Monday, 7 December 2009

Palma Golf Escape



Easy Jet may have a bit of a reputation for landing in obscure airports a day’s forced march from the host city, but thankfully this is anything but the case when it comes to Palma, the capital city of Mallorca. Within half an hour of landing we are clean through customs and deep in the heart of Palma Old Town, supping an icy cold beer at the friendly Hotel Saratoga. So far, so very good.

We’re here to check out Palma’s latest offering – Urban Golf. No, we aren't going to be knocking it about in the town centre ‘Clerkenwell Open stylie’. Rather, we’ll be staying in the heart of the Old Town, and then travelling out to sample two of the 20 golf courses that are within an hour’s drive of the centre which make Palma an ideal base for a quick golf-escape from the UK.

Over 22,000, 000 people flew into Palma Airport last year, so there can be no doubting the enduring popularity of the island. I arrive with some pretty heavy and contradictory baggage about Mallorca, and zero knowledge and expectation about Palma. How can one Balearic island be famed for the beautiful people – the Beckers, Nadals, Schumachers, Schiffers and Zeta Jones of this world – and in the same breath the Brits on the piss in Magalluf, a.k.a Shagalluf? And will Palma be a built up 70’s concrete jungle, complete with straw donkeys, HP Sauce and pints of John Smiths? This baggage also includes my golf clubs, which cost me £18.50 pre-paid each way. If you are playing more than a single round, it’s definitely worth bringing your own sticks as rentals are E30 a go.

Palma Old Town catches me by surprise. The view of the Old Town is dominated by La Seo – Palma’s magnificent 16th century Gothic cathedral. Started in 1230 by Jaime 1, it then took some four hundred years to be completed. But they did a great job in the end, and it really sets the tone of the place.

The Cathedral is flanked by a Moorish castle – the Almudaina Palace - whose battlements now protect the Old Town from the hordes of yachties who park their floating gin palaces in the busy port. From there you can dip down and wander through the maze of backstreets that make up the heart of the Old Town. There are hundreds of little independent shops and boutiques, which remind you of how dismal our British High Streets are. The sweet shops alone are worth a visit in themselves – proper confectionary that isn’t just a collection of ‘e’ numbers.

The first course we are to play is San Gual, a 20 minute drive from the centre, and on the other side of the airport. Despite only being open for eighteen months, it hosted the Mallorca Senior Open this year (won by Mark James since you ask), and you’d be very hard pushed to realise that it isn’t a much more mature course.

The thousand or so Olive trees that they’ve planted look like they’ve been in place for centuries; they’ve obviously settled in so well to their new home that they’re already producing wonderful black olives. When the vines that they’ve also planted start to produce, there’ll be wine to go with them.

San Gual has already made it into the Golf World’s Top 100 European Golf courses, and the club’s ambitions don’t end there as they are looking for a Top 10 finish in the next few years. I’ll be surprised if they don’t get there, as they are taking their golf course very seriously indeed. When we were playing, a small army of green keeping staff were on the march looking for the odd un-manicured blade of grass, and making sure that the greens were as firm and fast as anything I’ve ever played on. Woosie has compared the greens favourably to Augusta’s, which should tell you the kind of territory we are in. It’s definitely worth getting here early for some practice on the putting green to get a feel for the pace and the types of breaks and borrows you’ll be faced with. There are plenty of three putts out there.

The course is 5983 metres off the yellows, so adding ten percent for yards it comes in at a fraction under 7,000 yards. The greens are uniformly generous, and some are approached by vast green-like aprons which you can chip off, but feel you shouldn’t, such is their perfect condition.

The outward nine takes you on a tour of the extremities of the estate, whilst the inward nine takes you on a journey into the heart of the course. There’s plenty of the wet stuff as well, with water coming into play on twelve of the holes, including the card-wrecking par 5 sixth where you’ll have to carry at least 140 metres to make it onto dry land.

On the subject of the wet stuff, all the water they use is recycled using state of the art equipment, so there are none of the environmental problems associated with many Spanish courses, which suck the life out of the surrounding land, and piss off all the locals.

San Gual is going to be a course to watch over the coming years. At E150 a round this is a golf-treat, but as you can get on as a non-member make sure it’s on your ‘Courses to play before I peg it’ list. For your E150 you get a bottle of water, a ‘3D’ course guide, access to the practice facilities and use of the sauna in the locker room, so make a proper day of it.

Back to Palma for a quick spruce up and then it’s time to see what goes on when the lights go down. Dinner is at Es Baluardo which serves very upscale modern tapas. We’re just finishing our starters when we get the news that Tiger has been injured in a car crash, and everybody starts putting two and two together and generally making eight or nine. I think we might even have had an eleven in the group. Then it’s off for some Latino style Jazz and drinking back on the top floor of our hotel, The Saratoga – going easy of course to keep the brain intact for day two on the golf course.

Our second course is Son Muntaner, part of the Arabella Golf & Spa Resort, and a twenty minute drive due north of Palma. There are three courses to play at the resort – Son Vida, Son Quint and Son Muntaner.

Yes, we’d been spoiled rotten at Son Gual, and in many ways we don’t expect Son Muntaner to compete with it. But we are to discover that it’s far from being just a relaxing-holiday-golf kind of course. The Mallorca Golf Island Skins Game was played here recently with Justin Rose, Martin Kaymer, Jose Olazabal and Robert Karlsson competing for a purse of E204, 000 which works out to about E35 a yard.

Opened in 2000, and designed by Kurt Rossknecht who has worked with Bernard Langer, the course plays 5968 metres off the yellows (again just short of 7,000 yards) and starts with a serious dog leg right around the practice area, which can be a bit disconcerting when you see the odd range ball flying your way. Before Son Gual came along this was considered the best kept course in Mallorca, and whilst the greens have been given a good weekend beating by the time we play, they’re pretty good for all that and slippery as eels.

The course settles itself into the valley floor before taking to the hills; an important part of the course’s attraction is the variety of elevations which it offers, as well as the beautiful pine forest clad hills that it takes you into on the back nine.

We play for a bit less than E35 a yard, and we all really enjoy the course and its setting before we head back into town for a final night of carousing. This kicks off with dinner at the excellent Caballito de Mar, which serves the local delicacy Pescado a la sal (fish cooked in rock salt). Other stuff then happens, but it’s all a bit of a blur now.

I flew with Easyjet, and stayed at the Hotel Saratoga, and the Hotel Tryp Bosque.

For more info go to www.visit-palma.com.

JohnD

Monday, 14 September 2009

Walker Cup kicking

A severe arse-kicking was handed out to GB&I in Merion Pennsylvania in the 2009 Walker Cup.

We lost all four sessions and got stuffed by seven points. I have to say the whole event was pretty well nigh invisible - I think it crept into the Sky golf coverage somewhere, but really didn't get the respect that it should be given. It's a perfect bit of BBC content. I remember watching Rory McIlroy play the last time, and I followed it avidly. But this time it got shunted into the back end of beyond on the schedules. OK, so it was in the US so that might have had a bearing on scheduling. But it should be a great showcase for all the young talent we have coming through - even though this lot of young talent was on the wrong end of a good beating.

There's also issues around our younger golfers turning pro so early. Chris Wood, Shane Lowry and Callum McCaulay were all lost to the competition in the run-up by turning pro. But with Chris Woods' recent performances, not least of which was his fifth in this year's Open, and that on the heels of his great performance as an Amateur at Royal Birkdale, who can blame him.

May Show Me The Golf should bid for the rights next time!

JohnD


Monday, 7 September 2009

Ryo Ishikawa at it again

Another young blood as has been winning again. Ryo Ishikawa has claimed his fifth Japan Tour title with a victory at the Fujisankei Classic. And he ran away with it with a five shot lead.

I've been doing some online digging around about the new boy wonder, and have come up with a couple of interesting snippets:

He's so polite that his nickname is Hanikami Ohji , which means "Bashful Prince" in Japanese.

He started playing the age of 7, with his dad as his teacher.

His ambition is to become the youngest ever Masters champion . Ryo will be 17 years, six months and 24 days when he hits his first drive at Augusta. So he's plenty of time to put one over Tiger.

He's just opened his own private practice range. There will be four greens seeded with the same strain of bent grass found at Augusta, and the sand was chosen because it is similar as well.

He's sponsored by Yonex - driver, fairway wood and irons. Titleist wedges, Odyssey White Hot No 5.

We that kind of ambition and attention to detail, I think the Show Me The Golf fiver for the next couple of Masters might have to invested in his direction. And now. Will have to look what you can get



s widely regarded as the player who will revive interest in the Japan Tour, and he commands Tiger-like attention at home.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

The Omega

An eventful moving day in Crans, Switzerland. Bradley Dredge is three behind in third place after a 68. I'm looking forward to following across the course of this year, because if anyone wants to play Ryder Cup it's him. He won here in 2006, so the course must suit his eye.

Chris Wood was a big mover as well, charging from 30th to 6th place thanks to a 65. I saw him at Royal Birkdale last year as an amateur, and at The European this year as a fully blooded pro. That's not to forget his good work at Turnberry, which saw him finish joint third with Westwood. You've got to think that with Wood with have another potential Major winner. It's not going to be all McIlroy that's for sure.

Sadly day 2 leader Thomas Aiken from South Africa didn't fare so well. Couple of nightmare 7's for a 75. Nice fellow. He's sponsored by Puma and we played a couple of holes with him earlier this year at The Puma Open at The London Club.

I'm off out to play before settling in to watch the climax this afternoon. I've got to get ready for Show Me The Golf's up and coming Berk Central tournament. Not that's a prestige event.


JohnD



Thursday, 3 September 2009

Race for The Ryder Cup

And so, at last, it begins. The race for the Ryder Cup is off and running. But by the look of things, other priorities are on the minds of Westwood and McIlroy. Westwood is desparate to become the European No 1 again, so needs to get back to winning ways. Hard as it is to believe, it is almost two years since he actually won outright.

McIlroy has some real motivation to win as well at Crans Montana, where the Omega European Masters kicks off today. He's third on the European Tour money list, and victory would take him above Martin Kaymer, who's out of action after a g-carting accident. Berk! He'd also be ahead of Paul Casey, who is at last back in action after his rib injury.

So it's all warming up nicely. And the count-down to the Ryder Cup has begun in earnest.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Jack for The Masters

Jack, sorry Mr Nicholas to me, will be appearing at next year's Masters as an honorary starter alongside Arnold Palmer. Jack last played at The Masters in 2005, and had his last Open at St Andrews. I was there for his amazing farewell on the 18th. Well, in truth I was in the pub next door, having my first ever Magners Cider. So it was a doubly memorable moment.

Anyway Jack in now the 8th Honorary starter in the history of the Masters - a traditional that was started back in 1963, when he played his first Masters. I like the symmetry there.

JohnD

Monday, 31 August 2009

Gleneagles Final Show Down

So Peter Hedblom has managed to charge back in and beat his fellow Swede Martin Erlandsson to win the Johnnie Walker by a single shot.

But what a round by Erlandsson - a 10 under 62 thanks very much! Which no surprise was the best round of his life. But he'd started from six behind, so it wasn't quite enough as Hedblom wasn't exactly marking time with a tasty 67.

Paul Lawrie shared third place with Gregory Havret, the defending champion. So not a bad week for him, although he couldn't quite find the form he had for the first two days.

Right back get down the range. Working on the handicap for the forthcoming Show Me the Golf Berk Central. Lots of golf, several Berks, some beer. What possible harm!


JohnD

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Scores on the doors Gleneagles

So much for my post this morning. Paul Lawrie won't be joining Paranvik and that other fella whose name now escapes me, in not scoring under the card through the whole round.

A 73 today, and he's back to earth with a smallish bump. But given it's moving day, he still in good position for a shot at the title tomorrow. It's getting tight at the top though, with 16 players bunched between the leader, Peter Hedblom, at 8 under and the back of the following group at -4.
So it's anyone's tournament, and anyone's guess. Hedblom, O'Hara, Bland and Hevret all shot low today, and need to carry that form into the final day.

I'm going to check in our golf bet guru at Show Me the Golf to see if he can offer me some wisdom, and more importantly, some value.

JohnD

Paul Lawire hitting form & Golf Pub Ammo,

So far so good. 8 under after two days, and leading by two at the Johnnie Walker at Gleneagles, Lawrie hasn't actually dropped a single shot on the course yet.

OK, so there's a fair bit to go, and we shouldn't get over excited at this stage, but it's an interesting fact that only two European players have ever completed a European Tour tournament without dropping a single shot. David J Russell in 1992 and Jesper Parnavik in 1996.

I have to thank Andrew Lomax of the Daily Telegraph for that one. But as far as quality golf pub ammo goes, this is out the top drawer.

A trawl around the web for other bit of glorious info have so far yielded the following:

1. There is a Putting Green on the Whitehouse front lawn

Not quite up to the same standards as the 'not dropping a single shot' contribution. That could be coming to a fiendish pub quiz near you before long, so make sure that you've got that one firmly in the locker.

I think a Golf Pub Ammo section could be coming to Show Me The Golf before too long. Any contributions warmly welcomed....

JohnD

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Thomas Bjorn Brain Scan

Thomas has been feeling a bit off colour recently. So what to do? Well, get a brain scan of course.

The great news is that a a brain was discovered - his words not mine.

That shouldn't come as too great a surprise as he is the Chairman of the Players committee of the European Tour , so there must be something going on.

But then again, appointing Monty as Ryder Cup Captain might suggest otherwise. I'm very much looking forward to being proved wrong, but I'm sure someone in the media is going to get Monty's goat, and it's not going to be trouble free.

But after Faldo's opening ceremony speech last time, I'm confident that Monty will be an improvement. And we all know just how much he loves the Ryder Cup.

Anyway, I'm a great fan of the volcano dust eating Dane, and bore personal witness to his shocker at the 17th at Royal St George when he blew up in the 2003 Open. It still pains me.
Better get the Whiskey out.

JohnD

Monday, 24 August 2009

Christina Kim Calm Down

I've read a few comments going around about Christina Kim over the last few days. We've had
GolfDigest's John Huggan read on the matter, and he wasn't impressed.

One other lowlight -- at least some of the time -- was the behavior of Christina Kim. The extrovert American clearly has a big heart and a kind heart given her obvious affinity and loud interaction with the spectators. But there is a line that must never be crossed with this sort of thing. And, at the risk of being portrayed as a bit of a fuddy-duddy, it must be pointed out that Kim, on occasion, veers into a place where opponents are -- however inadvertently -- treated with something less than proper respect. The time to gee up crowds is between holes, not while a competitive situation exists.

Personally, I think that's kind. Far too generous. I think she behaved like a brattish teenager who'd been on the vodka and Redbulls.

JohnD


Solheim Cup done and dusted

After an exhausting day in front of the TV watching England triumph in the Ashes, it was time to come back down to earth, which I was comfortably able to do by tuning into the last session of the Solheim Cup.

For a moment there was hope, but suddenly the board turned red and it was all over. It had been a great effort to get to level points after two days, but from the moment Angela Stanford put the first point on the board for the US, it was all one way traffic.

Paula Creamer followed up with a point from a comfortable 3 an 2 win over Suzann Pettersen. And Michelle Wie stepped up to the plate with a one hole victory over Helen Alfredsson. It had really been Wie's week, and there's been a lot of talk about her finally coming out of her shell and truly engaging with the grown-up game.


Laura Davies was going along nicely taking a two hole lead to the 17th, where she proceeded to lose her ball. She then left the door wide open on the 18th for Lang to come through and grab a half point.

So it was not to be. Even Christina Kim beat Elosegui by two holes. I shouldn't really say even - it's just Kim's general behaviour over the course of the tournament really got my goat. According to her Twitter profile.. HI!! I'm LPGA Tour player Christina Kim (duh) and I love golf, photography and working to conserve and save our planet and all those that inhabit it!!!

Enough said I think.

Our master plan for next time round is to bring back Melissa Reid! That should do the trick.

JohnD

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Solheim Cup Day Two

Oh dear, it's looking like a familiar story. The European team managed to share the afternoon foursomes with America but the American's still have a very comfortable 4 1/2 - 3 1/2 lead after the first day of the Solheim Cup.

A 20-footer for par on the 17th by Paula Creamer gave her and Juli Inkster a 2 and 1 victory over Europe's Catriona Matthew and Janice Moodie in the afternoon's last foursomes match - giving the Americans their one-point lead.

That spells trouble for Europe. Only once in the previous 10 of the USA v Europe tournament has a team come back and captured the trophy after trailing after day one.

And the Europeans didn't field Melissa Reid, who is Show Me the Golf's resident female golf pro. Well, she lives near Derby actually.

,

JohnD

Thursday, 20 August 2009

The Official GolfGym Golf Fitness Blog: Congratulations to Y.E. Yang on His Impressive Victory at the PGA Championship

The Official GolfGym Golf Fitness Blog: Congratulations to Y.E. Yang on His Impressive Victory at the PGA Championship

And so say all of us. Opps, sorry Tiger.

Prince Andrew shock horror

Oh my gawd. The modernization of golf could be put back by several generations if the news I'm reading on Yahoo is true. Prince Andrew to go pro! Let's calm down a minute. The real news is that he is now playing off 4, which needs some kind of good work recognition. But that's about it. I never liked the way he muscled his way into the R&A, and his golf free loading, whilst something to be admired by any golf junkie, has just not felt right. I'm not going to go all indignant of Tunbridge Wells on his arse, but I wish he stick to polo or stag hunting or ping pong - no one can harm ping pong. Golf just doesn't need the Royal endorsement.

So we've decided to go Royal free on Show me the Golf. We've torn up our Royal Warrants, and are now adopting a nobility free membership policy. We are still accepting memberships from minor European royal houses, but no one with a Windsor post code of SL4 1 is getting in.

Windsor - it's really Slough isn't it!

JohnD

Solheim Cup

Well that's it for Majors this year, but thankfully there's a Solheim Cup to enjoy.

It's being played away at Rich Harvest Farms, near Chicago.

The event was set up by Karsten Solheim of Ping fame, and the US are leading 6-3. And they've never been beaten on home soil.

I'll be keeping a watching brief for Show Me the Golf as the tournament progresses.

JohnD

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Tiger and the end of an aura

I think the media have been going a little bit over the top about Tiger's recent performance. He's getting it in the neck for not being gracious enough in defeat, and now rather than being Mr Invincible, he's 'Vinny Vincible.' Steady lads. He just had a bad day on the greens. OK, a very bad day. But if that putt on the 1st had gone in and think we'd have seen a different story emerge.

Nothing, but nothing happened for him on the Sunday. He either couldn't read them, or he hit them badly. But how much can you read into one bad day on the dancefloor? I think he'll back to his best before too long, although the recognition of his own golfing mortality has to spur on other players when they've got the chance to toe to toe it with him.

On the Yang front, he already being called the Tiger Killer in Seoul. It's been a long time coming for an Asian player - 38 years from when Taiwanese Lu Liang-Huan came within one shot of winning at the 1971 Open at Royal Birkdale. Bit before my time.

And before I forget, there's an opportunity to win Justin Rose's watch - just go to Show Me the Golf for your chance to win.

JohnD

Monday, 17 August 2009

Yang Time

Now that was a bit of drama! Great composure from Yang to see off The Tiger. And what a fantastic second shot at the 18th. And in the end a convincing 3 shot win. And, and , and. And in the end the Show Me the Golf didn't all go down the pub to watch. Instead we booted up Twitter, cracked open various different forms of alcohol ( I went for Sainsbury's Irish Single Malt Whisky), and got stuck into some serious golf consumption. Jay Townsend was our extra pair of eyes on the ground, and we Twittered away with him and other companions. It really added a different dimension.

And what a great final round - Westwood and McIlroy hung in there to come joint third, and Padraig blew up in the most spectacular fashion.

But when push comes to shove Tiger just didn't get the putter going. A 75 in a final round has to be a bit of a disaster by his standards. He was pretty much faultless tee to green - the odd voyage to the undergrowth, but it all went wrong - or just didn't happen - on the greens.

Cannot believe that we are all majored out until The Masters next year. Just doesn't seem right. I am going to have to find something else to do with my life. Well, maybe not. I'm very patient.....

JohnD

Sunday, 16 August 2009

PGA Shaping Up Nicely

At the start of the third round there was no one within 3 shots of Tiger. It seemed a done deal. But after 9 holes, there were six.

By the end of play Stenson's had gone round in 68, Yang had a 67, and Harrington's had charged through with a 69.

So Tiger goes into the final round with a 2 shot lead from Harrington and Yang, which sets up everything for round 2 Tiger v Harrington. That's something I'm not about mix. Liverpool v Tottenham will just have to wait.

But in my heart of hearts, I can't see anyone else picking up the Wannamaker Trophy. It's what everyone, including the US PGA, seem to want. So I'm thinking 15 down, and 3 to go.

The Show Me The Golf team will be assembling in the pub to cheer on Harrington for all his grit and determination, but I think we are all looking for Tiger to take another step along the fairway to ever-lasting golfing greatness.

JohnD

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Bigger Hitters Only Need Apply

The mighty Alvaro Quiros of Espana is clearly the man for the job this weekend. At 6 foot 3, he is without a shadow of doubt one the big hitters on the European Tour. He topped the Driving Distance Category in the stats in both 2007 and 2008. I watched him dismantle one of the long par 5's. I think his length is even staggering Tiger. But for all that artillery, he's nowhere near Mr Woods.

What's all this being long, Tiger proofing nonsense about? At 7,674 yards Hazeltine is the longest ever track to host a US PGA Championship. And therefore, as we all know, perfect for Tiger. Just tighten up the fairways, and shorten the holes and viola - Tiger proofed. It's not really difficult is it?

Anyway our man in America, Mr Jay Townsend, will be reporting back to us at Show Me The Golf. He called Tiger, of course. If you missed his preview its here.



Friday, 14 August 2009

More Olympic Stuff

It appears that golf wasn't a shoe in to the Olympics. In fact anything but. Rugby 7's won a comfortable 9 out of 15 votes from the second round secret ballot of the IOC executive. Golf on the other hand nearly went out in the first two rounds - polling only one vote. It then benefitted from tactical voting from rugby supporters to win through in the fourth round. So thanks rugby - or rather rugby 7's. Bit of an odd one in itself, as 7's is the first sport to get in without the main form of the sport being present.

Tiger has got to be the other factor. He's just that bit too hard to ignore.

Format will be 72 holes for men and women, with 60 players in each field. The world's top 15 will qualify automatically. No idea how anyone else gets in though. Pre-Open style qualifying competitions?

Anyway, back to the USPGA. Jay Townsend's out there for Show Me the Golf, and has done us a brilliant piece for us.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Golf in the Olympics

So we're in - well golf I mean. Alongside women's boxing and 7 a side rugby. What a fitting place to be. At least the Olympic committee won't have to insist that the organizers build a new course for it specially - well, I take that back. Anything's possible with that lot. If it had been bought forward to the London Olympics, where would it have been? Would they have insisted on carving up Hyde Park, or could the London Club have got its hands on? or would the R&A have muscled in and insisted on St Andrews? I guess we'll never know, but some intriguing possibilities.

I guess we'd better take our poll down on Show Me The Golf now that this burning question has been answered.

JohnD

Olympic Decision Day

So the big day has dawned. Will golf become an Olympic sport by this evening? Or will it be Women's Boxing or Squash or baseball, or roller sports (?) or Karate? You can still vote in our Olympic poll at Show Me The Golf. We're still in two minds as it might interfere with the Gymnastics. Have your say now.

JohnD

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Ryder Cup Ticket Draw

Well, the hotly awaited news has come through, and I am now almost the proud owner of 4 Ryder Cup tickets. For the Tuesday. For £120. For f***'s sake. £30 to watch a practice day! And that's before the car parking, petrol, beer ration ( very limited as driving), programme (bet that's a tenner), and something to eat. And, of course, because it's a Ryder Cup I'll have to get something from the merchandise tent, even if it's only a poxy tea towel or some such rubbish.

So I think my day in Wales is going to be about £100 - to watch them practice. Now, I'm keen, don't get me wrong. But I think I'm going to prefer to invest that money in having a few beers in the pub, and getting stuck in that way.

So if anyone wants 4 tickets to the Tuesday practice day, just let me know. Actually, don't bother you'll need to be my doppelganger as it's all ID'up.

Grumble over.

Will cheer myself up by watching our new video, lovingly shot in La Manga - now that's somewhere I'd save up for.

JohnD

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Playing not Blogging

Busy week on the golf front with 2 games played and it's only Thursday. Playing again tomorrow, then 36 on Saturday, followed by a warm down 18 on Sunday. At which point I will be completely golfed out. The aim this summer is to do some work, and get down to a 16 handicap - a drop of 8 shots in 2 months. It's not exactly up to the work of John Richardson and his new book, 'Dream On'. He couldn't break 100 and set himself the challenge of beating par in a year. 363 days later he shot a one under par 70 at this local track. The title 'Dream On' actually came from our Sam - sorry, Mr Torrance to me. And Darren Clarke told him it would take three years. So 363 is no bad shout.

JohnD

Friday, 31 July 2009

Last Day of the Ryder Cup Ballot

I've just woken up the fact that its the last day to sign up for The Ryder Cup ballot for next year’s contest in Wales. It closes at midnight tonight, Friday, July 31 (BST).

Go to www.rydercup.com/tickets to sign up for the ballot, which will take place early next month.


Better get on with it.


JohnD


Thursday, 30 July 2009

Czech Open

Jay has been racking up the Air Miles this year - he's done 249,000 miles to date - and he's only just half way through. We used to call Jay Townsend our US Golf Correspondent, but the truth of the matter is that he's really becoming our Global Golf correspondent, as this week he's in the Czech Republic, reporting on the Moravia Silesia Open, at the Prosper Golf Resort.

It's an event I can say without fear of contradiction, that I have never been to.

News from the course is that the Argentine Tano Goya is leading at 6 under going through 15, and that Oliver Fisher has retired injured with a +7.

I think Tim has Oliver Fisher in his fantasy 5 Ball, so he will be narked.

JohnD

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Getting in the Golf

This is turning out to be a proper golf week. 9 holes today at Haywards Heath Golf Club, which is always a tricky track - tight and hard to score on. Never mention the insecticide incident to them is my only word of advice. Damaged a couple of fairways last year, and made the national press. It's all better now though.

Then it's up to Lindfield Golf Course for a round on Friday and another one on Sunday. Lindfield is the home of The Golf College, where you can get some A levels under your belt and learn how to be a pro. Not an option I had in my youth - lucky bleeders.

Think it's time I unleashed my swing on a largely unsuspecting world. So look out on Show Me The Golf' UGC page for a swing that will make Furyk orthodox.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Senior Open Finish

A fine 67 from Sam to take him to fifth and now a play off on the 18th at Sunningdale. Fred Funk's out, so McNulty and Roberts are battling it out. McNulty has just missed to the left and Roberts has a very makeable putt. And he's missed it.....tried to steer it in. He'll be kicking himself for weeks after that one. McNulty now as a missable one....and phew it's in. So it's back to the 18th hole again. Third time lucky.

JohnD - live from the sofa.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Fred The Funk

Day two at Sunningdale, and Fred the Funk has been busy putting together a pair of tidy rounds - a 64 and a 65. A run of 18 putts for 12 holes on Thursday set him off in the right direction. And then yesterday he completed his round with an eagle on the par 4 18th - a very rare event for this hole. It's 420 yards, up-hill to a green that cannot be seen from the fairway. Funk hit an 8 iron in from about 170 yards, and that was that. Job done. No wonder he's 11 under par with that kind of a performance.

Sam had, in the words of John Hopkins of The Times, an 'enchanting' round. The Show Me The Golf team are hoping that he can keep the enchantment going, and take out Funk with a spell as well.

JohnD

Friday, 24 July 2009

Sam's in there

A bit of local knowledge, great form, and massive appetite and hey presto Sam is right in there with at 7 under. Fred Funk is still out in front with a 4 shot lead, but with two days to go and Sam's inside take on everything Sunningdale and you'd have to be hopeful. His delightful Manager, Vicky Cummings, warned us that Sam was totally up for winning this. And now I'm asking myself why I didn't put down that fiver at 25-1. Doh....

The Letterman Show and Stewart Cink

On the Letterman Show on Tuesday they ran a spoof feature entitled: 'Top ten surprising things about Stewart Cink.' And the number one item was the admission by Cink, the new Open Champion, that "even I wanted Tom Watson to win." What a top man. Just going to sort out the link. It will be on Show Me The Golf shortly......But if you can't wait....try this....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsvB9_j0V3U

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Senior Open Day One

So with only a couple of days off, Tom Watson was at it again with a three-under 67 in the first round of the Senior British Open. Steady on lad. But that still wasn't enough to lead, as Fred Funk shot a 64, with Jay Haas and Loren Roberts both shooting 66's to share second place with Des Smyth and Christopher Williams.

Our Sam - sorry, Mr Torrance to me - shot an excellent three under 67 as well, so he's toe to toe with Tom Watson, Tom Kite, Greg Norman and Jerry Bruner.

Can't wait for tomorrow. Playing golf and then getting immersed with the second round. Can't be bad.

JohnD

Senior Open Time

Tim and I had a full on golf day yesterday - 18 holes at Woking, followed by a trip up to Sunningdale. Woking is pure magic, with some of the best greens I have played on in a long while. My putter was so hot, it was burning up the greens - but I think it was as much to do with the honesty of the greens. You could really trust them.

Then it was onto Sunningdale to meet with Jay Townsend, Show Me The Golf's US correspondent and general golf guru. Jay has one hell of a travel schedule, and I've never met a man with the more airmiles. He's already racked up 249,000 miles this year, and he's only mid way through the season. He's covering the British Senior Masters, before taking off to the Czech Republic, Germany and Swtizerland.

It was great walking round Sunningdale, as there were more major winners and golf legends per sqaure foot than I've ever seen in my life. Oh, there's Craig Stadler. And isn't that Sir Nick practicing his bunker shots. And that was just minute one.

We also managed to meet up Show Me The Golf legend and contributor, Sam Torrance, as he was playing his practice round with Ian Woosnam and Greg Norman.

I'm going to get back for the Saturday's play if I get half a chance. The train station is right by, and for £25 you can see some of the greatest players who have ever trodden the green stuff.


JohnD



Monday, 20 July 2009

Open Calm Down Session

It's the morning after, and time to digest all that occurred. Well, after watching England win at Lords that is. A Tom Watson or Lee Westwood victory would have made it a crowning glory of a weekend's sport - one that sticks in the memory long after. But it was not quite to be. So we are drowning our sorrows in a few pints of Stowford Press cider - not rocket fuel at 4.5% ABV, but more than enough for a Monday afternoon. And the verdict is that Lee should have made Tom putt with a safe two rather than go for it. Easy to say after the event, but that's the Show Me The Golf conclusion after our third pint and counting. Hardly revelatory I know, but that's where we have come out. Would Lee have won a play off against Cink - who knows? Cink played the 18th twice with birdies, and the 17th with an eagle and a birdie, so you can't argue with that. But not on the radar, and really did a creeper in. But lovely fellow, and there couldn't be a nicer American to win it. Other than Mr Watson. Hey ho. Another year to wait.

JohnD

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Open Day Two Late Night Musings

Was it my imagination or did the crowds look pretty thin at Turnberry? The normal army that follows Tiger around seemed a bit thin on the ground for a start, and then loads of space in the stands. Is this the credit crunch Open, or the too bloody difficult to get there Open? And can we blame Gordon Brown? The Show Me The Golf team didn't all manage to get there for a start. But that won't happen again. That said, I've seen more golf in the last two days than I've seen in my past five years going there - but that still isn't the point is it really. I should be there. Damn it to hell and back.

JohnD

Friday, 17 July 2009

And win a trip to St Mellion

And there's more. Go to our competition page and you can win a trip to St Mellion, the most fabulous course in the South West of England, and a right hard one to boot. Designed by that nice Mr Nicklaus, it's as hard as hell.

JohnD

Competition Time - Win A Maurice Lacroix Watch

We've got a brand new competition at Show Me The Golf - the opportunity to win a Maurice Lacroix watch, as worn by Justin Rose, worth £995.00! So if it's time to turn in your old Timex, step right up and come on in to our competition page.

And why does Justin Rose wear a Maurice Lacroix?

Here's the skinny..

Luxury must serve a purpose. In Justin Rose's opinion. Consequently the British golf pro likes the chronographs from Maurice Lacroix. This appreciation is mutual. "We could not desire a better ambassador for our company. We create watches for people who have the confidence to be themselves. Personalities who stand out from the crowd and are looking for more than social status." This is how CEO Martin Bachmann defines the people that Maurice Lacroix esteems. This profile fits Justin Rose perfectly. With his natural charisma and pleasant yet focused manner, the British golfer uniquely embodies the spirit of Maurice Lacroix.

"Authenticity is not a marketing slogan for us, it is a state of mind. Our fundamental desire is to create products that are genuine and true, whose actual value is not only in what can be seen," explains Martin Bachmann, CEO. Through the company's main design code 'less is more', Maurice Lacroix is constantly at the quest of creating the perfect object of desire merging perfectly design and function. This is why Maurice Lacroix has become one of the most exclusive and sought-after Manufacture brands.

For Justin Rose, 27 year old world class player, it is important to be in demand, and not just on the golf course. He lives his dream, yet keeps his feet on the ground, and is always conscious of what really counts in life. Loyalty. To himself and to others. Whatever he does, he does with passion. Justin Rose: "On the course I am a golfer and nothing else: absolute precision and accuracy of movement are all that count for me. In my private life I switch over and I am there for those I love, 100%. I am husband and father, friend and brother. I always try to live in the here and now."

The things with which Justin Rose, member of the 2008 Ryder Cup team, surrounds himself must reflect his attitude and provide meaningful accompaniment to his life. "I am interested in the best quality, because I want to have something from the things around me for a long time and I must be able to rely on them. For me the design is every bit as important as the function. Ostentation for the wrist and bling bling do not fit into my world." It is the hidden details that interest and fascinate the athlete.

The master watchmakers of Maurice Lacroix are experts in this field. Since the launch of the first watch model, the company has consistently introduced pioneering developments that have brought the company many patents and trademarks. The company achieved a worldwide coup with the invention of Memoire 1, the first mechanical clock with memory. Which model is Justin Rose's favorite? "The fact that I can only wear one watch at a time is a real handicap for me. Currently the 'Le Chronographe' is my favorite companion."

Details:

1. Movement: Hand-decorated mechanical, hand-wound ML 130 movement, based on the Peseux 7001 calibre, 17 jewels.

2. Functions: Small seconds.

3. Case: Stainless steel; domed sapphire crystal, screwed-in crown, screwed crystal caseback; water-resistant to 30 m (3 atu), dimensions 37 x 39 mm (3 o.clock / 9 o.clock / 6 o.clock / 12 o.clock).

4. Dial: Silver-coloured or black, applied index marks.

5. Watchband: Leather with folding clasp.

Available to buy from : Jura Watches tel: 0800 011 2704

Open Day Two and Counting

So day two has kicked off, and already Tom Watson is back at the head of the leaderboard. It looks like Poults is going to be watching from home at the weekend, but he did a great piece on his Twittering for the BBC this morning. He’s really got into, and hats off to him for that. Funnily enough it was Stewart Cink how was the first golfer to Twitter, who is not the most likely candidate. But he’s on the case, and was Twittering as soon as he had got back to his hotel room yesterday after his round – trying to get some air circulating in the room. I know the American’s still can’t get their heads around our lack of air-conditioning or our plumbing. Remember meeting Pat Perez last year at the Vincent in Southport: he’d checked into his original Southport hotel room, taken one look it, and bolted to The Vincent – the only hotel in Southport to have entered the 21st century, and by some margin.

Right, better get back to the TV. Everyone's struggling, but the Show Me the Golf fiver is still in play.


JohnD

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Open Day One

Knackered. We had a pre-Open celebration last night as the anticipation had just got too much for us. And as we are too busy with the site, we haven't been able to find the time to get up there. First Open I've missed since 2002. But I will actually see more by watching it on telly, but its simply not the same as being there.

Anyway, what a corking start. Tom Watson almost finished the day as clubhouse leader, a mere 32 years after the dual in the sun. What a weird game - a 59 year old can compete against an 18 year old and still come out on top. You'd have got 200- 1 for that, but as it didn't happen je ne regret rien.

The 16th certainly stuck it to a few players - not least Lee Westwood and Tiger. Tiger is often a slow starter, so I don't think he's too badly off the pace: but he needs to slot in a good one tomorrow or it could quickly get away from him. And the same goes for Poults. And some. Come on Poults, let's be having you.

Casey looked all set to go major on the course, and the touch-paper was well lit, only to be slightly dampened by the 18th. But he's still in position - just needs to get the putter working full-time.

I've had all day in front of the TV, but I've just worked out why there are no highlights tonight - apparently Setanta had the highlights rights and now they have gone under there hasn't been a new buyer - and so no highlights. Come on people, sort yourselves out.

And so to bed - I'm sad so will probably be thinking of Retief's bunker shot, which had to be shot of the day.

But the final word lies with Miguel AngelJimenez, the one and only wine drinking, cigar chomping Spanish golf maestro. His 64 is a record equalling first round for The Open, and he dedicated it to Seve. Of course Miguel doesn't have a website - not his style at all. But he's so unflappable that I think he could be in the mix on Sunday.

JohnD

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Scottish Open...Kaymer Wins

So Martin Kaymer has won the Scottish Open with a 2 under 69 for his second straight European Tour victory, after his play-off victory against Lee Westwood in the French Open. He's now gone to No 11 in the world, and must be feeling good about The Open, even though no-one seems to do that well having won the Scottish. It's not quite as bad as winning the par 3 event at The Masters, but I'm going to have to get the record books out to make any claims like that. But three wins in a row? How often does that happen? Need a word with Stato on that front, if he does golf that is. Like Martin Kaymer, Stato doesn't seem to have his own website either. They should get in touch as the Show Me The Golf team could whip one up for him in a couple of hours. And Martin, come on mate, I know you've been busy on the course and all that, but not having a website in this day and age is a bit luddite.


JohnD

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Scottish Open...and another thing

One burning question that we have been kicking around down at Show Me The Golf is why is the Scottish Open played at Loch Lomond - an inland course - when it could be held at a links course?

Is it because they don't want to overshadow The Open itself, which is always links? Would that be giving us too much links in too short a space of time? Wouldn't bother me, and it would mean that you'd get a great field attending, who wanted a bit of a links warm up before taking on The Open course. Padraig has had to go to Ireland to get his links practice in, but surely would have attended the Scottish Open if it had been held at one of Scotland's lesser links courses. Better for the crowds, TV watchers and sponsors I would have thought. Or am I missing something?

JohnD

The Open Run In

Sad to hear the Phil Mickelson won't be at The Open. He will be sorely missed, just as Tiger was last year. Well, Tiger was missed before the event, but as soon as things got going and the weather blew in to create a golfing apocalypse, it was a bit of a case of Tiger who? Maybe exaggerating slightly, but the weather became the story, and then Greg Norman, and then Poults and then Harrington.

We spend a couple of hours each day on the 17th at Royal Birkdale, so when Padraig cracked his 5 wood on to the green on the final day, we appreciated just how great a shot it had been. In all the hours we had spent on the 17th before then, no body had managed to do much. We saw a lovely up and down from Lee Westwood from the green side bunker, but that was about it.

So, will there be a UK or European winner? Probably not. I hope Padraig will get in the mix; the hunger is so clearly there. Rory you would think could be in there - hits the ball high, which isn't great if the wind is up, but he grew up playing Northern Irish links golf, so he knows his way round. You'd like to think Poults will give it a go, but apparently he's never played Turnberry before, so might be at a slight disadvantage.

I'm just hoping it won't be an obscure American - no disrespect to Todd Hamilton or Ben Curtis, who I was delighted to see playing well at The European Open. Hats off again to the Heath Harvey at The London Club for putting on such as great show.

So no final decision as to where the Show Me The Golf fiver will be spent. Let's see what Padraig does today, and how the Scottish Open plays out.

JohnD

Friday, 10 July 2009

Scottish Open

Adam Scott is coming good again, at last. We all know he's had a bad go of it recently, and that he's far too good looking for his own good. But we'll forgive him for that. Well, almost. He came and visited us on our tour bus when we were doing Golf Punk, but I think he may have been lured in by Nursie. But it's Retief who is looking in control with a round of 63. He's good at leading from the front, but if he gets this he's got no chance at The Open.

JohnD

Harrington On Course

So the preparation work continues to go to plan, as Padraig takes a 4 shot lead into tomorrow's final round with a two over par 73, from England's Simon Thornton. OK, so it wasn't a perfect round, but there can surely be no better way of preparing for The Open than getting a win under your belt immediately beforehand, and having the day off on Sunday as well. And it worked for him in 2007 and 2008. This is looking like one hell of a cunning plan.

The Show Me The Golf fiver could be moving his way.

JohnD