Omega Presents: In-depth review of the US PGA Championship
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HK Golfer Issue 80
36 On the Cover: The eighth hole at the stunning Jack’s Point Golf Course in Queenstown, New Zealand. Photo courtesy of Jack’s Point
36 | Dufner’s Redemption
20 | In Focus
The most laid-back character in professional golf used a combination of supreme ball-striking, heart and belief in capturing the first major title of his career.
A pictorial review of the past 30 days – both locally and globally By The Editors
By Paul Prendergast
56 | In a Class of Her Own Inbee Park, the hottest player in the game this year, is as gracious and delightful off the course as she is brilliant on it. By Lewine Mair
62 | Game Changers Golf wouldn’t be the same without these equipment breakthroughs. By Charlie Schroeder
66 | South Island Spectacular Queenstown, in New Zealand’s South Island, is home to a collection of some of the world’s most visually appealing courses. By Alex Jenkins
72 | 48 Hours in Bangkok AFP (Dufner); Daniel Wong (Ho)
Only have time for a short break? You can’t go wrong with the Thai capital and these three golfing gems.
HK GOLFER・SEP 2013
27 | Tee Time Our watch editor takes a look at Vacheron Constantin’s “The Sound of Time” Exhibition in the lead up to Watches and Wonders. By Evan Rast
32 | Driving Range The new Wraith from Rolls-Royce is the most powerful model in the marque’s illustrious history. By Ben Oliver
34 | Tales from the Box Our correspondent wraps up another month of European Tour commentating duties with a look at the contrasting fortunes of Lee Westwood, Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus. By Julian Tutt
78 | Global Tournament News
By Paul Myers
A wrap of professional tournament news from the PGA, European, Asian and LPGA Tours. By The Editors
74 | The Best 19th Holes
74 | Golf & Investing / 5 Minutes With ...
What makes the perfect clubhouse? We take a look at the top spots in Southeast Asia. By Paul Myers
Jason Kwok, the head professional at Discovery Bay Golf Club. By Alex Jenkins HKGOLFER.COM
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THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE HONG KONG GOLF ASSOCIATION SEPTEMBER 2013 • Issue 80
Editor: Alex Jenkins email: firstname.lastname@example.org Playing Editor: Jean Van de Velde Senior Editor: Roy Kinnear Photo Editor: Daniel Wong Contributing Editors: Lewine Mair, Robert Lynam, Evan Rast, Ben Oliver, Julian Tutt Published by:
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74 D E PA R T M E N T S 10 Mailbag 14 Divots 25 Clubhouse 44
Around the HKGA
From the President
Advertising: For advertising information, please contact: email@example.com For purchasing information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org For subscription information contact: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com In association with: www.thymedesign.hk
46 Tournaments 52
Iain Valentine Interview
Player Profile: Leonard Ho
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. 8
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HK Golfer Mailbag Arrogance, Not Ignorance Without wishing to harp on about slow play – I know this is a topic that many other readers have complained about over the years – but I have reached the conclusion after playing this game for close to two decades that it is the result of one thing and one thing only: arrogance. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world – as other correspondents have noted, slow play is far from being solely an issue in Asia – the reason a group is holding up your fourball is because they simply do not care about anyone else on the course. I don’t think it has anything to do with ignorance; after all, you don’t need to have been brought up with golf from a young age to realize the players in the group behind you are waiting on every single hole. Of course, there are things like not hitting two balls when the first one may be lost that slow the pace of play down (this is unforgiveable in its own right but is easily solved), but the overriding factor is downright rudeness. The fact is that there are golfers who think of no-one but themselves. This is true in both the professional and amateur game and applies to every type of player – good and bad, young and old, male and female. Expensive marketing initiatives like the one the USGA has introduced – the inane “While We’re Young” campaign – won’t do anything to cure this age-old problem. Name and address withheld Editor’s reply: While I would agree that arrogance plays a significant role in the cause of slow play – playing off the wrong tee would also fall into this category – I don’t think you can lay the blame entirely at the door of the player. The way a course is set up, for instance, can be a contributing factor. Lining fairways with thick rough and playing on greens that are unnecessarily contoured surely plays a part too. While not everyone might agree with the USGA’s recent campaign, the very fact that people are talking about it has to be considered positive.
Single-Sex Golf Clubs I read with interest Lewine Mair’s article in the July issue regarding Muirfield Golf Club (“Classic Challenge”). In it she discusses, to a lesser degree than most British tabloid newspapers it should be said, the club’s male-only membership policy and how Augusta National has moved away from being a singlesex club after inviting Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore to join. While this is not really an issue in Asia – something that I’m glad about – I was surprised to learn on my trip to the UK over the summer that there are in actual fact as many womenonly golf clubs as there are men-only clubs. I got talking to one member of a women-only club in Scotland and she thought the criticism levelled at Muirfield was plain wrong. “My husband has his club and I have mine – what’s the problem with that?” she argued. I thought your readers might be interested as I was by her response. Geoffrey Li Mid-Levels
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s t i r l i n g a n d s t i r l i n g. c o m
Caesars Golf Macau Sold The end appears to be nigh for Caesars Golf Macau – the 18-hole layout on Macau’s Cotai Strip – after its owner, the American casino operator Caesars Entertainment Corporation, agreed last month to sell the facility to Pearl Dynasty Investment, a mainland real estate developer. The deal, which is reportedly worth US$438 million, comes after Las Vegas-based Caesars’ failure to secure casino operating rights in the SAR. The 175-acre course (pictured) cost Caesars US$578 million when it was purchased in 2007. Since then the layout, one of only two in Macau, and clubhouse has been upgraded and a Butch Harmon School of Golf introduced. “There’s two things that there’s a lack of in Macau: land and gaming licenses,” said one industry insider. “[Caesars] had one and didn’t think they could get the other, so why not sell?” What Pearl Dynasty Investment intends to do with the property when the transaction is completed remains to be seen, but many are assuming its days as a golf course are numbered.
Titleist Wins Again
AFP (Bethpage Black)
Jason Dufner’s victory at the US PGA Championship was also a victory for Titleist, his club and ball makers. Included in Dufner’s arsenal was the Titleist 910D2 driver, the soon-to-be-released Titleist 714 AP2 irons and the Titleist Pro V1, which, as the table below shows, has been the ball of choice for the majority of major winners over the past five years. In the last 20 majors, the Pro V1 and Pro V1x have been used for eight wins, including two this year.
US PGA The Open US Open Masters
Jason Dufner Phil Mickelson Justin Rose Adam Scott
Titleist Callaway TaylorMade Titleist
Titleist Pro V1 Callaway TaylorMade Titleist Pro V1x
US PGA The Open US Open Masters
Rory McIlroy Ernie Els Webb Simpson Bubba Watson
Titleist Callaway Titleist Ping
Titleist Pro V1x Callaway Titleist Pro V1x Titleist Pro V1x
The Open US Open Masters
Darren Clarke Rory McIlroy Charl Schwartzel
TaylorMade Titleist Nike
TaylorMade Titleist Pro V1x Nike
US PGA The Open US Open Masters
Martin Kaymer Louis Oosthuizen Graeme McDowell Phil Mickelson
TaylorMade Ping Callaway Callaway
TaylorMade Titleist Pro V1x Callaway Callaway
US PGA The Open US Open Masters
YE Yang Stewart Cink Lucas Glover Angel Cabrera
TaylorMade Nike Nike Ping
Taylormade Nike Nike Titleist Pro V1x
* Indicates majority of clubs used
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Ryder Cup Heading to NYC in 2024 New York’s Bethpage Black (pictured) will host the 2019 US PGA Championship and 2024 Ryder Cup, it was announced last month. The two-time US Open host has long been considered the perfect venue for the biennial team event, with its big stage likely to give the United States a boost. Phil Mickelson, who would be 54 in 2024 and a possible captain candidate, said at last month’s US PGA that the traditionally boisterous crowds would give the Americans a “distinct” advantage. The 2002 US Open, won by Tiger Woods, featured some of the most vocal and colourful crowds ever seen at a golf event. “I love it,” Mickelson said. “I’ve been quietly hoping it would go there for years. It’s the perfect site.” HKGOLFER.COM
Asian Amateur Stars Set for Nanshan Showdown
“I had a magical 12 months, winning the AAC against such a tough field and then playing at the Masters and rubbing shoulders with these great champions.” Two of Asia’s golfing prodigies, Guan Tianlang of China and Chinese Taipei’s Pan Cheng-tsung, have confirmed that they will play in the 2013 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, having finished first and second respectively at last year’s event in Thailand. Guan set the world alight in 2012 with his breath-taking win at the fourth edition of the event at Amata Spring Country Club outside Bangkok. The 14-year-old subsequently made history when he became the youngest golfer ever to make the cut in a Major Championship at the 2013 Masters. With rounds of 73-75-77-75 over the historic Augusta National Golf Club layout, he won the Tournament’s Silver Cup, given to the low amateur in the field. O rga n i se d by t he A sia Pac i f ic G ol f Confederation, the Masters Tournament and The R& A, the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship winner receives an invitation to the Masters the following year and, along with the runner(s)-up, advances to International Final Qualifying for The Open Championship. Hong Kong is expected to be represented by Motin Yeung and Shinichi Mizuno. 16
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This year’s event will be played at Nanshan International Golf Club in Shandong province from 24-27 October and Guan is relishing the challenge of defending his crown and the possibility of competing at t he M a ster s for a se cond time.“For sure I am excited. I had a magical 12 months, winning the AAC against such a tough field and then playing at the Masters and rubbing shoulders with these great champions. Making the cut in Augusta was a dream come true and it was an experience that taught me so much. Pan pushed me really hard last year and I will need to be on top of my game to defend my title. I am looking forward to the challenge.” Pan has also been impressive over the past 12 months. Having come so close at Amata Spring, where he lost out by a single shot to Guan after a magnificent final-round 65, six shots better than the champion, the Chinese Taipei talent qualified for a spot at the 2013 US Open Championship. While most amateurs struggled to make the cut at Merion Golf Club, he matched Guan’s achievement at the Masters by advancing to the weekend and eventually finishing tied-45th. What’s more, Pan now holds the distinction of being World No 1 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR), while Guan is ranked 37th. Born in Miaoli County in Chinese Taipei, and now a student at the University of Washington, the 21-year-old first-team All-American is excited by the prospects of facing Guan again: “Tianlang is an amazing player, especially for his young age. Last year I came so close, and I have been encouraged by some good performances over the past year so I am feeling confident. I hope to have my game in top form during the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship,” he said. A successful defence of the AAC for Guan will emulate the achievement of Hideki Matsuyama, who won the title in 2010 and the following year. Since turning professional in April, the Japanese player has won two tournaments and recorded top-10 finishes in two majors – the US Open and The Open Championship as well as finishing tied 19th in the US PGA Championship. Impressively, he is already ranked inside the top 50 in the World Ranking as a professional. HKGOLFER.COM
TaylorMade’s New SLDR Driver
Most recreational golfers will agree that since they first entered the market, adjustableweight drivers have been a blessing. These clubs have small weights on the head that you can reposition to modify the driver’s balance. If your shots fade too much to the right, put more weight at the front; if they’re hooking too much to the left, switch it to the heel. Assuming you keep your swing consistent, suddenly your drives will start going straight down the middle of the fairway. Sounds simple, right? The problem is, finding that sweet spot can be tedious and time consuming. Because many clubs have as many as six separate weights, it can take hours of trial and error to figure out the ideal mass distribution. TaylorMade’s newest driver, the SLDR, streamlines that process. Instead of incorporating a multitude of bolts,
Courtesy of Omega (Dufner)
Omega Reward Dufner with Seamaster Timepiece
HK GOLFER・SEP 2013
the SLDR relies on just one: a 20-gram weight that simply slides along a track located on the club’s sole. Using the included wrench, the adjustment takes about 15 seconds. The SLDR sports a less visible improvement as well. Whereas with most golf clubs the centre of gravity is low and toward the rear, the SLDR puts its weight at the front—a shift that the manufacturer says facilitates a faster swing and results in the ball launching with less spin. Both factors give the player more control over a shot – or so TaylorMade claims. “Without a doubt, this is the longest driver we have ever created,” said Benoit Vincent, TaylorMade’s chief technical officer. “Our expertise at positioning the CG low and forward sets us apart from our competitors, and is vital to making SLDR the spectacular distance machine that it is.” Unlike previous TaylorMade driver models that had white paint and crown graphics, SLDR features a more subdued look with a cha rcoa l-g rey crow n color, t rad it iona l TaylorMade alignment aide near the face and an additional SLDR alignment aid towards the back of the crown. The SLDR will be available in Hong Kong in early September in two loft options (9.5 and 10.5 degrees) and two specifications – Asian (using a TM1-114 Mitsubishi Rayon shaft) and Global (Fujikura Speeder 57). Both versions are priced at HK$5,200. The Tour Preferred version, the HK$5,600-priced SLDR TP, combines the same clubhead with the tour-calibre Fujikura Speeder Tour 6.3 graphite shaft and is also available in 8 and 12 degree lofts. As if the Wanamaker Trophy and nearly US$1.5 million in prize money wasn’t enough, Jason Dufner (pictured) was presented with an Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600 M timepiece as reward for his US PGA Championship victory last month. Dufner, 36, was handed the luxury watch – a limited edition version of the timepiece appeared on the wrist of Daniel Craig in the James Bond movie Skyfall – by President of the PGA of America Ted Bishop. “In our third year as a partner and Official Timekeeper of the PGA of America, we are pleased to present this exceptional timepiece to Jason Dufner after his thrilling win at the 2013 PGA Championship,” said Omega President Stephen Urquhart. “We congratulate Jason on his outstanding play at Oak Hill and are proud that this Omega timepiece can serve to commemorate his first PGA Championship – and first major – win.” HKGOLFER.COM
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Local Focus Kitty Tam Cruises to KSC Title Hong Kong international Kitty Tam launches a drive down the 10th hole during last month’s Kau Sai Chau Junior Open. Tam, who started the final round three shots behind teammate Michelle Cheung, fired an excellent one-under-par 70 over the punishing North Course to take home the girls’ title with room to spare. The in-form youngster had the additional benefit of also qualifying for the Asia Grand Final of the Faldo Series, Nick Faldo’s industryleading youth development programme, after topping the overall standings of the qualifying event that was played concurrently with the tournament. For more local tournament results, turn to the Around the HKGA section. Photo by Daniel Wong
Major Focus Dufner’s Sweet Redemption Jason Dufner put the disappointment of losing a four-stroke lead with four holes to play at the 2011 US PGA Championship behind him by claiming the 95th edition of the tournament in magnificent style last month. Dufner, seen here putting on the 13th green during the final round, might be a burly 36-year-old with a penchant for chewing tobacco. But his John Daly-like everyman ways aside, the softly-spoken and seemingly imperturbable American showed his class with a gutsy final-round performance at Oak Hill Country Club to win his maiden major by two shots from compatriot Jim Furyk. “I come across as a pretty cool customer, I guess, but there were definitely some nerves out there,” he said. Photo by AFP/Getty Images
Away from the Fairways | TEE TIME
THE SOUND OF TIME EVAN RAST LOOKS AHEAD TO VACHERON CONSTANTIN’S EXHIBITION AT THIS MONTH’S WATCHES AND WONDERS. From 2004: An 18k pink gold skeletonized minute repeater with a sapphire dial from Vacheron Constantin
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I An 18k pink gold quarterrepeater pocket watch dating from 1812 (above left); from 1839, a yellow gold quarterrepeater pocket watch 26
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f there is one Swiss brand a watch collector a commemorative gift. Even Queen Elizabeth ought to have in his or her arsenal, it would received a timepiece from the Swiss government have to be Vacheron Constantin. This time- upon her coronation in 1953. honoured manufacture has maintained its But what has really fuelled Vacheron position at the pinnacle of high watchmaking Constantin’s staying power? Is it the brand’s long since the beginning of its long history, uninterrupted history that began in 1755? Is it the and the fac t that it has impressive list of royalty The Geneva-based spanned generations makes and dignitaries that have, its reputation all the more on occasion, worn one manufacture will be impressive. The brand caught its masterpieces on their turning the spotlight my fancy from the beginning. wrists or chains? to Asia by offering a Any why not? With a client To answer that for book that reads like a Who’s yourself it’ll be well worth tuneful and luminous Who of the past 250-plus years, heading over to Watches experimental route Vacheron Constantin’s lineage is and Wonders, the first presenting some of the event of its kind to be held certainly beyond question. Since it s earlies t days, finest striking watches in Hong Kong from 25-28 Vacheron Constantin was the September at the Hong from its legacy. Swiss government’s gift of Kong Exhibition Centre, choice for royalty and heads where the Geneva-based of state. In the 1950s, a few years after the end of manufacture will be turning the spotlight to Asia World War II, when the Allied leaders met at the by offering a tuneful and luminous experimental Palace of Nations in Geneva for peace talks, all of route presenting some of the finest striking them, including US President Dwight Eisenhower watches from its legacy. and British Prime Minister Anthony Eden, were At a very early stage, the Swiss manufacturer presented with one of the brand’s models as made a name for itself with exceptional striking HKGOLFER.COM
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.
Official HK Agent: Times International Creation ltd. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +852-3590-4153
Clockwise from top: From 1826, a huntingcase pocket watch; a minute-repeater from 1938; an 1827 quarterrepeater pocket watch
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watches. The founder’s grandson Jacques Barthélémi Vacheron, was himself a specialist of repeater watches before taking the reins of the Maison in the early 19th century. The firm’s reputation in the making of striking watches thus naturally grew and the most famous collectors commissioned their own models – such as Sir Bhupindra Singh, the Maharajah of Patiala, who acquired a pocket chronograph clockwatch with alarm, date a n d m o o n p h a s e s d a te d The advent of the 1909; or the famous American wristwatch in the automobile manufacturer James Ward Packard, who ordered in 20th century led watchmakers to seek 1918 a quarter and half-quarter repeating pocket chronograph and find ingenious clockwatch with Grande and ways of miniaturising Petite Sonnerie. Visitors to the exhibition will striking mechanisms be able to discover an 1812 red in order to meet the gold quarter-repeater pocket watch with a guilloché dial demands of smaller testifying to this longstanding and slimmer cases. tradition, along with an 1827 pocket watch with quarter repeater, jumping hours and small seconds. Each of the exhibition showcases will provide an opportunity to take a closer look at the mysteries of a rare horological complication much soughtafter by well-known collectors. HKGOLFER.COM
At the end of a great day... ... a sublime experience
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.
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Clockwise from top: An 18k pink gold minuterepeater wristwatch dating from 1957; seven years earlier Vacheron Constantin released this minute-repeater timepiece in 18k yellow gold; a conceptual image of the brand’s exhibition at this month’s Watches and Wonders 30
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The advent of the wristwatch in the 20th century led watchmakers to seek and find ingenious ways of miniaturising striking mechanisms in order to meet the demands of smaller and slimmer cases. This quest gave rise to spectacular feats of ultimate finesse, such as this 1955 minute repeater model equipped with a calibre measuring less than 3.28mm thick. Other ultra-thin timepieces housing a number of complications were to follow, each expressing pure and exquisite beauty – as is admirably embodied in this exhibition by a minute repeater featuring a movement entirely openworked and decorated by hand. For the first time in Hong Kong, Vacheron Constantin evokes an aspect of fine watchmaking that is as fascinating today as it has always been. Once again, the precious timepieces from this most illustrious of Swiss brands are an open invitation to explore the beating heart of human genius. The exhibition will be open to the public – but only upon invitation, available for request online at the Vacheron Constantin website: vacheronconstantin.com/the-sound-of-time HKGOLFER.COM
CLUBHOUSE | DRIVING RANGE
THE DYNAMIC ROLLS
THE NEW WRAITH FROM THE PRESTIGIOUS ENGLISH CARMAKER IS THE MOST POWERFUL MODEL IN THE MARQUE’S ILLUSTRIOUS HISTORY, WRITES BEN OLIVER.
decade ago this year, BMW gave new life to Rolls-Royce by building describe the most powerful car it has ever made. the famous old English carmaker a new home in the grounds of With 624bhp from its twin-turbocharged 6.0-litre the Earl of March’s Goodwood estate in the Sussex Downs, and by V12 it is titanically fast. I was lucky enough to test engineering the extraordinary Phantom, the first model to emerge at Goodwood in advance of its global media from what can hardly be called a factory. Just as it did with Mini and launch; the ride and the steering feel just a little Range Rover (before the latter passed to Ford, firmer and crisper to suit, but they and then Tata), BMW instinctively understood what made don’t sacrifice any of the Rolls’ famed The Wraith is a this storied old marque great, and incorporated that into an ‘magic carpet ride’. You get enough glorious ‘fastback’ of a sense of the road beneath to feel entirely modern new car. The Phantom was an instant hit, easily eclipsing the Maybach, Mercedes’ attempt at a superconfident deploying all that power, coupe, its deeply luxury saloon, which didn’t survive the global downturn. still enjoy the eerie sense of calm recessed grille and but Rolls-Royce prospered: two-door coupe and drop-head that only a Rolls can really provide. long, flowing tail versions of the Phantom arrived, as did the smaller Ghost. T here’s some impressive The latter really supercharged the marque’s sales, which at far more dynamic technology at work here too. The over 3,500 last year set yet another record. Wraith is the world’s first car to feature than the bigger To celebrate that success and its first 10 years under BMW, a satellite-aided transmission, in which Phantom coupe. Rolls-Royce has gifted itself its third model line. The Wraith is a the gearbox uses GPS data to sense glorious ‘fastback’ coupe, its deeply recessed grille and long, if the car is approaching a bend, and flowing tail far more dynamic than the bigger Phantom coupe. ‘Dynamic’ is the key alter its shift strategy accordingly, perhaps holding word here: Rolls-Royce doesn’t like the term ‘sporty’, so you need another way to a lower gear for longer to save unnecessary 32
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SCORECARD How much?
6.0-litre twin-turbocharged V12 624bhp
8-speed automatic ZF
0-100kph in 4.4secs 250kph (governed)
How heavy? 2,075kgs
shifting. The effect is subtle but convincing. In a Rolls-Royce technology shouldn’t be ‘apparent’; you’re simply aware that the car feels smarter, calmer and more cooperative. And of course, it is stunning inside and out, finished to a standard no other maker really gets close to. The designers will encourage you to play up the fastback coachwork with a two-tone paint finish, but the marque’s bespoke service allows you to configure your Wraith any way you like, and it is certain that no two will ever be the same. Rolls-Royce is hugely popular in China, and many of the new trim stitchings and veneer finishes reflect that. As with other Rolls-Royces, the Wraith doesn’t really complete with other cars. If they have to make a choice, buyers might be weighing this against another racehorse or home or helicopter. But in this case, there really is no competition; there simply isn’t another car like this on the road. HKGOLFER.COM
HK GOLFER・SEP 2013
| TALES FROM THE BOX
Sunday Success What does it take to go out and win a tournament? In his latest column, commentator Julian Tutt examines the contrasting fortunes of Lee Westwood, Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus. “To tweet, or not to tweet – that is the question: Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune Or to let rip in a vengeful lather of recrimination” In case you missed the story, inveterate tweeter Lee Westwood became embroiled in a most uncharacteristic tirade against his critics and detractors throughout the Sunday evening of last month’s US PGA Championship at Oak Hill. One can only assume that he had resorted to the time-honoured method of drowning his sorrows, having once again failed to claim his first major, and lost control of his senses. I can attest from personal experience that he is normally a very cheerful drunk, so one can only surmise what dark place he had visited after yet another abortive campaign. He later apologised for his inappropriate and uncharacteristic behaviour, but in a way the damage had been done. It showed a side to his character that is not often evident, although he was less than full of bonhomie for much of the early 2000s, when he was flitting from one coach to another trying to rediscover his swing. In that mission he succeeded and has become one of the best ball-strikers and straightest drivers around.
The trouble is that you cannot win a teddy bear at the local crazy golf course if you can’t putt, let alone claim one of the game’s big four events. Westwood’s skill on the greens used to be his strength back in the heady days at the turn of the century when he succeeded Colin Montgomerie (one of the aforementioned detractors) as Europe’s No 1. At that stage he was also one of the very best at closing out a tournament. Those skills seem to have deserted him under the intense pressure of trying to crown his career with a major that few, if any, would begrudge him. So where’s he going wrong and what can he do to put it right in time for Augusta 2014?
Daniel Wong (Tutt); AFP
Westwood’s skill on the greens used to be his strength back in the heady days at the turn of the century when he succeeded Colin Montgomerie as Europe’s No 1. At that stage he was also one of the very best at closing out a tournament. 34
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I tried to find the answer from various sports psychologist friends, but professional ethics forbade them from giving specific answers, let alone being identified. However, one highly qualified and much decorated member of the fraternity, who is very familiar with golf, gave me some general points that might apply: Preparation is crucial to performance but it has to be timely and appropriate to an up-coming event. This may require technical or physical emphasis. Many top performers tend to practice more nearer competition rather than concentrate on shorter quality practice – eg playing fewer (but high quality) tournaments and making sure they set correct goals for each of the these. It is preferable to have ‘process’ and ‘performance’ goals rather than a single ‘outcome’ goal. During any competition there are phases. Firstly, and beforehand, getting into the right mind state. Secondly, on the start line, and then finally during the competition. Obviously in golf this almost repeats itself at each hole. Elite performers are very good at the first stage but then in competition, which is over such a long period, tend to have problems maintaining the ‘Ideal Performance State’. What tends to happen is that something affects them to cause ‘internal distractions’ and they start thinking about this rather than on what they have to do next in this situation. Once the internal distractions happen then there is a knock- on to the physical aspects, often seen in body language. Further problems arise because they now start to hit worse shots or at least ones that are not up to their expectations. So they then start to correct things and experiment with adjustments to swing, grip etc leading to a downward spiral in their confidence. After that they move to the phase of safety play – protecting their score – and finally, they stop really committing to the shot and start to distrust their swing. This is seen to be more prevalent on the last day of play. Internal distractions are thoughts. You cannot think of two things at the same time – it is impossible. So if you have a ‘problem thought’ it needs to be replaced by a different thought that helps the individual in that situation or at least does not cause interference. This has to be practiced. Over the years of my involvement with sport as a coach and psychologist I do believe the adage “form is temporary but class is permanent”. I think Woods and Westwood both have class and will shine through in 2014. I had asked my bashful friend about Tiger Woods as well as Westwood, and despite their somewhat different success ratio, it does appear they now have a similar problem on Sundays. Whilst commentating for Sky at the US PGA HKGOLFER.COM
Nicklaus believes Woods (above) still has 10 years at the top – if he remains healthy; Westwood (opposite) made headlines for all the wrong reasons last month. Championship, Jack Nicklaus asserted that he believes Woods still has a good 10 years at the top – if he remains healthy – and therefore expects that Woods can still win the five majors he needs to surpass his own record (which alone would incidentally be equal to Seve Ballesteros’ major haul). Nicklaus maintains that the key to his own success was being meticulous in his preparations for the majors and then having the ability to relax once play had commenced, not letting it mean too much. Intriguingly he insists that he only played at his very best on a handful of occasions, but understood what it took to “win ugly”. He finished in the top five on 54 occasions, with 19 second places, a record that will surely never be bettered. When Woods was at his dominating best, Nicklaus argued that he was a truly great champion in an era otherwise devoid of great players, which was unlike Nicklaus’s generation when he faced the likes of Palmer, Watson, Player, Trevino, Miller and Floyd. But what defines “greatness”? A simple answer might be the number of majors a player has won, and that is only known at the end of their careers. Phil Mickelson has now won five and Ernie Els four, with chances to improve. Are they “great”? Maybe only time will tell, but there’s no question Nicklaus had some serious competition. The one thing those old boys did not have to worry about was the impact of social media (or should it be “anti-social media”?). So many players nowadays seem to revel in telling the world their most intimate secrets, and then bitching about it when it all backfires on them. Of my broadcast colleagues there’s no doubt that Dougie Donnelly is the champion tweeter. He is joined at the hip to his iPad, which supplies him with a steady stream of interesting gossip and intrigue with which to glamorise his commentaries. He is also pretty adept at promoting the Donnelly brand, a skill that has sadly eluded me. Ken Brown tends to dabble on and off depending on his mood, but he is very creative when the muse takes him. Warren Humphreys’ computer is so full of statistics that there is no room for idle chit chat, while Dominique Boulet leaves technological communication to his patient bride. To him a tablet is something to put in his egg nog the morning after the night before. I dipped my toes into the Twittersphere a few times but ended up pressing the wrong button and transmitted hundreds of pages of rubbish, totally clogging up the company’s server. Best leave it to professionals. “To die, to sleep; No more – and by a sleep to say we end The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to ... ” HK GOLFER・SEP 2013
| OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW
The most laid-back character in professional golf used a combination of supreme ball-striking, heart and belief in capturing the first major title of his career, writes Paul Prendergast.
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“I come across as a pretty cool customer,” Dufner said moments after sinking the final putt. “But there are definitely some nerves out there, especially when you’re trying to win a major championship.” HKGOLFER.COM
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Clockwise from above: Furyk held a slender oneshot lead heading into the final round but was overtaken by Dufner’s brilliance; the champion with his two trophies – Amanda Dufner rivalled the Wanamaker in terms of Twitter mentions; Bradley, who beat his friend in 2011, embraced Dufner on the 18th green 38
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wo years ago, Jason Dufner stood on the 15th tee in the final round at Atlanta Athletic Club with a five-shot lead and more than just a hand on the Wanamaker Trophy. Indeed, such was his stranglehold on the tournament that the weighty piece of silverware was all but in his grasp. The US PGA Championship might not be the most glamorous of the majors but regardless: the cauldron of major championship pressure does strange things to a man seeking his first, and Dufner crumbled. Three bogeys, combined with a couple of moments of brilliance from Keegan Bradley, and he had lost his lead. Bradley would go on to win on the second playoff hole. Fast forward two years at Oak Hill Country Club and nothing got any easier for Dufner in his bid to bury any pervading Atlanta demons – but bury them he did, with a pure shot-making display to win the 95th edition
of the championship by two strokes from Jim Furyk. His maiden major championship accomplishment, however, wasn’t built on ballstriking alone. Heart and belief played just as an important role. While post-championship attention has focused intently on Dufner slowly suffocating the field by hitting fairway after fairway and green after green down the stretch, it’s easy to forget that he also one-putted seven consecutive holes through the middle of the round, taking a mere eleven in total on the front nine, to quickly erase the slender lead Furyk had taken into the final round. Throughout his final round 68, the Dufner’s demeanour never wavered, as we’ve come to expect. A thigh slap after shaving the hole for birdie on the 12th might have made the top-10 in his career ‘shows of emotion’. We k now it ’s in t here, t he drive and competitive spirit. He’s not as unflappable as he seems but at age 36, he does a great job HKGOLFER.COM
in controlling his emotions and not letting it affect him for too long when – on those rare circumstances – it does bubble to the surface. A wedge flipped into the creek fronting the fourth green at Merion during the second round of the US Open was a rare anomaly, although he recovered quickly and went on to tie for fourth behind Justin Rose. “I come across as a pretty cool customer I guess, but there are definitely some nerves out there, especially when you’re trying to win a major championship,” Dufner would say once the Wanamaker battle was won. The ‘battle’ was not only an internal struggle and about making amends for two years ago; or to revive what has been a less than stellar year on the PGA Tour in 2013. As the holes began dwindle around a proven championship test in Oak Hill, Dufner was challenged in a real sense by having to ‘out grind’ the ultimate grinder in playing partner Furyk, who hung tough all day as only he knows how. A number of players well out of contention had taken advantage of Oak Hill earlier on the final day. Scott Piercy’s five-under 65 was the round of the day, Graeme McDowell, Hideki Matsuyama and Keegan Bradley all posted 66s and there were a slew of 67s in the still conditions. World No 1 Tiger Woods was not among those taking advantage of the softened course, although a final round 70 tied his best of the week. However, it left him among the ‘also-rans’ in a tie for 40th and consigned him to another eight months of introspection before his next chance at a 15th major at Augusta next spring (see sidebar). Furyk, too, had his own demons to exorcise after losing four 54-hole leads in 2012, most notably at the U.S. Open at Olympic and the Bridgestone Championship when he double bogeyed the final hole to lose to Bradley. There was also a well documented singles loss to Sergio Garcia at the Ryder Cup, when leading by a hole with two to play. As well as Dufner played, Furyk made him earn it despite his own ball-striking struggles on the front nine. It took him until the ninth hole to find his first fairway of the day – which he promptly bogeyed – yet, somehow, he was still in the thick of it. When Dufner wedged to within kick-in distance on the 16th for the third time on Sunday, he might have allowed himself the luxury of thinking he at last had Furyk’s measure. However, the experienced American kept tensions high by draining a left-to-right 12 footer for his own birdie to maintain the two-shot deficit heading into Oak Hill’s tough finish. At this point in the round, Dufner was fourunder for the day, and despite bogeys on the two HKGOLFER.COM
Throughout his final round 68, Dufner’s demeanour never wavered, as we’ve come to expect. A thigh slap after shaving the hole for birdie on the 12th might have made the top-10 in his career ‘shows of emotion’.
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In a touching gesture, Dufner’s conqueror of 2011, Keegan Bradley, returned from the airport with his girlfriend to cheer on his friend and Ryder Cup team mate. It now seems certain the pair will be reunited again for the US side to face the Internationals at the Presidents Cup next month. course record which had been shared by his idol Ben Hogan. “For me to be competitive on this type of golf course, I felt like I had to have a great week ball-striking and I was able to do it. I hit a lot of fairways. If I did miss the fairways, I wasn’t in the thick, thick stuff, so I could manage to get it up by the greens,” said Dufner. “When I did hit the fairways, I hit a ton of greens, and that was the difference for me,” he continued. “My scrambling was pretty good today. I see I only didn’t get one ball up and down. That was on the last. But I felt like if I wanted to compete this week, I really had to put one of my best weeks ball-striking so far this year.” Furyk couldn’t be accused of losing this one, even with consecutive bogeys to finish. He seemed to be at peace with his effort and in some way, must have felt that he silenced a few critics who had been on his back after 2012. “I have a lot of respect for the way Jason played and how well he struck the ball,” said Furyk. “He seemed to be in the middle of most
Neither Stenson nor Blixt (above) could produce the final round each needed to become Sweden’s first male major winner; since winning The Masters in April, Scott (opposite) has been a feature of major championships, but a level-par round of 70 on Sunday at the PGA wasn’t enough
supremely long par-4 finishing holes, it was clear the best player in the field on the day had won this championship. For 16 of the final 18 holes, Dufner has been in a different league. That being said, at the beginning of the final round, there was not an undeserving contender for the final major of the year among the leading pairings. Furyk, after his travails of last season and more recent good form in Canada and at Akron, was certainly due a turnaround in fortunes. Henrik Stenson, on a fantastic run of top-five performances over the past month, including a second place finish at The Open, was the man in form and looked likely in the final round but kept missing fairways at crucial times to temper his run at becoming Sweden’s first male major winner. Adam Scott, reigning Masters champion and a contender in virtually every major he enters these days, once again got himself in contention. But in the end, it was Dufner who stood tallest and iced the cake after shooting 63 on Friday to tie the all-time major low score and break the
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fairways. He seemed to be on the green with a chance for birdie on almost all the greens, and heck, if he got hot with the putter today, who knows what he would have shot. “He (Dufner) didn’t miss very many fairways and he hit some really good iron shots. I look back; he hit it a foot on five, eight and 16. I mean, tap in birdies. I don’t know if it makes anything easy or less easy, but I don’t look at it as I lost the golf tournament. I look at it as I got beat by somebody that played better today.” In a touching gesture, Dufner’s conqueror of 2011, Keegan Bradley, returned from the airport with his girlfriend to cheer on his friend and Ryder Cup team mate. It now seems certain the pair will be reunited again for the US side to face the Internationals at the Presidents Cup next month.
“I’m proud of you,” a beaming Bradley told him as the pair met for a ‘bro-hug’ at the side of the 18th green. Dufner appreciated the moment and elaborated further on the significance of the win in context of what he had endured two years previously. “I was probably over what happened in Atlanta, 95 per cent of it, by the time we got back home at Auburn,” Dufner said. “You always carry those scars with you, he (Bradley) always jabbed at me a little bit about having one of these (trophies) in his house, and thanks for giving it to him and all that stuff. “And now I’ve got one, too. My name will always be on this trophy, and nobody can take that away from me, so it’s a great accomplishment for me and I’m really excited about it.” Not that it always shows, but we’ll take his word for it.
Woods didn’t break par in any round and his failure to win a major this year, extending his streak to eighteen since winning the 2008 US Open, was underlined by the ignominy of finishing his final round before the leaders had teed off.
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WOODS’ MAJOR-LESS STREAK CONTINUES
Tiger Woods started the week at Oak Hill admitting that major No 15 is proving to be the hardest one of all to win. And so it continued, as despite another commanding performance in winning his eighth WGC-Bridgestone Invitational the previous week, Woods finished his tilt a distant 14 strokes behind champion Jason Dufner. Woods didn’t break par in any round and his failure to win a major this year, extending his streak to eighteen since winning the 2008 US Open, was underlined by the ignominy of finishing his final round before the leaders had teed off. Even his final day red shirt featured large slabs of grey, as if synonymous with
his fortunes. “It’s more frustrating not being in it,” said Woods, “I put four good rounds together last week, unfortunately it wasn’t this week.” Woods has put together plenty of magnificent rounds together this year in regular events, winning five times and emphatically reclaiming the world No 1 ranking. He entered every major as the favourite with his game appearing razor sharp, only to fall short on each occasion. His charge at Augusta was marred by a triple bogey at the 15th during round two after his pitch caromed off the flag back into the pond fronting the green. From there, he narrowly avoided disqualification and was instead penalised two strokes for dropping his ball in the wrong position. Despite this, he still tied for fourth behind Adam Scott, followed that with a distant tie for 32nd at the US Open and tied for sixth at Muirfield. “I was close in two of them,” said Woods. “I was right there and certainly had a chance to win the Masters and the British this year. The other two, I just didn’t hit it good enough. Just the way it goes.” Woods will actually break a Jack Nicklaus major record when he tees up at Augusta next year – but not the one he is chasing. The time since Woods’ last major will edge to within two months of six years by next April. From his first major title in 1962 until his last in 1986 at age 46, Nicklaus never had to wait that length of time between victories. Woods will turn 38 on 30 December.
2013 USPGA Championship Results
Despite enjoying plenty of success on the regular Tour this year, Woods (above) was major-less in 2013, leaving his task of reaching Jack Nicklaus’ record major haul of 18 all the more difficult 42
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68 63 71 68
65 68 68 71
68 66 69 70
68 70 66 70
67 71 72 65
65 68 72 70
71 69 69 67
67 71 72 67
69 70 70 68
72 71 65 69
69 71 67 70
12= Graeme McDowell
70 69 73 66
72 69 70 67
70 70 70 68
74 67 68 69
68 69 71 70
70 72 66 70
68 67 70 73
19= Keegan Bradley
69 72 72 66
72 68 73 66
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From the President While the Hong Kong summer is not considered an optimal golfing season – the heat, humidity and the occasional risk of a passing typhoon make even the most dedicated of players have second thoughts about teeing it up – it has been a particularly busy time at the HKGA, with numerous events – both at home and overseas – taking place. In July our national coaches led a number of young players from the international squad on what has become an annual tour of the United States. Taking part in a variety of high quality tournaments, including the prestigious Callaway World Junior Championships in San Diego, the squad enjoyed fine results at many events and were able to take advantage of both excellent weather and top-notch practice facilities. Experiencing different playing conditions and competing against players from around the world is crucial in the development of our junior players, and the summer tour has been a great success in that regard. A special mention here to both Kitty Tam and Mimi Ho who won the Toyota Tour Cup Series event at Santa Ana and the FCG World Championship at PGA West respectively. These are strong tournaments and I congratulate the girls on their wonderful achievements. Readers will know that one of the key goals of the HKGA is junior development, something that has grown significantly
in recent times thanks to the involvement of EFG Bank, sponsors of our development programme. The 2013 EFG Bank Summer Junior Classic was meant to be played in early August at the Hong Kong Golf Club’s course at Deep Water Bay but unfortunately the event fell victim to poor weather. This was a great shame as the tournament has traditionally been played in a wonderful spirit and provided a lot of fun for all the competitors. The youngsters will, however, have a chance for more competitive action once the EFG Bank Junior Series commences again in September. As ever, our thanks must go to EFG Bank for their continued support. Last month saw the Hong Kong Golf Club at Fanling host the le coq sportif Hong Kong Junior Open Championship. Despite the challenging conditions – heavy rain fell throughout the final day – the tournament was completed successfully and saw Hong Kong players perform admirably. Lucas Lam became the first local player to win the overall boys’ division since 2009 thanks to a dominating display, while Vivian Li claimed second place in the overall girls’ category. Congratulations to them both. The Junior Open also coincided with the final day of Iain Valentine’s tenure as Chief Executive of the HKGA after 11 years in the role. I would like to wish Iain the best in the future and also welcome Tom Phillips who has taken over the reins. Tom has a wealth of golfing experience in the region and I look forward to working with him and all the staff at the HKGA for the remainder of my time as President. William Chung President
Kitty and Mimi Bag Top 10s at Asian Youth Games
Patrick Leung (Chung)
Kitty Tam (pictured) was Hong Kong’s top performer at the second edition of the Asian Youth Games, which was played between 1820 August in Nanjing. Tam, 16, fired rounds of 70, 76 and 69 for a three-day total of 215 (one-under-par) over the Zhongshan International Golf Club course to earn eighth spot in the elite field. Mimi Ho, Tam’s international teammate, finished in a share of 10th, four strokes further back. Clare Ameila Legaspi of the Philippines earned the gold medal thanks to a superb 15-under-par effort. In the boys’ division, Hong Kong was represented by Michael Regan Wong and Leonard Ho, and both benefited from the competition held over the challenging Gary Player-designed course. Wong finished with a total of 238 for 17th spot, with Ho a further stroke back in a tie for 18th. Chinese Taipei’s highly regarded Yu Chun-an secured a wire-to-wire victory after opening up the event with an attention-grabbing 64. 44
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HKGA | TOURNAMENTS
Tam Tops Faldo Qualifier
Kitty Tam qualified for the eighth edition of the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final after winning the Hong Kong qualifying tournament, which was held at the Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau Public Golf Course early last month. The 16-year-old (pictured) added a fine twounder-par 70 to her opening round of 73 over the demanding North Course to finish on 143, four clear of Michelle Cheung in second place. The event was held in conjunction with the now TV presents 2013 Kau Sai Chau Junior Open and saw nearly 50 players vying for four qualifying spots. Also heading to the World Amateur Golf Ranking event at Mission Hills next March are age-group winners Bibendum Leung (boys’ under 21), leading boy Michael Regan Wong (boys’ under 16) and Emilie Vickie Leung (girls’ under 16) – and all four will spend time with six-time major champion Sir Nick Faldo at the Shenzhen club. Established in 1996, 40 Faldo Series tournaments take place in 30 countries worldwide with more than 7,000 golfers participating each year. Past winners include major champions Rory McIlroy and Yani Tseng.
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HKGA | JUNIORS
HKGA Summer Tour Results FCG World Championship
PGA West / TPC Stadium Course / Nicklaus Tournament 22-24 July
Mimi Ho tasted victory at the FCG World Championship in California
Callaway Junior World Championships Torrey Pines / Rancho Bernardo 16-19 July GIRLS’ 15-17 DIVISION 42= Isabella Leung 48= Tiana Gwenn Lau 48= Michelle Cheung
83 74 70 - 71 81 76 - 76 80 72 -
MC MC MC
74 79 74 81 79 73
BOYS’ 15-17 DIVISION 56= Michael Regan Wong 78 75 72 79 162= Leonard Ho 80 84 79 -
BOYS’ 13-14 DIVISION 23= Fritz Lo 117= Max Ting
69 76 71 82 77 72
BOYS’ 11-12 DIVISION 24= Fred Choi 49= Nathan Han 100= Taichi Kho
76 73 76 76 77 78 79 81 84
225 231 244
BOYS’ 9-10 DIVISION 20= Darren Choi 36= Cyrus Lee 81= Maurice Leung
63 62 69 67 67 65 75 68 75
194 199 218
BOYS’ 7-8 DIVISION 50= Julius Yang
78 78 69
GIRLS’ 13-14 DIVISION 32= Michelle Lee 55= Vivian Li
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GIRLS’ 15-18 DIVISION 1 Mimi Ho 2 Kitty Tam 3 Isabella Leung 7= Michelle Cheung
72 69 76 73 74 74 75 71 77 73 73 83
217 221 223 229
GIRLS’ 13-14 DIVISION 3= Vivian Li Michelle Lee
74 75 77 75 75 76
BOYS’ 15-18 DIVISION 15= Michael Regan Wong 34= Leonard Ho
81 75 72 77 77 82
BOYS’ 13-14 DIVISION 19= Max Ting
80 73 74
BOYS’ 11-12 DIVISION 16= Taichi Kho 23= Charles Chung
80 79 78 88 77 89
BOYS’ 9-10 DIVISION 6 Cyrus Lee 10 Maurice Leung
85 76 78 90 91 86
Optimist International Junior Golf Championship PGA National – Fazio / Palmer 1-4 August GIRLS’ 15-18 DIVISION 3= Tiana Lau
71 76 73 72
BOYS’ 16-18 DIVISION 38= Linus Lo
80 73 76 77
Michael Regan Wong became the first Hong Kong boy to make the cut at the Junior World Championships in several years
HKGA | TOURNAMENTS
Lam Romps to 10-Shot Win Lucas Lam destroyed the field at the le coq sportif Hong Kong Junior Open Championship, winning the boys’ title by 10 shots after a classy display at Fanling in mid-August. Lam, 16, was consistently personified during the rainswept final round, carding two birdies and just one bogey in his oneunder 69, which enabled him to become the first local boys’ winner since Steven Lam in 2009. Hsieh Ting-wei of Chinese Taipei finished in a tie for second with Hong Kong’s Leon D’Souza on a two-day score of 151. “I just tried to treat it like any other round, to not put any pressure on myself,” said Lam (pictured), a student at International Christian School. “I relied on my short game quite a bit and made a few nice putts. I was rolling. It feels great.” In t he overall girls’ division, Thailand’s Chayanit Wangmahaporn cruised to a seven-shot win after adding a 73 to her first round 76. Hong Kong’s Vivian Li placed second after closing with a 75.
Overall Boys’ Results 1
Overall Girls’ Results Chayanit Wangmahaporn
Emilie Vickie Leung
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INTERVIEW | IAIN VALENTINE
Iain Valentine The outgoing chief executive talks to Alex Jenkins about his 11 years in charge at the Hong Kong Golf Association. You were only the second full-time chief executive of the HKGA when you were appointed in 2002. What were your goals when you first took on the job? I wanted to encourage golf as much as I possibly could among the local community. One of the first things we did was take a group of local schoolchildren up to the Hong Kong Golf Club, who very kindly gave us the use of the New Course for the afternoon. The children had been to a driving range before but never to a course – and it showed. They could hit the ball off the tee but had no idea what to do next. A lot has changed since then, of course, and junior development has been at the forefront of what the HKGA has achieved. When I was appointed to the role all three national teams – men’s, ladies and juniors – were made up almost exclusively of golf club members. Now all the teams are made up of juniors or players that have been through the junior programme, and few are members of a golf club. That’s a big progression. How has that progression been achieved?
In the early days we put on very few tournaments, but now it feels like there’s an event on nearly every week – either in Hong Kong or overseas – that our players are involved in. There have been various factors but certainly things took a big step forward when I appointed Brad Schadewitz as national junior coach. Brad, who is now the national coach, has been fantastic with the kids and the clubs and driving ranges have been very helpful in giving us the use of their facilities. The relationship between the HKGA the Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau has been an enormous help too. Kau Sai Chau has its own junior squad of players and they’re really happy if those players make the step up and make it on to our squad. They see it as natural progression and it’s a relationship that has been built up very successfully over the years. I have become very close friends with many of the staff there. 52
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Through the junior programme many young players are learning that golf can be used as a pathway to university and a good career. HKGOLFER.COM
EFG Bank [the junior programme’s sponsors] then came in and helped from a financial point of view and they have been wonderful to work with. One of the biggest differences from a decade ago is more of our talented players are remaining amateur and not turning professional. Previously we built up amateurs and lost them, but through the junior programme many are learning that golf can be used as a pathway to university and a good career. It offers them alternatives but it also means they can continue to play amateur golf for Hong Kong. That is something I’ve been particularly pleased to see. What has been the most enjoyable part of your tenure? I have loved running tournaments. We have built up a very good tournament team, which includes our very experienced and dedicated rules officials as well as the HKGA staff – Dolla (Chui) and Calyx (Lai) – who are responsible for a lot of the coordination that’s involved. We have a reputation in Asia and around the world for hosting “proper” tournaments and that’s something I’m very proud of. The Hong Kong Open has grown considerably in stature over the past 11 years. What do you put that down to? The relationship between the European and Asian Tours has become stronger, which has a lot to do with the personnel involved. The Hong Kong Open was one of the first co-sanctioned events in the region and the HKGA’s involvement today is much more than it ever was through the number of volunteers and referees we supply. We have a great venue in the Hong Kong Golf Club HKGOLFER.COM
We have built a reputation in Asia and around the world for hosting “proper” tournaments and that’s something I’m very proud of. and the Composite Course keeps on improving every year. The tournament itself fits into a very nice niche on the calendar – November and December is a wonderful time to play golf. The whole product has improved beyond anyone’s belief. You’ve developed quite the friendship with three-time Hong Kong Open winner Miguel Ángel Jiménez. How did that come about? Yes, we’ve become great mates. I got to know him the first year I was involved at the Hong Kong Open. We just got chatting on the verandah when all these children came up to him hoping for an autograph. Miguel sent his caddie off to his bag for some balls and he spent the next few minutes signing golf balls until he had none left for the tournament. ‘Don’t worry about it,’ he told his caddie, ‘I’m sure we’ll find some from somewhere.’ That was the start of what has become a very long relationship and we enjoy each other’s company. He’s a naturally very friendly guy and a fabulous player. He loves coming here. How do you see the future of Hong Kong golf? Very positively. While it has been disappointing to see some of the driving ranges closer to the centre of town close in recent times because of leasing issues, I think the development of the golf academy at Kau Sai Chau is going to be a tremendous asset. It’s going to help people develop a career in golf, not just as a professional golfer but through other areas like green keeping and pro shop management. It’s also going to become a fabulous training base for Hong Kong golf. The Jockey Club wants it to be world class and I’m sure it will be. And what about your own future? Now that I’ve reached this grand old age I look forward to playing some golf! End of an era (clockwise from above): Valentine with his good friend Miguel Ángel Jiménez after the Spaniard won last year’s Hong Kong Open for the third time; pictured alongside national coach Brad Schadewitz and the 2013 winners of the Hong Kong Junior Open – Lucas Lam and Chayanit Wangmahaporn; at the end of another busy event at Fanling, his home club. HK GOLFER・SEP 2013
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2013 has been quite the year for Leonard Ho. Opening up with a 69 at the Hong Kong Close Amateur Championship in February, the Hong Kong Golf Club member would end the event in seventh spot – not too shabby for a 15-year-old. That result, in addition to a run of consistent performances in both HKGA and HKGC events led to his selection for Hong Kong at last month’s Asian Youth Games in Nanjing, an experience he relished. “It was a great experience, even though I didn’t play that well,” said Ho, who first picked up a club at the tender age of four. “To have a chance to play in such a big event helped me learn a lot, especially about the quality of players in Asia alone. I enjoyed the atmosphere that is part of such a major event – not just for golf but for many other sports as well – and I’m proud to have been able to represent Hong Kong.” In addition, Ho, who won the boys’ 13-14 age division at last year’s Hong Kong Junior Open, participated in arguably the most prestigious junior event of them all this summer – the Callaway Junior World Championships at Torrey Pines in San Diego. Although he missed the third round cut on that occasion, you have the feeling that we’ll be hearing a lot more about this promising 2-handicapper in the months and years ahead.
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PLAYER SPOTLIGHT | INBEE PARK
Class of Her Own
Inbee Park, the hottest player in the game this year, is as gracious and delightful off the course as she is brilliant on it, writes Lewine Mair.
Korean name etched on so famous a trophy. “I mean, all of Korea is watching me and they are very proud. I’m the lucky one to get this chance.” She was up at dawn on the first morning, off the tee at 7.03 and, with the help of a couple of 30-footers, out in 31 against the par of 36. It was exhilarating stuff and precisely what the crowd wanted. After months of hearing rather more about issues surrounding the women’s game (notably the no-women situation at various UK clubs) than the women’s golf itself, they were finally witnessing some play – and some great play at that. With her eye firmly on that fourth successive major, Inbee followed up with a birdie at the 10th to go to move to six under the card. That done, spectators accommodated a couple of Inbee pars and patiently awaited a fresh rush of birdies. What they got were two bogeys and a double-bogey, with the latter Inbee’s first double of the year in a major championship context. Having knocked her second into the greenside bunker at the 16th, she had played out sideways and taken three putts from 35 feet. Yet her gentle acceptance of what was, in her book, a more than minor golfing mishap, was no less riveting than her earlier sub-par play. She showed not so much as a hint of irritation, with the only slumped shoulders belonging to her hundreds of new-found Scottish fans. In truth, one appreciated that aspect all the more after a handful of unseemly incidents at the subsequent Solheim Cup in Colorado. Though the standard of play out there was electrifying and the match result a glorious win for the Europeans, the players were too often downright rude. Stacy Lewis, who had won the Ricoh, publicly tore into the referee who had admittedly made a botched job of a ruling; Paula Creamer shouted at Charley
hough Inbee Park did not win the Ricoh British Women’s Open to extend her run of majors to four in a row, the fact that she had the opportunity to achieve such a feat gave the event a buzz all its own. When this gracious young Korean arrived at St Andrews, she had as many as seven 2013 titles under her belt, with the three majors in that little lot being the Kraft Nabisco, the LPGA and the US Open. The pressure on the 25-year-old was palpable, for no-one – and that includes Tiger Woods – has ever won four modern majors in a row across a single season. Everyone wanted to watch her, to take her picture and to talk to her and about her. Park had known to expect a battery of cameras and questions when she arrived at the Home of Golf and she was ready for it. She smiled for every picture and, unlike some of her professional counterparts, she gave 100 per cent to her every answer instead of switching to automatic pilot. The gist of what she had to say was that there was nothing she would love more than to have a 56
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Ruling the roost: Park has established an enormous lead at the top of the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings since assuming the position in April
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Park had known to expect a battery of cameras and questions when she arrived in the Home of Golf and she was ready for it. She smiled for every picture and, unlike some of her professional counterparts, she gave 100 per cent to her every answer instead of switching to automatic pilot.
Hull and Jodi Ewart-Shadoff after they had inadvertently done the wrong thing on a green, while Hull and Ewart-Shadoff were too be seen giggling nervously in the wake of that incident. Again, there were complaints about a Spaniard – I know not which – giving cheek to a senior rules official who was more than a little put out. The women, she said, had become every bit as rude as the men when they were not getting their own way. There is nothing remotely unmannerly about Park. The next thing to impress about her modus operandi at St Andrews was how, in the wake of her anticlimactic 69, she stayed around for as long as the media and the TV people wanted her and signed autographs for half the town. Not only that but she did it all again after a lacklustre second-round 73 58
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She made the cut easily enough but finished outside the top 40. There are Asian women golfers who, though they spend most of their time plying their trade in the States, can tell you little more about themselves than that they play golf and they shop, usually for jewellery and handbags. Miki Saiki, who spent much of the week on the leaderboard, is an example. She at one point owned to taking 50 pairs of earrings to every tournament – a fact which had people thinking that club selection must pale into insignificance against choosing the right pair of lobe accessories on any given day. Park, thanks to her parents’ foresight in realising that she would enjoy her golfing life on the LPGA Tour more if she could converse in English as well as Korean, enjoys so much more than merely her very lucrative career. Media and public alike are always going to concentrate on her putting – it is nothing short of phenomenal – than her personality. However, there is no shortage of that, whatever anyone might tell you. How is this for a nice touch? In the week after she had won her first title of the year in Thailand, her sister competitors opened their HKGOLFER.COM
lockers in Hawaii to find she had left each of them a handsome box of chocolates. True, her family owns a cookie company in Hawaii and she herself has won close to US$8 million, but she had made all the arrangements herself. On a slightly different tack, there was delightful tale going the rounds of an exchange she had had with Mike Whan, the CEO of the LPGA Tour. She had told Whan that the only thing which scared her was the dark. “Well,” he had replied, “You’re never going to have to worry about that. The way you play, you’re going to be living in a barrage of flashing cameras for the rest of your days.” Brad Beecher, Inbee’s Australian caddie, describes his employer as “bubbly and amusing” when she is away from the course and gloriously focused on it. He would also agree with her light-hearted assessment of herself as “more Matt Kuchar than Bubba Watson”. Inbee has tried to answer Western press demands that she show a bit more emotion when she wins but, having experimented in front of the HKGOLFER.COM
mirror with the odd fist-pump, this delightfully unassuming player came to the conclusion that it was “simply not me”. Other players make no secret of the fact that they are jealous of rather more than merely Park’s results. She has an admiring partner in Gi Hyeob Nan who became her fiancé at the start of last year. After he had asked her to marry him – the marriage will take place in December of next year – Park had posed a question of her own: “Will you be my coach?” The arrangement could not work better. Jiyai Shin, another leading Korean and one who has often rued the fact that professional golf can be such a lonely pursuit, said that when she practices with Park, she often asks her about travelling with her fiancé. “I am a little envious. She is lucky to have this happiness.” Stacy Lewis described the Nan-Park relationship as “cute … you can tell they’re happy because they’re always holding hands.” At the end of her week in St Andrews, Park recapped for the umpteenth time on how things
Celebrating with her caddie in the traditional manner (above) after claiming the Kraft Nabisco Championship earlier this year; Park’s victory at the Women’s US Open (opposite) in July was her third on the bounce HK GOLFER・SEP 2013
Inbee’s caddie describes her as “bubbly and amusing” and agrees with her light-hearted assessment of herself as “more Matt Kuchar than Bubba Watson”.
Park got engaged to Gi Hyeob Nan (above) in early 2012. After asking her to marry him, Park posed a question of her own: “Will you be my coach?” The two travel together constantly. 60
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had gone downhill after she had started out with those six birdies in her first 10 holes. Mother Nature, she said, had not been on her side. The seaside gusts had taunted her slow and carefully executed swing, while her putting had lost its magic. In her closing round, she dropped any number of shots but, as she dropped them, it was not all bad. The accumulated pressure had blown away with the wind and you could almost see it happening. “I have a feeling of relief, now,” she said at the end. “I enjoyed every moment here but it was tough to be at the centre of everything. To have everyone watching me and to be asked to do interviews even when I play bad was a bit weird. But now all that is over. I can go home and relax for two or three days [a new Ferrari awaited her as part of a sponsorship deal] and get my energy up again.” (Here, she would have had the Evian Championship in mind because that new major, if she could make a successful defence of her 2012
title, would still give her four majors across the one season.) There was an American pressman at the Ricoh who, when the last interview was done that week, congratulated Park on her accomplishments before going back to what she had said and noting, with a wry smile, “We’ll still want to talk to you.” Park laughed out loud. She thanked the media – yes, she thanked them – and went on her way. A charmer, if a quiet one.
THE INBEE FILE Date of birth: 12 July 1988 Place of birth: Seoul, South Korea Turned pro: 2006 Major wins: 4 – US Women’s Open (2008 and 2013); Kraft Nabisco (2013); LPGA Championship (2013) Other victories: 9 – including five on the LPGA Tour and four on the JLPGA Tour Others: Became the world’s No 1 ranked player in April 2013
EQUIPMENT | NEW GEAR
Golf wouldn’t be the same without these equipment breakthroughs, writes Charlie Schroeder. PING Anser Putter
The original Anser was a heel-toe weighted blade that increased the sweetspot and produced a ‘ping’ sound at impact. 62
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Frustrated by the selection of available putters on the market, Karsten Solheim, a Norwegian-born engineer for General Electric, decided to design one of his own. The result? A heeltoe weighted blade that increased the sweet spot and produced a “ping” sound at impact. Called the PING 1-A, the blade debuted in 1959 and was his fledgling company’s first product. Seven years later Solheim had his first big hit. Originally sketched on a record sleeve (with the hole used as a golf cup reference), the PING Anser putter was designed as a literal answer to the putters PGA Tour players were using at the time. Finding a name for it proved to be a bit more difficult. “The night before the putter was due at the engraver, he still needed a name,” John A Solheim, Karsten’s son and PING’s current Chairman and CEO has said. “[My mother] suggested ‘Answer.’” The word ‘Answer’ didn’t fit on the back of the blade, so Solheim omitted the “w” and golf’s most influential putter was born. Still, players didn’t gravitate to it overnight. Julius Boros used it to win the 1967 Phoenix Open but things really took off after 1969 Masters champ George Archer triumphed at Augusta with one in the bag. Forty-four years later the Anser is golf’s most successful putter, with over 500 tournament wins. Solheim’s patent expired in 1984, and dozens (if not hundreds) of Anser-style putters have flooded the market, most notably Scotty Cameron’s premium designs. Tiger Woods has used the PING model, a Cameron homage and currently plays with a Nike Method look-a-like. Have an old Anser lying around? It’s a collector’s item. Early versions can fetch anywhere between US$1,500-4,000.
The Modern Sand Wedge Golfers have been using specially designed clubs to blast out of the sand since the 19th century. At one point Walter Hagen, who notched 75 professional wins over his long career, used a woodenshafted club with a smooth concave face, lots of loft and nearly eight ounces of weight in its flange to help him escape from bunkers. But it was Gene Sarazen who designed what would become the modern sand wedge. It had a steel shaft, markings on its face and the type of flange common on sand wedges today. According to his daughter Mary Ann, who wrote an article in 2010 about the club’s origins, Sarazen was inspired by a flight he took with movie producer (and scratch golfer) Howard Hughes. As she put it, “When Hughes’s plane took off, the flaps on the wings came down and my father made a connection between the flaps and the flange.” A flange added to the back of the club, would “allow it to slide through the sand and help the ball pop up.” Sarazen was a tinkerer, “soldering flanges to his niblicks, which were similar to a modern pitching wedge,” his daughter wrote. Sarazen sent those prototypes to Wilson in the early 1930’s and from them they manufactured the first modern sand wedge. Structurally not a whole lot has changed since Sarazen’s prototypes. Lofts have increased from 50° to the standard 56°, but sand wedges still have about ten degrees of bounce. Of note, Sarazen also added a “reminder” grip on his clubs so he knew where to place his thumbs. Wilson incorporated those on his early models too.
Titleist Pro V1 Golf Ball First introduced in 2000, Titleist’s Pro V1 transformed the game by offering a durable golf ball that produced both distance gains and spin control. Until that time, better golfers played balata-covered balls that had a small, liquid-filled center that was tightly wrapped by elastic strands. They spun like crazy, but the covers were easily damaged, especially on miss-hits. Meanwhile casual golfers used surlyncovered balls that were more durable and featured a solid rubber
core. These, while harder to compress and spin, went farther and could last an entire round even if you made poor contact. Golfers couldn’t have both of the benefits in one ball. Titleist changed that. They constructed a ball with a solid core and a thin urethane cover which spun less off the tee while delivering great feel and spin on shorter shots. Better players, who had already seen big distance gains with metal woods, now hit the ball even farther while still managing to retain feel. Amateurs saw distance gains too and now and then spun approach shots like the pros. Courses, tournaments and golf associations took notice. Suddenly holes were being lengthened and talk turned to standardizing the golf ball. Dozens of pros switched to the ball, and with Tour validation came consumer demand, despite the fact that Pro V1s were priced considerably higher (two to three times the price in some cases) than competitors’ balls. They were so popular that Titleist had to start a rationing programme to golf shops. Since its debut 13 years ago, Titleist has released seven versions of the three-piece Pro V1. There have been six versions of the four-piece Pro V1x, which debuted in 2003. Competitors have released similar models, but so far none has dethroned the “#1 ball in golf.”
PING Eye 2 Irons First introduced in 1982, PING’s Eye 2 perimeter-weighted cavity-backs are considered golf’s best-selling iron. Karsten Solheim – him again! – came up with the idea of perimeter weighting by studying how tennis racquets were constructed, with the weight on the frame, or perimeter. As Solheim’s grandson John K Solheim, put it recently, “With the weight on the perimeter, the club’s moment of inertia was increased so at impact the head didn’t twist as much. For the first time, golf shots that were miss-hit had a better chance of going where the golfer intended.” Widely embraced by pros and amateurs for their aesthetics and forgiveness on off-centre strikes, customers also gravitated to the Eye 2 custom-fit colour coding. “Karsten knew that if golfers had the proper lie angle, shaft length and grip size they would play
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better and enjoy the game more,” says his son, John A Solheim. “With the colour code he personalised the process of buying clubs. The colour code told the golfer ‘This is your club made just for you.’” It was also a savvy business move, limiting inventory by specially building each set rather than mass producing a standard set of clubs. The clubs were the source of controversy in 1984 when the USGA banned square grooves found on Eye 2s, and yet again in 2010 when Phil Mickelson wanted to put an old (now technically legal) Eye 2 wedge into play after yet another USGA groove ruling. After fellow Tour player Scott McCarron said that “it’s cheating” to play the old Eye 2 Mickelson took the club out of his bag.
TaylorMade Metal Wood
In 1982 TaylorMade 1-wood sales topped US$12 million – the era of persimmon woods was all but over.
In 1979, Gary Adams took out a US$24,000 loan on his McHenry, Illinois house and invested that money into building his dream golf club, a metal wood. At the time, metalwoods, made from aluminum magnesium, were commonly used as rental clubs on driving ranges, built more for durability than performance. But Adams, who discovered that two-piece balls flew farther when struck with them, thought that golfers might like to actually use them on the course. Adams started his company, called TaylorMade, in a leased 6,000 square foot warehouse. He had three employees and one product, a 12° stainless steel driver which cost US$39. Shortly after launching his company, PGA Tour player Ron Streck put a TaylorMade 1-wood into play. Later that year, at a Tournament of Champions event, Jim Simons used one as well. Despite the fact that many in attendance at the 1979 PGA Merchandise Show laughed at the club, it wasn’t a total bust for the startup. Sales hit a modest US$47,000 for the year. But things really boomed in 1982 when Simons won the Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. That year sales topped $12 million and the era of persimmon woods was all but over. The following year, more professionals played a TaylorMade driver than any other brand, averaging 60 players per week on the PGA Tour. After leaving TaylorMade, Adams went on to start two other companies, Founders Club and McHenry Metals. He died of cancer in 2000 at the age of 56. In 2012, TaylorMade captured 47 cents of every dollar spent on woods in the United States.
SPIKES: THE MOVE FROM STEEL TO SOFT In 1924 Walter Hagen donned the first pair of steel-spiked golf shoes. We can only wonder how greenskeepers reacted. It took another 67 years before those metal spikes started to disappear. We know that greenskeepers rejoiced. The idea for plastic “spikes” came from a man named Ernie Deacon. In 1991 he wanted to develop an alternative winter cleat that wouldn’t damage the roots of the Idaho course he managed. He asked local inventor Faris McMullin to work on the idea. A fortnight later, McMullin handed Deacon a prototype of the original swirled cleat. The two men thought it would be used only on Deacon’s Warm Springs Golf Course, a muni located in Southeast Boise. Not so. Softspikes was founded and, with an aggressive campaign targeting course superintendents looking to save money on maintenance fees, the trend, from metal to plastic, took off quickly. The rest as they say, is history.
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Courtesy of Jack’s Point Golf Course
GOLF ATRAVEL Player’s Guide
Seventh Heaven: The splendid seventh hole, a short par-3, at Jack’s Point, one of the very best courses in New Zealand 66
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Queenstown, in New Zealand’s South Island, is making a name for itself as one of the world’s most spectacular golf destinations, writes Alex Jenkins.
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Where To Play Jack’s Point
Courtesy of The Hills Golf Club; Courtesy of Millbrook Resort; Destination Queenstown
I Clockwise from top: The 18th tee shot at the HK$3,000 a round The Hills Golf Club; the picturesque Millbrook Resort in Arrowtown; an aerial view of the Queenstown Golf Club, which protrudes into Lake Wakatipu 68
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challenge any first-time visitor to Queenstown not to be in awe. The breathtaking mountain range that surrounds the resort town, part of the Southern Alps, is known as the “Remarkables” and it doesn’t take a genius to work out how they got their name. Add to this the sheer majesty of Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown can rightfully claim to be one of the planet’s most beautiful and idyllic settlements. There’s a reason New Zealand has stringent immigration laws: the place would be completely overrun without them. Originally settled in the 1860s at the height of the country’s gold rush, Queenstown has in more recent times become known for extreme sports – bungy jumping was born here in the late 1980s – as well as being the home to a plethora of world-class fishing sites. But in the past few years, golf has been added to this cosmopolitan resort town’s ever-growing list of outdoor pursuits – and not just good golf: Queenstown golf is truly memorable.
This could well be the best course you’ve never heard of – and contrary to first-time visitors’ belief, it has absolutely nothing to do with Jack Nicklaus. Named after “Maori Jack” Tewa, an early Queenstown settler who, legend has it, saved the life of a British officer whose boat had capsized off this point of Lake Wakatipu, this John Darby design, wedged in between the towering Remarkables and the enticing blue water, offers a thrilling ride from start to finish. Cape Kidnappers and Kauri Cliffs might be New Zealand’s best-known courses but Jack’s Point ranks right up with this pair in terms of quality. First opened for play in 2008, the course starts out from a valley floor next to the simple but elegant clubhouse with a straightforward opener before ascending sharply until you reach the sixth, a glorious and tempting short par4 that almost forces you to reach for the driver. While Jack’s is known for its fine conditioning – greens routinely run at around 11 on the stimpmeter – there is a distinctly rugged nature to proceedings here, with many of the greens protected by blown-out bunkering and native grasses. The lake is first spied at the fourth hole but the view from the seventh tee is arguably the most memorable. This par-3 plays straight downhill to a wide but shallow “infinity” green that almost seems suspended in the water. Watching a (hopefully) well-stuck tee shot rise and fall against the mountain and lake backdrop is a real joy. The back nine is every bit as interesting, with the rising and plunging terrain providing the perfect canvas for the little known Darby – a golf and landscape architecture graduate from Harvard – to produce some of truly stunning holes. Take the 15th, for instance, a 383-yard par-4 where players hit from an elevated tee to a snaking fairway framed by a handmade stone wall. The shortest route over the wall down the right side leaves a long-iron to a plateau green protected by yawning bunkers; good hitters can challenge the wall further down on the left, leaving an easier approach. It’s a risk though: fail to make the carry and you’re entering double bogey or worse territory. The 15th, like the vast majority of holes here, is a strategic masterpiece, one that you’ll want to revisit time and time again. Jack’s Point Golf Course Yardage: 6,906 Par: 72 Green Fee: HK$1,049 Designed by John Darby Contact: jackspointgolf.com HKGOLFER.COM
Considered New Zealand’s most exclusive club, The Hills is the brainchild of Sir Michael Hill, a one-time concert violinist who went on to amass a fortune in the jewellery business – and like the rest of his products, this course sparkles. The course started life in 2002 as just one hole after Hill asked John Darby to build him a par-4 on land close to the family home in Arrowtown. But so bitten by the golfing bug was Hill that before long he called in Darby to construct another eight, before broadening his horizons yet further with instructions for a full 18, one that was capable of hosting the New Zealand Open, which was played on this splendid layout for the first time in 2007. The setting is breathtaking – located in the Wakatipu Basin, surrounded by those wondrous Remarkables – but what puts this course in the upper echelons of Australasian golf is its design and fabulous conditioning. The course flows over the rolling terrain like it has been there for decades. While perhaps more conventional in both look and feel than Jack’s Point, the course continually asks questions of strategy and execution. Most people’s favourite holes at The Hills come during the final stretch, starting at the 15th, a short par-4 with a tremendously elevated tee, and moving on to the signature 17th, a par5 that plays through a canyon, and the 18th with its stadium-style green. These are all fine holes for sure, but my particular preference is for the fifth, which was only the second built here. At only 303 metres this par-4 looks like a pushover on paper – as it does from the tee, with a generous fairway protected by just one solitary bunker. But its genius lies with the narrow elevated green. Guarded at the front by bunkers, the putting surface falls away on either side requiring laserlike accuracy with the short-iron approach. HKGOLFER.COM
The Hills is really a one-off. The understated clubhouse sits mostly submerged underground to blend in with the natural surroundings, while a collection of weird and wonderful sculptures appear throughout the course, often at the most unexpected of times. My habitual over-fade from the 18th tee came to nestle among a sword-wielding warrior fending off the vicious advances of 110 wolves. This, it turns out, is the work of the Chinese sculptor Liu Ruowang, one of Hill’s favourites. A round at The Hills, for the moment at least, can be had for the extraordinary green fee of NZ$500 (approximately HK$3,000). That’s nearing Pebble Beach prices. Is it worth it? Well, no course is really worth that amount of money, but if you want to try it for yourself then hurry. Once The Hills reaches its membership quota (which is thought to be 500) visitors will no longer be able to make bookings. The Hills Golf Club Yardage: 7,213 Par: 72 Green Fee: HK$3,000 Designed by John Darby Contact: thehills.co.nz
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Arrowtown Golf Club, above, is an intriguing test, one that is ranked in the top -20 courses in the country 70
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Sir Bob Charles, a native Kiwi legend who won the 1963 Open Championship making him the first left-handed player to claim a major, designed the original 18 holes at this charming, almost twee resort, and for years this was considered the class of Queenstown golf. While the course here has, in truth, been surpassed by the opening of Jack’s Point and The Hills, the resort has benefitted tremendously by the unveiling of the Greg Turner-designed Coronet nine in 2010, bringing the total number of holes here to 27. Turner is a likeable no nonsense New Zealander who won four times on the European Tour and his Coronet Course is an intelligent design with teeth, featuring exposed rock formations and offering plenty of shot-making opportunities, particularly over the final five holes where a handful of streams and ponds weave strategically into play. The other nines, named the Remarkables and the Arrow (Turner re-routed closing holes here when he was completing the Coronet), are very pleasant too and while there are challenges to be dealt with, the golf here has the resort guest as opposed to the professional in mind. This fact alone makes picturesque Millbrook a soothing contrast to the sterner tests faced at the other courses mentioned here. Millbrook, which is owned by Eiichi Ishii, a charming Japanese entrepreneur who flits between Queenstown, Tokyo and Hawaii, makes an ideal place to base in which to explore the region. The accommodations range from wellappointed rooms to luxurious suites and villas, and the on-site dining options are excellent. The resort’s award-winning spa, meanwhile, is the place to head following a brisk 18 holes.
Millbrook Resort Yardage: 6,957 Par: 72 (Arrow / Coronet) Green Fee: HK$479-1,079 Designed by Sir Bob Charles / Greg Turner Contact: millbrook.co.nz
Best of the Rest
For yet more of those sublime views of Lake Wakatipu head to the Queenstown Golf Club (queenstowngolf.co.nz), also known as Kelvin Heights, which has been laid out over a pine-clad peninsula jutting out into the water. If anything, Queenstown’s location is the most spectacular of all the courses in the region, and although a great deal of fun, possibly lacks the finesse of its neighbours. Set on rolling terrain close to The Hills, Arrowtown Golf Club (arrowtowngolf.co.nz) is an intriguing and supremely interesting test that has been routed through mighty trees, dense scrub, rock formations and even historic stone cottage ruins, a legacy of the town’s pioneers. While it’s considered short by modern standards (coming in at a little over 6,000 yards and playing to a par of 70), and there can be a little scruff around the edges, New Zealanders have a great deal of affection for the place – it’s ranked inside the country’s top 20 courses – and at barely HK$400 per round for non-affiliated visitors, offers excellent value for money.
TRIP PLANNER GETTING THERE
Air New Zealand (airnewzealand.com.hk) operates a daily direct flight, using Boeing 777-200 aircraft, from Hong Kong to Auckland (10hrs 55mins), from where visitors connect to one of Air New Zealand’s regular domestic flights to Queenstown (1hr 50mins). Given the length of the international sector it is well worth considering the carrier’s award-winning premium economy and business classes, which offer some of the finest food and wines in the sky. Fares at the time of press are from HK$12,760 (Premium Economy) and HK$35,800 (Business Class).
WHERE TO STAY
Accommodation options range from budget to five-star, with holiday parks, backpacker properties and motels alongside B&Bs, international hotel chains, and luxury lodges – and all get busy, particularly in the summer months. A 10-minute water taxi from the heart of town, set on the banks of Lake Wakatipu, is the exceedingly comfortable Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa (queenstownhilton.com), which boasts an array of dining options – including the splendid Wakatipu Grill – and a wealth of leisure facilities. An added bonus: all the courses listed here are within a 30-minute drive.
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK
Innovative and award-winning indoor and outdoor cafés and restaurants offer cuisine to please every palate, from the discerning connoisseur to a group looking for a fun, relaxed meal. Dining alfresco is the ideal way to enjoy the sunshine and you’ll find restaurants literally everywhere, many with outdoor areas. A veritable melting pot of nationalities, cultures and influences serve up tantalising menus and you can choose from traditional pub, bistro, stylish café bar, Asian, designer burgers, Japanese, Indian, Chinese, Turkish or Mexican. Nearby, historic Arrowtown is a fine-dining hub and is also home to a French crêperie, gelaterie, delicatessen, bakery, traditional tavern and boutique brewery. One restaurant that should be on every traveller’s itinerary is Amisfield Winery & Bistro (amisfield.co.nz), a 15-minute drive from the centre of Queenstown. Opened in 2005, the bistro offers a daily changing a la carte menu and its signature “Trust the Chef” menu which offers a shared dining experience, with dishes selected by the chef based on fresh produce and ingredients available on the day. If the sun is shining bag an outdoor table and wash down the fine fare with a bottle or two of the winery’s fine Pinot Noir.
WHAT ELSE TO DO
Known as the “World’s Adventure Capital”, Queenstown is the birthplace of bungy jumping, with over 350,000 visitors taking the plunge since the activity was introduced in 1988. Those brave enough to want to try should head to AJ Hacket Bungy (bungy.co.nz), site of the first commercial jump where thrill-seekers lift off from Kawarau Bridge some 43m above the river of the same name. If that’s not extreme enough for you then skydiving from 15,000ft above Jack’s Point Golf Course should fit the bill. NZONE Skydive (nzoneskydive.co.nz) has been offering tandem skydiving since 1990 and encourages you to “Embrace the Fear”. This writer was unable to do so – high winds kept us grounded – and I’m still not sure if this was a good or a bad thing. Watch the videos on the company’s website and decide for yourself.
WHEN TO GO
The best time to visit Queenstown for golf is the New Zealand summer, which runs from December to mid-March, and is characterised by temperatures in the mid-twenties, little rain and plenty of sunshine.
HK GOLFER・SEP 2013
TRAVEL | BANGKOK
48 Hours in Bangkok Only have time for a short break? You can’t go wrong with the Thai capital and these three gems, writes Paul Myers.
vid golfers who travel within Asia on business or pleasure have a common dilemma: where to play golf when they have a day two to spare? And even if you’re so inclined, is it worth the hassle? Fortunately for visitors to Bangkok, playing golf is definitely worth the effort. On all sides of the city there is oodles of choice. Indeed, for those of us in Hong Kong who habitually work long hours and lack club membership, Thailand – and Bangkok in particular – has become almost an automatic destination choice. Here you can play exotic beautifully-groomed courses inexpensively (compared to mainland China), hire quality clubs (if you haven’t brought your own) and enjoy the benefits of attentive caddies. Getting there couldn’t be easier either. With nearly two dozen direct flights operating between Chek Lap Kok and Bangkok daily, you’re far from restricted as far as travel timings are concerned. It really comes as little surprise to learn that the kingdom is the world’s fastest-growing tourism destination. Thanks to the Thai golf boom of the 1990s and the opening of a slew of decent tracks in rather more recent times, Bangkok is almost saturated with courses – and by and large they have one thing in common: pancake-flat terrain. If you’re hoping for sweeping vistas and dramatic shifts in elevation then you’re better off heading three hours south to the resort town of Hua Hin, which is home to a number of first-rate courses in its own right. As a result, the capital’s clubs and resorts work hard on impressing golfers with their strategic design, their excellent conditioning, well-appointed clubhouses and superior service. Three of better courses are Muang Kaew (about 25km east of the capital), Riverdale, a similar distance to the northwest, and Suwan, which lies 60km due 72
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Muang Kaew Golf Course on the edge of the city benefitted from a 2003 renovation by Schmidt & Curley west, about halfway to Kachanaburi, the starting point of the infamous Thai-Burma railway built by World War II prisoners. Redesigned in 2003 by the team at SchmidtCurley Design, who have a large presence in Asia – being the architects of 21 of the 22 courses at Mission Hills China – Muang Kaew (pronounced “moong cow”) is a highly enjoyable track on the city’s edge with a great clubhouse, first-class facilities and excellent landscaping and maintenance practices. Owned by the Samoses family who also own and operate Chiangmai Highlands in the north of the country, Muang Kaew bills itself as an oasis in the city and you certainly have this feeling as soon as you step onto the course, which is a largely accommodating layout that features its fair share of water, generous landing areas and excellent bunkering. Riverdale Golf Club is only three years old, but is already rated among Bangkok’s top 10 courses. Set in a bowl with a modern low-slung clubhouse overlooking the 10th and 18th holes, this Jonathan Morrow-designed course is notable for offering a choice of two greens on the par-3 eighth hole. The adventurous choose the island HKGOLFER.COM
green just 100 yards from the tee, while those not wishing to lose a ball in the water can opt for a plateau green 140 yards away. The course is also rather more rolling in nature than the majority in the region, and is superbly maintained. Owned by MBK Public Company, which operates Bangkok’s famous MBK shopping centre as well the Red Mountain and Loch Palm courses on the island of Phuket, Riverdale can be played for as little as HK$550 (excluding cart and caddie) during the week in low season. Although further from the city, Suwan Golf and Country Club, is worth the drive. It has hosted Asian Tour events and with water on 17 of its 18 holes, as well as routinely swift putting surfaces, this a course that needs to be treated with respect. It’s also a lot of fun navigating around and between the lakes and channels while observing an abundance of birdlife and large water monitor lizards. Owned and operated by the Pongsak family, which has textile and hotel interests, the course derives its name from the family’s original textile company, Suwan Spindle and Weaving.
Riverdale’s lowslung clubhouse offers commanding views of the course
TRIP PLANNER GOLF Muang Kaew Golf Course Yardage: 7,015 Par: 72 Designed by Schmidt & Curley Riverdale Golf Club Yardage: 7,006 Par: 72 Designed by Jonathan Morrow Suwan Golf & Country Club Yardage: 7,125 Par: 72 Designed by Weeyos Design For further information about these courses and others in Thailand, visit golfinakingdom.com
A caddie in the Land of Smiles, here at Riverdale
Taxis are inexpensive in Bangkok and drivers will wait for you while you play golf, ensuring you get back to the city in a timely manner. All up, a day’s golf at one of the three courses detailed here will cost about HK$1,100-1,300 per person including transport, green fee, club hire, cart, caddie and a beer or two after the game. The recommended caddie tip is between 300 and 400 baht, which equates to approximately HK$75-100.
Numerous carriers operate daily direct flights between Hong Kong and Bangkok, including Cathay Pacific (cathaypacific.com) and Thai Airways International (thaiairways. com.hk). Emirates (emirates.com), which uses the Airbus A380 on the route, usually offers attractive business class fares.
The water-laced course at Suwan is well worth the journey HK GOLFER・SEP 2013
FEATURE | CLUBHOUSES
THE BEST 19TH HOLES WHAT MAKES THE PERFECT CLUBHOUSE? PAUL MYERS SELECTS HIS FAVOURITES IN SOUTHEAST ASIA.
Thai Treat: the wonderful waterfront clubhouse at Thai Country Club in Bangkok 74
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hat does a clubhouse tell you about a golf course? A lot? Something? Or not much at all? There are probably as many views on this question as there are clubs in a golf bag. But I would argue strongly for the former; in fact, not just “a lot”, but everything. Why? Well, a clubhouse is – or at least should be – the heart and soul of every golf club. What you see there – at the bag drop-off, entrance, reception, locker rooms, restaurant and pro shop is invariably reflected on the course itself. I liken it to the old computer terminology, WYSYWG – What You See is What You Get. Every time I arrive at a course, especially one I haven’t played before, I apply the WYSWYG test in the clubhouse. And 90 per cent of the time those impressions gained off the course remain after the game is over. If you take a tour of golf courses in Thailand and Vietnam as an example, you’ll find the best courses invariably have the best clubhouses. The clubhouse is, after all,
a reflection of each owner’s commitment to the whole golf experience. If he or she is prepared to spend money on the clubhouse, they’re almost always equally prepared to spend it on greens, fairways, gardens and general maintenance. The same cannot always be said of courses in China. Mainland clubhouses are almost invariably vast and grandiose – and many resemble shopping malls such is their reliance on retail sales to drive income. One gets the impression that at many, course maintenance comes rather lower down the order of importance. Last year, two of Thailand’s better known courses received awards for the quality of their clubhouses HK GOLFER・SEP 2013
Clockwise from above: the award-winning clubhouse at Banyan Golf Club in Hua Hin; the “birdwing” 19th at Siam Country Club’s Plantation Course; Montgomerie Links’ modern clubhouse sits at the club’s highest point; Danang Golf Club at night; the revitalized coffee shop at Kau Sai Chau 76
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– Banyan Golf Club near Hua Hin was judged to important visitors can relax and enjoy themselves. have the best 19th hole in Asia-Pacific, with Thai Trip Advisor lists Banyan as the number one tourist Country Club in Bangkok coming in a close second. attraction in Hua Hin. A lot of people come out for Are these the two best courses in the region? That’s food and beverage and for the total experience.” a subjective question. Certainly, they’re A large L-shaped outdoor/ right up there in the top echelon. indoor bar restaurant area In Thailand and provides wonderful views What I like about the clubhouses at these two courses, and many others, is over the course to the Vietnam you’ll that they almost demand you stay and Burmese Mountains, and set find the best soak up the atmosphere rather than in another pod, Mulligan’s is courses invariably an Irish bar with direct access simply arrive, play golf and leave. Surely this is an important formula for success from the course itself. As have the best for both private and pay-for-play clubs? modern and appealing as clubhouses After all, the aim must be to encourage Banyan is with its distinctive people to stay longer, to spend money Thai-ness, Thai Countr y in the clubhouse and therefore enhance the Club’s fortress-like terracotta clubhouse, partly business’s financial viability. surrounded by water, is different altogether. Banyan Golf Club’s traditional Thai-style Catering mainly for members, the Peninsula Hotelclubhouse is striking from all angles. You don't owned property is meticulously maintained, with quite get the sense of its architecture at the a distinctive “club” feel. Here, in the men’s locker entrance, but from the course and at the front of room, Tiger Woods has his name on the No 1 the building there’s no mistaking you’re in a Thai locker in recognition of his win in the 1997 Asian clubhouse in Thailand. Set in several linked “pods”, Honda Classic, the first tournament held at the Bangkok-based architect Smith Abayawat created facility. If food is your fancy, Thai CC’s buffet is hard a design that the club’s general manager, Stacey to beat, while service and attention is what you Walton, says will never age. would expect in a top hotel. With modern Asian“The design gives visitors a true Thai golf, influenced furnishings, comfortable lounge areas leisure and dining experience,” he says. “Banyan and an outdoor patio overlooking the course, this is a resort course, not a members’ facility, so it’s is a clubhouse experience of the highest quality. HKGOLFER.COM
BEST OF THE REST Elsewhere in Thailand and Vietnam, other outstanding courses with great clubhouses include: Black Mountain, Hua Hin. It’s perhaps not surprising that one of the topranked courses in Thailand would also have one of the best clubhouses where you can eat, drink and enjoy the course views from an open bar, restaurant and relaxation area. Riverdale, Bangkok. This relatively new course in Bangkok rates as one of the best public facilities in the city. Its low-slung clubhouse provides commanding views over the course. Siam Country Club, Pattaya. The “birdwing” clubhouse at the Plantation Course, one of two layouts at this highly rated Pattaya club, is one of the most striking in Asia. Danang Golf Club, Vietnam. Another modern clubhouse that interacts seamlessly with the superb Greg Norman-designed course. The open restaurant at the front of the building is the perfect place to relax after a game. Montgomerie Links, Vietnam. Also a modern design, the clubhouse is set on a high point a few hundred metres from the entrance to the property, ensuring great views over the layout. A café/restaurant at the front provides excellent interaction with the course.
OUT WITH THE OLD Obviously we’re biased but we believe Hong Kong has arguably the finest collection of clubhouses of any major city in Asia. The Hong Kong Golf Club boasts two wonderful colonial-era establishments that breathe history, while Shek O Country Club’s terrace overlooking the Tathong Channel has become a favourite venue for enjoying a few post-round libations. First-time visitors to the Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club are simply in awe of the views and top-notch locker rooms, and Discovery Bay Golf Club impresses with its comfortable patio and extensive menu. The Thai-inspired 19th hole at SkyCity Nine Eagles, meanwhile, serves up a spectacular array of Southeast Asian delicacies. Kau Sai Chau’s clubhouse has always been functional as opposed to glamorous – which as a highly utilized public facility is absolutely right – but ongoing renovations to the main building have transformed the preand post-round experience here. Locker rooms have been modernized, the golf shop is undergoing a thorough overhaul and the main coffee shop / restaurant has been smartened up significantly. It’s no exaggeration to say that, once complete, the clubhouse will match the island’s three outstanding courses in terms of quality. –Alex Jenkins
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GLOBAL TOURNAMENT NEWS
PGA TOUR WGC-BRIDGESTONE INVITATIONAL
RBC CANADIAN OPEN
SNEDEKER CAPTURES CANADIAN CROWN
Glen Abbey GC, Ontario 25-28 July, US$5.2 million
Firestone CC (South Course), Ohio 1-4 August, US$8.75 million
Tiger Woods stormed to victory with a four-round total of 15-under par, seven strokes clear of defending champion Keegan Bradley, who finished in second place alongside Henrik Stenson. A nine-under par 61 on Friday gave Woods an unassailable lead and a closing evenpar round of 70 that included one birdie, one bogey and 16 pars in blustery conditions gave him a comfortable victory and a recordtying eighth WGC Bridgestone title, matching the record for most wins at one event on the PGA Tour that he already shares with Sam Snead. In doing so, Woods now has five titles this season, taking his career tally of US tour titles to 79, only three behind Snead’s record.
Brandt Snedeker captured his sixth career PGA title and second of the year after firing a two-under par 70 on Sunday to finish at 16-under par, three strokes ahead of the field. Snedeker was able to take the lead after the third round, following a 63 and the departure of 36hole leader Hunter Mahan, who withdrew to attend the birth of his first child.
1 Tiger Woods
66 61 68 70
2= Keegan Bradley
1 Brandt Snedeker
70 69 63 70
2= William McGirt
71 69 67 68
75 67 63 70
66 74 64 71
66 68 71 67
70 68 66 71
65 70 67 70
6= Roberto Castro
69 70 67 70
4= Miguel Jimenez
71 69 65 69
71 62 72 71
69 70 68 67
70 69 67 70
67 69 67 71
9= Aaron Baddeley
68 68 73 68
7= Bill Haas
67 68 69 71
72 67 68 70
66 68 70 71
9= Luke Donald
67 69 68 72
67 69 72 68
WYNDHAM CHAMPIONSHIP Sedgefield CC, North Carolina 15-18 August, US$5.3 million
REED CLAIMS MAIDEN TITLE
23-year-old Patrick Reed edged fellow rookie Jordan Spieth in a play-off after both finished at 14-under par in regulation play. Reed's winning birdie came after his drive on the second extra hole landed in the pine needles, before hitting a seven-iron under the trees to finish seven feet from the pin. Reed proceeded to roll in the putt to claim his maiden PGA Tour victory. 1 Patrick Reed
65 64 71 66
2 Jordan Speith
65 66 70 65
3= Brian Harman
67 66 69 66
68 62 70 68
5= Matt Jones
65 71 71 62
67 67 68 67
67 68 66 68
8= Rory Sabbatini
67 66 72 65
69 67 70 64
67 66 68 69
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GLOBAL TOURNAMENT NEWS
LPGA TOUR THE 2013 SOLHEIM CUP Colorado GC, Colorado 15-18 August
EUROPEAN TOUR JOHNNIE WALKER CHAMPIONSHIP Gleneagles, Scotland 22-25 August, €1.4 million
FLEETWOOD REIGNS IN PLAY-OFF
England's Tommy Fleetwood won his maiden European Tour title on the first hole of a sudden-death play-off with Scotland's Stephen Gallacher and Argentina's Ricardo Gonzalez at Gleneagles. Fleetwood, a 22-year-old from Southport who was the youngest winner of the Challenge Tour in 2011, said: "It's unbelievable. I have been up there a lot and not even had a top-five finish and all of a sudden you come away with a win.” 1 Tommy Fleetwood
68 65 67 70
2= Stephen Gallacher
71 68 64 67
65 65 70 70
4= Scott Henry
72 65 67 67
65 66 72 68
6= Emiliano Grillo
71 66 69 66
66 69 69 68
75 63 67 67
9 Thorbjorn Oleson
71 68 66 68
10 David Drysdale
71 67 68 68
EUROPE MAKE HISTORY
Scotland's Catriona Matthew made history as she secured the half Europe needed to win the Solheim Cup on American soil for the first time. On a dramatic final day in Colorado, play was suspended for an hour with Europe just one point away from retaining the trophy because of the threat of lightning. When play resumed, Sweden's Caroline Hedwall sank a birdie putt on the 18th to secure a one-up victory against Michelle Wie which put Europe 14-7 ahead, ensuring they kept the trophy they won I was shaking. in Ireland in 2011. And moments later Matthew claimed a half in My knees were her match against Gerina Piller to shaking. I knew ensure they won the cup outright. if I got a half "I was shaking. My knees were shaking. I knew if I got a half we we would win would win it outright," Matthew, it outright who won the Open in 2009, said. "It beats that. Any time you can - Catriona Matthew celebrate with your 11 team-mates it makes it more exciting, more fun." It was the 17-year-old Charley Hull – one of six rookies in an unfancied European team – who got the ball rolling on a final day they went into leading 10.5-5.5 after a clean sweep in the Saturday fourballs. Hull lost the second hole to Paula Creamer, but hit back to lead by three at the turn after a sparkling display, and she never let the advantage slip before securing a 5&4 win for the first of the four points needed. Hull said: "It's amazing, especially in America, the first time ever. It's been fantastic, so many nice people on the team. They're not as scary as they look on TV. It's awesome. I'm loving life." AFP
Solheim Cup Team
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CLUBHOUSE | TEE TIME SPECIAL
THE TANK MC A MASCULINE EXPRESSION OF ELEGANCE FROM CARTIER.
t takes a Herculean effort to elevate a design to an iconic status, but when one captures the imagination to such a degree that it is still relevant and appreciated 95 years after its creation, then that design is worth taking note of. Louis Cartier probably didn’t have such a grand plan in mind when he created the Tank in 1917. He simply wanted a watch that was sleek and forward-looking, a timepiece that would serve as a dashing replacement to the pocket watches that were still popular (though becoming inconvenient to carry around) at that time. Inspired by the Renault tanks used by the American Forces in World War I, the watch is simultaneously rectangular and square. Cartier archives reveal a top-view diagram of a tank, with its caterpillar tracks drawn next to a similarly rectangular watch case that had a seamless
The key elements of the watch remain the same, proving a timeless appeal that has stretched decades TANK MC SKELETON WATCH IN PALLADIUM Case: palladium Dimensions: 43.90 mm x 39.10 mm Thickness: 9.3 mm Crown: octagonal palladium set with a sapphire Case back: transparent sapphire crystal Water-resistance: 30 metres Hands: sword-shaped in blued steel Strap: alligator skin Buckle: adjustable double folding buckle in rhodium-plated 18-carat white gold Calibre 9611 MC Casing-up dimensions: 12 1/2 lines x 12 1/2 lines, 28 mm x 28 mm Dimensions (total): 28.6 mm x 28.6 mm Thickness: 3.97 mm Number of jewels: 20 Number of parts: 138 Balance: 28,800 vibrations/hour Power reserve: approx. 72 hours Individually numbered movement
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integration of lugs and the case as an extension of the strap. The first prototype was reportedly presented at peacetime to General John Pershing, the commander of the American Expeditionary Force in Europe. First sold in 1919 as the Tank Normale, the watch’s simplicity in design automatically garnered universal appeal. Apart from the integrated case, lugs and strap, key to the design were the brancards, or vertical bars on the sides of the case, Roman numeral hour markers, and the chemin-de-fer (railway track) design on the square dial. Since then, more than a dozen versions of the Tank have been released, all with Louis Cartier’s design ethos in mind. The key elements of the watch remain the same, proving a timeless appeal that has stretched decades. The latest model is the Tank MC – and it is the masculine edition to date, featuring an almost HKGOLFER.COM
TANK MC WATC MOVEMENT, CALIBRE 1904 MC-PS Case: steel Dimensions: 44 mm x 34.3 mm Thickness: 9.5 mm Crown: octagonal steel set with a spinel Dial: black flinqué Hands: sword-shaped in rhodium-plated steel Crystal: sapphire Strap: alligator skin Buckle: adjustable double folding buckle in steel Calendar: aperture at 3 o’clock, small seconds at 6 o’clock Case back: transparent sapphire crystal Water-resistance: 30 metres
square-shaped dial. It’s a tribute by Cartier watchmaking to the modern dandy and to elegance, in the perfection of its straight lines, its natural curvature and the harmony of its geometry. A self-winding watch with the first movement produced by the Cartier Manufacture, the 1904 MC, with its oscillating weight and beautiful mechanism visible through the sapphire case back. This variation on the famous Tank rectangle offers a generous time display on a large dial with a wide breadth that creates the illusion of a square. It makes a strongly masculine impression, energised by the addition of small seconds that gives the dial serious watchmaking allure. And it still carries the iconic Tank look with its guilloché dial, striking rail-track and Roman numerals (black on white or white on black). Cartier has developed this perfect style equation in several versions: an all-steel or pink gold case, white or chocolate dial, diamond-set or skeletonised.
TANK MC WATCH, SELF-WINDING MECHANICAL MANUFACTURE MOVEMENT, CALIBRE 1904 MC-PS Case: 18-carat pink gold Dimensions: 44 mm x 34.3 mm Thickness: 9.5 mm Crown: octagonal in 18-carat pink gold set with a sapphire Dial: silvered flinqué Hands: sword-shaped in blued steel Crystal: sapphire Strap: alligator skin Buckle: adjustable double folding buckle in 18-carat pink gold Calendar: aperture at 3 o’clock, small seconds at 6 o’clock Case back: transparent sapphire crystal Water-resistance: 30 metres HKGOLFER.COM
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CLUBHOUSE | TEE TIME SPECIAL
EXPERT CRAFTSMANSHIP AN IN-DEPTH LOOK AT THREE EXAMPLES OF CARTIER’S FINE WATCHMAKING. most highly appreciated in the marketplace. The first is the perpetual calendar that continuously indicates long periods of time; the second is a new column-wheel chronograph calibre that, on demand, measures much shorter periods, such as brief events, with great precision. The chronograph calibre already existed in the Cartier collection and is often simply called ”the Module” by the watchmakers. It has been adapted to the completely new Manufacture calibre 1904-CH MC. This self-winding mechanical chronograph movement incorporates a number of The Master technical innovations intended watchmakers of the to increase its precision and Cartier Manufacture power. This mechanical heart is carefully hand-finished to have daringly the highest standards of fine incorporated these watchmaking, including an essentially urban openwork oscillating weight, and it is powered by two features into a barrels in order to raise its carefully restrained torque and give it a power yet precious model in reserve of 48 hours. Another impor tant white or pink gold innovation in this model is an in-line, flexible lever that reduces stress on the bearings of the hand shafts when the displays are reset to zero. And because it is essential today to ensure accuracy in short-period PERPETUAL CALENDAR timing, the watchmakers of the Cartier Manufacture CHRONOGRAPH at la Chaux-de-Fonds have chosen to use the latest generation of vertical clutch that allows timings to The Rotonde de Cartier perpetual calendar start with no hand jump and to operate without chronograph watch offers a rare luxury: it affecting the torque of the calibre. combines the measurement and display of short periods of time with a mechanism whose gears possess the ability to compensate for the TORTUE MULTIPLE TIME ZONE irregularities of the Gregorian calendar. The Master watchmakers of the Cartier With its striking design and high legibility, the Tortue Manufacture have daringly incorporated these multiple time zone watch provides a large amount essentially urban features into a carefully restrained of time information and a level of ease of use that yet precious model in white or pink gold. Its overall will greatly appeal to world travellers. Their priority is diameter of 42 mm and its alligator-skin strap to see the time in the place they are going without are entirely in tune with the expectations of city losing track of the time at their starting point and, dwellers who want an instrument fitted with two above all, to be able to read this information without 100% Cartier complications that are among the performing a tortuous series of operations. 82
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Combining the simple lines of its tortoise-shaped case, available in pink or white gold and a version set with diamonds, with the clarity of an elaborate dial on several levels, the Tortue multiple time zone watch is an imposing timepiece that discreetly shows its interesting sophistication. What is immediately striking however, are its fluid lines, its signature codes so dear to Cartier such as the facetted sapphire on the winding crown, the engraved multi-level dial and the finely cut-out, blue lacquered centrepiece representing a part of the world map. This delicate decoration seems like an invitation to travel and even less experienced watch connoisseurs can see from a distance that this instrument for keeping time is ultimately intended for world travellers. At first sight, this original watch, which combines a classic shape with a rather contemporary dial, does not obviously display its strengths. And yet it does more than offer UTC, the current terminology for a watch displaying two independently adjustable time zones that is often referred to as a GMT. While this function that has become popular since its introduction in 1953, the Tortue multiple time zone goes further: it belongs to the family of “World Time” watches. These much rarer instruments generally have a dial incorporating a mobile disc carrying the names of major cities which each represent a time zone. In order to lighten the design of the watch’s face, Cartier chose to have these names appear in a window cut into the side of the Tortue multiple time zone watch’s case middle.
BALLON BLEU DE CARTIER TOURBILLON The Ballon Bleu de Cartier tourbillon with double jumping second time zone watch has been designed like a regulator. With its central minute hand and its two jumping hour counters – one for local time and the other for starting-point time, it revolutionises the world of travellers’ watches. It is a subtle yet complex masterpiece of balance, stamped with the Geneva Seal that makes its transparency into a game for knowledgeable watch lovers as it enables them to discover the details of its fascinating, moving mechanism. The unchanging laws of “Divine Proportions” state that beauty is invariably the result of dimensional balance. In the Ballon Bleu de Cartier tourbillon with double jumping second time zone watch, the symmetry of the whole design and the nobility of its proportions are enhanced by a series of carefully considered interruptions to the overall harmony. The objective was to draw the eye to several predetermined points, such as the jumping-hours discs, to instinctively lead to the two pieces of time information that are provided, and for which this watch has been created. But once the eye has read the numbers indicated by the individually adjustable blue hands, it moves on to admire the powerful dimensions of this watch. As if by magic, its fine design, based on a pocket watch, diverts the attention from its 46 mm diameter onto the curves of its magnificent case that is ideally shaped to fit the wrist. Fitted on an alligator-skin strap and available in a limited edition of 50 pieces in pink gold and 50 in white gold, the Ballon Bleu de Cartier tourbillon with double jumping second time zone watch should delight all those who love rare objects, the joys of travelling and magnificent mechanisms. HKGOLFER.COM
Clockwise from opposite: The Rotonde de Cartier perpetual calendar chronograph watch in pink gold; the Tortue multiple time zone watch in white gold; the Balon Bleu de Cartier tourbillion watch with double jumping second time zone in pink gold
HK GOLFER・SEP 2013
CLUBHOUSE | TEE TIME SPECIAL
SENSATIONALLY SLENDER THE PIAGET EMPERADOR COUSSIN ULTRA-THIN MINUTE REPEATER WRITES A BEAUTIFUL NEW MUSICAL SCORE EXPRESSING THE FINE ART OF WATCHMAKING. Expressing Piaget’s insatiable quest for ultimate horological excellence, Calibre 1290P testifies to the exceptional mastery cultivated by one of the rare fully integrated Haute Horlogerie manufacturers. This first Minute Repeater represents the fourth major complication developed by Piaget, which has created in-house no less than 35 movements, including 11 comprising major complications, within the space of just 14 years. This rare breed of expertise is embodied in such iconic calibres as the 600P (the Constantly world’s thinnest hand-wound shaped tourbillon), 880P (ultrareinventing its automatic chronograph), “Always do better thin the 855P (ultra-thin automatic than necessary” perpetual calendar) and the 1270P (ultra-thin automatic motto, Piaget tourbillon), to mention but strikes the a few. This involves constant perfect chord challenges, since the desire to push boundaries in ultra-thin watchmaking is backed by a will to make calibres perfectly tailored to the cases. The idea is in fact that the movements follow the case contours so closely that the two become an inseparable whole. The Manufacture applies this philosophy to all its movements featuring major complications, and the 1290P is no exception to the rule.
he latest embodiment of Piaget’s virtuosity in the field of ultrathin movements since 1957, the Emperador Coussin Automatic Minute Repeater sets another double record for slenderness in its category: 4.8 mm for its calibre, and 9.4 mm for its case. This exceptional model was entirely crafted in-house thanks to the twin expertise of the two Manufactures Piaget: the one located in La Côteaux-Fées for the calibre, and the other in Plan-lesOuates for the case. And since the exceptional loves to rub shoulders with perfection, the new 1290P calibre beating at its heart is adorned with the highest level of hand-crafted finishing. 84
HK GOLFER・SEP 2013
If there is one major complication that is particularly difficult to produce, it would definitely be the Minute Repeater. To also enrich the movement with an automatic winding mechanism; to endow it with an exceptional sound; to offer the thinnest calibre in its category along with the thinnest case; to guarantee water resistance to 3 ATM; and to achieve all this 100% in-house: this array of individual feats form a unique accomplishment that is unique in the world of Haute Horlogerie. The Manufacture Piaget has thus achieved an authentic tour de force in developing the Emperador Coussin Automatic Minute Repeater. The development of its 1290P movement alone involved three years of HKGOLFER.COM
work by six engineers dedicated to this task. Developed on the basis of Calibre 1200P (the world’s thinnest automatic movement), the 1290P measures just 4.8 mm thick, a new record in its category despite its 407 parts – a mind-blowing number that demanded exceptional miniaturisation and a refusal to compromise on the sound or on technical reliability. A daunting feat indeed, that called for each part to be skilfully thought out and shaped.
A FINELY CRAFTED CASE
The 48mm-diameter case also entails a show of technical prowess, since it plays an essential role in the sound transmission. It has been hollowed out as much as possible in order to achieve optimal resonance. Four braces secure it to the calibre to ensure the transmission of the gong vibration. This essential transmission is reinforced by a gong base that is interconnected both with the movement and the exterior via four screws – a rare device, as too is the ingenious mechanism placed beneath the bezel and designed to ensure the watch’s water resistance. Measuring just 9.4 mm thick despite its 69 parts, the case of the world’s thinnest automatic minute repeater requires all the expertise of a fully integrated Manufacture. It involves a truly complex equation in the pursuit of a triple objective: uncompromising technical mastery, superlatively pure acoustics, as well as an aesthetic appeal orchestrated around exceptional finishing featuring alternating polished and satin-brushed surfaces. No less than 1,400 hours were devoted to developing the case of the Emperador Coussin Autoamtic Minute Repeater.
ACOUSTICS OF RARE PURITY
The technical feats stemming from a double record for the thinness of its movement and case in no way overshadow the essential quality of the watch: its fabulous acoustics. Indeed, the pursuit of such rare performances governed the entire conception of the movement. Activating the repeater slide at 9 o’clock serves to trigger the minute repeater on demand. The sound is then generated by the vibrations of a gong that is struck by the hammers. The latter are made of steel to ensure an optimal hardness to weight ratio. The gong itself is designed all of a piece to guarantee enhanced transmission of the vibrations – and thus the sound – through the movement and on through the case. In order to preserve the purity of this sound throughout its duration, the calibre is equipped with an inertia flywheel serving to regulate the rhythm between the start and finish of the chiming. Whereas a conversation reaches an average of 65 decibels, Calibre 1290P chimes with exceptional intensity, with no less than 64 decibels dedicated to an incredible pure sound. Striking in the fifth octave, the hours are pitched at G sharp, and the minutes at A sharp. The sound lingers pleasantly, with an excellent damping factor of 2600 – a remarkable quality, since the latter is considered good at anywhere between 2000 and 3000. Constantly reinventing its “Always do better than necessary” motto, Piaget strikes the perfect chord of harmony between watchmaking art, ultra-thin accomplishment, exceptional design and absolute acoustic purity. A musical score orchestrated into a masterful symphony and admirably interpreted by the new Emperador Coussin Automatic Minute Repeater. HKGOLFER.COM
Clockwise from opposite: The Piaget Emperador Coussin XL is the world’s thinnest mechanical self-winding minute repeater movement (4.8 mm) and watch (9.4mm); the calibre 1290P is comprised of 407 parts – a mind-blowing number
HK GOLFER・SEP 2013
GOLF & INVESTING | 5 MINUTES WITH ...
Jason Kwok For golfers and investors out there, you might find golf and investing share a lot of similar attributes. In this, the fifth in a series of interviews presented by Charles Schwab, Hong Kong, Ltd., Jason Kwok – the head professional at Discovery Bay Golf Club – talks about how he started playing, his love of Spyglass Hill and the lessons he’s learned through his investing experiences. What connections do you see between golf and investing? Golf and investing both require a similar approach to achieving success. A good round of golf is usually the result of having a solid game plan, but you must be able to adjust and adapt when things don’t go according to that plan. The same applies to investing. I have learned to develop a strategy when it comes to investing to help achieve my financial goals. Both golf and investing also require calmness and discipline. Learning to limit losses and maximise gains is invaluable in both endeavours. When did you start playing? When I was nine. My father was a member at a country club in New York State, Mount Kisco in Westchester County, and I joined a summer golf camp there. We moved back to Hong Kong the following year and I got involved with the summer programmes at the Hong Kong Golf Club. I became a single figure handicapper at the age of 13. How often do you play? Two or three times a week. I’m still a member at Fanling and play there quite often. I also have a regular game at Discovery Bay on Wednesdays. I have been struggling with injuries over the past few years, so I don’t play in competitive events as much as before, but I still enjoy it. What’s been your best ever round? In 2003, I shot a 65 round the CW Koiner Course (#1) at Brookside Golf Club in Pasadena, California. I only had one bogey that day and made a lot of putts. My best round in Hong Kong was a 64 I had over the New Course at Fanling. I was playing with Dr Brian Choa and got to sevenunder through 13 holes. I really wasn’t thinking too much. Then, when I realised my score, I choked my way in, thanks to a bogey on the 16th.
Who would you be in your dream fourball? That’s easy. Jack Nicklaus, because he was my first golfing hero; Ben Hogan, because his swing is what I base my teaching on; and Annika Sorenstam, because she seems so cool. How do you maintain focus during a round? It’s hard to keep focused solely on golf for the entire time you’re out on the course, but I play my best when I’m able to get into tunnel vision mode for the minute it takes to prepare for the shot and make my swing. How would you describe your overall investment philosophy? I am relatively conservative at this point in my career – a solid return on minimal risk is my principal. In the not too distant future I would like to achieve a reasonable monthly income from my investment portfolio. What key lessons have you learned through your personal investing experiences? The most important lesson is being able to limit your losses. I’ve also learned that a falling market still represents good investment opportunities. Conversely, I don’t allow myself to get too excited when the market is f lourishing. Sometimes this is the best time to head to the sidelines after making a healthy profit.
Do you have a favourite course? Spyglass Hill in Pebble Beach, California (pictured). I love how the nature of the course changes – the first few holes play close to the ocean amid sand dunes and then it takes you inland and you play among giant redwood trees. It’s like a different world. Robert Trent Jones, Sr designed
Spyglass and he defined the holes really well. The course rewards a good shot but you can certainly get into trouble.
HK GOLFER・SEP 2013
GREAT GOLF STARTS WITH GREAT ADVICE
Hank Haney PGA Teaching Pro
When it comes to golf and investing, everyone can use a little help from the pros.
For more on the connection between golf and Investing, visit www.schwab.com.hk/golf
Schwab Investors Centre: Suites 1607-1611, ICBC Tower, No.3 Garden Road, Hong Kong | +852-2101-0511
EXPERT IN U.S. INVESTING This material is issued by Charles Schwab, Hong Kong, Ltd. and has not been reviewed by the Securities and Futures Commission in Hong Kong. Charles Schwab, Hong Kong, Ltd. is registered with the Securities and Futures Commission ("SFC") to carry out the regulated activities in dealing in securities, advising on securities and advising on futures contracts under registration CE number ADV256. ÂŠ2012 Charles Schwab, Hong Kong, Ltd. All rights reserved. (0312-1952/CSHK - 1171)