I was thrilled to see Tiger win the Tour Championship (the final leg of the Fed X Cup), his 80th victory on the PGA tour. Although nobody mounted a real challenge, he looked like the focused Tiger of old coming down the stretch. Watching the crowds on TV was like turning the clock back 10 years and showed what a phenomenon he is. Love him or hate him, he elevates golf to a level never seen before.
He raised the standard and we see a totally different game played today than when he burst on the scene 20 years ago, and one had forgotten how energised the crowds were with him at the top. The players too are grateful, prize money has rocketed through his exploits and though Tiger was winning a large percentage of it, second place is worth more than the previous winners cheques not to mention the other placings. What odds now on him winning more Majors?
Despite a resurgent Woods, having struggled a little all day, Rose’s gutsy birdie 4 on the 72nd to seal the $10 million to win the Fed X Cup was maybe an omen for the following weeks terrific Ryder Cup victory. Hot off the blocks and then shell shocked in the afternoon foursomes, the Americans seemed to fall into disarray and the Europeans never really looked like relinquishing the lead, albeit, halfway through the final afternoon things did get a little tight. No matter about the pre-tournament hype of the new found camaraderie in the American camp, the best team ever assembled etc., it was obvious the Europeans are truly a team. In my opinion, I think the young Americans with all their recent Major wins feel they are better than the older established stars, where as the younger Europeans fully respected the experience of their Captains picks.
Who would have thought after his reemergence this year that Woods would lose all four games? No doubt the course set up didn’t suit the bigger and not so straight hitters, with Mickleson being the biggest victim. It appears too, there were some in the camp less than happy with the pairings. Conversely, the European team were totally content with their pairings, Sergio became the highest points scorer of all time and Molinari the first ever to take a maximum five points. A great victory and wonderfully captained by Thomas Bijorn.
One has to congratulate Molinari on his superb season. One of the finest and most consistent strikers of the golf ball for many years, if we ever needed proof of how important the putter is, he has given us that this year. A big win in the States, European BMW PGA Champion, Open Champion, and capping that with his Ryder Cup heroics he surely will be European player of the year.
I was in Italy over the Ryder Cup weekend, and Italy is probably my favourite European golfing destination these days (please read the blog). They have excellent courses, some dating back to the early nineteen hundreds, usually in fine condition and certainly in the north, stunning views of the mountains and lakes, but as yet not a golfing nation as such. We were met with blank looks in Stresa, on the shores of Lake Maggiore, asking if there was a sports bar where we could watch the Ryder Cup. Even at Bogogno Golf Club where we played early on the Sunday morning to be able to watch the final day singles unfold in the clubhouse, our group out numbered the rest of the watchers!
Over recent years we have run tours in late September and early October to Prague, Malmo, Gothenburg and the Italian lakes and I know it’s surprising, but played many rounds, even in Sweden in our shirtsleeves.
I must admit, I haven’t taken a close look at the new rules of golf and handicapping system coming in soon. I am sure there will be lots of rumblings as handicaps are adjusted up and down, especially if, as I understand it, gents are going above 28 and ladies above 36. It reminds me of playing with three ladies in South Africa the last time handicaps were at 45. Playing as a team and taking best three scores from four on a par 3, I had a birdie two for 3 points and didn’t get on the card! My three lady playing partners scored a 2 net 1 for 4pts, 4 net 1 for 4pts, and wait for it, yes, a 3 net 0 for 5pts = 13 pts total!
But I digress; it surprises me how many regularly competing club players don’t know or misunderstand the basic rules which crop up for them or their playing partners most rounds. Please have a good look, not only at the new rules, but every day ones. It can be embarrassing for you to be told a rule is being infringed, and for the playing partner who has to tell you. Unlike most sports you are not all playing together and the only fair way is for everyone to abide by the rules – you are really acting as referee for the rest of the field. Some of the changes are aimed at simplifying the rules and speeding up play, even so they are very complicated and I believe for all but top amateur and professional golf they could be made so much easier. However, in the meantime, learn the everyday ones and you may be surprised how they can help you just as much as they penalise you. Under the new rules you will even be allowed to drop out of a bunker!!
Enjoy the bonus weather we are having in the UK.
Hello from Spain! I am leaving Guadalmina today and travelling to Benalup. We have had some stormy weather and sunshine so far but it hasn’t interrupted our golf and everyone has enjoyed themselves. we had some fun team events in Shropshire on our last UK event of the year . Prior to this trip my last UK Tour of the year was to Shrewsbury which is a lovely historic town, we played an interesting mix of courses in England and Wales. I particularly enjoyed Welshpool, with some amazing views and challenging holes. Here we had the added bonus of sheep as spectators although have to say they are a tough crowd to impress!
Like all of us (well certainly those of us this side of the Atlantic) I really enjoyed this years Ryder Cup. It is the gift that keeps giving, with amazing golf, passion and camaraderie to revel in. Although it looked a fairly comfortable win, as David mentioned there was a moment on the final day where one felt the Americans were capable of coming back. Fortunately the old hands of Poulter,Sergio, Stenson, Molinari and Casey with the new blood of Rahm, Olesen and Noren put paid to that. The ‘Moliwood’ pairing of Molinari and Fleetwood was inspired and a great reminder of how great team golf is. There are times when I think golf is too tough to tackle on your own! It is a good job it is a biennial fixture as not sure we can stand the pressure every year. However by next year I’m sure we will be ready for the Solheim Cup and one of my favourites the Walker Cup where the amateurs take centre stage.
All of these team competitions showcases controlling the nerves and nowhere is that more present than on the first tee. Whether you are playing in your local monthly medal or a DSG event, this shot gets our attention. Clearly David and I would be championing the cause of a spot of preparation before embarking upon said shot and those of you who think having an extra sprinkle of chocolate on your pre round cappuccino is sufficient, think again. Some warming up never goes amiss and certainly as the weather gets cooler in the U.K. it is important for our joints to loosen up . I hope this video will help get that first one away.
Enjoy the rest of your autumn golf and I look forward to catching up with many of you over our winter programme.
All the best
I trust that you are well.
So the Ryder Cup has come and gone for another couple of years, the Premiership is well underway, the autumn rugby internationals will soon be upon us and the news is filled with the antics of Strictly Come Dancing contestants. Autumn must be here!
May I firstly thank everyone who has booked to date this year and I very much hope that the trips have lived up to expectations.
For the coming weeks, there are still two places available on the Tenerife Golf & Coaching week and one on the Tenerife Golf Week, both of which take place next month. If these are of interest, please let me know as we will soon have to submit final numbers to the hotels. The Festive tours follow on quickly thereafter, with both of the Christmas weeks (Tavira and Vilamoura) having a few places available and likewise David’s New Year Vilamoura week having availability. If you are tempted by spending Christmas and New Year in Portugal, the weeks involve super courses, hotels and a great camaraderie amongst the groups, and without wishing to tempt fate, usually very good weather too! As we head in to 2019, please note that both the El Rompido Golf & Coaching week and the Algarve Golf Week are beginning to fill up, El Rompido especially so. These two weeks are always popular; hence please do let me know if they are of interest.
The respective trips to the Canary Islands and Morocco in February and March have also proved very popular, with only two places left available on the Morocco Golf Week. If you want to travel further afield however, there are places available on both Barney’s Southern California tour in February and David’s annual pilgrimage to South Africa in March.
I will focus on the ever popular Tavira Golf & Coaching and San Lorenzo Golf Weeks in March and April in future newsletters, but if I can draw attention to the Azores Golf Week in May, as this is a new venue, but one that is most certainly worth considering. ‘Champagne Golf’ is the term described to me by a client who has played the courses and it is a destination that has taken us 30 years to get to, with the patience to be duly rewarded with the exceptional quality on offer.
Talking of patience, thank you to everyone who has expressed an interest in the Scotland tour. It is finally in place and now live on the web-site! The tour is based at the sublime Dunkeld House Hotel in the village of Dunkeld, on the banks of the River Tay, and involves playing the two courses at Blairgowrie, Crieff, Pitlochry and Dunkeld & Birnam Golf Clubs. The other two golf tour trips are also now live, one being to North Somerset and the other to Yorkshire, playing the likes of Moortown and Moor Allerton for example. Similarly the dates for the UK Golf & Coaching events, which proved so popular this year, are all live on the web-site.
My focus is now on finalising the 2019 autumn events, which involve trips to Greece, Spain, Tenerife and Mauritius, the details of which will be available soon.
Thanks as always for your interest and bookings and we will do our utmost to ensure that the trips are ones that live long in the memory.
If you have any queries, require further information or indeed wish to book a place on a trip, please do not hesitate to contact me.
The Lopesan Links Open Championships Mar 2020
With Coronavirus raging, golf tournaments around the world, including The Masters, cancelled, Tours suspended, hotels and countries in lock down,...