventually played the Masters. At this point, Day hadn’t even turned 12.

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“It’s funny how far I have come from losing my dad,” says Day. “A bunch of things I wouldn’t wish on another kid but all those things that I experienced in the past just added to the strength and the willpower to try and improve and get better. I have worked really, really hard to get there. I have always worked hard.” In the aftermath of his father’s death, Day turned to drink and admits to being an alcoholic by his early teens. Routinely getting into trouble at school, Day’s life changed for the better after his Filipina mother took out a second mortgage on their home in order to send him to Kooralbyn International School, a renowned boarding school with a golf programme on the outskirts of Brisbane. The school counts Adam Scott and Australian Olympic heroine Cathy Freeman among its alumni. “It was very easy to stop partying because there was nothing else to do except go to school and golf. There was literally nothing around us,” Day says. “So I was pretty much forced to go to school and golf. And I realized what my mum had done, and that I needed an education. “I feel very, very blessed to have the people in my life who have guided me along the way.” A book on Tiger Woods he found at the school, which detailed a young Tiger regularly breaking 70 before he turned 15, moved Day to lug his golf clubs more than a mile to the driving range at dawn and pound golf balls. He met another motivator, academy golf coach Colin Swatton, who guided and mentored Day HKGOLFER.COM

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Routinely getting into trouble at school, Day’s life changed for the better after his Filipina mother took out a second mortgage on their home in order to send him to a renowned boarding school with a golf programme on the outskirts of Brisbane.

AFP

Rags to riches: in less than four years, Day has accumulated close to US$10 million in tour earnings 34

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and became a surrogate father. He’s still Day’s coach and has caddied for him since his early professional days. “I practiced 32 hours a week,” says Day. “All I did was go to school and play golf. I didn’t have much of a social life.” Day quickly improved and went to the USA to ply his craft on the Nationwide Tour, where in 2007 he became the youngest, at 19 years, seven months, to win on the PGA Tour’s developmental circuit. In 2008 he made 13 of 28 cuts on the PGA Tour. In 2009, 14 of 18. In 2010 he made 18 of 24 cuts and earned his first Tour win – the HP Byron Nelson Championship – good for a US$1.17 million payday. But it was 2011 that proved to be Day’s real breakthrough season. After that Masters performance, Day recorded three top 10s in

his next four starts before finishing second at the very next major – the US Open at Congressional, which was won by McIlroy who bounced back superbly following his Augusta meltdown of just two months previously. There are many in the game that believe McIlroy and Day have what it takes to dominate golf between them for the next 10 years, but the latter, who reached No 7 in the world rankings following another high finish at September’s Bridgestone Invitational, is initially more circumspect when it comes to discussing his future. “ Pe o p l e e x p e c t m e t o p l ay w e l l i n tournaments and play well in majors,” says Day. “They expect me to win. It’s hard not to put pressure on yourself when people expect you to win. I will be playing practice rounds and people will yell out, ‘Go get them this week, I have money on you.’ “All these things add up and put more pressure on your shoulders. That’s why I don’t read any articles about myself any more. When I do read them I feel like I expect to win. I can’t do that. The moment I go out there and don’t win I am going to get disappointed.” Nevertheless, Day has a determination to succeed and, like his father, believes in his abilities. HKGOLFER.COM


“There is no way I will miss the birth of my first child [which is due in July]. Golf is one thing but family means much, much more.”

AFP

To the winner go the spoils: Day with his wife Ellie and coach-caddie Colin Swatton (above) after winning the HP Byron Nelson Championship in 2010; together with Rory McIlroy (right) after the Northern Irishman’s standout US Open performance 36

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“What I want to do is play somewhere between 15 to 20 years of golf. I want to accomplish a lot of goals. I want to win as many majors as I can and maintain the No 1 spot for as long as I can. “[But] right now I want to be a guy who is a contender each and every week. When Tiger Woods came out in 2000 he dominated. Phil Mickelson has had a great career. Vijay Singh is similar. I would like to be one of those guys and get into the golf Hall of Fame.” Says coach-caddie Swatton: “Guys who turn pro at an early age sometimes suffer the ultimate humiliation in that what they love also becomes their Achilles heel. Jason turned pro at a very young age – 18 or 19 – and basically went into the biggest tour in the world. That is sometimes a very difficult thing to do successfully. “That’s what I think people sometimes forget. He has been able to do what a lot of people haven’t been able to do – to play successfully on the biggest stage in the world and continually become better each year. He hasn’t come over, done well and then slipped off the map. He has just got a little bit better every year. It says something about Jason and what he wants to achieve.” But for all his success – he has accumulated close to US$10 million in earnings on the PGA Tour and fulfilled a dream by playing in November’s Presidents Cup – Day says that the most invigorating change in his life took place nearly three years ago when he married Ellie Harvey, an attractive Ohioan who is at his side at every tournament. Harvey is now pregnant

and is due to give birth to the couple’s first child in the summer. “In any sport, if you’re good at your profession, it’s easy to get loud, get a big head and think you’re the man,” says Day. “Having Ellie with me – she is with me all the time – she brings me down when she needs to. She is a great wife. She has always been there. She is a great supporter.” Family means everything to Day, which is evident by his recent announcement that he will forgo playing in the Open Championship if his baby arrives beforehand. “There is no way I will miss the birth of my first child. Golf is one thing but family means much, much more.” As for sprinkling his father’s ashes on the hallowed Augusta turf, Day says he’ll approach the club. “That was one of my dad’s wishes and if I was allowed to do it, that would be great,” says Day. “Obviously I know how the rules are at Augusta, it would probably be very unlikely, but we’ll see how it goes.” You have to think it would be unlikely, but if Day can go one better than last year and put in the request as the Masters champion, you really never know.

HKGOLFER.COM

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From the President After December’s splendid Hong Kong Open, the start of the year has continued apace with the staging of two of the Hong Kong Golf Association’s most important events – the Hong Kong Amateur Close Championship and the Hong Kong Ladies Amateur Close Championship, which were both played at Fanling. And both, I’m delighted to say, were highlighted by exciting finishes and excellent performances. In the former, Steven Lam showed he was back to some of his best form with a dramatic victory. Steven, a long-time Hong Kong international who is still only 18, holed a 15foot birdie putt on the final green to edge out Hong Kong Golf Club member Max Wong by the narrowest of margins. Steven showed a lot of heart and spirit over the four rounds, which was especially pleasing to see, and this will hopefully be the start of a great season for him. In the Ladies Close, Tiffany Chan also secured a gutsy come-from-behind win to claim the championship for the third consecutive year. You can read the full story on page 40 of this issue. Tiffany, who has been one of Hong Kong’s standout performers in recent years, will embark on a wonderful new adventure when she enrolls at the highlyacclaimed Arizona State University in the autumn. She will be greatly missed but I know she’ll do a fantastic job representing Hong Kong golf during her time there and

I would like to take this opportunity in wishing her the very best and look forward to seeing her return and representing the SAR when the opportunity arises. Both Tiffany and Steven are products of the HKGA’s junior development programme, which received a tremendous boost itself very recently with the news that EFG Bank will continue their sponsorship of the programme to the tune of HK$1 million per year for the next three years. EFG’s support over the past few seasons has been crucial in allowing our young golfers to develop their skills and participate and gain experience in more events than ever before. The official signing will take place on 20 March at the annual junior dinner and prize presentation but on behalf of the HKGA, I would like to say now how extremely grateful I am to EFG’s CEO Albert Chiu and Chairman Robert Chiu for not only their financial contribution but also their enthusiasm and passion for developing junior golf. One final note: I hope readers will consider joining the HKGA Rules Seminar, which will be held on 31 March at Fanling. The Seminar, which is sponsored by Charles Schwab, Hong Kong, Ltd., is open to anyone who is passionate about golf and interested in the Rules. If they wish, participants will be able to sit the R&A Level 1 accreditation exam. Please turn to page 16 for more information or visit the HKGA website. —David Hui President HKGA

An intelligent filter The judgement to spot talent early; the expertise to nurture it. Blending the finest solutions for clients. Proud sponsors of the EFG Bank Hong Kong Golf Association Junior Golf Programme.

HKGC Recapture Interclub Championship

Courtesy of the HKGA

The Hong Kong Golf Club won the 2012 Interclub Championship of Hong Kong on 20 February with a convincing victory over Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club in the final. HKGC defeated CW B by f ive points to one in the foursomes and fourball combination of matches after narrowly beating hosts Discovery Bay Golf Club on the opening day to progress. DBGC, last year’s champions, comprehensively beat Shek O Country Club to earn third spot. HKGC, who have dominated this competition over the years were represented at the two-day event by Max Wong, Doug Williams, Tim Orgill, Adrian Leung, Joe Pethes, Kelvin Inge, Stuart Murray, Andrew Tsui, Victor Ma and Chris Tsui. The HKGA Interclub League will commence in May. Visit hkga.com for the full results. 38

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Perfect Send-Off Before heading Stateside this August, Tiffany Chan secured her third Ladies Close title thanks to a gutsy come-from-behind win, writes Alex Jenkins PHOTOGRAPHY BY DANIEL WONG

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he wasn’t at her very best throughout the event but Tiffany Chan did just enough to win her third Hong Kong Ladies Close Amateur Championship in a row at Fanling last month. Chan, 18, put in an accomplished finalround performance over the New Course to see off the challenge of two of Hong Kong’s rising junior talents – Michelle Cheung and Mimi Ho – in what will likely be her last major event on these shores before heading to the United States this summer to be a part of the renowned golf programme at Arizona State University. Trailing overnight leader Michelle Cheung, Chan carded a solid one-under-par 71 for a three-round total of 219 (three-overpar) and victory by two shots over Cheung and three from Ho,

two 16-year-olds who are likely to vie for this championship and others in the months and years ahead. “It wasn’t easy today at all – I knew that Michelle and Mimi were playing well – so it feels great to have come through and win,” said Chan, who has impressed at tournaments at both home and overseas over the past few years. “This will likely be the last time I play in the Close for a while, which makes winning it for the third time all the more important.” Opening up with consecutive rounds of two-over-par 74, Chan, arguably Hong Kong’s finest-ever female amateur golfer, had complained of a decidedly cold putter over the first 36 holes but managed to get things moving on the final day with two birdies on her front nine to reel in Cheung who got off to a poor start. Indeed, it was Ho, who celebrated her 16th birthday on the first day of the tournament, who looked to be Chan’s main threat thanks to a solid opening nine holes. But a double bogey at the short 13th, followed by only a par at the par-five 14th (a hole that both Chan and Cheung had birdied) proved to be the Discovery Bay Golf Club member’s undoing. Chan on the other hand was nearly faultless. Using the experience she has gained from competing in top-class amateur events around the world, the Diocesan Girls’ School student, who had birdied the 11th to take the lead, was in complete control. Finding fairways and greens with metronomic regularity, Chan effectively closed the door on her opponents with a rock-solid par at the tough par-three 17th, where she rifled a long iron to within 12 feet. A bogey at the last, where she found a greenside

Overall Final Standings

Three-peat Tiffany: With victory at Fanling, Chan made it three Ladies Close titles in a row 40

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Michelle Cheung rallied over the backnine to finish second HKGOLFER.COM

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1

Tiffany Chan

74 74 71

219

2

Michelle Cheung

70 76 75

221

3

Mimi Ho

74 73 75

222

4=

Isabella Leung

77 77 72

226

Kitty Tam

70 77 79

226

6

Tiana Lau

77 77 76

230

7

Cindy Lee

79 78 81

238

8

Emily Leung

84 80 82

246

9

Kimberly Wong

80 84 85

249

10

Estee Leung

84 83 83

250

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"To win this event three times in a row is special. It's something I'm very proud to have achieved." Close contenders (clockwise from top): Kitty Tam and Mimi Ho contemplate their putts; Tiffany Chan receives a hug from her playing partner on the 18th green; Cindy Lee romped to victory in the Mid Amateur event; Chan, alongside Tiana Lau and Isabella Leung, find something to smile about on the sixth tee 42

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bunker with her approach, was the only demerit of an otherwise superb final nine holes. Only Olivia Yu, who won the championship five times in as many years in the 1990s, has more Ladies Close titles than Chan. “I didn’t really have a goal at the beginning of the day other than to play safe and try to make as few mistakes a possible,” said Chan, who finished fifth at last year’s Callaway World Junior Golf Championship in California. “But to win this event three times in a row is special. It’s something I’m very proud to have achieved.” Cheung, who attends South Island School, rallied well on the back nine to pip Ho for

second place. Isabella Leung and Kitty Tam tied for fourth to further underline the strength of junior golf in Hong Kong, In the Mid Amateur Championship, which is open to players over the age of 25, Cindy Lee, a former Hong Kong tennis international who many readers will recognise from her numerous film and television appearances, proved she was no novice with a golf club in her hand as she powered to a comprehensive win. Rounds of 79, 78 and 81 wrapped up that particular division title and gave Lee, who was also a contestant at the 2005 Miss Hong Kong Pageant, seventh place overall. HKGOLFER.COM


news

HK Golfer Events

Jason Continues Dominance 18-year-old claims fifth AJGA win Hong Kong’s Jason Hak continued his brilliant run of form in the United States with a threeshot win at the HP Boys Championship in Texas mid-February. Hak, 18, who impressed at Fanling in December by making his third straight cut at the Hong Kong Open, carded a final-round 69 over the 7,311-yard Fazio Championship Course at The Club at Carlton Woods to claim the fifth American Junior Golf Association victory of his career. “I knew I had to do something good today to get this win,” said Tsim Sha Tsui-born Hak, who now resides in Florida. “I didn’t start out very well. I doubled the second hole, but I knew I was still in it and I fought back really hard. I’m so proud of myself for staying in it and knew I could get it done.” With the win, Hak, who will attend Georgia Tech in the autumn, added to a record that includes top-10 finishes in his last nine AJGA events, a streak that started at the 2010 FJ Invitational. He also extended his lead at the top of the AJGA’s Polo Golf Rankings with only two events remaining. – Alex Jenkins

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HK Golfer


interview

Paddy Power

Eye on the ball: Harrington is hoping that a new coach and a new attitude to the game will reap rewards in 2012

Without a significant tour title since 2008, Padraig Harrington tells Lewine Mair how he's on the road to recovering his major championship-winning form

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AFP

o student of the game has ever spent more time searching for the secret of golf than Padraig Harrington. And what makes the Irishman’s quest all the more frustrating is that he thought that he had it at the end of 2008, the year he added to his 2007 Open victory with another Open and a US PGA championship. “When I won my three majors,” says the 40-year-old Harrington, “I believed I had the answer. I said to myself, ‘I can do this’, only when I tried to do the same things again, they didn’t work.” He said long ago that his wife, Caroline, is the only permanent member of ‘Team Harrington’ and, as from last summer, he has been making changes. Bob Torrance, his loyal old coach and the father of Sam Torrance, the 2002 European Ryder Cup captain, has given way to Pete Cowen, while he recently had a week with Dave Alred, the sports skills development guru who has been working with Luke Donald. “I don’t want to wait till I’ve retired to be able to say that I’ve learned everything. I need to know now," says the Irishman. "I watch other golfers all the time; I read everything there is to read.” Even the least talented of Harrington’s Pro-Am partners can take a certain pride in the fact that the three-time major winner will almost certainly have learned something from them. Harrington likes to see a playing companion hitting the ball well but, when that does not apply, he revels in analysing why a drive has skidded between the amateur’s legs or screwed past silly-mid-off. “It’s no good,” he expands, “just learning from yourself and your own mistakes. You have to look further afield.” Back in 2008, at the US Open at Torrey Pines, Harrington, considered himself blessed in playing two rounds alongside Angel Cabrera when the Argentinean was that week’s defending champion. 46

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“You could see all the time how much the week meant to him,” says Harrington, who won the 2003 Hong Kong Open. “He was trying ever so hard, almost too hard, to make the cut. Then, when it became clear that that was not going to happen, he was still trying to make things respectable. There were a couple of things which I took from those two days. The first, that he did not have to do all these things; the second, that his struggles did not take away from what he had done in 2007.” Last year, Harrington kept a close eye on Donald as he played his way to the number one spot on both the US and European Tour money lists. He had first noted the improvement in Donald’s play when they partnered each other in the Friday fourballs at the 2010 Ryder Cup. Thereafter, he followed the Englishman’s every upward move. Since Donald has stayed with the same coach, Pat Goss, since his days at Chicago’s Northwestern University, Harrington came to the conclusion that it had to be Alred who was giving the Englishman the extra edge. Harrington’s first meeting with Alred took place during the week of last year’s Irish Open. In the knowledge that he was at Dublin's Aviva Stadium – home of Irish rugby – to work with HKGOLFER.COM

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“I don’t want to wait till I’ve retired to be able to say that I’ve learned everything. I need to know now ... I watch other golfers all the time; I read everything there is to read.” the fly-half Jonathon Sexton, he drove the four hours from Killarney with a view to fixing an appointment. Alred agreed to fit Harrington in at the first opportunity which, even for a major champion, was six months down the line – namely, at this year’s HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship. Some wondered if Donald might have a problem with sharing Alred but not a bit of it. Donald said that there was no exclusive arrangement in place and that he was happy for him to work with others. “Dave’s said he’ll always put me first – and we’re having a week together

as soon as I get back to the States,” explained the world No 1. Harrington, for his part, cheerfully confirmed that Donald would always be Alred’s first choice – and that he was happy “to play the mistress” in the arrangement. In rugby, Alred employs a practice routine which sees goal-kickers taking aim on smaller and smaller targets. He has adapted those same methods to golf whilst continuing with his usual ploy of keeping records and charting day-today progress. “It’s all about making the practice competitive,” he revealed. Alred’s way is the reverse of sloppy, with his results mirrored in the very precise arrangements he makes at the outset. In an average golf session, students will embark on a programme in which an exact number of minutes and golf balls are allocated to each drill and discipline. Nothing over-runs and when, at last year’s Dubai World Championship, the media hung on to Donald for longer than teacher and pupil had anticipated, he cut out a gym session. He did not want his player to miss out on his full quota of rest. Alred and Harrington worked flat out from the Monday to the Wednesday of the Abu Dhabi week and, when it came to the tournament rounds, where Harrington scored 71, 69. 72 and 73 to finish 35th, Alred was to be seen taking his trademark notes. First and foremost, he was out to analyse why Harrington has spent the last couple of years struggling to take his game from the range to the course. Alred, at the time of writing, was not prepared to divulge too much about his new pupil: he was just too new. All he would say was that he needed to stop seeing his shots as one or other of good or bad. “I’ve banned him from using those words," he said matter-of-factly. "There are areas of grey ...” His only other comment was that everyone had told him he could not have hit on two more conscientious and gentlemanly students than Donald and Harrington. As you would expect, Harrington has made a

lot of comparisons between his two ‘major’ years and the more up-to-date seasons. “In 2008”, he says, by way of furnishing an example, “I always moved up the field on a Sunday. In 2011, I always slipped back.” Yet there were some good things to come out of the 2011 season, a year in which he finished in a relatively lowly 67th place in the European Tour's Race to Dubai. Firstly, he sorted out a recurring neck problem and, secondly, he got to the bottom of a swing problem which was responsible for the odd bad drive under maximum pressure. Essentially, he was dropping the club under the swing plane and leaving it behind. “Even if it’s not fully sorted out, it’s given me a bit of peace to know what’s happening,” he says. When you ask Harrington if he expects to win more majors, the answer is ‘yes’, though he wants you to know that it might not happen in a hurry. “You’re never going to get all peak years,” he says. He points to how no less a player than Nick Faldo won the sixth of his majors in what was his 21st year on tour. Then he mentioned Tiger Woods: “There were years when Tiger won more

than one major but there were others when he didn’t win any. It doesn’t get any easier for anyone who wins," maintains Harrington. "There are the expectations of others to deal with, as well as your own.” In which connection, he recalled how, when he finished 36th at the aforementioned US Open at Torrey Pines, a visitor to his home the following week had seen the result as something of a catastrophe. He wanted to know what on earth had happened. Harrington was moved to look up his statistics in the wake of that comment and, apart from five near misses on the greens, not too much had gone wrong at all. “There’s no point,” he reminds himself as much as everyone else, “in getting stressed. It all takes time. I’ve got to be patient and then, as happened in 2007 and 2008, a few might come at once.”

Major achievements: the Irishman won his second successive claret jug with a sublime ballstriking performance at Royal Birkdale in 2008 (opposite page); Harrington, seen here at Fanling last year (below), has an affinity for the Hong Kong Open having captured the title with a last-gasp putt in 2003

"It doesn’t get any easier for anyone who wins. There are the expectations of others to deal with, as well as your own.”

The Harrington File DATE OF BIRTH: 31 August, 1971 PLACE OF BIRTH: Dublin, Ireland TURNED PRO: 1995 (plus 2) MAJOR VICTORIES: 3 – Open Championship (2007, 2008), US PGA Championship (2008) OTHER PROFESSIONAL WINS: 23, including the 2003 Hong Kong Open RYDER CUP RECORD: 25 matches: 9 wins, 13 losses, 3 halves

AFP

ACCOLDADES: PGA Tour Player of the Year (2008), European Tour Player of the Year (2007, 2008), European Tour Order of Merit champion (2006)

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GOLF ATRAVEL Player’s Guide

Western Greens

From classic golden-era courses to amenity-packed modern resorts, California and Nevada offer golf of the highest calibre. Andrew Marshall hits the road from Los Angeles to Las Vegas in search of the most memorable places to play Photography by Paul Marshall

Wild ride: set among red-rock monoliths, teeming waterfalls and glistening creeks, Wolf Creek Golf Club in Nevada is a sensational test of golf 50

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Forest and the Ojai Valley where we have an appointment at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa’s historic 1923 course designed by the renowned golden-era architect George C Thomas. Standing outside the Spanish Colonial-style clubhouse wearing a baseball cap is Dr Joseph Parent, the author of best-selling book Zen Golf. With a PhD in psychology, a background in stress management, Buddhism and meditation, he’s amply qualified to instruct the mental side of the game. We ignore his topped drive with a rescue club, putting it down to first-tee nerves. “Zen Golf is the expression of insights I’ve developed through my teachings combined with the Buddhist state of mind,” says Dr Joe, as we stroll the course’s eucalyptus-lined fairways. “I sent out advance copies of the book to several pros and Vijay Singh really liked it. We worked intensively for a couple of years between 2002 and 2004, and then Vijay won a handful of tournaments and didn’t need me anymore. What do you say to a guy like that, apart from keep up the good work?” Old wooden bridges lead over gurgling brooks, ancient oaks and sprawling pepper trees stand sentinel along fairways and greens as Dr Joe continues. “I basically teach golfers how to

R Californian characters: the Robert Trent Jones II-designed Rancho San Marcos Golf Course (above) offers views of the Santa Ynez Mountains; Dr Joseph Parent (right), author of the best-selling book Zen Golf, at his home club, the wonderful Ojai Valley Inn & Spa 52

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oad trips in the States don’t come more quintessential than Los A ngeles to Las Vegas via Death Valley. All the classic imagery is there in abundance; film locations, roller-blading Californian blondes, lone roadside motels, highways stretching to infinity, buzzards circling cloudless skies and diner breakfasts. And for serious golfers, this is a true place of pilgrimage. From Trump National Golf Club – at US$264 million one of the most expensive golf courses ever built - to the world’s lowest golf course and some of the best desert layouts on the planet, the sheer quantity and variety of places to play in California and Nevada is astonishing. After loading our clubs into our spacious SUV at LAX, my brother Paul and I cruise north along palm-fringed Pacific Highway 1, passing through Santa Monica, Malibu and

When we reach the desolate outpost of Randsburg, low on gas, it’s like entering a Wild West movie set, with tumbleweed blowing down the main street. Heat waves peel off the sweeping line of asphalt that stretches forever towards distant snow-capped mountains. Death Valley shimmers far below in a haze. get the most out of their game that they have developed so far. During golf, the mind tends to wander into the past and future, it’s all about staying in the present,” he says. “Plus, the closer you get to the hole, the more the mental game kicks in.”

Desert Drive

Saturday morning, and there’s golf to be played at Pete Dye’s Lost Canyons before the long desert drive to Furnace Creek in Death Valley National Park. Widely regarded as one of the best golf experiences in California, Lost Canyons features two distinctly different 18-hole, par-72 championship courses routed through canyons and along ridges in the pristine Santa Susana Mountains north of the Simi Valley.

Ventura en route to the picturesque beachside town of Santa Barbara, dubbed the American Riviera thanks to its low-slung red-tiled roofs, white stucco buildings and gorgeous sunsets. Santa Barbara makes a good base for our first game of the trip at the Rancho San Marcos Golf Course, about a 30-minute scenic drive northeast up Highway 154. Set in a gorge in the Santa Ynez Mountains among centuryold oaks on land where cattle once grazed the historic San Marcos Ranch, this heavily bunkered Robert Trent Jones II course features slick putting surfaces, blind tee shots and two contrasting nines. The hole names – Eagle’s Nest, Old Headquarters, Stagecoach and Davy’s Stables – reflect the history of the area.

Zen Golf

From Santa Barbara we follow Highway 33 into the golden hills of the Los Padres National HKGOLFER.COM

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lead to the so-called “Devil’s Golf Course”, in reality a vast and surreal expanse of gnarled and jagged crystalline spires – not somewhere we or any other golfer with sense would ever think of teeing it up.

The Road to Vegas

Going low: the so-called Devil’s Golf Course (top), a large salt pan on the floor of Death Valley where “only the devil could play golf”; a diner on the desert highway (right), where travellers stop for muchneeded refreshment; the surprisingly verdant Furnace Creek Golf Course, the world’s lowest 54

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The course’s architect, the legendary Pete Dye, called the area “the best-suited and the most naturally-beautiful land that I have ever had the opportunity to design upon.” With its majestic terrain, The Sky Course here features holes that meander across rolling hills, along dramatic ridgelines and the floor of a hidden valley. The Shadow Course, meanwhile, follows Dry Creek Canyon and affords breathtaking views of White Face Mountain. Leaving Lost Canyons behind, we head north to Mojave along roads f lanked by distinctive Joshua trees. When we reach the desolate outpost of Randsburg, low on gas, it’s like entering a Wild West movie set, with tumbleweed blowing down the main street. It’s late afternoon and the sun still beats down like a hammer on Highway 178. Heat waves peel off the sweeping line of asphalt that stretches forever towards distant snow-capped mountains. Death Valley shimmers far below in a haze. Death Valley is one of one of the hottest and lowest places on earth. As we near it, the names on our crumpled road map take on an ominous tone: Desolation Canyon, Starvation Point, Furnace Creek, Hell’s Gate and Stovepipe Wells. Death Valley National Park’s headquarters are situated within the welcoming oasis of Furnace Creek, where a plantation of 1,800 date palms was planted in the 1920s, creating a scene that wouldn’t look out of place in the African Sahara. From Furnace Creek’s verdant 18-hole golf course, a network of well-maintained roads HKGOLFER.COM

It’s twilight when the infamous Las Vegas Strip looms into view, four miles of pulsating neon signs and a surreal skyline made up of a replica Eiffel Tower, an Egyptian pyramid, a Sphinx, the Statue of Liberty and an exploding volcano. Love it, loathe it, or both, Vegas is cheesy, artificial and completely over the top. It’s changed direction and reinvented itself more times than David Bowie crossed with a chameleon, and each time it emerges with a better and classier product. It is no exaggeration to suggest that Vegas has truly become a luxurious resort destination. Over the past 10 years, the number of immaculately conditioned golf courses within a two-hour drive of the city has increased to more than 60 and many of these are top-flight tracks designed by some of the biggest names in golf: Nicklaus, Palmer, Dye and Fazio all have courses here. The desert landscape has offered them an amazing canvas from which to create their works of art – swathes of emerald green fairways in a sea of red rock. Admittedly, you’ll be hard pressed to find green fees under US$100, making Vegas one of the most expensive destinations in the States. By Hong Kong and China standards however, this represents tremendous value for money. The pick of the public-access courses includes Bear’s Best, Bali Hai Golf Club, Primm Valley, Rio Secco, where Butch Harmon calls home, Paiute Golf Resort and Badlands. The following morning we find ourselves inside the office of Dream Car Rentals on the Strip, surveying the list of exotic vehicles for hire. We want to add a little “vintage” to our US golf tour and plump for a 1959 Cadillac Convertible, whose specifications make interesting reading. Length: football field; width: ocean liner; engine: V8; horsepower: 300; max speed: who cares? 0-60: you’re kidding! I strap myself in, twiddle the chunky knobs on the radio to tune-in a local station and rumble the ‘retro orgasm on wheels’ onto the main drag. Even in “anything goes” Vegas, the birthplace of bikini bull riding, the car still manages to attract a fair bit of attention from pedestrians. Ah, this is the life - two high-handicap golfers in a fire engine-red convertible with fins, driving down one of the most recognisable stretch of roads in search of the great American dream. While the golf clubs stand proudly against HKGOLFER.COM

the red leather back seats, the inside of the trunk looks like a mobile golf store, containing all the essentials for another day of desert golf; fourdozen Pro V1s, an assortment of hard lowgrade two-piece balls, four bags of tees, a whole galaxy of multi-coloured markers, a six-pack of

Over the past 10 years, the number of immaculately conditioned golf courses within a two-hour drive of Las Vegas has increased to more than 60 and many of these are topflight tracks designed by some of the biggest names in golf. The desert landscape has offered them an amazing canvas from which to create their works of art – swathes of emerald green fairways in a sea of red rock.

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sounding like a broken record. But rest assured: it is all of these things and more. Set high above the desert floor among red-rock monoliths, teeming waterfalls and glistening creeks, it looks as though strips of green velvet have been laid out on a lunar-landscape. There are precious few courses that can generate a genuine sense of awe for several holes at a stretch. Exceedingly rare is the layout that can sustain the feeling for an entire round; Wolf Creek Golf Club is such a place. Developer Doug Clemetson was determined to leave the distinctive natural landscape in place, accepting that a number of non-traditional golf holes would be the result. On the second tee box, for example, 90 granite steps lead up to the driving area, which is located some 11 storeys high. The 215-yard par-3 third hole plays uphill to one of the highest points on the course with 70-mile views and the fifth is a short par-5 that makes a rather abrupt turn left through the rocks before heading up to the green. Another classic is the par-3 11th, an island in a sea of red rock and typical of Wolf Creek’s dazzling visual appeal. As we prepare to hit our drives from the elevated tee at the 17th hole, the sun casts long shadows across canyon walls, gullies and surreal dried-earth formations, which glow red, pink, and gold in the late afternoon light. Leaning on our drivers we take a moment to take in this classic desert

Powerade, four protein bars, a case of Budweiser, a quart of Wild Turkey bourbon, two bionic golf gloves and a well-thumbed copy of Zen Golf personally signed by the good doctor.

Up the Creek Twin attractions: the appealing Lost Canyons (above), a Pete Dyedesigned 36-hole complex situated in the Simi Valley in California; despite its somewhat tawdry reputation, Las Vegas (right) has reinvented itself time and time again and has become a luxurious resort destination 56

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We are about 60kms northeast of Vegas along Highway 15, when my roaring hangover (courtesy of a bucket-load of complimentary bourbon the previous night) begins to kick in. I almost start hallucinating at the wheel and say to my brother something along the lines of: “I feel a bit lightheaded; maybe you should drive ...” He just laughs and rips open a beer can that foams all over the back seat while I contemplate my misery. Such is the effect of Sin City. Suddenly, rivulets of sweat begin running down my brow and I can’t seem to get Dr Joe Parent’s words of golf wisdom out of my brain.

TRIP PLANNER WHERE TO PLAY Rancho San Marcus rsm1804.com Ojai Valley Inn & Spa ojairesort.com Lost Canyons lostcanyons.com Furnace Creek Golf Course furnacecreekresort.com Wolf Creek Golf Club golfwolfcreek.com Badlands Golf Club badlandsgc.com

WHERE TO STAY Ojai Valley Inn & Spa ojairesort.com Furnace Creek Inn & Ranch Resort furnacecreekresort.com Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas mandarinoriental.com

USEFUL CONTACTS California Golf californiagolf.com Las Vegas Golf lasvegasgolf.com California Travel visitcalifornia.com Las Vegas Travel visitlasvegas.com Dream Car Rentals dreamcarrentals.com Zen Golf International zengolf.com

scene – one that provides a fitting finale to our American golfing odyssey. Read more about the fantastic golf adventures of the Marshall brothers, travel writer Andy and photographer Paul, in their e-book Golf Journeys & Culture, which is available for download at golfjourneys.net

“The closer you get to the hole, the more the mental side kicks in.” “On a birdie putt just think of the length of grass between the ball and the hole.” “Just tap it in.” “Don’t get in your own way.” “Stay in the present.” “Just tap it in ...” I hit the brakes, aim the vehicle towards the shoulder of the highway and quickly gulp down a bottle of chilled Powerade. It doesn’t seem to help much. But the one thing that shakes me out of my desert delirium and keeps me steering the ‘red beast’ down the furnace-hot asphalt towards the border town of Mesquite, some 50km away, is the promise of 18 glorious holes at one of the most amazing golf courses on the planet – Wolf Creek. There are some overused words when it comes to describing a golf course – “spectacular”, “dramatic” and “on a grand scale” come immediately to mind – which makes it difficult to illustrate Wolf Creek Golf Club without HKGOLFER.COM

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Mahan ends a dominant week in Arizona by defeating McIlroy for his second WGC title Hunter Mahan prevented Rory McIlroy from becoming the top-ranked golfer by beating him in the final of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. The 2-and-1 win for Mahan at the Ritz-Carlton’s Dove Mountain course in Marana, Arizona, at the end of February means American players have claimed victory in the opening eight events on the PGA Tour’s schedule for the first time since 2001. “It feels good,” Mahan said after securing his second WGC title. “I put everything I had into that match.” Mahan’s fourth victory on the PGA Tour follows wins at the 2007 Travelers Championship and the Phoenix Open and WGC Bridgestone Invitational two years ago. Mahan earned US$1.4 million, while McIlroy collected US$850,000 for finishing second. The loss for second-ranked McIlroy ensured Luke Donald will remain world No 1 for at least another week. McIlroy, at 22 years, nine months and 22 days, was seeking to become the secondyoungest golfer to top the Official World Golf Rankings after Tiger Woods, who was 21 years, five months and 17 days old when he first achieved the feat on 15 June, 1997. “He’ll be No 1,” Mahan said of McIlroy, who won last year's US Open. “He’s phenomenal. He’s really talented.” Mahan, 29, is the first US. player to claim the World Match Play title since Woods won for a third time in 2008. The final was the first between a European and an American since Steve Stricker defeated Pierre Fulke of Sweden 11 years ago. McIlroy was seeking to become the fifth European and second golfer from Northern Ireland after Darren Clarke in 2000 to win the event. A victory for McIlroy would have been the third straight for a British player, which was won by Englishmen Donald and Ian Poulter the previous two years. Mahan, who climbed to a career-high ninth after starting the tournament ranked 22nd, never trailed in the final and birdied the sixth hole to take a lead he’d never relinquish. A six at the par-four seventh after Mahan made a bogey cost McIlroy another hole. A par was good enough at the next to allow Mahan to stretch his advantage and McIlroy found himself trailing by four when Mahan birdied No 10. McIlroy rallied with an eagle at the par-five 11th and a birdie at No 14 to trail by two holes, which was as close as he’d get to Mahan. Mahan’s putt to win the match at the 16th hole caught the lip of the cup and stayed out. The Texan sealed the victory at the next when both players made pars, leaving Mahan two ahead with one hole to play. The last time the finalists played the 18th hole was in 2002. In the consolation match, world No 42 Mark Wilson of the US defeated third-ranked Englishman Lee Westwood by one hole. Mahan beat Wilson 2-and-1 in the semi-finals and Westwood lost 3-and-2 to McIlroy.

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US$600,000

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US$490,000

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US$270,000

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EUROPEAN TOUR

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AT&T PEBBLE BEACH NATIONAL PRO-AM

Paul Lawrie clawed his way back into the top 50 of the Official World Golf Rankings for the first time since 2003 after a flawless final-round performance gave him his second Qatar Masters win. The 43-year-old Scot, best known for defeating Jean Van de Velde and Justin Leonard in a play-off to win the 1999 Open Championship at Carnoustie, chipped in twice during a closing 65 and beat Australian Jason Day and Swede Peter Hanson by four. John Daly showed a welcome return to form to finish fourth. “I don’t think I can play much better than that,” said Lawrie after finishing with a 15-under-par total in an event cut to 54 holes because of strong winds on the second day. “When you’ve got a chance to win a tournament you don’t sleep as well the night before and things go racing through your mind. You’ve got to go back to basics and I did that. I hit some nice shots coming in.”

Phil Mickelson totally upstaged playing partner Tiger Woods while charging past overnight leader Charlie Wi to win the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in spectacular fashion by two shots. Six strokes behind South Korean Wi going into the final round at Pebble Beach Golf Links, Mickelson fired a flawless eight-under-par 64 to clinch his 40th victory on the PGA Tour. The American lefty took control of the tournament with a stunning outward nine of five-under 31 and holed two monster par putts after the turn on the way to a 17-under total of 269. “It feels awesome,” a beaming Mickelson said. “Hopefully it’s just one of a few this year because I am starting to feel pretty good.” While Mickelson won the pro-am celebrity event for a fourth time, Woods had to settle for joint 15th place after closing with a five-bogey 75 in his bid for a first PGA Tour win in more than two years.

Doha GC, 2-5 February 2012

1 2= 4 5= 9=

Paul Lawrie Jason Day Peter Hanson John Daly Sergio Garcia Jean-Baptiste Gonnet Ricardo Gonzalez Søren Hansen Nicolas Colsaerts Martin Kaymer

69 67 65 68 72 65 69 69 67 67 73 67 72 68 68 71 72 65 71 67 70 71 71 68 69 68 72 71 70 68

201 205 205 207 208 208 208 208 209 209

Pebble Beach Golf Links, 9-12 February 2012

€316,020 €164,688 €164,688 €94,808 €62,763 €62,763 €62,763 €62,763 €38,429 €38,429

1 2 3 4 5= 7= 9=

OMEGA DUBAI DESERT CLASSIC

Rafael Cabrera-Bello produced a nerveless final-round showing to claim the biggest win of his career at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Starting the day one behind world No 3 Lee Westwood, the 27-yearold Spaniard – whose only previous European Tour victory came at the 2009 Austrian Open – carded a bogey-free 68 to reach 18-underpar and triumph by a solitary stroke. Three of Cabrera-Bello’s birdies, including a crucial three at the 17th, came on the back nine as his rivals struggled to make headway in breezy conditions. Westwood, who had led by two strokes after a superb eagle at the second hole but struggled to find his form on the greens, and Stephen Gallacher shared second place after respective rounds of 70 and 69. Both men missed putts to force a play-off on the 18th. Westwood has now finished as runner-up in this event on three occasions. “It’s an unbelievable feeling and it’s been a really spectacular week for me,” said Cabrera-Bello.

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Rafael Cabrera-Bello Stephen Gallacher Lee Westwood Marcel Siem George Coetzee Scott Jamieson Søren Kjeldsen Rory McIlroy Thomas Björn Nicolas Colsaerts

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63 69 70 68 69 65 68 69 69 65 67 70 65 69 68 71 69 66 69 70 65 68 70 71 68 69 70 67 66 65 72 71 66 65 73 71 66 72 67 70

70 65 70 64 61 69 69 72 70 66 70 67 66 72 69 67 63 72 70 70 66 69 70 70 64 73 65 74 68 66 72 70 68 67 72 70 69 69 71 68

269 271 273 274 275 275 276 276 277 277

US$1,152,000 US$691,200 US$435,200 US$307,200 US$243,200 US$243,200 US$206,400 US$206,400 US$153,600 US$153,600

NORTHERN TRUST OPEN

Emirates GC, 9-12 February 2012

1 2= 4 5= 9=

Phil Mickelson Charlie Wi Ricky Barnes Aaron Baddeley Dustin Johnson Kevin Na Ken Duke Padraig Harrington Jason Kokrak Spencer Levin

270 271 271 273 274 274 274 274 275 275

€315,532 €164,434 €164,434 €94,661 €62,666 €62,666 €62,666 €62,666 €38,369 €38,369

Riviera CC, 16-19 February 2012

European Tour Race to Dubai * Standings as of 26 February 2012

1 Rory McILROY 2 Lee WESTWOOD 3 Branden GRACE 4 Paul LAWRIE 5 Robert ROCK 6 Peter HANSON 7 Rafael CABRERA-BELLO 8 Jbe KRUGER 9 Retief GOOSEN 10 Louis OOSTHUIZEN 11 Marcel SIEM 12 Ernie ELS 13 Nicolas COLSAERTS 14 Thomas BJÖRN 15 Martin LAIRD

NIR ENG RSA SCO ENG SWE ESP RSA RSA RSA GER RSA BEL DEN SCO

€938,052 €588,438 €584,795 €521,003 €490,909 €390,826 €370,508 €341,485 €306,206 €295,481 €292,910 €249,481 €241,611 €231,853 €204,576

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Bill Haas rolled in a 43-foot birdie putt on the second play-off hole to sensationally beat Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley at the Northern Trust Open, his fourth victory on the PGA Tour. The 29-year-old Haas, who in September captured the 2011 season-ending Tour Championship and a US$10 million bonus for winning the FedEx Cup, received nearly US$1.2 million for the victory at historic Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California. With the victory, Haas prevented Mickelson from becoming the first golfer to win PGA Tour events in back-toback weeks since Tiger Woods in 2009. Mickelson was tied with Bradley for the lead entering the final round. Haas, who was two shots back after the third round, had a 2-under-par 69 to finish at 7-under 277. Mickelson and Bradley each shot even-par rounds of 71 and both needed to birdie the last hole in regulation play to force the play-off. 1 2= 4= 8=

Bill Haas Phil Mickelson Keegan Bradley Sergio Garcia Dustin Johnson Jarrod Lyle Jimmy Walker Jonathan Byrd JB Holmes Bo Van Pelt

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72 68 68 69 66 70 70 71 71 69 66 71 69 76 70 64 71 70 67 71 73 65 71 70 72 66 72 69 68 70 69 73 67 73 70 70 74 68 68 70

277 277 277 279 279 279 279 280 280 280

US$1,188,000 US$580,800 US$580,800 US$259,875 US$259,875 US$259,875 US$259,875 US$191,400 US$191,400 US$191,400

PGA TOUR FEDEX CUP STANDINGS * Standings as of 26 February 2012

1 Kyle STANLEY 2 Johnson WAGNER 3 Phil MICKELSON 4 Mark WILSON 5 Bill HAAS 6 Hunter MAHAN 7 Brandt SNEDEKER 8 Steve STRICKER 9 Keegan BRADLEY 10 Ben CRANE 11 Martin LAIRD 12 John HUH 13 Spencer LEVIN 14 Harrison FRAZAR 15 Charlie WI

USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA SCO USA USA USA KOR

935 860 807 802 752 742 716 598 504 475 465 458 370 352 346

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ICTSI PHILIPPINE OPEN

ISPS HANDA WOMEN’S AUSTRALIAN OPEN

An emotional Mardan Mamat of Singapore coasted to a comfortable five-stroke victory at the ICTSI Philippine Open to end a six-year winless run. The 44-year-old picked up his third Asian Tour victory with a closing one-under-par 71 to complete a commanding wire-to-wire victory with an eight-under-par 280 aggregate. Mo Joong-kyung of Korea threatened briefly before finishing a distant second in the US$300,000 Asian Tour event, signing off with a 74 while top Filipino honours went to Antonio Lascuna who returned a 69 for tied third place with Japan’s Azuma Yano. However, it was heartbreak hotel for Filipino teenager Miguel Tabuena, who started the final round one shot back of Mardan but faded badly with an 81 to settle for a share of 11th position. “After bogeying the first, my confidence went. I was aiming for fairways and greens but it didn’t happen. I’ll learn from this,” said Tabuena, who has emerged as one of Asia’s brightest young talents.

Jessica Korda broke out her father’s trademark scissor-kick celebration when she won the Women’s Australian Open at Royal Melbourne for her first LPGA Tour title last month. She decided against the cart wheels that her father, Petr, did when he won the 1998 Australian Open tennis title. Maybe she was still dizzy following a topsy-turvy final day of the tournament. After losing the lead with a late bogey run, the 18-year-old American fought back to take the last spot in an improbable six-player play-off, then won with a 25-foot birdie putt on the second extra hole. She had earlier closed with a 1-over 74 to finish at 3-under 289 in the first women’s professional event at the difficult sand-belt layout that was the site of the 2011 Presidents Cup. Stacy Lewis, Brittany Lincicome, Julieta Granada, So Yeon Ryu and Hee Kyung Seo also were in the play-off that matched the largest in LPGA Tour history.

Wack Wack G&CC, 9-12 February 2012

1 2 3= 5 6= 8=

Mardan Mamat Mo Joong-kyung Antonio Lascuna Azuma Yano Ben Fox Adam Blyth Paul Donahoo Arnond Vongvanij Kim Gi-whan Hwang Inn-choon

69 70 70 71 72 71 68 74 71 71 76 69 69 75 73 70 69 73 74 72 73 70 75 71 71 72 74 72 73 72 74 71 71 75 72 72 77 72 67 74

280 285 287 287 288 289 289 290 290 290

Royal Melbourne GC, 9-12 February, 2012

1 2= 7 8= 10=

US$47,550 US$32,550 US$16,545 US$16,545 US$12,300 US$9,450 US$9,450 US$6,680 US$6,680 US$6,680

289 US$165,000 289 US$63,784 289 US$63,784 289 US$63,784 289 US$63,784 289 US$63,784 290 US$31,743 291 US$26,406 291 US$26,406 292 US$21,911

Siam CC, 16-19 February, 2012

DLF G&CC, 16-19 February 2012

South Africa’s Jbe Kruger finally shed his perennial bridesmaid tag when he closed with a final round three-under-par 69 to win the Avantha Masters in midFebruary. Kruger, who had come close on many occasions, especially in 2010, where he had to settle for the runnerup spot three times, was clearly relieved when he lifted his maiden Asian Tour title with a winning total of 14-under-par 274 at the DLF Golf and Country Club. Spain’s Jorge Campillo signed off with a 67 to take a share of second place with Germany’s Marcel Siem on 276, while Australia’s Marcus Fraser and Spain’s Manuel Jose Lara closed with matching 277s for a share of fourth place at was is the richest tournament staged in India. Thailand’s Prom Meesawat emerged as the leading Asian after he signed for a 71 to take a share of sixth place with three other players at the tournament, which is tri-sanctioned by the Asian Tour, European Tour and PGTI. 70 69 66 69 72 71 66 67 69 69 68 70 69 69 69 70 74 69 64 70 68 69 69 72 74 70 64 70 72 64 71 71 71 67 70 70 68 69 74 68

274 276 276 277 277 278 278 278 278 279

€300,000 €156,340 €156,340 €83,160 €83,160 €50,580 €50,580 €50,580 €50,580 €32,265

Asian Tour Order of Merit Standings * Standings as of 26 February 2012

1 Jbe KRUGER RSA US$394,589 2 Marcus FRASER AUS US$109,380 3 Prom MEESAWAT THA US$100,037 4 Anirban LAHIRI IND US$73,677 5 Kiradech APHIBARNRAT THA US$70,433 6 Mardan MAMAT SIN US$59,532 7 Kieran PRATT AUS US$53,468 8 SIDDIKUR BAN US$43,706 9 Chaphai NIRAT THA US$37,785 10 Chawalit PLAPHOL THA US$37,571 11 Scott BARR AUS US$36,957 12 Marcus BOTH AUS US$36,750 13 Ben FOX USA US$34,878 14 Adam BLYTH AUS US$34,875 15 MO Joong-kyung KOR US$33,510

Severe weather, a loaded field, and an opening round over par didn’t stop Yani Tseng from defending her title in Thailand at the Honda LPGA Thailand 2012. This marks Tseng’s 13th LPGA victory and her 21st international win. Tseng opened with an eagle on the first hole of her final round and added three more birdies to card a front nine 31, but let others in with bogeys on the 10th and 13th holes. Ai Miyazato, the third round leader, began to gain ground firing a 32 on the back nine, but Tseng poured in birdies on 17 and then a tap-in on 18 sealed the deal. Suzann Pettersen the 2nd ranked player in the world had a disappointing final round 78 after being tied for 4th heading into the day. “I feel much more pressure coming into this year,” said world No 1 Tseng, who won 12 times in 2011, “so this feels great.” 1 2 3 4 5= 9=

Yani Tseng Ai Miyazato Jiyai Shin Amy Kang Jimin Kang Shanshan Feng Amanda Blumenherst Stacy Lewis Jenny Shin Karrie Webb

73 65 65 66 67 70 65 68 70 66 68 67 68 69 68 69 70 72 69 67 70 70 70 68 71 67 71 69 70 69 69 70 71 70 67 71 68 65 71 75

269 US$225,000 270 US$140,688 271 US$102,059 274 US$78,951 278 US$49,297 278 US$49,297 278 US$49,297 278 US$49,297 279 US$32,736 279 US$32,736

Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings * Standings as of 26 February 2012

1 Yani TSENG 2 CHOI Na-yeon 3 Suzann PETTERSEN 4 Cristie KERR 5 Paula CREAMER 6 AHN Sun-ju 7 Jiyai SHIN 8 STACY LEWIS 9 Ai MIYAZATO 10 IK KIM 11 Brittany LINCICOME 12 Shanshan FENG 13 Amy YANG 14 Angela STANFORD 15 Chie ARIMURA

TPE KOR NOR USA USA KOR KOR USA JPN KOR USA CHN KOR USA JPN

16.61 9.18 8.67 8.30 6.99 6.89 6.82 6.22 6.18 6.13 6.13 5.73 5.72 5.70 4.95

AFP

Jbe Kruger Jorge Campillo Marcel Siem Marcus Fraser José Manuel Lara Jean-Baptiste Gonnet Tano Goya Prom Meesawat Thorbjørn Olesen Kiradech Aphibarnrat

72 70 73 74 69 73 77 70 70 75 73 71 70 72 76 71 71 69 76 73 75 66 75 73 72 74 74 70 74 72 71 74 70 76 71 74 76 77 71 68

HONDA LPGA THAILAND

AVANTHA MASTERS

1 2= 4= 6= 10=

Jessica Korda Stacy Lewis Brittany Lincicome Julieta Granada Ryu So-yeon Seo Hee-kyung Jenny Shin Katie Futcher Yani Tseng Anna Nordqvist

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GLOBALTOURNAMENTNEWS

The Wait is Over Stanford comes out on top of four-way play-off to end American drought in Asia Angela Stanford ended a wait of 14 years and four months for an American victory in a LPGA event in Asia when she won a fourplayer play-off at the HSBC Women’s Champions at Singapore’s Tanah Merah Country Club. Stanford won with a par on the third play-off hole, finally knocking Korean teenager Jenny Shin out of the reckoning, after Korea’s world number two Na Yeon Choi and China’s Shanshan Feng had been eliminated in two previous trips up the tough 18th hole. All four had finished on 10-under-par 278 for the tournament. Amazingly, the last victory for a US player in the LPGA’s long history of staging tournaments in Asia was Juli Inkster’s win at the 1997 Samsung World Championship of Women’s Golf, from an invitational field of 16 LPGA players, in Seoul. The 2012 HSBC Women’s Champions was the 39th event in the region since then. “I’m the first American to win in Singapore. That’s pretty cool!” said Stanford, a 34-year-old Texan. “It’s funny; sitting at the Pro-Am party (on the Wednesday before the tournament) I was thinking we haven’t had an American win this thing yet. Honestly, I thought, well, I’m an American. Might as well give it a go!” Stanford, whose last win was in 2009, didn’t do it the easy way; only converting the fourth of the putts she had to win the tournament. The cruellest of those was in regulation play after a violent thunderstorm struck with the final group on the 18th tee and all their rivals safely in the clubhouse. After a 90-minute delay, play resumed with 19-year-old Shin leading Stanford by one shot, but the young Korean found a water hazard off the tee and made double bogey, while Stanford’s first chance for victory went

HSBC Women’s Champions

Getty Images

1 Angela Stanford 2= Na Yeon Choi Shanshan Feng Jenny Shin 5 Yani Tseng 6= Ai Miyazato IK Kim 8= Vicky Hurst Hee Young Park Jiyai Shin 64

HK Golfer・MAR 2012

66 70 71 71 68 71 71 68 69 71 69 69 69 67 71 71 71 72 67 69 69 70 73 69 68 72 71 70 69 73 71 69 71 68 73 70 70 70 70 72

278 278 278 278 279 281 281 282 282 282

US$210,000 US$102,564 US$102,564 US$102,564 US$60,780 US$45,677 US$45,677 US$33,030 US$33,030 US$33,030

begging when she missed a par putt from around five feet. Making pars throughout the play-off, Stanford adds her name to a roll of honour that consisted only of players to have been rated the best in the world game, from defending champion Karrie Webb through Ai Miyazato and Jiyai Shin to the winner of the inaugural event in 2008, Lorena Ochoa. “I feel extremely honoured to be in that group of players and to be the first American to get a win is pretty special. Everybody knows this is one of the premier events on tour and always has the best players,” she said. Current world No 1 Yani Tseng of Taiwan, who was Jenny Shin’s main challenger for much of the day, finished one shot back in fifth place. She might have won had her approach shot to the 17th hole gone in for eagle rather than catching the lip of the hole as it spun back, leaving her a birdie putt that she missed. –Tim Maitland HKGOLFER.COM

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have a rugged machismo that compliments the overall art deco aesthetic. Just 10 of these pieces will be made available with five encrusted with diamonds for buyers seeking an additional ‘wow’ factor. Suc h a l i m ite d r u n me a n s t h at t he pocket watch will be almost impossible to buy. Thankfully, Cartier, keen to grant the ingenious flying tourbillon its rightful place, also unveiled the Rotonde de Cartier Cadran Lové Tourbillon wristwatch which has a less restrictive, though still exclusive run of 100 editions. Cut, or rather chiseled, from the same cloth as the limited edition pocket watch this new piece has strikingly similar features. Familiar roman numerals are carved from the same white gold, for example, but form a crescent around perimeter of the bold 46mm case. Similarly, the flying tourbillion is encased by the same C-shaped bridge that can be found on the dial of the pocket watch. The ‘flying’ aspect of the tourbillion means that the rotating cage is suspended over the main dial of the watch and appears almost weightless. Although enhancing the appearance, naturally this decision can reduce the movement’s ability to withstand shock. The architects behind the design had to pay particular attention to the setting in order

A unique novelty, the Grand Complication Skeleton Pocket Watch is an exciting blend of vintage form and contemporary function A s excit i n g a s t h i s watch i s , it wa s overshadowed by the Grand Complication Skeleton Pocket Watch. A unique novelty, it was launched as part of Cartier’s f ine watchmaking series. This timepiece is an exciting blend of vintage form and contemporary function. In t he late 19t h cent ur y Cartier was famed for making exquisite pocket watches. Measuring 59.2mm in diameter the watch is large, but not an oversized example of the style. Its appearance is initially surprising because, unlike other pocket watches this example lacks a case. The dial is permanently exposed and carries a perpetual calendar, chronograph and a tourbillion which is elegantly positioned beneath a Cartier C-shaped bridge. Skeletonised roman numerals perforate the outer edges of the timepiece and really draw the eye. Punched out of solid white gold they 66

HK Golfer・MAR 2012

HKGOLFER.COM

The newest iteration of the Cartier Tank line, the Anglaise, is the most masculine edition of the range to achieve the perfect balance of beauty and function. Their efforts have already been rewarded and the complication is embellished with the most prestigious marking of precision approval: the Geneva Seal. This off icial stamp is only awarded to the most accurate of movements. As well pushing at technical boundaries Cartier also entrenched its stake in timeless design by releasing an entirely new range of the popular Tank watch. As the quintessential Cartier timepiece the square shape of the Tank is immediately recognisable by anyone with even so much as a passing interest in watches. The newest iteration of the Cartier Tank collection is the Tank Anglaise which sees Cartier continue to explore international design sensibilities. Following on from the classic Tank Française and 2009’s Tank Américaine, the Anglaise is now the largest in the whole collection. With a height of 47mm and a width of just over 36mm it is a much more masculine edition. In a first for the collection, the winding crown is recessed into the case. The sapphire cabochon – a small jewel atop the winding crown and a Cartier signature embellishment – is still included. The new design means, though, that the jewel is more discreet in order to achieve a sleeker, square silhouette. Alongside some brand new additions to the Tank family, this year also saw the release of number of interesting technical improvements to the collection. Most significant is the Tank Louis Cartier XL which features a brand new ultra-thin hand wound movement courtesy of manufactures Piaget. Previously, this edition used a quartzpowered movement which, among aficionados, is much less desirable. The newly redesigned wristwatch is now fully mechanical and the thinnest timepiece in the entire Cartier range. Such milestones consistently emerge from Cartier’s watchmaker’s studio and year after year the brand continues to capitalise upon its prominence within the annual SIHH showcase. This year proved to be no exception and Cartier took its place at the heart of the exhibition to launch typically lavish timepieces and challenging high-tech works. Cartier ably demonstrated years of experience in masterful watchmaking, while setting its sights square on the future. HKGOLFER.COM

Timeless elegance (clockwise from top left): the striking Grand Complication Skeleton Pocket Watch; the Tank Louis Cartier XL now features a brand new ultra-thin hand wound movement and is the thinnest in the entire Cartier range; the Tank Anglaise sees Cartier continue to explore international design sensibilities

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I was pretty excited as you could see. [Laughing]. You know, it’s a gentleman’s game and we’re all trying to carry on that part of the game throughout. Greg deserved to have a calm time to play his shot. You’ve probably been asked to replicate that shot many times, even though that green is a little different now ... It is a little different and you know I have never been back to that spot or tried that shot again. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I think there’s no reason to ever do it again, I see it as a lose-lose situation. One of the magazines wanted me to go back and do it again and I said no. So now, every time I see it replayed again it’s still a pure memory. People ask where the spot [I played from] was and I say ‘It’s over there somewhere’. I’m not exactly sure where it is, especially now that they’ve re-done the green. So I’ve never played that shot again and don’t plan on playing it unless I hit it there in the tournament.

I had a calm nervousness about me because I had played well all week. I’d been in a play-off with Greg Norman the previous year at the Kemper Open, so I think that helped. Knowing it wasn’t my first play-off with Greg was a positive. CONTINUED FROM PAGE 70

Did you give any thought at the time to the fact that Greg had a pretty crushing loss in the previous major [the US PGA in 1986, when Bob Tway holed from a bunker on the last hole to beat him] and that Seve had had a similarly disappointing loss in the Masters to Jack Nicklaus the previous year? It never entered my mind. It’s funny though, no-one has ever brought that up before, but it’s an interesting point that I hadn’t thought about.

AFP

Home turf: nobody knows Augusta quite like Mize, who will be making his 28th appearance at The Masters in April 68

HK Golfer・MAR 2012

Ben Hogan used to say that if you ever saw him on the green on 11 with his second, you knew he’d missed the shot, but you looked quite disgusted when you left your five-iron approach out to the right during the play-off? I was disgusted. I was trying to hit it on the green because Greg was obviously well ahead of me in the fairway; I think he may have had about an eight-iron in there. I was trying to hit a good shot but I subconsciously didn’t want to hit it in the water so I just blocked it out to the right.

I’ve tried to think of various angles in which to ask you about your famous chip shot but I thought I’d simply ask if you could just take me though it. What you were thinking when you surveyed the situation? One of the great things about the shot was that I only carried a 56-degree sand wedge. We’ve talked about how hard and fast the greens were so I knew there was no way I could carry the ball on the green and keep it on there. The only shot I thought I could play was a pitchand-run and I knew I still needed some loft on the club because it could still run across the green into the water. So there was only one shot to play and only one club to play it with – that 56-degree sand wedge. So that was a real bonus; there was no indecision, so I could just commit to the shot. I’d had about an 18 or 20foot par putt on the same line in regulation which I’d made, so I knew what the ball was going to do when it got on the green. So I just picked the spot to land it and wanted to hit a good aggressive shot to get it somewhere near the hole for a par putt to put the pressure back on Greg. Obviously though, the ball went in, there was pandemonium and you danced around the green in jubilation. It was a touch of class from you in that moment though to gather yourself to hush the crowd to allow Greg to play. HKGOLFER.COM

Not only are you actually from Augusta but you also worked as a scoreboard attendant on the third hole in your teens. To win the tournament in such dramatic fashion, and be presented with the green jacket by the greatest of all time: could the reality of what happened actually exceed what you’d dreamt about your whole life? I couldn’t have scripted it any better. I beat two great players and I got the jacket from the greatest player of all time. Getting the jacket from Jack was just the cherry on top of the sundae, it just couldn’t have been any better for me. How is your relationship with Greg? It was obvious a tough situation for him. We have a good relationship, he handled it great. I remember we went to Hilton Head the next week and we were in the locker room together and I said to him, ‘I thought you handled it great last week, like always’. He said his thanks and some other nice things to me, which I appreciated. We get along great. I like Greg and as far as I know, he likes me. It’s nothing personal, it’s just golf. We’re all there trying to beat each other and that’s just the way the game is. I’m sure he hated it and if the roles were reversed, I would have hated it too. Which players are you liking for this year’s Masters? It’s hard to believe an Australian hasn’t won it but someone asked me this earlier and a name still keeps coming to me, even though he’s not as much of a favourite as he was before. I’m going to put Ernie Els’ name out there. If he can get HKGOLFER.COM

I couldn't have scripted it any better. I beat two great players [Norman and allesteros] and I got the jacket from the greatest player of all time. Getting the jacket from Jack [Nicklaus] was just the cherry on top of the sundae, it couldn't have been any better for me.

that flat stick working, I think he can still be a force. Ernie is a great guy and I’d like to see him play well. Of course, Phil [Mickelson] is playing really well right now, Bill Haas is playing really well and with Luke Donald, it’s just a matter of time [for him to win a major] the way he plays. If Rory [McIlroy] putts like he did at the US Open last year, he has the game to win there, no doubt. Having won a Major, played Ryder Cup, won multiple times on tour, won in Japan and enjoyed a 10-shot victory against a major-quality field in the Johnny Walker World Championship in Jamaica in 1993, do you ever feel you’re often only associated with that chip shot and victory as opposed to a broader recognition of a fine career? I don’t really give it much thought. As far as my career goes, there are a lot worse ways to be remembered than for the chip-in at Augusta. I guess with it happening at such a tremendous tournament with a worldwide effect, I can see how that could happen but its fine with me. I’m proud of my career but I guess I accept the fact that I’ll mostly be remembered for the chip-in and win at Augusta. Finally, as you play The Masters every year, do you sneak a peek at that scoreboard you worked at on the third hole every time you pass it? You know, I do! I do look at it with fond memories because I worked there for two years as a teenager and had a great time doing it. When I walk past, it’s a special spot for me, no question. There’s a ladder on the back and we’d open up the windows where the numbers go to peek out, even though they didn’t want us to do that in the tournament. I look back at that and shake my head that’s it’s been 25 years since I won. My son, who was one week short of his first birthday when I won at Augusta, is getting married in March, so ‘well be having our first wedding. My wife and I will probably shed a few tears that night but he’s marrying a great girl and we’re all really excited. HK Golfer・MAR 2012

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final shot

Larry Mize

Twenty-five years since his epic Masters play-off win over Greg Norman and Seve Ballesteros, Augusta’s favourite son talks to Paul Prendergast about that week, the incredible chip-in that sealed the victory and his green jacket picks for next month’s tournament Stellar short game: Mize, never noted for his length, needed all his chipping and putting skills to win the 1987 Masters Tournament

Winning The Masters and joining that exclusive club is something everyone dreams about but it’s especially significant for you being an Augusta native. How does it feel now after 25 years as a Masters champion? As the years go by you grow and learn to appreciate it more. I just realise what a tremendous win that was for me and to get to go back there every year to compete and see all the champions at the Champions Dinner. The other thing is it’s hard to believe it’s been 25 years. I told someone today that I’m not that old! You really just appreciate the tournament more and more. For me to even play in the tournament was a dream come true but to win it as an Augusta boy was just incredible. You’ve enjoyed a good run of form on the Champions Tour of late. With the Masters only a month away do you harbour hopes of maybe doing what Greg Norman did in 2008 and Tom Watson in 2009 at the Open Championship by getting into contention at Augusta? Oh yeah, no doubt, I can’t help but think like that. The competitor in you makes you think you can do it, maybe not on a week by week basis, but in certain weeks – and Augusta is one of those weeks even though the course is so long and hard. I still believe I can get in the mix a little bit and my recent form encourages me to keep pushing and hopefully be peaking by The Masters.

AFP

So it’s not a ‘ceremonial’ week for you in any way? No, not at all. I still think I can compete in the tournament and I’m working hard to get in [contention] a little bit. 70

HK Golfer・MAR 2012

Looking back to your recollections of the 1987 Masters. It was a tough week, only three-underpar got into the play-off ... The greens were just unbelievably hard. I’ll never forget John Cook and I were in the last group on Friday and we were standing on the fourth tee and the staff are hand watering the third green with little watering cans with a spout, like you would water flowers. The water is not even seeping into the green. It was like the hood of a car, it was just beading up and running off the green! The greens had that blueish–brown tint to them and were incredibly fast, so that’s why the scores were so high. Looking at who you were up against in that playoff – Greg Norman and Seve Ballesteros – they were regarded as two of the kingpins of the day. You were never a long hitter but an exceptional putter. Do you think that balanced it out for you around Augusta, having that good a short game? I would never argue with getting a little longer, there’s no doubt. I’ve been good around the greens and getting the ball in the hole so it’s been somewhat of an equaliser, there’s no question. I had a tall order going up against Seve and Greg in that play-off. For me, the way I’d played that week and the birdie on the 72nd hole gave me a nice boost and a lot of confidence going into extra holes. I had a calm nervousness about me because I had played well all week. I’d been in a play-off with Greg the previous year at the Kemper [Open , which Mize lost on the sixth extra hole] so I think that helped. Knowing it wasn’t my first play-off with Greg was a positive. CONTINUED ON PAGE 68 HKGOLFER.COM

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HK Golfer March 2012  

HK Golfer March 2012

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