HK Golfer Clubhouse: Highland Park, Lexus Hybrid, Luxury Timepieces and more…
THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE HONG KONG GOLF ASSOCIATION ISSUE 52
Olazabal Profile Titleist Pro V1 Best of Guangdong
How Schwartzel Won Golf’s Greatest Show
DISPLAY UNTIL JUNE 15
HKPGA Champs, Junior Close, Liu Lok-tin
48 On the Cover:
South Africa's Charl Schwartzel celebrates holing a birdie putt on the eighteenth green to help clinch his first Masters title Photo by AFP
30 | Mad for the Game
17 | Tee Time
34 | Champagne Charl
24 | Driving Range
38 | My Masters
26 | Liquid Assets
Denis Martinet, a partner at Hong Kong-based luxury brand manager MAD & Associates, talks to HK Golfer about his love of golf. By Mathew Scott Inspired by his friend Louis Oosthuizen's Open Championship win, Schwartzel comes out on top of a Masters for the ages. By The Editors After a week she'll never forget, our correspondent reports on her first visit to Augusta National Golf Club's hallowed grounds. By Faye Glasgow
56 | Q&A: Liu Lok-tin
The big-hitting teen, winner of the Hong Kong Close and Open Amateur titles last year, talks to HK Golfer. Interview by David Cunningham III
60 | Olly the Skipper
There is no one better suited to the role of European Ryder Cup captain than Spanish legend Jose Maria Olazabal. By Lewine Mair
64 | Interview: Bill Morgan
The man behind the Titleist ProV1 tells us the story behind the most successful golf ball in history. Interview by Alex Jenkins
68 | Top 10 Players Championships
A look at the best moments in the history of golf's unofficial fifth major. By Mak Lok-lin
HK GolferăƒťMAY 2011
74 | Best of Guangdong
If you're looking for a quality golf break across the border these a visit to one of these five clubs is sure to fit the bill. By Alex Jenkins
A look at the state of the global luxury global watchmaking industry following this year's SIHH and Baselworld shows. By Evan Rast HK Golfer checks out the RX450h, the ecofriendly hybrid from Lexus. By Ben Oliver Piedmont proves there's a lot more to Italian wine than the Super Tuscans. By Robin Lynam
27 | Single Malts
A review of the Orkney whisky Highland Park. By John Bruce
28 | Money Matters
Our regular financial advisory column. By Howard Bilton
53 | Q&A: Stuart Fraser
The Ageas CEO gives his thoughts on the recent Ageas HKPGA Championship Interview by Alex Jenkins
80 | Global Tournament News
Reports on the latest professional golf news and world rankings. By The Editors
86 | Final Shot
An interview with Timothy Tang, the Hong Kong professional plying his trade on the Asian Tour By The Editors HKGOLFER.COM
THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE HONG KONG GOLF ASSOCIATION MAY 2011 • Issue 52
Editor: Alex Jenkins email: email@example.com Editorial Assistant: Cindy Kwok Playing Editor: Jean Van de Velde Photo Editor: Daniel Wong Contributing Editors: Lewine Mair, Ariel Adams, Robin Lynam, Evan Rast Published by:
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74 DE PA R T M E N T S 08
HK Golfer Mailbag
Around the HKGA
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HK Golfer・MAY 2011
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Have your cake... and eat it! Many appreciate the substantial advantages of putting their assets into trust but dislike the loss of control this brings.Â Fortunately there is a solution. A Private Trust Company allows family members to continue to participate in decisions relating to the assets without prejudicing the trust. Make sure your affairs are in order so your family benefit from your lifeâ€™s hard work. Leave your wealth to your family and not to the tax man. Contact us for an initial explanatory discussion. Tel: +852 2542 1177 golfer@SovereignGroup.com
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HK Golfer Mailbag Editor’s reply: Great stuff, Albert. Southwest England, like parts of Wales, East Anglia, the Northeast and, of course, large swathes of Scotland is full of sublime links courses, many of which are completely unknown outside their own region. While everyone wants to play the Old Course at St Andrews, Muirfield and courses of that ilk, there are certainly bargains – and memorable experiences – to be had all over the British Isles. And if you’re a links fanatic why not consider Holland? The Netherlands might not be considered a true golfing destination, but at Noordwijkse and Kennemer you’ll find links of the highest quality – and at quite staggeringly low prices.
At a Gross Disadvantage
Last summer my wife and I visited the United Kingdom for the sole purpose of playing golf. We had a magical trip and experienced many wonderful courses, including two – Saunton and Trevose – which you featured in the April issue of HK Golfer. I can only agree with what was said: these are truly great places to play – and comparatively inexpensive. We managed to arrange tee times at a few of the courses on the Open Championship rota – and while these too were magnificent, the green fee rates were certainly eye-wateringly high and very busy. While you rightly point out that the lack of infrastructure in the Southwest of England is a hindrance to these courses’ chances of hosting an Open, I for one am glad. I hope to return there time and time again and enjoy these relatively untouched links gems without battling the hordes, which tend to descend on the more famous British courses. Albert Kwan Central
We Want to Hear from You! Have something to say about an article in HK Golfer or a topic affecting golf in our area? Send your thoughts and comments to email@example.com. Please also include your address, contact number, email and HKGA #. The winner of the best letter will receive a bottle of Champagne Louis Roederer courtesy of Links Concept.
I have playe d i n nu merou s tournaments organized in Hong Kong and China and, generally speaking, I have to say that lower handicappers are nearly always at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to the chance of claiming prizes. I should point out that I am not referring to Hong Kong Golf Association events – the HKGA always runs a good tournament, with prizes awarded in both gross and nett divsions – but the majority of others not only fail to have a gross division, but when calculating nett scores – in both stableford and stroke play formats – they use the full handicap. This is far different than many other countries where threequarter handicap rules apply. I love playing golf in the region – the courses are tremendous – but it can be incredibly frustrating watching high handicap players scoop all the prizes – often with scores that don’t reflect their true handicap whatsoever. Stuart Donald Via email Editor’s reply: I share your disappointment, Stuart. No question about that. It’s an issue that generates plenty of debate, and for good reason. I often wonder why all tournaments don’t follow the HKGA way of having separate divisions – only having a nett prize gives lower handicap golfers almost zero chance and fails to reward those who actually record the lowest score (disregarding handicaps) on the day. The standard of golf in Hong Kong is always improving, so here’s hoping that more tournament organizers lay on a gross division at their next events. I could rant about the dreaded New New Peoria system too, but I’ll save that for another time.
Visit www.hkgolfer.com for all the latest tournament news, travel reviews and interviews with the game's biggest stars.
HK Golfer・MAY 2011
Local Focus Shinichi in the Shrubbery Shinichi Mizuno removes his ball from a bush in a rare moment of trouble during the final round of the MacGregor Hong Kong Junior Close Championship at Fanling in April. Mizuno, a winner of the tournament in 2009, claimed his second victory following a thrilling play-off with Terrence Ng, the defending champion. On the first hole of suddendeath, 17-year-old Mizuno fired a brilliant wedge to within inches of the hole for a cast-iron birdie â€“ and the victory. â€“ AJ Photo by Daniel Wong
China Focus Man on a Mission Less than 48 hours after finishing in a tie for fourth at the Masters, Tiger Woods was at Mission Hills Golf Club in Guangdong Province to give a clinic for Chinese junior golfers. Despite having not won a tournament since the Australian Masters in 2009 – a win that came just prior to the revelations about his personal life which led to the end of his sixyear marriage to Elin Nordegren – Woods proved to be as popular as ever in China with thousands of the club's members and hundreds of media turning up to watch. The 14-time major champion was last at Mission Hills 10 years ago. – AJ Photo by AFP
Global Focus The Cabin Boy The moment it all went wrong for Rory McIlroy at the Masters. McIlroy, who held a four-shot lead heading into the final round, hooked his drive at the par four tenth so far left that his ball came to rest close to one of 10 white cabins that belong to the Augusta club, some 100 yards from the fairway. From there, the 21-yearold Ulsterman wound up making a triple bogey and lost all control of both his game and the tournament. He would eventually card an eightover-par 80, which left him in a tie for 15th, 10 shots behind champion Charl Schwartzel, who became the first player in history to finish with four consecutive birdies to win the Green Jacket. â€“ AJ Photo by AFP
The Rolex World's Top 1000 Golf Courses Still stuck for Father's Day gift ideas? If so, you may wish to consider The Rolex World's Top 1000 Golf Courses, an independent – and hefty – guidebook that determines and ranks the world's top 1000 golf courses. For the first time ever, courses from every golfing continent have been critically reviewed to select the very best – and unlike similar global review guides, Asia – and particularly China – is very well represented. Descriptive information on all aspects of every course is given, from its architectural brilliance and the particular challenges of how the course is played to seminal moments from its history. Combined wit h l ist i ngs of recom mended hotel s , re st au ra nt s a nd ot her points of interest, this will make a great addition to the library of all international golf travellers. US$34.95 from amazon.com
19th Hole Debuts At Danang GC Danang Golf Club, the superb Greg Norman-designed linksstyle layout located on Vietnam's Central Coast, has celebrated another milestone: the opening of its clubhouse. Erected over 10 months at a cost of close to US$5 million, the 43,000sq ft three-storey facility was designed by award-winning Australian architectural firm Hassell and has been compared to a hip Bali beach club KuDeTa due to its cutting-edge design. "Don't expect to find creaky floorboards or antique furniture," said Howie Roberts, the club's general manager. Star of the show is undoubtedly Hickories, an expansive, roof-top terrace offering bird's-eye views of the rugged, seaside course, massive practice green and the nearby Marble Mountains, one of the Danang's most popular tourist attractions.
The lowest score Tiger Woods has ever carded for 18 holes. He achieved the feat at his home course Isleworth in Florida a week before the 1997 Masters, which he won by a record-breaking 12 strokes. The lowest round ever recorded on a course with a regulation par is 55 by Homero Blancas in 1962. Blancas, an amateur at the time, needed only 20 putts. The amount, in pounds sterling, that South African Bobby Locke earned for winning the 1949 Open Championship at Royal St Georges. Louis Oosthuizen, who won the 2010 Championship at St Andrews, pocketed £850,000. Welshman Simon Edwards, who finished dead-last, earned £2,250.
The number of golf courses in the United States, which accounts for approximately 55 per cent of the world's total. Scotland, the birthplace of the game, has less than 600, while China, which is considered the fastest growing golfing nation, isn't even sure how many it has, although recent reports put the figure at around 650.
“We were on a putting green and the next thing you know there was a seveniron and it came out of nowhere and it hit me in the head.” - Prince William, now the Duke of Cambridge, explains the reasoning behind a small scar on his forehead. Although not a regular golfer, the Duke attended St Andrews University, where he graduated with a degree in Geography.
HK Golfer・MAY 2011
CLUBHOUSE Away from the Fairways TEE TIME
The Cartier ID One Concept Watch
Making Up For Lost Time Evan Rast provides some insight on the industry's latest developments, plus watches that should keep you entertained until the next round of shows
W Calibre de Cartier Multifuseaux HKGOLFER.COM
atchmakers are a very resilient breed. In spite of the challenges faced duri ng the GFC – the suave, private-banker way to say global financial crisis – the industry has gotten up on its feet, brushed the dust off and started running. And the speed to which it has recovered is impressive. In fact, sales in 2010 were only five percent shy of the record CHF17 billion reached in 2008, and given the lower price points watches were at last year, the industry actually sold the most number of timepieces it has since 2002. This means, simply, that the efforts to go back to watchmaking's core values have paid off, and many more people like us have become happy watch owners because of it. CONTINUED OVERLEAF HK Golfer・MAY 2011
In the last 12 months, the industry has moved forward to a point where the more established and institutional brands – plus a few large independents – are really pushing through in terms of expansion (points-of-sale and boutiques), vertical industrialization, and investments in research. Groups that cover the market consistently, from low, to the very high end, or offer diversity in their product range are gaining ground. The effect? There is essentially a smorgasbord of timepieces out there to satisfy your simplest or most exorbitant craving. Let’s talk about sports watches for instance. Looking for a watch to go with your McLaren MP4-12C? (Or at least make you feel like you have one?) Tag Heuer releases the Carrera MP412C Chronograph this year, a limited edition of 1,000 pieces, and featuring a carbon-based dial inspired by the supercar's chassis. Sapphire crystal inserts create an open-worked view of the movement, which comes with a semi-perpetual calendar function, big date, and flyback. The case is in lightweight titanium, with a black aluminium bezel. This ultra-tech soup-up for the wrist will cost you a competitive US$14,000. One of my favourites from the diver's watch offerings of 2011 is Jaeger-LeCoultre's Memovox Tribute to Deep Sea. The watch originally appeared in 1959, after explorer and filmmaker Jacques Yves-Cousteau's underwater film The Silent World debuted in Cannes and caused a renewed interest in diving. The new version is pretty much a carbon copy of the original, except for a slight increase in diameter, to 40.5mm. The watch even skips the use of sapphire crystal in favour of Plexiglas for a real retro look. The Memovox Tribute to Deep Sea is fitted with the automatic Caliber 815 with mechanical alarm function, and is priced at around US$12,000. Can we even talk about sports watches without mentioning Rolex? I reported on this piece briefly in my best of Basel countdown [April 2011 issue], but I have to say that in terms of look, function and material combination, the new Cosmograph Daytona, with its sleek black Cerachrom (ceramic) bezel is pure genius. PVD black hour markers on a rich chocolate dial: striking, elegant, and something we have not seen before in a Rolex, and I for one am enamoured. Aside from the black ceramic bezel the Daytona pretty much has the same features as the last version of the watch, fitted with the chronograph calibre 4130, and with a 40mm case. Even now, there’s a buzz about what fans expect the 2012 Daytona to look like, given this refreshing update. We’ll just have to wait and see, won’t we? For now, I’d get on the waiting list. The new Cosmograph Daytona will go for about US$30,000. 18
HK Golfer・MAY 2011
Sporty specials (clockwise from top left): Tag Heuer Carrera MP4- 12C Chronograph; Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona; Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox Tribute to Deep Sea
And if we're talking about ultra highend innovation, I would also give a prize to Audemars Piguet's Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph. The name doesn't really reveal all: the watch is an automatic, but when you look at the caseback, you won't see an oscillating weight. That's because the calibre 2897 has been constructed with a peripheral rotor in platinum and mounted by ball bearings, that shifts it weight around the outside of the movement, underneath the bezel. This watch, priced at US$248,000, allows a full view of its beautiful, extra shock-protected, column-wheel calibre from the back, and is stamped with its powerful octagonal forged carbon bezel in front. HKGOLFER.COM
SMALL WORLD, BIG MARKET
O ne of t he mo st obv iou s go a l s for watchmakers this year is to tap the biggest potential markets first, and on top of that list is China. The watch bosses I spoke with at BaselWorld all attest to the fact that this region is the best place to be in, for the next couple of years at least. One even showed me a graph of the orders and sales in their mainland boutiques, pointing out the glaring peaks, which if I remember correctly, revealed growth of more than 50 percent. So it's no surprise that we will continue to see a lot of designs that are geared toward Asia, and with business travellers in mind. I think this is one of the reasons that led to the release of so many world time watches this year. HK GolferăƒťMAY 2011
Audemars automatic: The Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph from Audemars Piguet 20
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At Basel, Breguet presented the Classique Hora Mundi, a watch with an instant jump time-zone display and memory, featuring a synchronised date, day/night indication and city. Simply, it means that at a push of a button, the timepiece will be able to show the home time and date of a pre-selected time zone, without the clutter. For those who often travel to countries like India, where there are half-hour differences across regions, keeping track of time on a
24-hour system can be difficult. That is why Vacheron Constantin's Patrimony World Time has been created with 37 zones in total, taking half and even quarter-hour differences into consideration, and practically able to display all the known zones on earth. A Lambert projection map of the earth in miniature painting is the focal point of dial, made even more interesting by the half-tinted sapphire disc that rotates to give you the exact image of day and night across the continents. HKGOLFER.COM
HMS1 LIMITED EDITION
HAND-CRAFTED IN SWITZERLAND Manual movement Arnold & Son caliber AS1001 Two barrels, 80-hour power reserve See-through caseback. 100 feet (30 meters) water resistant Available in rose gold or stainless steel
Another extraordinary take on the world time watch is the Calibre de Cartier Multifuseaux. The watch features two retrograde indicators on the dial. The first shows the 'home' time, and whether its day or night, and the second is a 'jet lag indicator,' which sits at zero when you're home, but adjusts to show the exact offset in hours between the local time and your 'home' time when travelling. Apart from these, the watch has been constructed with a sapphire window on the side of the case that has the names of the cities in each of the 24 time zones engraved. It sounds a bit complicated, but is in fact quite easy to read once you learn how to work the controls. And the unique look of the watch really makes it worth the trouble. Nothing says travel more than I WC's Portofino Dual Time watch, a new addition to its popular series inspired by the beautiful Italian port favoured by celebrities. Powered by the new 64710 calibre, the watch features two sub dials, the top with a 24-hour display to show home time, and the bottom, small hacking seconds. The watch comes in a smoother, more contoured case in 18k red gold or stainless steel, with an option for either a Milanese mesh bracelet, or hand-dyed leather strap by famous Italian shoemaker Santoni. So have you decided yet? Whether your pick this year is a functional sports watch, a world time art piece, or an ultimate tech gadget, the massive selection out there proves one thing: that against all odds, capturing time and its fleeting nature will continue to be a fascination. And because of this, GFC or not, the watchmaking industry, as long as itâ€™s armed with creativity and innovation, will always emerge victorious.
Global appeal: Vacheron Constantin's Patrimony World Time (above); the IWC Portofino Dual Time (right) 22
HK GolferăƒťMAY 2011
Deserving of Attention Despite some idiosyncrasies, the RX450h from Lexus has enough quality and technical surprise to win you over, writes Ben Oliver
’d sharpened my pencil for the Lexus RX450h hybrid SUV, ready to pop the eco-bubble of a car that makes the extraordinary twin claims of having as much power as a sports car but lower emissions than a supermini. But then Lexus gave me a Pope-white one, with some mellow Coldplay loaded onto the 40-gigabyte hard drive of the 15-speaker Mark Levinson stereo, and sent me off for a drive. And as the virginal white Lexus whistled and sighed through fields of tall grass, brushed like green suede by a soft warm wind under deep blue skies, I started to lose all journalistic cynicism. I started to think I was in some sort of car ad: I could picture butterflies fluttering from my tailpipe, tiny hedgerow creatures rushing to the roadside to catch a glimpse of my friendly, silent car, and children, eyes closed, breathing deeply and smiling as I passed… Stop, stop, stop. The RX450h is not the Messiah; but it’s still quite a naughty boy. It uses two electric motors to help the main petrol engine, drawing energy from the brakes which would otherwise be lost, and able to power the car silently and emission-free with the petrol engine stopped for short distances and at low speeds. The driver need do absolutely nothing; the car switches automatically and seamlessly between power sources for the greatest efficiency. But this remains, I had to remind myself, a 2.2-tonne SUV. Those of you with cynicism intact will point out that no matter how clean and economical it is – Lexus claims an astonishing 6.3 litres per 100km and 148g/km – it would be a lot greener if it wasn’t so heavy and tall. Some will argue that hybrids are a technological dead-end and that the claimed economy figures are impossible to replicate in real use. Others will argue that the only reason this car exists is for the hybrid badge on the side; that it allows the middle classes to buy their way out of a conscience crisis without giving up the SUVs they’ve become addicted to. 24
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There’s some merit in all those arguments, but there’s no arguing with the fact that Lexus has improved economy and emissions by around a quarter even over the outgoing RX400h hybrid; a quantum leap given that we’ve been fiddling with petrol engines for well over a century now. And it has put its new drivetrain into one of the oddest, most idiosyncratic cars on the road; a weird mix of the brilliant and the utterly terrible that drives unlike almost anything else. Cynic or not, it deserves your attention. I don’t think anyone will try to argue that it’s a good-looking car. Lexus has abandoned the faux-SUV styling of the old RX and fully embraced the ‘crossover’ look, which involves doing everything possible to make the car look smaller and less offensive than it actually is. But
SCORECARD (Based on RX450h Ultimate) How much? Engine: Transmission: Performance: How heavy?
HK$774,100 3456cc V6, 295 horsepower ECVT-i with sequential shift 7.8sec 0-100kph, 180kmh 2110kg
at least with a Range Rover you know where your money’s gone; the RX just looks like a bloated Japanese hatchback, and I had a tough time trying to match the way it looks with the premium price. But maybe that’s the point. Maybe Lexus knows that buyers don’t want a car that makes them look as if they’re spending or polluting excessively, but still delivers the SUV security and isolation and elevated view they’re hooked on once they’re inside. And there’s no compromise in the cabin. It’s the usual Lexus magnificence in here, though the appeal isn’t in the looks. As usual, it seems to have been designed by four people who haven’t met. There are eight different styles of information display; everything from a fighter-jet head-up display on the windscreen to some Casio watch-style LCD numbers in the main binnacle. But it’s all so utterly perfectly assembled and silken in refinement and operation that you don’t want to get out. There is masses of space and storage and that seemingly random spray of switches is surprisingly ergonomic. And the build quality is peerless. Did you know that Lexus uses waterfalls in its Kyushu factory to catch dust particles 20 microns across, because they can cause ‘scratches’ in the body panels before they’re painted? Or that it is trying to cut noise in the factory so the technicians can concentrate harder on your car? So whatever you think of the driveline powering all this, it’s unlikely to ever let you down. The 3456cc, 24-valve V6 petrol engine makes 246bhp on its own. It powers the front axle only, helped by a 165bhp electric motor. Another 67bhp electric motor powers the rear axle, making the RX450h effectively front-wheel drive until full acceleration is needed or the stability control senses slippage. The lack of real four-wheel drive is unlikely to bother RX buyers; it was never really intended for off-roading.
Shutting the engine off when stationary in traffic is a hybrid’s simplest trick but genuinely good for the atmosphere, the wallet and the soul. Whether you can drive silently with the petrol engine stopped and using only the electric motors depends on how much energy the regenerative brakes have recovered for the batteries. Lexus claims you can do up to three kilometres at up to 40kph, and the reaction of pedestrians as you sigh by in near-silence in your weird-looking white car is worth the price on its own. At 7.8sec to 100kph with all three motors working together, acceleration is just about su f f icient a nd produced wit hout much excitement. Nor does the chassis give you much reason to drive enthusiastically. The fully electric power steering lacks feel; the handling is secure but anaesthetized and the ride can be stiff over poor city streets. So what do you make of this oddball car, with its borderline-unbelievable figures? You may well be cynical, but if you try one don’t be surprised if the comfort, the ease, the quality and the mild smugness and sense of tech-savvy superiority subtly start to win you over.
SUV surprise: Lexus has fully embraced the 'crossover' look for the RX 450h, which isn't to everyone's taste, but you can't fault the gizmopacked magnificence of the interior
HK Golfer・MAY 2011
An Italian Education
There’s more to Italian wine than the Super Tuscans, writes Robin Lynam, who focuses on the increasing popularity of Piedmont
talian wine is not as well understood in Hong Kong as it should or could be, according to Berry Brothers & Rudd Hong Kong Managing Director Nicholas Pegna. BBR wants to help change that, and is starting with the wines of the Piedmont region and the Nebbiolo grape. “Too many people here think only of the famous names from Tuscany – the Super Tuscans – and aren’t familiar with the regional wines enough,” he says. “With regard to Piedmont, I think people understand ‘Barolo’ and ‘Barbaresco’ as labels, but they are not really that familiar with the style of wine that Nebbiolo produces.” Piedmont is Nebbiolo’s home territory in the way that Burgundy is Pinot Noir’s, and comparisons between the regions are easy to draw, says BBR’s Italybased buyer David Berry Green who now lives in Serralunga d’Alba, about 60km from Turin. “Piedmont is referred to as the Burgundy of Italy whereas Tuscany is the Bordeaux, and it’s much more about the brand,” says Berry Green. Tuscany’s signature grape is Sangiovese, which is to that region what Cabernet Sauvignon is to Bordeaux. Piedmont’s Nebbiolo, like Burgundy’s Pinot Noir, has a reputation for being idiosyncratic, even difficult. “Each village has a style and an expression of Nebbiolo which, like Pinot Noir, is a pernickety grape, hates heat, prefers the morning sun, and produces its finest fruit on ancient Jurassic sea-beds rich in fossilized shellfish and limestone,” Berry Green observes. 26
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Also as in Burgundy the best wines come from small estates and special individual parcels of land, and are made by families who in many cases have been involved with the region’s wines for generations. Berry Green recently brought representatives of some of the houses with which the company has forged an alliance to Hong Kong, including Cantina Bartolo Mascarello, Chiara Boschis, Cascina Delle Rose, Cascina Fontana and Giovanni Rosso, with all of whom he has established relationships for BBR over the past three years. Of the best known wines of the region, Barolo is a DOCG wine made 100 per cent from Nebbiolo and is generally agreed to be both its most powerful and most nuanced expression. Barbaresco, also a DOCG and produced in a nearby area of the Langhe, is likewise 100 per cent Nebbiolo and also enjoys a high if not quite so elevated reputation. “There needs to be more education work done on the wines of Nebbiolo in terms of La ng he Nebbiolo a nd Nebbiolo d’Alba,” says Berry Green. “ N e b b i o l o d ’A l b a i s produced outside the Barolo and Barbaresco areas whereas Langhe Nebbiolo is effectively a second wine of Barolo and Barbaresco. Again these are two terms that are quite confusing with the trade as it stands.” The thinking is that if people become familiar with the great wines of Piedmont by understanding the grape with which they are made, a more detailed knowledge of a complicated region will be easier to acquire. As for Barbera, a well known grape which is also native to Piedmont, Berry Green is dismissive. “Some would say that Barbera is a table grape. It hasn’t got the same distinction as Nebbiolo.” HKGOLFER.COM
John Bruce on the virtues of Highland Park, the pride of the Orkney Islands
ccompanying Hong Kong Scottish RFC to the Melrose Sevens for their competitive debut , I wa s pre sent on the Friday at the splendidly orga nized Vetera ns Tens tournament. This featured household names of the past along with club players from as far afield as Waikato in New Zealand and Hamilton in South Africa. However, the team that made the most noise and brought the most raiders was Orkney RFC. Perhaps the presence of a horde of screaming women amongst their supporters was diverging somewhat from their Viking heritage but there were a plethora of mature versions of Tony Curtis and Kirk Douglas gracing the pitch whilst being roared on by the rest of the landing party. Of course, they were made somewhat more welcome at Melrose Abbey than there forefathers had been throughout centuries of less friendly raiding. Much as we owe our Scottish wanderlust to our Celtic traditions, we are also the children of our Norse past and no place in Scotland was more a home to the Vikings than Orkney which was settled and controlled by the Vikings from the late eighth century and where the majority of the population is of Viking descent. They still raid but with less success, if the rugby was any indication and receive a better reception, if the hospitality of Melrose is repeated elsewhere. Perhaps the secret of this welcome lies in their greatest export. Some thousand years after their ancestors came ashore, the farming people of Orkney began the production of malt whisky and with a few hiccups, both metaphorical and drink induced, along the way they are now the producers of one of Scotland’s most famous malt whiskies, Highland Park. Much of their production is a core ingredient in the Famous Grouse, the most widely consumed whisky in Scotland and prior to 1979 the distillery did not release single malts itself; only third party bottlings were available but since then they have developed an expansive range of superlative malt whiskies. In limited space, I can describe only a few chosen samples but it is a journey in itself to explore Highland Park from the 12-year-old through to the limited issue Ambassador casks. This range is an ideal example of how small changes in distilling practice can produce a remarkably differentiated HKGOLFER.COM
variety of fine malt whiskies. Core though are the ingredients and central to the nose and taste of any variety of Highland Park is peat. The malt is still hand turned in the traditional fashion and the peating takes place using peat cut from Hobbister Moor which is slowly burned to produce “the reek”, a thick smoke that permeates the malt. However any aficionado of malt whisky will tell you that the peat essence that permeates Highland Park is entirely different from that of Islay and the Western malts. It is commonly acknowledged that the peat of Orkney is “aromatic peat” due to the unique conditions that formed it and each and every expression of Highland Park is enhanced by a sweet, honeyed flavour. Like all of my favourite malt whiskies, Highland Park is remarkable even in its least exclusive, core expression – the 12-year old, which was the first proprietary malt produced by the distillery. I would in no way be diminishing it to suggest that, like a young Glenfiddich, it is in my mind an ideal starting malt. It has many of the endearing qualities of malt whisky with a light smoky essence that permeates the nose, the palate and the finish, a beguiling sweetness in its initial stages and an almost floral hint to the finish without having any of the sturdier qualities of some of the malts that grow upon us with experience. It is a truly exquisite example of the distiller’s art. Highland Park has excelled in developing a range of malt expressions, many of which are not readily available in Hong Kong but I have sampled a number and I can honestly say that none disappoint and many are truly excellent. Perhaps my personal favourite is the 21-year-old which is produced solely for duty-free retailing and can be difficult to find. I have a half-full bottle (too good to be half-empty) in my cupboard and it is a remarkable expression that deserves the many awards that it has won. It has all of the core qualities of its younger sibling but has an added woodiness that comes from an emphasis on aging in bourbon rather than sherry casks, a more fruity palate and an immensely complex sweetness that lingers through a long finish. T h e 21-ye a r o l d i s a maturing of Highland Park that brings a seasoning to the core malt whisky of the 12-year-old that it is entirely appropriate when talking of this heritage of the Vikings. They are from the same source but like the depicted halfbrother relationship of Tony and Kirk in the 1958 film The Vikings, their similarity is not immediately obvious. I would recommend an in depth exploration of as many of the expressions of this Orkney legend, but unlike the legendary Curtis, I would say that when it comes to Highland Park, some like it cold. HK Golfer・MAY 2011
Howard Bilton discusses the use of trusts in conjunction with – or instead of – pre-nuptial agreements
iger Woods’ recent divorce has brought the issue of pre-nuptial agreements firmly into the spotlight. Tiger was thought to be worth over US$2 billion but it is believed that he paid his now ex-wife “only” US$100 million mainly because he had a prenuptial agreement limiting her entitlement. So do these agreements work and are they a good idea? Certainly, negotiating agreements about what happens in the case of divorce when contemplating marriage can hardly be romantic but pre-nuptial agreements are not a new thing; they have been around for hundreds of years. Indeed during the 19th century in the US, before the Married Woman’s Property Act of 1848, women almost always sought a pre-nuptial agreement because prior to that law everything a woman owned or inherited was automatically transferred to her husband. If he died or divorced her she could lose the lot. Nowadays they are more often used by wealthy husbands to try and protect wealth from wives. But this is not their only use. A standard pre-nup can, and should, contain many non-financial provisions. Detractors say they encourage bad behaviour by limiting the damage that can be done to a husband if he behaves unreasonably, commits adultery or gives the poor wife other grounds for divorce and at these matters should be left to the courts alone. Those in favour of pre-nups argue that they encourage marriage as wealthy individuals are more likely to marry if they gain some form of protection. And couples should be allowed to contract in any way or form that they wish. Marriage is often described as a contract, and in any commercial relationship it is wise to prepare a written agreement so that there is no misunderstanding and so that you have a document to refer to in the event of dispute or a breakdown of the relationship. Why should marriage be any different? If two people form a company together it is advisable and common-place to sign a shareholders’ agreement. Often the negotiating process reveals differences of opinion which would make it impossible for the business to function. Better to get those misunderstandings out of the way first and walk away if those differences cannot be resolved up front. The same considerations apply when negotiating a pre-nuptial agreement. It must surely be better to find out about irrevocable differences before going down the aisle. Typically the agreement will deal with: ・ The division of property on divorce ・ What will happen to the marital home ・ Ownership of particular assets or possessions ・ Maintenance for the poorer spouse and for the children ・ Custody arrangements for the children and visitation rights for the noncustodial spouse ・ Schooling arrangements, religion and other matters of the upbringing of any children ・ Anything else you want to put in there Children can often be badly affected by a marriage breakdown and this is exacerbated if the divorce negotiations are protracted and/or vexatious. Having everything laid out in writing in advance should speed up the process and help avoid rancour in the unhappy event of a marriage failing. So it would seem like 28
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a good idea for all parties to have a pre-nup. But are they enforceable? The answer to this depends on the country in question. The leading authority on this is the recent Radmacher case in the United Kingdom. UK court cases are not binding on the Hong Kong courts but are highly persuasive. This principle was reiterated by Justice Cheung in the recent Hong Kong case of DD v LKW which confirmed that the starting point for divorce settlements was equality of division and no longer the reasonable requirements of the parties. The court was much persuaded by the UK case of White v White. In the Radmacher case, Katrin Radmacher, a 40-year-old paper industry heiress with a fortune estimated at US$80 million, was divorcing Nicolas Granatino, an investment banker who she married in 1998 and with whom she had two children. He was awarded £6 million but she appealed citing a prenuptial agreement in which he promised to make no claim on her assets in the event of divorce. The court sided with her and slashed his settlement, but gave leave for the case to be referred to the Supreme Court, which late last year upheld the judgement. Radmacher said: "I know some people think of prenuptial agreements as being unromantic, but for us it was meant to be a way of proving you are marrying only for love.” It’s hard to disagree with that logic. Refusal to sign a prenup, it might be argued, shows a clear motive to treat marriage as a profit making opportunity. Up until now the UK courts have adopted the principal that such agreements are very persuasive and should be given “decisive weight” but are not necessarily binding. This has now changed and the Radmacher case seems to confirm that such agreements will always be binding unless it would be patently unfair for them to be so. We can be fairly sure that the Hong Kong courts will adopt a similar attitude. In Australia, Canada, China, Thailand, US and most other European countries, pre-nups are legally binding. So it is really only in the UK and other jurisdictions that follow the UK’s common law system where there is doubt. HKGOLFER.COM
An alternative to a pre-nuptial agreement is to put assets into trust before marriage. This avoids the potentially embarrassing and awkward negotiations required for a pre-nup . A correctly structured trust will also have other tax and dynastic benefits so is probably a good idea irrespective. Or why not adopt a belt and braces approach and have both a trust and a pre-nup? But beware. The courts are increasingly treating the trust assets as a resource to which the settlor could have recourse and therefore including them in his or her net wealth when considering the division of assets on divorce. If the settler rules themselves out from benefitting from the trust they should rightly take the assets out of consideration – as long as the trust has been properly set up and run to the entire exclusion of the settler. It is here where many trusts will fail as many settlors continue to regard the trust assets as “theirs” and many trustees allow this to happen by reacting to instructions from a settlor and failing to exercise independent management and control of the assets. Settlors find it convenient to have a compliant trustee but few realise that this very compliance will ensure that the trust fails an attack precisely because of this compliance. If trustees fail to show that they, and not the settlor, control and manage the
"For now, Hong Kong, like the UK, has become a jurisdiction of choice in which to get divorced if you are seeking a healthy financial settlement from an estranged spouse." assets the courts will treat the trust as a sham and treat the assets as still belonging to the settlor, so the trust will be ineffective for all purposes. For now, Hong Kong, like the UK, has become a jurisdiction of choice in which to get divorced if you are seeking a healthy financial settlement from an estranged spouse. Trusts will protect assets for the benefit of the children and other family members if they are set up prior to marriage; the settler can demonstrate that he should not benefit from the trust and has not done so. Use them as part of an overall planning exercise in conjunction with or instead of a prenup. Alternatively don’t get married or, if you do, be very, very nice. Howard Bilton is a UK Barrister, Professor of Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego and Chairman of the Sovereign Trust (Hong Kong) Ltd, which specialises in international and offshore tax planning.
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HK Golfer・MAY 2011
Game for the
Denis Martinet, managing partner at Hong Kongbased luxury brand manager MAD & Associates, talks to Mathew Scott about his love of golf
very golfer comes complete with their own personal highlights package. It might include that special shot, or a round with close friends, or the time they played that one unforgettable hole that seemed simply to take the breath away. For the lucky ones it will also feature the time they were able to rub shoulders with greatness, to see a hero up close and personal and, for a brief moment in time, be able to brush up against a world they had previously only been able to imagine. Denis Martinet can thus be considered one of the lucky ones. Not once but twice has he been able to share time with a player he considers an idol – and both times Martinet came away much better for the experience. For the Swiss-born Martinet – a man raised on the shores of Lake Geneva and for whom childhood was spent rushing between the ski slopes and the sailing boat – golf has been a passion developed relatively late in life. But since moving to Asia in 1990, he has more than made up for lost time. As managing partner at MAD & Associates Limited – a company which manages select luxury brands such as Bremont and Arnold & Son timepieces –Martinet’s business naturally brings him into close contact with the golfing world, as has a past which includes a stint working for the Banyan Tree luxury resort chain.
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Denis Martinet, Causeway Bay, April 2011 Photo by Daniel Wong HKGOLFER.COM
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"[Arnold Palmer] has the image of being personable and friendly and he really is."
HK Golfer・MAY 2011
But more of the business side of Martinet’s game later. First up, he wants to share a few memories. The first involves none other than Arnold Palmer, seven-time major winner, fan favourite and – as Martinet soon found – everything any member of “Arnie’s Army” could want in a hero. “I was lucky enough to play a round with Palmer at Evercrest Golf Club and Resort, an incredible course he had designed near Tagaytay in the Philippines,” Martinet begins. “It had been built near this volcano in the 1970s but had been abandoned and Palmer was there to help get it back into shape.” Once on the course, Palmer didn’t disappoint either – although the sense of occasion seemed to get to some. “He has the image of being personable and friendly - and he truly is,” says Martinet. “He took the time, had the patience, to take you through your game and considering how many people he meets every day, he never forgets your name. “What was quite funny was that the golf pro there was in his early 20s and he was so excited that on the first tee he duffed his shot completely. The moment was just too much for him. But what an experience it was for us all, just to walk around the course with Palmer – such a mythical character.” And it seems Palmer’s play that day simply added to the legend, as far as Martinet was concerned. “On the eighteenth green he went through the bag playing shots, from the wedge to the driver, and he placed every ball an equal distance from the other – and they were all in a line. Incredible and something you could never forget,” says Martinet. Martinet’s second date with golfing destiny came about after he had moved to Hong Kong in 2002 and had become a member of the Shek O Country Club. “I was lucky enough to have the chance to spend some time with Nick Faldo,” he says. “And he is quite an extraordinary character. I had to drive him in my tiny sports car from Central to Shek O – and he is a big man. It was quite funny. But you are struck immediately by his strength of character. “Nothing reflects that more than the story about how from the age of 16 he trained – alone
– for two years to hone his game. That takes some strength but that him the player he was.” Faldo also shared with Martinet another story that shows just how the six-time major winner put his mental strength into practice. “ He sa id he wa s f ly i ng back from a tournament in Korea with Padraig [Harrington] who was telling Faldo about this problem he had with his putting,” says Martinet. “He was asking for ‘advice from the guru’ sort of thing and Faldo said ‘Don’t say anything. Don’t admit to anything. Because one day I will take advantage of that or someone else will.’ And that’s the way he played his game – give nothing away and always stay focused.”
Considering what the game means to him now, it might come as some surprise to learn that Martinet’s first experience on a course wasn’t exactly what you might call a success. “I started very early – aged 11 or 12 – but I hated it,” he says. “I played a round with by grandfather at a course in Kent [England]. He was quite a keen golfer and we would visit him on holidays. At that stage I was interested in a whole lot of other things and golf had an image of an old man’s sport.” HKGOLFER.COM
It was when Martinet decided to move out East that the game really grabbed his imagination thanks, as often happens out this way, to work connections. “Golf never really got me going until I made it to Asia in 1990 and the company I was working for had a special relationship with the Chung Shan Hot Spring course,” Martinet explains. “It is such a beautiful course, the first one built in China and Arnold Palmer did a fabulous job designing it. “That’s where I really started playing golf and of course in Asian culture the golf course is also a place to talk business so it was beneficial to me in that way too.”
Martinet then found himself living and working in Phuket in the mid-1990s – right next to the famed Blue Canyon Country Club. “That’s when I really got into the game and got my handicap down to 12 or 13 – much to my wife’s dismay,” says Martinet. “When the course hosted the Johnnie Walker Classic in 1994 I got to meet a lot of the guys – Greg Norman, Nicky Price – and a bit later I got to play that round with Arnold Palmer, which remains to this day one of my fondest memories.” HKGOLFER.COM
As Martinet’s business has expanded in recent years, time for a round has become harder to find. “Sadly I don’t get quite enough time at the moment to play as much as I’d like,” says Martinet. “But you can still watch what is happening and going on around you. In Asia, golf seems to fit the people, the climate and the fact that there is a certain luxury to golf, an exclusivity that helps the game in this region too. “But access to the game is growing also – look at what the Jockey Club has done with Kau Sai Chau. This is helping the game grow, among youngsters particularly.” When he does get the time, chances are you’ll find him down at Shek O – especially when the weather is taking a turn for the worse. “The paradox is that it is such a long game but still people in a place as busy as Hong Kong can find the time to play,” says Martinet. “But what I enjoy is to live in such a dense environment and then you can drive for 15 minutes and suddenly you are in Shek O, which is such a beautiful place and you have this wonderful sense of isolation. “What I really enjoy down there is what I would call Scottish conditions, when it is blowing and a little bit chilly. There’s the challenge of those conditions then and how they affect the course.” It is also the perfect place to take visitors to town – and business connections, says Martinet. “A round of golf gives you the chance to talk to people,” says Martinet. “My company represents a number of luxury brands and golf provides an ideal environment for these brands – wine, time pieces, leather products. “But golf also is just good entertainment, it helps break the ice. Anyone can play and it is a game where people are less self-conscious when they play. It’s a relaxing environment and it’s perfect for Asia.”
"In Asia, golf seems to fit the people, the climate and the fact that there is a certain luxury to golf, an exclusivity that helps the game in this region too." HK Golfer・MAY 2011
Champagne Charl Inspired by his friend Louis Oosthuizen’s Open Championship win, Schwartzel comes out on top of a Masters for the ages
recisely 50 years to the day after Gary Player became the first South African player to win the Masters, Player's countryman Charl Schwartzel made his own history by birdying the final four holes at Augusta National Golf Club on a monumental Sunday to earn his own Green Jacket. As roars reverberated through the pines, acknowledging eagles and birdies by the seven other players who either held or shared the lead, 26-year-old Schwartzel, a rake of a man with a muscular game, came from four strokes off the pace with the day’s low round of 66 for a 14-under-par total of 274. Schwartzel joined fellow South African and friend Louis Oosthuizen, the reigning Open champion, in giving the European Tour all four major championship trophies. He brushed off challenges from the Australians Jason Day and Adam Scott, who finished two strokes back; and from Tiger Woods, who charged with a 67, Geoff Ogilvy of Australia and Luke Donald of England, who tied for fourth at 10- under. Coolly manoeuvring his way through the chaos, Schwartzel hit 16 greens and putted like a machine. Although Woods started all the fireworks, shooting 31 on the front nine to move from seven strokes back to a tie for the lead in eight holes, it was Schwartzel, the unheralded son of a South African farmer and seemingly the only man in contention that the American media failed to highlight following the third round, who rocketed up the rails to claim the championship. Starting with an outrageous chip-in birdie at the first, Schwartzel seized a share of the lead at 11-under at the short par-four third when he holed a sand wedge for eagle from 114 yards. “So many roars and so much atmosphere out there,” the soft-spoken Schwartzel said after becoming the third South African to win the Masters, and the first since Trevor Immelman three years ago. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
HK Golfer・MAY 2011
Good in green: "I always thought that if there was one [major] that I would win, it would be this one," said Schwartzel; McIlroy (left) says he'll have plenty more chances at the Masters Photos by AFP
HK GolferăƒťMAY 2011
In the mix (clockwise from top right): Both Jason Day and Adam Scott had a great chance to become the first Australian in history to win at Augusta National; Tiger Woods, who was out in a brilliant 31 on the final day, was left to rue a number of missed putts on the back nine
HK Golfer・MAY 2011
No one had. Never before in the 75 years of the Masters has a champion birdied the last four holes in a final round, though Jack Nicklaus did play them in four under with an eagle, two birdies and a par in his epic 1986 win. And if the eight golfers who held or shared the lead at some point during the raucous afternoon did not set a record, they could not have been far off. Argentine Angel Cabrera, who finished seventh after a 71, and Bo Van Pelt, who closed with a 70 and tied for eighth with South Korea KJ Choi at 280, rounded out the cosmopolitan group of challengers who briefly shared the lead. Poor Rory McIlroy was another. The 21-year-old Ulsterman, who held a four-stroke advantage going into the final round, bogeyed the first hole and added another bogey at the fifth before making his first – and only – birdie at the seventh. He shot a front-nine 37 to lose the lead outright. He then lost all hope of the title at the demanding tenth. He badly pull-hooked his drive between two of the cabins left, only 150-yards or so from the tee, then pitched across the fairway. He dragged his third shot into the trees near the scoreboard left of the green, hit another tree with a wedge shot, pitched on in five and two-putted for a triple bogey. It was gut-wrenching to watch – and after he three-putted the eleventh and then
– horror of horrors – four-putted the twelfth, CBS decided pulled the plug on any more Rory coverage until they showed him missing a tiddler at the last for birdie. “I thought I even hung in the front nine pretty well,” said McIlroy, who went on to shoot 80 and finished tied for 15th. “I was leading the tournament going into the back nine. Just hit a poor tee shot on 10 and sort of unravelled from there. Sort of lost it at 10, 11 and 12, and couldn’t get it back. “You know, I’ll have plenty more chances. I know that it’s very disappointing what happened today. Hopefully, it’ll build a little bit of character in me as well.” In McIlroy, you couldn't wish to meet a friendlier or more eloquent young man, and not surprisingly he was sportingly gracious in defeat. A loss of rhythm cost him his first major championship; a naturally quick player, the two-time UBS Hong Kong Open runner-up seemingly went into warp speed after reaching the turn – rushing his shots when it would have been prudent to take a moment to analyze his situation and realize his options. But you have to believe him: he will be back at Augusta and contending again. A nd what won it for Schwa r t z el? A combination of things, from a session with
Nicklaus last year during which he gave Schwartzel his mental blueprint for all 18 holes, a tip from Nick Price on playing fast greens, and precision iron play and the best pressure putting over the course of the tournament. He took 28 putts, but the four he pumped in down the stretch were as nerveless as those from his countryman Ernie Els in his prime. A f ter he made t he 15-footer on t he eighteenth that gave him the Green Jacket, Schwartzel hugged his wife of seven months, Rosalind; his manager, Chubby Chandler; and his caddie, Greg Hearmon, and thanked everyone from Els to Nicklaus and Player to his best mate Oosthuizen. “This year, Nick Price gave me a really good tip, so did David Frost,” Schwartzel said. “Nick said when he came over, he used to find the fastest putt on every green and practice that, and that’s what I did for the last three weeks. Every tournament I went to, I just practiced the fastest putt I could find, even though they were only five feet, to learn to hit the putts that softly. It really paid off. I felt so good on these greens this week. "To see Louis win the Open the way he did, you know, that was a huge inspiration," said Schwartzel. "We grew up together, played every single tournament against each other, and represented South Africa together for so long. Just to see him do it made me realize that it is possible and it just sort of took me over the barrier of thinking that a major is too big for someone to win." Player, whose 1961 Masters title inspired all the South African contingent of major championship winners who came after him, immediately sent a message to Schwartzel. HKGOLFER.COM
“I am absolutely delighted for Charl and South Africa,” Player said. “Congratulations and very well done to him, his family and his entire team. That is how you finish like a champion.” It was the second win of the year for Schwartzel, who won the Joburg Open in January, and gives him all the perks that come with a major — a five-year exemption into the US Open, the Open and the PGA Championship and into all the World Golf Championship events. He is the 10th European Tour member to win the Masters, and the first since Jose Maria Olazabal 12 years. “It’s obviously the highlight in my golfing career by a long way,” Schwartzel said. “You know, I always thought if there was one that I would win, it would be this one.”
HK Golfer・MAY 2011
After a week she'll never forget, Faye Glasgow reports on her first visit to Augusta National Golf Club's hallowed grounds
Augusta cce: Charl Schwartzel calmly smokes his drive down the middle of the eighteenth; HK Golfer's contributing writer is hidden among the galleries to the left 38
HK GolferăƒťMay 2011
HK Golfer・May 2011
here are questions that are so obvious to answer they simply don’t need to be asked. “Would you like another free drink?”, “Are the Kennedys gun-shy?”, “Is a bear Catholic?”, “Does the Pope...?” I'm sure you get my drift. I came across another such example a couple months ago when out of the blue, I was asked if I would like to go to the Masters. Needless to say, I answered in the affirmative. Attending the Masters is probably on every true golf fan’s bucket list and now, safely if sadly back in Hong Kong, I can share my experiences regarding getting tickets, things to see and do and overall impressions. Before I begin I would say now that the tournament surpassed my highest expectations. I found myself giddy with excitement leading up to the event, which is quite something given that I'm no spring chicken. Everything about Augusta is heightened – and the memories I have when writing this are unbelievably vivid. It is, quite frankly, the best non-playing golfing experience of my life, a truly unforgettable few days. However, having told myself beforehand that it was a once-in-a-lifetime event, I'm now determined to go back – time and time again.
So, assuming you have a ticket, what about somewhere to stay? Rather surprisingly, given the tournament's pedigree, Augusta itself is not the most salubrious area; in fact it can be downright seedy. Many players rent houses nearby for tournament week, but prices are extremely high, as is the case with all nearby hotels. It’s a once-a-year window of opportunity and such pricing is understandable. Like many others, we preferred to stay in a five-star hotel around an hour from the course. Getting to and from Augusta National by shuttle was easy, the surroundings were safer and the choices of restaurants and bars in the evening was infinitely better. Packing can be tricky, as Augusta experiences notoriously variable weather in early April. We were lucky enough to miss a wild storm that ripped down trees (including a 150-year old magnolia) early Tuesday morning. During the tournament, temperatures hit an overnight low of freezing and a high of 33 Celsius. We
Masters badges have been described as “The Hottest Tickets in Sports” – and with good reason. Passes are only sold to “patrons” – golf's equivalent of football’s season ticket holders – who are given a lifetime right to purchase the coveted entry badges. This concept of patrons is fundamental to the entire ethos of Augusta and we’ll return to it later. I n 1972, t he Aug usta Nat iona l Gol f Club stopped selling tickets to anyone other than patrons and opened a waiting list for
tournament day tickets. As such, they haven’t been directly available to the public since. Even the waiting list itself was closed in 1978 and was only briefly reopened in 2000. So how can we mere mortals get tickets? The easiest route is from established ticket brokers, who have been buying from patrons for years, although prices can be astronomical. Prices as high as US$12,000 for just one ticket (which gives you entry for all four tournament days, the Par-3 tournament on Wednesday and Tuesday practice) have been reported. Since 2001 it has actually been legal in Georgia to purchase tickets from “scalpers”, as long as the transaction takes place more than 1,500ft from the event. Given that fake tickets have been discovered in the past, this is a strange law in that it ensures that the seller of the fake ticket has plenty of time to scarper! It is also a significant leap of faith to fly all that way to take a chance on getting a ticket on the day. Prices here also vary massively, with scalpers this year reportedly asking for five times more than normal for weekend tickets after Tiger Woods scored a 66 on Friday this year to move into contention. It is my understanding – and this cannot be confirmed – that scalpers generally won't settle for anything less than US$1,000 for a Thursday or Friday badge. My ticket (along with that of my chum) had been purchased at a charity auction in Hong Kong and included accommodation, transfers, entertainment, organized golf on local courses and access to a hospitality venue a few hundred yards from Augusta National.
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wore shorts and golf shirts, and decided that if it got too cold or wet, we would buy sweaters, raingear and umbrellas at the course. In the event, we didn’t have to. Your most comfortable golf shoes are highly recommended.
Arriving at the gates and joining the wellbehaved crowds and fast-moving queues, we had already been warned about the relatively draconian Augusta regulations, so we knew we couldn’t bring in mobile phones or cameras. More surprising was that we couldn’t bring in bags larger than that of a lady's clutch purse. Sunscreen went into our pockets; the hospitality centre conveniently stored our other items. Getting into the grounds was similar to any airport; metal screening machines were everywhere. The staff were unfailingly polite, with even the most fierce looking security guards smiling and saying, “Welcome to the Masters” to everyone passing them. Each attendee was given a very useful Spectators Guide and daily drawsheets and maps were available just inside. The first area one encounters is the new practice range and this is definitely worth a visit. It’s probably your last chance to get this close to the players and see them so relaxed. It’s also the only area where autographs are allowed. You then proceed through the Patron Corridor, past the Tournament HQ and Press Centre and the biggest golf store on the course, before walking by the main scoreboard and onto the course itself, halfway along the first fairway. A short stroll up the hill takes you to the HKGOLFER.COM
clubhouse and the legendary massive oak tree that was planted before the Civil War. This is a favourite meeting spot, although so many people try to meet there it’s easy to get lost in the crowd.
First impressions? The condition of the course is remarkable. The colours are ridiculously vibrant, impossibly green with flowers everywhere. The fairways are immaculate and there isn’t a weed in sight. But then you know that already. It’s often remarked upon but nevertheless, nothing can prepare the first-time attendee for the elevation changes at Augusta. The 445-yard first looks flat on TV but actually drops about 50ft before rising again all the way to the green which is perhaps another 30ft above the tee. The parfive second falls steadily for almost 120ft over the first two shots before rising again to the putting surface. The tenth, where Rory McIlroy came a cropper on Sunday, looks like a ski slope, such is the startling change in altitude. The eighteenth is the opposite; from tee to green the terrain rises 60ft. In all seriousness, a modicum of fitness helps enormously, as this is certainly no stroll in the park. The most striking architectural feature at Augusta are the mounds, which are seemingly everywhere. In many cases, the tee is the only flat lie on the entire hole. Bobby Jones and architect Dr. Alister MacKenzie deliberately used mounds instead of bunkers to penalize errant shots as “they are more pleasing in appearance, less costly to maintain and often serve well to emphasize strategic conceptions.” Undoubtedly true, but they are brutal up close. This is
Hottest ticket around: Banners tell the story of the scarcity of Masters badges (below); a proud patron wears her attendance record on her head HK Golfer・MAY 2011
Picture perfect: Rory McIlroy ines up a put on 10 in front of the gallery on the hill (above). Note the sloping fairway and the bunker carved out of a huge mound; the magnificent 150-year-old oak tree in front of the clubhouse has become the de facto meeting place at Augusta 42
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especially the case at the par-five eighth, where the green is hidden behind huge humps. Perhaps the shot of the tournament this year was Tiger's raked three-wood that skirted said mounds and wound up eight feet for eagle on the final day. Unfortunately, as at the eleventh where another large mound dominates the view from the right side of the green, these mounds aren't at all obvious on TV, which tends to flatten the topography. The course itself has no official rating because in typical Masters fashion they’ve never asked for one. However, unofficial reviewers have suggested a course rating of over 78 and a slope rating as high as 148. To put that in perspective, Carnoustie is officially the hardest course in Scotland with ratings of 75 and 145. Given the lack of penal rough at Augusta these are very tough rating numbers and the scoring reflects well on the quality of the field. An interesting but little-known fact is that Clifford Roberts insisted that hole distances always be measured in five yard increments, which explains why you never see the famous par-three twelfth listed as 157-yards, for example.
So, where to go to watch the action? In the Spectator Guide there is an excellent section, written by Bobby Jones himself, telling patrons
to avoid following a single group and instead giving some prime spots from which multiple holes can be seen. Jones suggests that a “trek around with one particular pair” is “the least satisfactory” way to see all 18 holes and is “more tiring than playing them”. It should be added that given the lengthening of the course and spectator restrictions, it’s now almost impossible to keep up with a single group even if one wanted to. Instead, we followed much of Jones’ advice, starting in an excellent spot behind the second green, from where multiple holes can be seen. Here you are afforded a view of the putting surface, the third tee, the seventh green, eighth tee and seventeenth fairway. It's a superb spot early in the week but gets extremely busy on the weekend. We also spent some time by the third green and were lucky enough to watch Charl Schwartzel hole his approach for eagle on Sunday. This spot also gives an excellent view of the fiendish par-three fourth. Amen Corner – holes eleven, twelve and thirteen – is of course the heart of the event and the atmosphere here is tremendous. There are numerous great standing and sitting positions, but an equally good choice is to head for the grandstands, all of which are in prime locations. Seats cannot be reserved in the grandstands and people enter and leave constantly. Just join the orderly queue (everything is orderly at Augusta) and the marshals will find you a space. HKGOLFER.COM
One final great viewing vantage is the mound behind the seventeenth green. The seventeenth has been the scene of so much drama over the years – something always seems to happen here in the final round – and so it proved this time around. We had a front row seat as Jason Day, Adam Scott and Schwartzel all worked their magic on Sunday. This particular spot is also good for those looking to worm themselves onto TV. When we were reunited with our mobile phones, the number of messages from friends and family saying they'd spotted us – decked out in HK Golfer-branded caps no less – was staggering.
If choosing to sit in one spot for a while, remember that another rule is that only one chair can be brought into the grounds; but chairs can also be purchased inside for US$30 each. There is a gentleman’s agreement that noone will take your chair if you leave it, and this works. Supposedly if it is left for an “inordinate” period of time a marshal will remove it, but this seemingly never happens. Instead, it was clear that some people were placing chairs at multiple vantage points and moving as the day progressed. It wasn’t unusual to see people bringing extra chairs with them as they finally returned to the seats they had carefully placed by the eighteenth earlier. Many others simply left them where they were. I spoke to several course workers who told me that thousands of chairs are gathered up at the end of every day of the tournament. If you are paying US$12,000 for a ticket, US$90 for three abandoned chairs isn't going to worry you too much.
Having no electronic devices whatsoever raises several issues. Keeping in touch by SMS has become so second nature to many of us, that one has to relearn the age-old art of actually making sure we can always see one another, or having a pre-arranged meeting point if becoming separated. It also means no photographs, again something which has become ubiquitous. Behind every grandstand, there are rows of "Masters Survey" terminals, the only computer screens on the course. While it was good to be asked one’s opinion, it would have been good if the terminals featured the Masters' own webpage or had the official app running on them. The Masters iPhone app was superb, but given the lack of individual devices allowed on the course, it would have been good to see how one’s favourite players were doing. The only news source were t he huge scoreboards dotted around the course, showing the top-10 or so players, and the updated signs by each green informing us how the group coming through were faring. However, a surprising omission was someone walking with the group carrying the latest scores. T he la rge scoreb oa rd s were at f i r st infuriating, then gradually became part of the Augusta magic. The tension as a player’s score was updated was electric, such as during Tiger’s run on the front nine on Sunday – and Rory’s meltdown on the back nine. It also means everyone finds out the news at the same time, and there is no ripple of noise as news spreads, such as one finds at the Open Championship, where radios are allowed.
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The fact that all attendees are seen as patrons makes the Masters unique among major sporting events. The attendees aren’t treated as one-off visitors to be taken for all they are worth. They are regular attendees who need sustenance and who may want a souvenir to take home. Despite having what would be a perfect corporate hospitality area in the huge triangle of land between the eighth, ninth and eighteenth holes, there are no such areas or even external suppliers of F&B. Frankly, they aren’t missed. There are seven main concession stands, and they are a delight to use. In a far cry from the US$12 hot dogs and US$19 steak sandwiches at the US Open, the prices at the Masters are
unbelievable low. Example: three beers and six sandwiches cost us US$18! Insider tip: the leftmost queue in the concessions at the third hole splits into three queues once you are inside the fence and moves quicker than any other!
Food for thought: The legendary Masters pimento cheese sarnie (right); the course map taken from the Masters spectator guide
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The legendary pimento cheese sandwich had to be tried, if only once; the Tuna Salad and Chicken were both great, but the BBQ Pork was best of all. A bonus is that the plastic tumblers for beer and soft drinks are inscribed “Masters 2011” and almost everyone could be seen carrying their empties away with them as mementoes. A visit to the Golf Shop is essential. There are four bigger stores and six smaller kiosks where you can kit yourself out in a huge range of apparel. Two of the main stores are actually outside the property and, uniquely, can be visited without having a ticket. It was a common sight to turn up first thing in the morning and see people walking away from the course with bags full of merchandise. Once again, the prices are exceptional. The cheapest shirt at Pebble Beach is US$120; it’s only US$50 at Augusta. There are higher priced shirts, but the comparison remains the same. Items only sold for one week at the most exclusive venue in the world cost less than the prices at almost every other high end club in the US. A cap costing US$30 at TPC Sawgrass is US$16 at Augusta. It’s remarkable. There appears to be an infinite assortment of items, but be warned: stocks are limited. When something is sold out, it’s gone for good. As such, my advice is to shop early and buy more than you need. You may not get another chance. The queues are long but move quickly and will only get longer later in the week. Also, you don’t want to be carrying goods around with you on the final day. It is possible to leave your purchases in storage by the main shops, but the queues to retrieve goods at the end of the day on Sunday were enormous. Go early.
Naturally, patrons are expected to behave appropriately or risk losing their lifetime privileges. Some behavior is frowned upon: no running within the grounds, no shouting to one another, no cheering of bad shots, no taking of other people’s seats. It’s all very civilized. As such, this is the only professional golf tournament I’ve ever seen with no marshals waving “Quiet Please” signs. The patrons police themselves. We found ourselves talking in whispers 50 yards from the action. In April, HK Golfer reported that Luke Donald was once put off by the sound of someone eating crisps – and I can well believe it; the silence is quite remarkable. Where marshals are front and centre is at the crossing points on certain holes. Invariably pleasant and polite, they nevertheless guard their fairways zealously, ensuring that the players have passed before allowing everyone across. Apart from the cross points, no-one is allowed inside the ropes, not even accredited photographers. By the eighteenth we chatted to the lofty Dave Viestenz (“tallest marshal in the USGA”) who HKGOLFER.COM
described the process of volunteering and was clearly proud to be involved in such a high-brow tournament. In a similar scenario for marshals at the UBS Hong Kong Open, Viestenz and his colleagues are invited to play the course a month or so after the event has finished (where do I register? – Ed). By the side of the ninth green on Friday, we witnessed a classic Masters moment. After the approach shots had been hit by each group, a redjacketed official approached the spectators and, in a low voice, gave a potted bio of each of the players, their year so far and their previous performances at the Masters. It was one of many such memorable moments and highlighted one final piece of advice: if at all possible, do not attend the Masters alone. This event needs to be shared with at least one friend of long-standing, ideally another golf nut. Half of the fun is pointing out people, sights and sounds, in real time, to someone who knows exactly what you are talking about. “My God, the tenth is a ski slope!”, “Look, it’s Rae’s Creek!”; “This is where Larry Mize chipped from!”, “Hey, it’s the Sandy Lyle bunker!”, “That wouldn’t happen at the Open”, etc, etc. When all is done, your trusty companion will be the only one who you can really talk to at length about what you witnessed at this most exclusive of venues – without sounding like a pretentious idiot. HK Golfer is working with accredited agents to offer readers Masters tickets in 2012. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in attending.
Amateur Matsuyama Does Asia Proud The recent announcement that the Masters Tournament is reviewing its qualification criteria (this year saw the largest field since 1966) might worry some of the amateur championships whose winner has traditionally been given a berth to tee it up alongside the pros at Augusta. But the Asian Amateur Championship, a tournament devised by the Masters in harness with the R&A, can probably exclude itself from this list – especially as Japan's Hideki Matsuyama, the 2010 champ, performed so admirably on his Augusta debut. We watched him playing several times over the course of the tournament and he handily outdrove his playing partners and displayed a masterly short game. Briefly appearing on the leaderboard on Sunday after getting to four-under-par, Matsuyama, a university student from the disaster-hit city of Sendai, did his suffering country – and all of Asia – proud by earning the Silver Cup, the prize for the lowest scoring amateur (he was the only amateur to make the 36-hole cut). Matsuyama finished in a tie for 27th, alongside Phil Mickelson, the 2010 Masters winner. The venue for the 2012 Asian Amateur Championship, which will include players from Hong Kong, will be announced soon.
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Charity the Winner at WAGS Golf Day The 2011 edition of the annual WAGS Charity Golf Day, played on April 15, was heralded as a huge success by tournament organizers, who say that over HK$120,000 was raised for charitable causes. Seventy-six players took to the East Course at the Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau, but the society – WAGS stands for Wednesday Afternoon Golf Society – expects an even bigger turnout in 2012, which will mark the event's fifth anniversary.
Williams Shines at Spring Stableford Doug Williams notched a remarkable 39 points to win the gross division at the Spring Men's Stableford tournament held in early April. Hong Kong Golf Club member Williams, a former Spanish Amateur champion who has won a slew of local titles, took advantage of benign conditions at Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club to take the event by six points from secondplaced Kelvin Inge. James Inge (Kelvin's son) earned third spot, a further point adrift. In the nett division, Gilbert Chui finished on top after winning on countback with a 43-point haul. John Yiu placed second and Mac Leung third.
HKGA Rules Seminar Success
Over 80 golfers took part in two days of HKGA-organized seminars at the Hong Kong Golf Club in late March and early April. Arranged to help educate golfers on the correct rules procedures, these sessions, which were divided into Adult and Junior classes and featured a mix on- and off-course activities, were led by the following HKGA rules officials: Dr Brian Choa, Candi Anna Chan, Betty Ng, Nancy Wong, Ted Ling and Roy Lee. Check www.hkga.com for future events.
Club Results Kelvin Inge won the March Monthly Medal gross section held on the Old Course at the Hong Kong Golf Club with a 68; Hugh Staunton claimed the nett section with a 65... At Clearwater Bay, Jackson Chu and Tommy Lui won the RJ Lee Trophy; Haj Wilcox was victorious in the Lady's Captain Cup (nett 71), while Mose Mak (nett 70) won the Copper Bowl. In the Ladies' Foursomes, Anita Chu and Liza Ho triumphed with a nett 66.
Ageas Corporate Golf League @ City Links Eight leading firms have come out swinging in the Ageas Corporate Golf League – Hong Kong’s first downtown inter-companies golf competition. The exciting new tournament, which teed off in early April, is being staged at City Links Golf Lounge, the state-of-the-art indoor golf centre in The Centrium, Wyndham Street. The two-player teams are competing over seven weeks for the “War on Wyndham” trophy, a HK$20,000 donation to a charity of their choice and a golf weekend for two to Bangkok from Golfasian.com, including two rounds of golf, two nights' accommodation and round-trip airfares. “We have a particular interest in golf so we were very excited and enthusiastic when we heard about the chance to be associated with Hong Kong’s first-ever indoor corporate golf league,” said Angela Yam, Head of Branding, Marketing and Communication, Ageas Insurance Company (Asia) Limited (pictured here with Rajah Chaudhry, Director of City Links). “We believe it will become one of the city’s premier golf events. It ties in with our interest in helping charities, too, because we have agreed to make a substantial donation of HK$20,000 to any recipient chosen by the champion team.” If you want to enter your company at the next staging of the league, email Kim Inglis: email@example.com 46
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Fabulous Frenchman: Van de Velde's all smiles after claiming his first HKPGA Championship; en route to victory (right)
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Allez Jean Van de Velde back to winning ways following Ageas HKPGA Championship triumph REPORT BY ALEX JENKINS
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DANIEL WONG
t has taken five years but for Jean Van de Velde the wait is over. He is a winner again. The 44-year-old tore apart the field at the Ageas Hong Kong PGA Championship late March, winning by eight shots after a final-round 69 over the Gary Player-designed North Course at the Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau. Dutchman Guido Van der Walk, an Asian Tour regular, placed second, while Hong Kong stalwart Derek Fung lead the local challenge, his three-round total of 209 (three-under-par) earning him third spot. Combating jetlag and a lack of recent practice, the Frenchman showed the kind of form that took him to the brink of an Open Championship victory – but unlike at Carnoustie in 1999, where he famously squandered a threeshot lead at the final hole before losing out in a play-off to Paul Lawrie, the Frenchman finished with a flourish. “It’s great to win again, I’ve had a lot of fun this week,” said Van de Velde, whose last victory came at the Madeira Islands Open in 2006. “It’s the icing on the cake. I haven’t played much golf at all in recent years, but when I have played I have done pretty decent, so this is very pleasing.” Van de Velde was nearly flawless throughout the 54-hole tournament, which was sponsored by Ageas, one of the world's largest insurance companies, for the second year in a row. Opening with a brilliant 65 at Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club, which tied the course record, the two-time European Tour winner HKGOLFER.COM
took the championship by the scruff of the neck with a 66 over the Old Course at Fanling on the second day. Leading by six heading into the final 18 holes, Van de Velde put the tournament beyond doubt with two early birdies and was able to cruise to victory. Coincidentally, Van de Velde’s win came one week after Lawrie ended his own barren spell by claiming victory at the Open de Andalucia – and the irony didn’t end there. As well as claiming HK$58,000 for the win, Van de Velde received the championship trophy, which bears a striking resemblance to the Claret Jug, the prize Lawrie took home after his Open win 12 years ago. Not than he was taking the bait.
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Amateur Liu Lok-tin enjoyed a great tournament, finishing in a tie for fifth
Guido Van der Walk of the Netherlands unleashes a drive
“I know two people who will be really happy with seeing it [the trophy] – my two boys,” said Van de Velde, a frequent visitor to Hong Kong where his wife and two young sons live. Van de Velde, whose career has been blighted by injury, pledged to return to defend his title in 2012. But despite his dominant performance over one of the strongest fields in the Hong Kong PGA Championship’s 27-year history, ruled out a return to full-time tournament golf. “I will play a few international tournaments this year – the French Open, maybe the Ballantine’s Championship in Korea and the Dunhill Links – but I’ve been doing this for so long and I don’t want to keep packing my suitcase. Those days are behind me,” said Van de Velde, who has been busy in his role as an ambassador for France’s bid to host the 2018 Ryder Cup. “It’s a strong bid, and I think we have a good chance, but we’ll know on May 17 when the decision is announced,” said Van de Velde, who became the first Frenchman in history to play in the biennial tournament when he made the European team in 1999 at Brookline Country Club. Asked if he was the man to captain the European side if France wins, Van de Velde laughed: “Absolutely not. That is not for me at all.” Last year's Hong Kong Close and Open A mateu r cha mpion Liu L ok-t i n had a tournament he'll not soon forget. Rounds of 66, 71 and 77 gave the 17-year-old a three-day total of 214, good enough for a share of fifth spot and low amateur honours.
FINAL STANDINGS Ageas HKPGA Championship March 28-31, 2011 1 2 3 4 5= 7= 9 10= 14=
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Jean VAN DE VELDE Guido VAN DER WALK Derek FUNG CJ GATTO LIU Lok-tin (A) Jimmy KO TANG Shing-chi Dominique BOULET Steven LAM (A) WONG Woon-man MA Kam-fat CHAU Pui Tim TANG JANG Chel-hoo Grant GIBSON
FRA NDL HKG USA HKG HKG HKG HKG HKG HKG HKG HKG HKG CHN AUS
65 66 69 65 72 71 71 66 72 70 70 73 66 71 77 68 71 75 73 72 74 74 70 75 69 75 77 72 75 75 74 71 77 72 72 78 72 72 78 71 79 73 73 74 76
200 208 209 213 214 214 219 219 221 222 222 222 222 223 223
Van de Velde at the signature fourteenth Top local challenger Derek Fung
Defending champion CJ Gatto HKGOLFER.COM
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Dominque Boulet with caddie Donnie Nimmo
Van de Velde holes out on 18
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Certainly Van de Velde's win – his first in five years – generated significant media exposure for the tournament. Is the aim to continue finding notable overseas players to participate – and if so, what has to happen to get the big names to play? Let’s not forget Wayne Grady, a former USPGA champion, also played! However, I agree it is good for the tournament and the media exposure that we attract having such notable players competing. I think the key factors are timing, availability, and the increasing prestige of winning the HKPGA championship. However, I would temper this by stating that “big name” players often come at a major cost; so, we rely upon friendships and the fact that we aim to put on a fun event to attract such players.
The return to the traditional threecourse format and the change of dates – were these sponsor decisions? These were recommendations made by Impact Golf, the tournament organizers. By playing in March vs. September, course availability would be better lending the opportunity to revert to the old format of playing the event over three venues. We were also conscious that September weather was very ‘hard’ on the players; especially playing the demanding North Course at Kau Sai Chau in temperatures over 30 degrees.
The Ageas CEO talks to HK Golfer about this year's HKPGA Championship and the tournament's future
his year's Ageas Hong Kong PGA Championship saw a wonderful winner in Jean Van de Velde, who played great golf en route to an eight-shot victory. What are your thoughts on his display and the success of this year's event overall? I thought Jean’s performance was remarkable considering he is no longer a ‘dedicated’ tour player. His game showed great strength in all departments but what shone was his performance on the greens. His putting stroke was absolutely pure. Turning to the event, this year was even better than 2010. It is difficult to pin-point any one area. Some thoughts are: the return to the old format of playing the event over three courses, the quality of the field, the timing of the event in March versus September with weather that was kinder and more conducive to great golf ; the VPAR Golf Scoring system that provided online updates on players’ progress and the great support we received from all the clubs which hosted the tournament. I must also congratulate Dominique Boulet and Tim Orgill at Impact Golf for organizing and managing another great event. HKGOLFER.COM
Ageas has one year left of the original three-year sponsorship agreement. What is the plan for the 2012 tournament – and can you see your involvement in the championship extending beyond next year? We are still analyzing the 2011 tournament performance; so, have not given any real consideration to 2012! Obviously, we plan to stick to the March dates and the three-course format. I am very pleased with how the competition is growing in stature and the appreciation given by the HKPGA and its playing members to Ageas support. I see no reason why we would not extend our support beyond 2012 and will be discussing this with the HKPGA. While the HKPGA Championship is not in competition with the Hong Kong Open, does growing the event to perhaps include other sanctioning bodies – the Asian Tour, for example – hold any allure? It is great that we have re-established the HKPGA Championship as a prominent and ‘permanent’ fixture in Hong Kong’s golfing calendar. However, we should not lose sight of our main objective of the tournament, which is to provide three day’s competitive golf for our Hong Kong professionals. While it is good for the competition and the players to have overseas participants, as it heightens the prestige and competitiveness of the tournament, I would not wish the event to be dominated by overseas players to the detriment of the local PGA members. – As told to Alex Jenkins HK Golfer・MAY 2011
MacGregor Masters: Shinichi Mizuno and Tiffany Chan hold aloft the silverware following their fine wins
Mizuno Makes it Two
Shinichi earns second MacGregor Hong Kong Junior Close title with play-off win over Terrance Ng; Tiffany Chan eases to girls' victory
S Daniel Wong
hinichi Mizuno's year just keeps getting better and better. The 17-year-old West Island School student added the MacGregor Hong Kong Junior Close title to his ever-growing list of achievements thanks to a sudden-death victory over Terrence Ng at Fanling in late April. Mizuno, who earned a spot in this December's UBS Hong Kong Open after victory at the Men's Close Championship over the Lunar New Year, birdied the first play-off hole at the New Course to claim the win after finishing tied with Ng on a two-day total of 142 (two-over-par). Overnight leader Liu Lok-tin, who started the day with a one-shot advantage after a stellar 68 in the opening round, faded to a 78 and had to settle for third spot. "It feels great to get my title back," said Mizuno, who won this event, also in a playoff, in 2009. "This is the last year I'm eligible for the Junior Close, so it's a nice way to finish – and having won the Men's Close earlier this year, it's a great double to have." Mizuno didn't have everything go his way however. On the 11th hole of regulation play, and with his ball under a tree, the Nagoya-born Mizuno elected to play the shot left-handed, but somehow managed to strike his golf bag with the ball, thereby incurring a one-shot penalty. The ensuing double-bogey narrowed his advantage and let Ng, who was round in a best-of-the-week 66, back in the frame. Mizuno responded superbly though; a pitching-wedge to within a foot of the flag in the play-off sealed the victory. "The eleventh [hole] didn't quite go to plan; the ball didn't go anywhere near where I intended," laughed Mizuno after his round. Tiffany Chan was a class apart in the girls' division, rounds of 72 and 70 giving her a 10-stroke margin over Isabella Leung in second. Defending champion Mimi Ho finished third, a further one shot adrift. – Alex Jenkins 54
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Overall Boys Results 1 2 3 4 5 6= 8=
Shinichi Mizuno Terrence Ng Liu Lok-tin James Inge Ambrose Tam Marcus Lam Anthony Tam Michael Wong Jackie Chan Sebastian Cheng Linus Lo
69 73 76 66 68 78 73 76 73 78 78 75 78 75 81 74 79 76 77 78 77 78
142 142 146 149 151 153 153 155 155 155 155
72 70 79 73 76 77 82 80 79 83 83 81 81 83 90 78 85 83 91 81
142 152 153 162 162 163 164 168 168 172
Overall Girls Results 1 2 3 4= 6= 8= 10
Tiffany Chan Isabella Leung Mimi Ho Tiana Lau Christy Chong Michelle Cheung Michelle Ho Emily Leung Kimberley Wong Veronica Szeto
Clockwise from top left: Ambrose Tam; Terrence Ng congratulates Shinichi Mizuno; Tiffany Chan; defending champion Mimi Ho; Tiana Lau; all the winners from across multiple age groups; the top three boys share a laugh.
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The big-hitting teen, winner of the Hong Kong Close and Open Amateur titles last year, talks to David Cunningham III
ongratulations on your excellent performance at the Ageas HKPGA Championship. What was it like playing with the pros – including eventual champion Jean Van de Velde – and what did you learn from the experience? It was a great experience to play with them. It was the first time that I have played in a tournament with tour players and I learnt a lot. They told me about their experiences on tour and told me what they thought I should work on to become a better player. You had a very successful 2010 season, and 2011 is looking great already. What would you say has been key to your success? I think the key to my success is the fact that I never give up! You should never give up. “Keep working hard, never give up, believe that one day your perseverance will bring success to you!” – that’s my motto. How do you hit the ball so far and still manage to keep it on the fairway? I think the reason that I can hit the ball so far is the fact that I’m really tall, which allows me to generate a lot of club head speed because I can get a bigger turn. I have come to learn though that in order to win tournaments, it’s not all about hitting the ball as hard and far as you can every time you get on the tee. If a hole has a narrow fairway, I usually use a shorter club, like a three-wood or a four-iron. That way I have more control and I can score better by keeping the ball in play. How far do you actually drive the ball? About 290-300 yards How often are you practicing? About five-six times a week, and at least one of those days I am on the course. You have to put what you practice at the range into action on the course, so it is important to complement practice time with on course play. Give us an idea of your normal practice routine? I spend about 25 per cent of my time at the range on my driver; 25 per cent on my irons, with more emphasis on my short irons, because those are my scoring clubs, and then 50 per cent of my time is utilized towards practicing my short game and putting. You have to have a solid short game and be a good putter to be able to score in tournaments. How often are you in the gym? I workout with a trainer one-two times a week and I workout almost every day by myself. When I am in the gym I mainly focus on working the big muscles, like my chest, legs, and butt. I allocate more time to working out my lower body though, because if you want to have a strong, repeatable, consistent 56
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swing you have to have a stable and solid base, and that comes from increasing leg strength. How long have you been playing golf? I have been playing golf for about 10 years now; I started when I was seven. What are you thinking about when you play a competitive round? Are you relaxed and talkative, or are you focused and silent? During the round, I try to stay in the moment and stay focused on the shot I am about to hit. I try not to think about shots that I have hit, or shots that I might have to hit, or possible outcomes of the tournament or my score. By doing this, I am able to put 100 per cent effort into each and every shot. Between shots, I am relaxed and talkative, but when I start my routine and prepare to hit, I am focused. What got you hooked on golf and what keeps you coming back? I think golf is very challenging and because of that you will never be perfect. But I’m trying to do the best that I can to be perfect, so I keep coming back. What drives you to succeed? I think it is my attitude towards golf. I will never give up and never stop working. When I first started playing golf my mum was really against it. I want to prove to her that I can become a good player. This really drives me to succeed, because I want her to see that I can be successful playing golf, this helps me focus whenever I am practicing on the range, or playing in a tournament. What are your future goals? I want to be a tour player, I know that for sure. First, maybe I’ll play on the Asian Tour. Then step-by-step, I want to try and work my way up and play in higher and higher class tournaments. HKGOLFER.COM
How often do you receive instruction? And what have you been working on recently? I receive lessons once per week. I’ve been working on my lower body recently, like my legs and hips, you know, trying to make sure that everything is synched with my upper body so that I can hit good shots more consistently. What advice can you give aspiring junior golfers in Hong Kong? Obviously the best piece of advice I can give is to work hard, but I think the most important piece of advice I can give to junior golfers in Hong Kong is to remember to always have fun; HKGOLFER.COM
if you are having fun, you will play better. What do you believe is most important to a good round of golf? Believe in yourself and don’t ever secondguess yourself! Once you make a decision, stick with it and don’t ever say that you wish you should have done something else. What does your tournament schedule look like? The majority of the tournaments I compete in are overseas events; I only play in a few HKGA events every year. I will play up to 25 events in 2011.
Unique double: In 2010, Lok-tin became the first lcoal golfer in living memory to win the Hong Kong Close and Open Amateur titles in the same year HK Golfer・MAY 2011
How do you find a balance between your social life, golf, family and school? During the day I am more focused on golf and school. I do most of my socializing at night. Since I work so hard on my golf game during the day I really value the time I get to spend with my family. Give us an idea of a day in the life of Liu Lok Tin... I workout right when I wake up in the morning. Then I go to school until 4 pm, then I go back home for a little bit of a break. Then I head straight to the golf course to work on my game until dinner time. After dinner I do homework. Do you have a particularly memorable tournament or golf experience that has made you a better golfer? One time, I was in the USA playing in the International Children's Games. I had a chance to win the tournament but I ended up three putting the last hole, which meant I had to compete in a play-off for second place. I was really upset after I three putted and I had a slight breakdown on the green before the extra holes. Luckily I was able to compose myself and get myself back together, but I realized afterwards that by getting upset all I did was jeopardize my chances. I learned that you have to always stay composed and focused until the final putt of the tournament is in the hole.
If you could play with your dream foursome who would it be, and why? Gary Player: he has a very strong mental game and I would really like the chance to learn from him. Tiger Woods: I want to experience his intense emotions on the course up close. He is so focused and it would be interesting to see how he plays a round of golf. Martin Kaymer: he is a strong, steady and consistent player. He is also German and I was born in Germany, so we would have that in common. Kaymer is my favourite player. He always looks very calm, and I admire that. What is your record lowest round ever? I shot my lowest round ever while I was in the USA – a five-under-par 67. My lowest round in Hong Kong was at Clearwater Bay during the Ageas HKPGA Championship – a four-underpar 66. What is your favorite golf course in Hong Kong? Clearwater Bay. The views and scenery are amazing there; I think it is the most beautiful golf course in Hong Kong. I really enjoy playing there. David Cunningham III lives in Hong Kong and writes about junior golf on his website, www.teengolfworld.com
The Pro's View: Brad Schadewitz Lok-tin has a solid golf swing and competes well in tournaments because he is focused, dedicated, and works really hard when we are on the range together. This, along with his natural length, is his definite strength. He is open to new ideas and suggestions when it comes to his swing, which is important when it comes to improving. He's always striving to get better, which is wonderful ethic to have. He's really a great student to work with. Lok-tin has few weaknesses but because he's so tall he can occasionally get disconnected and struggle with his tempo. His work in the gym, where he has focused on improving his leg and core strength, has helped this however. He used to get under the plane and trapped on the inside, which would cause him to hook the ball, so over the summer, when we had a two week long intensive training period, we worked hard on this. We used high speed video to analyze his swing, which was a great help. More recently we have been working on his alignment, and of course we're always focused on the short game – the better his short game, the better he can perform in tournaments.
Brad Schadewitz is Hong Kong's National Coach What's in Lok-tin's Bag?
Driver: Titleist 910 D3 (8.5°) with Project X shaft Fairway woods: Titleist 910 Fd (13.5°) with Diamana Blue shaft Irons: Titleist MB (3-PW) with Dynamic Gold X100 shafts Wedges: Titleist Vokey Spin Milled (50°, 54° and 60°) with Dynamic Gold S200 shafts Putter: Yes! Golf Callie Ball: Titleist ProV1x Says Lok-tin: All my clubs are Titleist, apart from my putter which is from Yes! Golf. I'm averaging between 290-300 yards off the tee with my driver, while my normal seven-iron distance is around 180 yards. I play with four wedges because I consider the short game key. For me, the Titleist ProV1x ball is a great fit.
HK Golfer・MAY 2011
There is no one better suited to the role of European Ryder Cup captain than Spanish legend Jose Maria Olazabal, writes Lewine Mair
raeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy, Padraig Harrington, Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood and the rest all said much the same in that January week when Jose Maria Olazabal was announced as captain of the 2012 Ryder Cup side. Namely, that that they could not wait to be in the team room at Medinah with the Spaniard as their leader. In truth, it was as if the hairs were standing up on the back of McDowell’s neck already as the Irishman continued with an awed, “You can almost feel the emotion coming out of the guy.” Though the public announcement was saved until January, the decision had been taken some three and a half months earlier – during the course of the 2010 match at Celtic Manor. That week, Olazabal’s input was such that the players told Thomas Bjorn, the Tournament Players’ chairman, that it would be a waste of time were they even to consider anyone else. Yet the fact that Olazabal, winner of the 2001 Hong Kong Open, should have advanced his cause at Celtic Manor was more down to luck than anything else. Colin Montgomerie, when he was given the 2010 captaincy ahead of Olazabal on account of the latter’s recurring rheumatic-related problems, had said that his first move would be to ask the Spaniard to be one of his vice captains in Wales. A task which would be altogether less onerous than the captaincy. In the event, he never did get in touch. Other, that is, than when he appointed Bjorn and Darren Clarke to be his assistants. That was when he rang an apparently somewhat bemused Olazabal to say, "I’m not going to choose you because it’s more important that you concentrate on getting well."
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Jose Maria Olazabal, Abu Dhabi, January 2011 Photo by AFP
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"Seve passed that attitude on to me... the Ryder Cup is welded to my heart"
On the one hand, Montgomerie may well have been thrown by conf licting rumours concerning the Spaniard’s condition. On the other, it is not impossible that this gloriously competitive soul felt that he did not want a repeat of 2008. Which was when it was said of Nick Faldo’s captaincy in Valhalla that the only mitigating factor was the role played by Olazabal. The latter had delivered the most impassioned of speeches on the Saturday night, one which might have made all the difference to the overall result had it come a little earlier. Moving on to 2010, Olazabal had planned to watch the match from home until Nespresso, the coffee people, asked him to become an ambassador for their company. In the shorterterm, they wanted him to entertain their clients at Celtic Manor. On the day of his ambassadorial appointment – in Crans-sur-Sierre last September – Olazabal did not mind saying that while he was keen to make the most of this new departure, nothing could ever come close to being inside the ropes as a player. The Nespresso people did not find that difficult to understand. For their part, they were more than happy with the golfer’s commitment and the genuine interest he was taking in their product. Why, he had even mugged up on
which foodstuffs married best with each of the different blends. However, no sooner had Olazabal, the coffee connoisseur, flown into Wales for the match that the desperate weather conditions changed everything. If the Ryder Cup was to be completed, all the players would need to play all the time – and for that to happen, Montgomerie and his team would require an extra pair of hands. Monty, at this point, was as eager as anyone that Olazabal should join the fold and said, blithely, that the Spaniard’s talents were wasted as a coffee ambassador. Nespresso took that in good heart and Olazabal was released with no questions asked. As anticipated, Montgomerie’s captaincy dominated the headlines that week. It was the Scot in full cry and he was first-class. Behind the scenes though, Olazabal's injection of passion had precisely the same uplifting effect as had applied two years previously. It was a matter of minutes after he was named as the 2012 captain that someone put it to Olazabal, “What is it about you and the Ryder Cup?” He had no difficulty in explaining. "It all started at Muirfield Village in 1987," he began. That was his first appearance and he was paired with Seve Ballesteros as the pair won three matches out of four. “I didn’t know what the Ryder Cup was at the start but I saw the way that Seve played and how much it meant to him,” he said. "He passed that attitude on to me… and on top of that, it was the first time we had won
Team player: Olazabal shares a laugh with Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke during the 2006 Ryder Cup at the K Club (left); celebrating Europe's victory over the United States at Valderrama in 1997 (right). 62
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on American soil. The whole experience was so unique that it sticks in my mind." Olazabal, who speaks of the match being "welded to my heart", missed out on the 1995 instalment because of his rheumatoid polyarthritis and that dark, blank year – a year in which he could barely drag himself from his bed - had added an extra dimension and depth to the way he could talk to players. In truth, you would have to suspect that if McIlroy had fallen into chat with him some three or four years earlier than he did, he would never have made those comments about the Ryder Cup being nothing more than an exhibition. George O’Grady, the CEO of the European Tour, spoke recently of how he had always picked out Olazabal as one of the game’s good shepherds in a pro-am context. He explained that where Monty fitted well with captains of industry, Olazabal was always a good bet for those who might find the occasion a little daunting. As recently as last year’s BMW at Wentworth, O’Grady sent him out in the company of two youngsters who were on Duke of York scholarships at Wellington College. The party was doing well but, the moment Ollie noted that the boys were getting a bit carried away, he sounded a note of caution. “Our scoring’s nothing special,” he advised, as mischievous underneath as he was sombre on the surface. “You will need to make a lot more birdies if we’re going to get in among the prizes.” The lads buckled down and, to Olazabal’s great glee, they went on to win the event with room to spare. The story ties in with what Bjorn said about Ollie in Abu Dhabi. "If you ask Jose Maria a question, you always get an answer. And if you need help, you always get the help. The respect he has built up across the years is shared not just by everyone on the committee but by the entire membership," the Dane said. Nothing has yet been decided, but when it comes to the finer points of the 2012 match, Olazabal is keen to see the number of wild-cards down from Monty’s three to two. Why? Because he feels that the greater the number of picks, the less the value accorded the points’ system. "To make the relevant top 10 – five through the world rankings and four through the European Tour rankings – you need to have had a great year. And it would be a shame to tell any of those guys, ‘You’re not in’." Olazabal, who won 18 and halved five of his 31 matches in seven Ryder Cup outings, will bond with his prospective team-members through playing alongside them and, today, he is entirely fit enough to do just that. At the same time, he will remain in close contact with his old comrade-in-arms, Ballesteros. HKGOLFER.COM
"Olazabal is keen to see the number of wild-cards down from Monty's three to two. Why? Because he feels that the greater the number of picks, the less the value accorded to the points' system." Ballesteros’s opening gambit, when he heard that Ollie had been given the captaincy, was to advise that he should do as he had done in 1997 in discouraging players from sleeping with their partners. Ollie merely chuckled when he passed on that piece of news, leaving it to Westwood to throw a bit more light on the matter. "Seve,” said Westwood, helpfully, "never actually said anything, but what I can tell you is that Laurae [Westwood's wife] and I pushed the beds together by night and someone pushed them apart by day." HK Golfer・MAY 2011
A Decade of
The Titleist Pro V1, the most celebrated ball in the modern game, recently celebrated its 10th birthday . HK Golfer met with Bill Morgan, Acushnet's senior vice president of research and development for golf balls, to discuss its continuing impact and the changes over time
he Pro V1 is seen as a tour ball, a ball that's played by extremely good golfers. But you'd argue that it's just as well suited to the average golfer... I'll tell you a story. Back in the early 1990s I was playing golf with a friend of mine who was driver obsessed. This was in the days of the balata and the two-piece ball. We were both playing with the Titleist HVC. An older gentleman walks up to us on the tee and asks if he can join us. He's playing a balata ball – and we're like, "Dude, are you kidding me?" Anyway, we hit off and I go right into the hay and my buddy goes left; the old guy hits it down the middle, around 180 yards. As I'm looking for my ball the old guy hits up short of the green, while my buddy goes through the back. I find mine and hack it up. The old guy then pitches to a couple of feet; my buddy and I both chip on and two-putt for bogeys, while he makes a par. Same thing happened on the next hole... and then the next hole. I said to him, "You know, you could hit this two-piece ball and it would give you much greater distance." He said, "Why would I do that? I don't care about distance. I need this soft balata ball for my third shot to keep it as close to the pin as possible." That's what I realized. His score wasn't determined by his tee shot, but it's that all important shot into the green – whether it's a second or third shot. It's all about finding the shot that helps golfers control their score on the hole. That's what the Pro V1 and its soft urethane cover gives all standards of golfer. 64
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What ball do you use – and why? I have been playing the Pro V1x for quite some time, because as a taller, crazy guy that swings far harder than he should I put too much spin on the ball. That's why I chose the Pro V1x, the lower spinning version, to keep me out of a little more trouble. As I get older, slower and wiser I now use the Pro V1. I don't swing as hard but I hit it every bit as far and generate less spin. I play what I call 'Old Guy Golf'. The Pro V1 gives me a little more control into and around the greens. The Pro V1 for 2011 spins more than the 2009 version. Is that a direct result of the groove change that has been implemented on tour? No – maybe yes, but really it's no. We started our groove research years ago. Our club group and our ball group studied it independently of each other and we reached the same conclusion: most of the time the groove change doesn't matter. From HKGOLFER.COM
the fairway it's the same. But as weather conditions deteriorate, it's different. If you're playing from deep, wet rough you lose up to 30 percent of spin, which is a lot. But how often do you have to hit that shot in tournament golf? We analyzed the statistics and discovered only about seven per cent of shots had the potential to be affected. But if you change the golf ball you're changing it for every shot. How much spin can you put back into the ball? Well, not 30 per cent certainly. That's a crazy number. So changing the ball for that seven per cent of the time isn't worth it. In 2010 we made an experimental Pro V1 with approximately 10 per cent more spin and offered it to tour players. Everyone who tried it dropped it. The pros, who used to control the ball in that situation with spin have learned to control it with trajectory. But the 2011 Pro V1 does have a bit more spin because so many factors in the game – club design, for example – have taken the spin away. It didn't have anything to do with the groove change. How different is the Pro V1 from 2000, when you first launched the ball, from the brand-new 2011 edition which has just become available? Radically different. It’s funny, I pulled some of the 2000 version out for our 10th anniversary party but couldn't bring myself to show them around to people. I thought, "urgh, these are
ugly" – and compared to the new balls they are. They wouldn't even pass the quality standards that we have in place for the 2011 ball. The materials have changed, we have a new dimple design, a new core technology. Today's ball looks completely different on both the outside and the inside. The original Pro V1 was the best ball for that time, but now the product is much better. It's changed simply because golfers and their equipment have changed.
Ball boy: Bill Morgan, the man behind the Pro V1, at work at Acushnet's headquarters in Massachusetts
Have you ever thought of changing the name of the Pro V1? Several times. When we started we didn't have a name for the ball – not a proper one anyway; we called it the 'Veneer'. At the time we already had 13 balls in the market – the Professional, the HP Tour, the HP Distance and so on. We wanted to make a distance ball with a layer – or veneer – of Urethane and we had trouble deciding where it would fit among the range. Back then we were even making Cobra
"I don't entertain any of this business that golf has become ruined by equipment. No one has ever given up the game because it was too easy."
HK Golfer・MAY 2011
Having his cake: Morgan celebrates the 10th anniversary of the launch of the Pro V1 in Beijing prior to the China Golf Show
golf balls, and it was even suggested that we call it the Cobra Tour. Anyway, debate ran for the better part of a year and finally, as we were coming up to the USGA and R&A deadline, I decided to just make up a name – although I thought it would only be a temporary measure. The 'Pro' comes from Professional, the 'V' is for veneer and '1' because it was the first. We gave it to the pros and told them it was just a lab name and that we were going to change it, but they said they liked it, so we kept it for that year. We discussed naming the next version the Pro V2, but the results from focus groups was overwhelmingly for Pro V1. "We love the name, don't change it," was basically what they told us. What do you think when people like Jack Nicklaus come out and say that the ball needs to be changed, that it goes too far and makes old courses obsolete? I can assure you that there are articles in golf magazines dating back to 1982 about Nicklaus complaining how far the modern ball goes. This is an old story. How many people shoot all rounds in the 50s? How many times have we seen a score in the 50s? You can count them on one hand. Oh, we're really destroying the game of golf, aren't we? I don't understand what the harm is, what these alarmists are concerned about. Golf equipment, the golf ball, course design, lessons, launch monitors, giant prize money – so many things have contributed to what the game is today. Look at the professional golfer – he's an athlete, he's not the fat kid down the street from 1957. He trains for golf, he eats for golf, he has a sports psychologist. Golf is
great entertainment on TV and it's fun to play. What's the problem? Courses are longer, for sure, but they've lengthened the older courses before the Pro V1 came along. The real harm in many cases tends to be that the old courses that were really good places for tournaments now don't have enough parking, space for media, enough space for tents – all the stuff that goes hand in hand with televised tournament golf. We're talking about TV revenue in most cases. I don't entertain any of this business that golf has become ruined by equipment. No one has ever given up the game because it was too easy. What would you change, if anything, in tournament golf? How about this? We make the ball in a bunker a problem, not an opportunity. If the pros played the same courses the rest of us play, in the same condition that the rest of us play the scores would go up. Tournament courses are groomed for low scoring – long drives, beautiful lies in bunkers: that's what tournament golf is all about. Nobody else plays courses like that. We all know about counterfeit golf clubs but are counterfeit golf balls an issue? Yes, it's a growing issue. We're seeing more of it, and it's ugly. We get golfers who call us up saying 'I bought these balls online, can you check them out?' Well, we don't sell balls online and always advise people to buy from a reputable source, from your local pro shop for example. The examples I've seen – the refurbished balls – are plain ugly. They're taking old golf balls, often cracked inside, grinding off all the covers, including the dimples, adding a new shell of material on the outside and stamping 'Pro V1' on them. They're awful. Do golf balls have a shelf life? It depends on the shelf! But seriously, the modern balls are far more resilient than those of the past. As long as the shelf is located in normal room temperatures and not in an aquarium or next to a heater the ball will be fine. The Pro V1 – and any Titleist ball for that matter – will easily last for a few years if stored correctly. Finally, what has been the biggest thrill in your career? Well, I'd prefer to answer that after I've attended the China Golf Show. It's my first time here and I can't wait to get started. But that aside, it was when we first introduced the Pro V1, which was at the Invensys Classic in 2000 [which was won by Billy Andrade, who played with it]. We knew we had a great product but the outpouring of positivity from the pros was something else.–As told to Alex Jenkins
HK Golfer・MAY 2011
Date & Venue:
Tuesday, 14 June 2011 Discovery Bay Golf Club Entry Fee:
$650 (includes golf cart) Entries Close:
27 May 2011 Eligibility:
Men's Maximum Handicap – 21.9 Ladies' Maximum Handicap – 32.7 For entry forms and further information please contact the Hong Kong Golf Association Suite 2003, Olympic House, So Kon Po, Causeway Bay Tel: 2504 8659 Fax: 2845 1553 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.hkga.com
HK Golfer’s roving reporter Mak Lok-lin looks forward to the 2011 event and back at the best moments from the past
h e Players Championship is inextricably linked to the Stadium Course at the TPC Sawgrass designed by Pete Dye but in fact, the tournament was first held in 1974 at the Atlanta Country Club when Jack Nicklaus won the first of his three titles, beating J.C. Snead. The tournament moved to Ponte Vedra Beach in 1977 and was held at Sawgrass Country Club for the next five years whilst the TPC Stadium Course was built. The tournament has a mega prize purse of US$9.5 million, making it one of the richest in the game with the lucky winner scooping a mindboggling US$1.71 million. Often referred to as golf’s “fifth major”, a win here often defines a player’s career in a way only the game’s biggest events can. As we approach the 2011 tournaments, with South African Tim “Penguin” Clark defending, it seems an appropriate time to look back at the top 10 moments from the event’s 38-year history. Away from the main action, the organizers will be hoping this year is less eventful than 2010, when for the first time an unruly spectator had to be Tasered, and more surreally, a car was found parked on the eighth green with a couple inside and the motor running...
Jerry Pate, seen here with the US Amateur trophy, won the first Players Championship to be staged on the Stadium Course
Pate’s Last Hurrah (1982)
The first tournament held at the new Stadium Course was steeped in controversy with many players openly criticising the new track. J.C. Snead even proclaimed: “They messed up a perfectly good swamp.” In the event, Jerry Pate won by two shots after hitting a majestic fiveiron to within inches on the last. Walking up the fairway, he famously turned to the camera and announced, “Well, Pete Dye will go for a swim
HK Golfer・MAY 2011
Top 10 Players Championships
today!â€? then pushed course designer Dye and Tour Commissioner, Dean Bemon into the lake by 18, before diving in himself, ignoring the crocodiles swimming nearby. Pate was ultimately a tragic figure. He was an outstanding amateur, winning the US Amateur in 1974 and finishing low amateur in the 1975 US Open. The following year he turned pro and won the US Open for his first of 13 wins over the next five years. However, a series of shoulder injuries destroyed his career before he was 30 and his Players win was his last on tour. HKGOLFER.COM
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on Sawgrass’ 17th is his “hole-in-three” in 1999. After tamely putting his first shot into the water, he took a penalty and hit his third into the hole on the fly for a stunning par. One of the longest hitters on tour, Fred’s appeal was not only his fabulously easy swing but his sunny demeanor on the course. This masked tragedy in his personal life, with his first wife committing suicide and his second dying of cancer.
Greg’s Demolition Job (1994)
Greg Norman reacted to a relative slump in the early 1990s by turning to Butch Harmon and retooling his swing. The result was a magnificent run of form through the middle of the decade that included a record low final round of 64 to win the Open at Royal St Georges that had Gene Sarazen saying, “I never thought I would live to see golf played like this.” At the Players, Norman shot a stunning 63 followed by three 67s for a record 24-under par total, besting the record by six shots. Appropriately, 10 years after losing their US Open playoff, he won by four from playing partner, Fuzzy Zoeller. After Norman missed by a whisker for birdie on the last, Zoeller again produced his white towel, this time mopping Norman’s brow with it. Fuzzy was asked afterwards, “So, Fuzz, is that the best you've ever played and not won?” “Son,” said Zoeller, “that's the best I've ever played and had absolutely no chance of winning.”
Fan Favourite Freddie (1996)
That winning feeling (clockwise from top): Greg Norman, Fred Couples, David Duval, Hal Sutton and Tiger Woods are all champions of golf's "fifth major" 70
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In the final round of the 1996 Players, former champion Fred Couples stood in the middle of the sixteenth fairway and heard a roar that told him that Colin Montgomerie had just birdied 14 to take a one shot lead. Needing little encouragement, he then fired a two-iron towards the green, but looked to have overcut it. Miraculously, his ball cleared the water by an inch and took an outrageous bounce towards the hole. He holed for eagle, then birdied 17 en route to a four shot win. Freddie’s other claim to fame
Duvals’ Double (1999)
Local boy David Duval was hardly a surprise winner in 1999 having already won twice in January of that year, including his unbelievable 59 final round to win the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. In the form of his life, he cruised home, winning by two shots from the delightfully named Scott Gump, and the following week won the Bellsouth Classic. However, what made the day unique was that his father, Bob Duval, won on the Champion’s Tour, making this the first time in tour history a father and son had won on the same day. After winning the 1999 Emerald Coast Classic, Duval Senior was filmed tearfully watching his son win the Players and becoming the number one ranked player in the world. He said afterwards, “Thank God I won an hour before he did because if I found out… I had a two-shot lead with three holes to go I might have choked my brains out.” Interestingly, the Duvals had been estranged HKGOLFER.COM
when Bob walked out on the family for the last time in 1993. Bob had never fully got over the death of David’s brother, Brett who died aged 12 despite a bone marrow transplant from the nine-year-old David. Gradually, they reconciled and it was David who encouraged his father to go on the Senior’s Tour.
Woods Makes History (2001)
Sutton Takes Down Tiger (2000)
At Bay Hill the week before, Tiger Woods had won his 10th event from 16 starts and Colin Montgomerie had just admitted that after the first round the only question was, “Who would finish second?” Veteran Hal Sutton took Monty and his fellow pros to task for this defeatist attitude and declared himself ready to take on Tiger down the stretch. In a wind-and-rain-lashed Players he got his wish, paired with Woods in the last group and leading by a shot. In a tremendous final round, he still held a one-shot lead playing the last and then came his career defining moment. From the middle of the fairway he sent a six-iron towards the green and famously declared, “Be the right club. Be the right club TODAY”. The ball landing six feet from the pin set off a testosterone-fuelled fist pump and hand slaps with his caddy. At almost 42, he became the oldest player to win the Players, 17 years after being the youngest player to win. Despite a stellar amateur career, Sutton admits that people probably still remember him most for his “Be the right club TODAY” remark.
This was the “better than most” Players Championship, and not just for Tiger Woods’ miraculous 60ft triple-breaking putt on the seventeenth island green hole. It was also the only win by Woods, and remains the only time anyone won the Players and then the Masters in the same year. This was also the year Woods completed the “Tiger Slam”, holding all four major titles simultaneously. Coming off a last-gasp win in the Bay Hill the week before, it is surprising to know that despite having won three majors in a row, Woods was seen as having been in a slump. He played dominating golf, cruising to victory easier than his oneshot margin over Vijay Singh suggested. “Better than most, better than most,” w a s G a r y K o c h ’s fa mou s ma nt ra a s Woods’ ball tracked endlessly across the lightning fast green before falling into the side of the hole. Little known is that minutes before, Woods and playing partner Phil Mickelson had to wait on the tee and watch Fred Funk five-putt for a triple bogey six. HK Golfer・MAY 2011
Love’s Legendary Six-Iron (2003)
In a miserable rain-and-wind racked Players, David Love III had ground out a three-stoke lead over Padraig Harrington when he hooked his tee shot at the treacherous sixteenth into pine straw. In similar fashion to Phil Mickelson at the 2010 Masters, and in agreement with his brother and caddy, Mark, he decided to go for it. His threading of a six-iron 197yds over the hazards and to within 11ft of the hole is the stuff of legend, and today a plaque marks the spot. Newly announced as USA Ryder Cup captain for 2012, Love has a lifetime exemption for his 20-plus tour wins and won the USPGA Championship in 1997. What is little-known was that his father, David M Love Jr, was one of the most respected teachers in his day, having led after the first round of the 1964 Masters and finishing sixth in the 1969 Open Championship alongside Jack Nicklaus. After a great start on tour in 1987, Love III slumped in 1988 and told his father he wanted to try another coach. Tragically, this was their last conversation before David M Love Jr died in a plane crash. Davis lost his way for the next two years before hooking up with Butch Harmon winning four tournaments. However in another family tragedy, his brother-in-law killed himself while being investigated by the FBI for embezzling money from Davis’ accounts that year.
Unbelievable Perks (2002)
Cosmopolitan championship (from left to right): New Zealand's Craig Perks, Davis Love III of the USA, Trinidad-born Stephen Ames and Sergio Garcia of Spain show how international the field and the winners - at the Players has become 72
HK Golfer・MAY 2011
Perhaps the all-time unlikeliest winner of any significant tournament, Craig Perks turned pro in 1993 but didn’t get through qualifying school until 1999. In 2002, he made the cut in his first seven tournaments of the year, albeit finishing in a best of 50th place. The New Zealander finally put together some solid golf at Sawgrass and was in the last group on the final day. Soon he was four-over through 15, two behind Stephen Ames. What happened next was surreal. Having gone for the par-five sixteenth, he found himself in deep rough on the fringe but somehow chipped in for eagle. He then holed a 30-foot putt for birdie on 17 to take the lead, but on 18 he found himself buried in thick rough by the green after his third shot. Unbelievably, he also holed that chip for a one-putt eagle, birdie, par finish on one of golf’s toughest finishing stretches and a two-shot win. “You're unbelievable,” defending champion Tiger Woods told him at the trophy presentation. Sadly, it was all too unbelievable and he missed another 11 cuts that year. In 2007, after making only one cut in over two years, he retired aged 40. HKGOLFER.COM
win in the previous 12 years, Goydos had ridden a lot of luck and a ridiculously hot putter to be leading coming down the eighteenth, but he sadly missed his putt for the win and playing first in his first playoff, put his tee shot into the lake on 17. An intelligent and genuinely funny man, he supplied the assembled hacks with endless hilarious and smart comments all throughout the week. When asked if he had ever held a 54-hole lead he replied, “No, but I've only been out on tour for 16 years,” and when asked if he’d rather hit first or second on the 17th tee in the play-off, he said: "Well, now I'd rather go second." As the single parent of two teenage girls, whose mother died of an overdose, he had a well grounded sense of what is important in his life.
Trinidad’s Finest (2006)
Born in Trinidad and Tobago, Stephen Ames had been on tour for seven years but victory eluded him until 2004 when he took on the Cialis Western Open. Prior to this, his claim to fame had been to be the unfortunate on the wrong end of Craig Perks’ eagle, birdie, par finish in 2002 to finish second. In early 2006 he was briefly notorious when, before the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, he said he was happy to be drawn against a relatively erratic Tiger Woods, saying “Anything can happen, especially where he’s hitting the ball”. Tiger proceeded to thrash him 9 and 8 – still a record. However, less than a month later, Ames rebounded to gain revenge for his earlier misfortune with a remarkable performance to win the 2006 Players by a record six strokes with Woods in the field. Since then, Ames has won the Children’s Miracle Network Classic twice for a total of four PGA tour wins.
Sergio Trumps Goydos (2008)
The 2008 Championship saw Sergio Garcia win the biggest tournament of his career and helped to allay some of the disappointment from his 15 top-10 finishes in majors with no wins. However, Paul Goydos, the journeyman pro whom Sergio defeated at the first play-off hole, emerged as the people’s champion. With one
HK Golfer・MAY 2011
GOLF TRAVEL A Player’s Guide
Mission Hills marvel: the daunting parthree eleventh on the Norman Course 74
HK Golfer・MAY 2011
The Best of Guangdong Looking for a quality golf break across the border? These five clubs will fit the bill, writes Alex Jenkins MISSION HILLS
The world's biggest golf club probably warrants a weighty hardback tome to give its plethora of courses (there are 12), hotels (three) and additional amenities (it has more tennis courts – 51 – than any other resort in Asia) complete justice. But anyway. Remarkably, not all Hong Kong golfers have actually ventured to this astonishing facility, one which actually comprises three separate sites – named Shenzhen, Dongguan and Mid-Valley – that combined occupy great swathes of the Guangdong countryside. Our tip: head for Dongguan. A newly-built luxury hotel puts you in the midst of the best courses at the complex. Our favourite is the Greg Norman-designed Norman Course, which thunders through gorgeous, undulating terrain and features uncompromising bunkering and devilish green complexes. It's undoubtedly the most penal track here (and maybe the toughest course in China), but low handicappers will relish the challenge. The bunkerstrewn (and very scenic) Olazabal Course, which hosted the World Cup in 2008 and 2009, is justifiably popular and should be the choice for those looking for a slightly easier – and arguably more enjoyable – ride, while the Faldo Course (a 15-minute shuttle bus journey away at Mid Valley), with its imaginative use of sand, generous fairways and famous sixteenth hole, which features an island green, is reckoned to be the members' favourite. CONTACT: missionhillschina.com; (852) 2122 0888 GETTING THERE: Regular shuttle bus from Kam Tin to Dongguan Clubhouse (one hour) ACCOMMODATION: Brand-new five-star hotel on site
HK Golfer・MAY 2011
AGILE G&CC HHHH
Comprising two first-rate championship courses and a wonderfully-appointed clubhouse and hotel, Agile Golf & Country Club is ideally suited for a one night/two day stay. It also has the advantage of being accessible by ferry – which in our opinion is far more comfortable and less hectic than passing through the land border at Huanggang (unless you're taking a car with crossborder plates). The JMP-designed A Course here features constant elevation change and appealing palm-fringed fairways. Water is prominent too, and although not all of it is in play, wayward drivers should take heed. The B Course gallops across more gentle land but is a more challenging proposition for recreational golfers due to its length: from the monster tees, only one parfour measures less than 400 yards. If you leave your ego at the gate (this is part of an upmarket gated community) and play from the blue (or even white) tees, it becomes vastly more playable. While there are very few true private courses in the province, Agile (pronounced Agil-a) has a healthy membership – one that seems particularly well-versed when it comes to speed of play issues. In numerous visits, we've never had to endure anything longer than four hours for 18 holes. CONTACT: agilegolf.com.cn (Chinese only); (86) 760 8332 868 GETTING THERE: Ferry to Zhongshan (80 minutes); 20-minute shuttle bus to club ACCOMMODATION: Five-star hotel on site
HK Golfer・MAY 2011
HILLVIEW GC HHHH
Such is the quality of the two courses at Dongguan Hillview Golf Club that this correspondent seriously contemplated taking up membership a few years' ago. It wasn't to be however – its location, a good 70-minute drive north of the border, makes getting there and back in a day rather more arduous than is preferable. But for those willing to stay the night or longer – at either the boutique Sofitel hotel attached to the club, or the equally comfortable but larger Sofitel resort just five minutes' away – the club warrants definite consideration. Of the two Jim Engh-designed layouts at Hillview, the Master Course takes most of the plaudits thanks largely to its muscular bunkering and lychee-framed landing areas. Although some extravagant real estate does catch the eye on a number of holes, the course manages to retain the feeling of seclusion and finishes in glorious fashion with a mid-length par-four that clings to the side of a lake. Hillview was one of Engh's first solo projects and he has since gone on to become one of the most sought-after architects in America. Play just one round at the Master and you'll understand why. CONTACT: hillviewgolf.com; (86) 769 2220 9998 GETTING THERE: No shuttle bus; 70-minute drive from border ACCOMMODATION: Sofitel resort on site
Provincial pleasures (clockwise from top): the eighteenth on the Masters Course at Hillview; swining at surreal Shenzhen GC; the fourth on the Norman Course is another splendid par three; elevation change is a factor on the A Course at Agile
SHENZHEN GC HHHH
One of the oldest courses on the mainland and situated amid Shenzhen's wacky skyscrapers, Shenzhen Golf Club is by far and away the quickest course to get to from Hong Kong – after just ten minutes in a cab from Huanggang you'll be enjoying a coffee in this exclusive course's fashionably minimalist clubhouse. Originally designed by Japanese legend Isao Aoki in the mid-1980s, the club received a needed renovation by Nelson & Haworth (designers of the East Course at the Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau) a decade ago. All three nines here are well worth playing – the views of the encroaching city make it a somewhat surreal experience – and are characterised by pleasingly wide fairways and rather less welcoming greenside bunkers. But it's the putting surfaces that do the most damage to the scorecard; heavily contoured and normally lightning-fast, the greens at Shenzhen GC, home course of China's favourite golfing son, Zhang Lian-wei, are some of the most fearsome in the land. But time would seem to be running out for the club. It's lease, according to recent newspaper reports, expires in 2015 and city officials have already indicated that a change of land use is desired. Enjoy it while it lasts. CONTACT: (86) 755 3308 888 GETTING THERE: Taxi from Huanggang (10 minutes) NOTES: Visitors permitted on weekdays only ACCOMMODATION: None on site, but literally dozens of options within 20 minutes' drive HKGOLFER.COM
HK Golfer・MAY 2011
The eighteenth on the Nicklaus Course at Chung Shan
CHUNG SHAN HOT SPRING HHHH
The Grand Dame of Chinese Golf, the Arnold Palmer-designed Palmer Course at Chung Shan is the country's oldest, opening its doors for the first time in 1984. The Nicklaus Course arrived a few years later – and together these two layouts cement the club's status as one of Guangdong's premier clubs. The Palmer and Nicklaus couldn't be more different. The tree-lined Palmer, which wouldn't look out of place in the English Home counties, might be deemed rather diminutive by today's standards but manages to hold its own in part to narrow fairways and tiny, well-protected greens. Any demerits? Unfortunately a row of seriously hideous villas have been erected (not by the club) adjacent the fourteenth hole, which rather detracts from the Olde Worlde nature of the place, and the once-bijou seventeenth, a gorgeous par-three, has been altered for reasons unknown. But in the grand scheme of things these are really quite minor gripes – at least for the visiting golfer. The Nicklaus, meanwhile, winds its way through ancient woodland and features much more in the way of elevation change. Heroic driving is required; high-flighted iron shots are an advantage to the course's pushed-up (and exceptionally well-bunkered) greens, while water comes into play on a number of holes, including the thrilling eighteenth, a downhill par-four with a green perched on the banks of a lake. Chung Shan is the home course of former Asian Tour number one Liang Wenchong, and the great man can often be seen honing his game on the practice range. CONTACT: cshsgc.com.cn; (852) 2521 0377 GETTING THERE: Ferry to Zhuhai (70 minutes); 30-minute taxi to club ACCOMMODATION: The three-star Chung Shan Hot Spring Resort is within three-wood distance of the clubhouse
BEST OF THE REST
The pretty third hole at Chung Shan's Palmer Course
HK Golfer・MAY 2011
Palm Island (piresort.com), an hour's drive from the border, is a beautiful Thai-style resort with 27 holes from Nicklaus Design, which although flat, manage to hold interest. Recommended for families. Pine Valley Sports & Country Club (pinevalleyclub.com), a 40-minute shuttle bus ride from the Zhuhai Ferry Terminal, is one of the most enjoyable and picturesque courses in the region – its refreshingly free from the urban and residential sprawl that tends to hove into view at most courses in Guangdong. The food, too, is excellent – fish are plucked from the club's lake and vegetables are grown organically on site. Somewhat unusually for a golf club in this part of the world, pheasant hunting is also available. HKGOLFER.COM
USA (303) 663-1000
China +86 10 6533 1967.
Tight at the Top
Snedeker's win at Harbour Town (above), combined with Westwood's victory in Jakarta (left), denied Luke Donald the top spot in the world rankings
Donald just falls short of number one ranking with play-off loss to Snedeker, while Westwood wins in Jakarta England's Luke Donald missed a chance to claim golf's world's number one ranking, losing a tension-packed play-off at the Heritage to American Brandt Snedeker on the third extra hole. Donald birdied the 18th and parred the 17th in the play-off at Harbour Town only to see Snedeker match him each time. Snedeker parred at 18 on the third play-off hole but Donald's par bid from the edge of the green lipped out to end the drama. "I thought it was going to be my day," Donald said. "It wasn't." Donald, who began the week ranked third, would have passed idle top man Martin Kaymer of Germany and number two Lee Westwood with victory. Instead, the top spot goes again to Westwood, who won the Indonesian Masters on his 38th birthday to pass Kaymer and stay in front of Donald, who would have joined Westwood and Nick Faldo as the only Englishmen to claim World No. 1 with a victory. "I will keep plugging away," Donald said. "Nobody likes to finish second. Second is not a lot of fun., But I will find something out of it." Snedeker, whose only prior PGA Tour titel came in 2007 at Charlotte, fired the best round of the day, a seven-under 64, to set up his play-off heroics. "I had no expectations going out there," said Snedeker, who was six strokes off the pace when the final round began. "I wanted to have a scrappy round of golf and get ready for next week. I had a great round out there. I made a lot of putts. Maybe that should tell me something." In Jakarta, Westwood, who had a five-shot lead heading into the final round, didn't have everything go his way. But after an early bogey and a string of pars, the Englishman upped his game with four birdies to card a 69 and emerge with a three-stroke victory over Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee. "It was about coming here this week and trying to win the Indonesian Masters and I've done that," said Westwood, who drew some criticism from the press for opting to play in the Asian Tour event rather than play in the European Tour's Volvo China Open, which boasted a stronger field. 80
HK GolferăƒťMAY 2011
OFFICIAL WORLD GOLF RANKINGS As of May 1, 2011
Graeme McDOWELL NIR 5.65
10 Bubba WATSON
11 Matt KUCHAR
12 Charl SCHWARTZEL
13 Dustin JOHNSON
14 Jim FURYK
15 Nick WATNEY
USA 4.61 HKGOLFER.COM
GLOBALTOURNAMENTNEWS COLSAERTS CLAIMS CHENGDU CROWN
Volvo China Open, Luxehills International CC, Chengdu, April 21-24
Nicolas Colsaerts coasted to his first European Tour victory as he ran out a four shot winner at the Volvo China Open. More than 10 years after turning professional on his 18th birthday, having become the second youngest European Tour Qualifying School graduate, the big-hitting Belgian finally realised his potential with a closing six under par round of 66. That left him 24-under for the week, four clear of Spain’s Pablo Martin, New Zealander Danny Lee, Ireland’s Peter Lawrie and Dane Søren Kjeldsen. Much of the last decade has been a struggle at the top level for Colsaerts, but he established himself last season by finishing 67th on The Race to Dubai and topping the driving distances. And his comprehensive victory at Luxehills International Country Club makes him only the second Belgian to win on The European Tour – the other was Phillipe Touissant in 1974. “I’m enjoying every second of it,” he said. “I’m dizzy - my head is going all over the place. I’ve been waiting for this for a very long time and I think I did it in the best of manners so I’m really delighted. I guess a lot of kids are going to look up to this victory. I actually know the last guy Phillipe Touissant pretty well and I’m sure that he is very happy for me too.”
MANASSERO’S THE MAN IN MALAYSIA
Maybank Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur G&CC, April 14-17
Matteo Manassero earned himself a €288,465 birthday present with his second European Tour win at the Maybank Malaysian Open. The Italian, who turned 18 two days after the tournament ended, started the celebrations early as a closing 68 helped him finish 16-under and see off challenges from Grégory Bourdy and Rory McIlroy. “I couldn’t imagine anything better – going back home to celebrate my 18th birthday and my second victory on The European Tour,” he said, after climbing to 33rd on the Official World Golf Ranking. “I’ll have a big dinner and celebrate both. It’s great to be able to celebrate both together. I’m just now concentrating on being in the top 50 now and getting into all the majors. I’m very happy about this achievement.” Having become The European Tour's youngest ever winner in Spain last year, Manassero now holds the top two positions on that list - Danny Lee was seven months older when he won the Johnnie Walker Classic. He is also the second teenager in a row to win the event, following Noh Seung-yul's triumph 12 months ago. The leaders had 27 holes to play on the final day after six hours of weather delays earlier in the week, and while McIlroy, who suffered a meltdown at the Masters just one week earlier, clawed himself back into contention after a shaky start, he could only bogey the par-five eighteenth when a birdie would have forced a play-off. Matteo Manassero Gregory Bourdy Rory McIlroy Rafael Cabrera-Bello Alexander Noren Felipe Aguilar Simon Dyson Siddikur Alejandro Canizares Martin Kaymer
66 71 67 68 71 69 66 67 69 64 72 69 69 70 69 67 64 69 71 71 70 70 66 70 70 64 76 68 68 71 71 69 69 72 68 71 70 71 67 72
272 273 274 275 275 276 278 279 280 280
Nicolas Colsaerts Soren Kjeldsen Peter Lawrie Danny Lee Pablo Martin Christian Nilsson Jamie Donaldson Gregory Havret Danny Willett Richard Finch
65 67 66 66 65 71 66 66 68 64 68 68 66 68 69 65 70 68 67 63 70 65 70 64 70 61 70 69 66 66 68 70 70 66 69 65 69 67 71 64
264 268 268 268 268 269 270 270 270 271
€ 350,946 €140,086 €140,086 €140,086 €140,086 €73,699 €54,327 €54,327 €54,327 €36,639
€ 288,466 € 192,308 € 108,349 € 79,964 € 79,964 € 60,579 € 51,925 € 43,271 € 36,693 € 36,693
1 2 3 4= 6 7 8 9=
1 2= 6 7= 10
HK Golfer・MAY 2011
David von Gunten, Michael Schumacher and Oliviero Bottinelli
David von Gunten, Michael Schumacher and Oliviero Bottinelli
Michael Schumacher Makes China Debut For Audemars Piguet
AP Icon Michael Schumacher
Seven-time Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher was introduced as the latest Audemars Piguet Icon in Shanghai in April when 40 VIP guests and more than 10 supercar owners were treated to a driving clinic by Michael at the Shanghai Tianma Circuit. Besides sharing tips with the guests, Mr. Schumacher also treated them to a demonstration of his superb driving skills on the track in a Mercedes-AMG SLS AMG car. The adrenaline-filled afternoon also included a regularity racing competition amongst more than 10 supercar owners on the Tianma circuit. The CEO of Audemars Piguet Hong Kong and China, Mr. David von Gunten commented, “Shanghai is the center of motor racing in China. With Michael as a motor racing legend and Audemars Piguet new Icon, the choice of venue for this event was obvious, giving our valued guests the opportunity to see him in action on the track.” In the evening, guests donned their finery for a cocktail reception and gala dinner at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Shanghai Pudong. Mr. Oliviero Bottinelli, Managing Director of Audemars Piguet Asia explained why the master watchmaker has chosen Schumacher to represent the brand, “Michael Schumacher is not only the greatest racing driver of all time, he shares our passion for precision engineering and innovative creations and is a perfect match for our brand.” – C.M.
Supercar owners held a regularity racing competition 82
HK Golfer・MAY 2011
HK Golfer Events
Bespoke Golf Days Corporate Hospitality Tournament Management
With over twenty years’ experience, HK Golfer Events is Hong Kong and southern China’s leading golf tournament and event organizers HK Golfer events is a division of HK Golfer, Hong Kong’s premier golf publication. Call (852) 3590 4153 or email email@example.com
Cartier launches new High Jewellery collection At a gala dinner on April 15 at the Ritz-Carlton ballroom Cartier launched their new High Jewellery collection. The event was attended by celebrities and the crème de la crème of Hong Kong high society including Ms Carina Leung, Ms Pansy Ho, Mr. William Chang, Mr Andrew Lau, Mr Alfred Cheung, Mrs Cindy Cheung, Mr Albert Yeung, Mr John Ying, Mr & Mrs Ronald Kwok, Mr & Mrs Jeffrey Yau, Mrs Harriet Tung & Mrs Leigh Chou, Ms. Bonnie Gokson, Mr Barney Cheng, and many more. On a magical evening dedicated to ‘Women of Style’, music, lighting, visuals, performers and models combined for a sensory experience like no other.– C.M. Maya Lin
Pansy Ho, Carina Leung
Jeffrey Yau, Carina Leung, Margaret Yau, Cindy Cheung, Alfred Cheung
Leigh Chou, Harriet Tung, Yolanda Choy
Barney Cheng, Laetitia Yu 84
HK Golfer・MAY 2011
Maria Miu, Carina Leung, Nigel Luk, Marina Leung, Jeffe Tin, William Chang HKGOLFER.COM
Alfred Cheung, Cindy Cheung
John J. Ying, Lisa Gallo Ying
David Au, Bonnie Gokson
Francis Choi, Margaret Choi, Semon Yeung, Albert Yeung
Jeffrey Yau, Margaret Yau, Nigel Luk
Pansy Ho, Magdalena Lee
John J.Ying, Pansy Ho
William Chang, Andrew Lau, Carina Leung HKGOLFER.COM
HK GolferăƒťMAY 2011
Asian Tour Q&A:
Timothy Tang 24-year-old Tang, the only Hong Kong golfer on the Asian Tour after earning his card at Qualifying School in January, talks about his goals and life outside the ropes
family and friends but being away as much as I am, I don’t really keep in touch with my friends in the United States. But I love my job, I get to meet new friends from around the world. Tell us about yourself? I grew up in South Carolina. I was born in Hong Kong but moved to the United States when I was four. I grew up playing junior, amateur and college golf in the United States. I graduated with a degree in communications from the College of Charleston and moved back to Asia in 2009. I played in Thailand and in Hong Kong when I returned and this year, I earned my Asian Tour card. Where are you based now? I move around a lot to the best country where I can practice. Sometimes I go to China to practice with my friend, Liang Wenchong. He is like a mentor to me. He gives me a place to practice on his home course. I met him through a family friend and he has been showing me the ropes in professional golf. He is a very nice guy and a good player. What would you be if you were not a professional golfer? I would probably be working in my dad’s restaurant in the United States. He owns a Japanese and Korean restaurant. My two older brothers are working for my dad as well. If it wasn’t for golf I would have joined them! I’m lucky to do what I love for a living. What’s your number one distraction in golf? Slow play! I also tend to over think things so I try to be as simple as possible.
hat sparked your interest in golf? I started playing golf with my family– my father and uncle. The game brought me and my family closer because we spent so much time on the golf course. I also like playing golf because it is an individual sport. My results in a tournament depend on how much hard work I put in and I like the challenge. How long did it take you to reach single handicap? It took me a year to break 80 and it was during a tournament which I won! I was about 13 then. Name your dream fourball? My dad (Raymond), my uncle (John), Tiger Woods and myself.
Text and Photo courtesy of Asian Tour
What keeps you on top of your game? Hard work and constantly pushing and challenging myself. I always tell myself that there is always someone better than you or there is something that someone else can do which I can’t. Where is the one place we will likely find you when you’re not on the golf course? I’m a very boring person! I spend so much time practising, I don’t have time to do many things. I like to spend time with my 86
HK Golfer・MAY 2011
How do you cope with pressure? Just go back to basics and think of what I do in practice. How would you celebrate if you won on the Asian Tour? I haven’t thought that far yet! What are your initial thoughts on the Asian Tour? This is a great place for a lot of players, especially players like myself who come from Hong Kong. I want to represent my country and the Asian Tour provides opportunities for guys like me with their country exemption spots. You can play on the big stage and get more professional experience. You see more international players even from the United States playing on the Asian Tour now because the way they set up the tour is awesome. What are your long term goals in golf? I want to represent my country in the World Cup, Olympics and hopefully in major tournaments. But for now I just want to take it one step at a time and aim to break into the top-30 of the Asian Tour Order of Merit. What’s the toughest part of being a rookie on Tour? Travelling to different countries and adapting to the different golf courses. Being a professional golfer is not about who hits the best shot but it is about strategy, positioning and nerves. It is a lot different when you travel to another country. Adapting to new countries and playing environments is the toughest part for me now. HKGOLFER.COM
Champagne Charl! Masters Review, Ageas HKPGA Championship