The Dunhill Links a Good Remedy for FedExCup-itus:
I think I might have FedExCup-itus. Is it me or do you feel like some of the wind has disappeared from the sails of pro golf now the FedExCup is over? The Seve Trophy was a prime example of how this fever has hit the top players in the game. The competition is supposed to pit the best of Great Britain and Ireland against the Continent of Europe. With the Presidents Cup taking centre stage in the United States, there really was no excuse for players to miss this.
I might give Luke Donald a small exception as he is a past champion of the Viking Classic, which ran opposite to the Presidents Cup. But Donald followed many of Europes big names and pulled out, I contacted the folks at IMG to see if Donald had a good reason for not being at the Seve Trophy, but they sent me a message back saying no statement would be issued regarding his absence. Ian Poulter had a wedding to attend, and seeing that it was his own, it seemed like a valid excuse. I can imagine the thought process: Whens a good week to get married thats not in the depths of the British winter? How about the week of the Seve Trophy? Garcia opted out; Harrington took a weeks rest despite the event being in Ireland; and Henrik Stenson was not a part of Team Europe.
The big-guns of Europe were not on display. Its a little disconcerting for the Europeans to hear Americans really hyped about the Presidents Cup, even saying they prefer it to the Ryder Cup. We want the Americans to see the Ryder Cup as the crme de la crme of team golf, the one they want to win; thats what makes winning for either side so special. But we cant help how the Presidents Cup has developed; it does give the International players a wonderful venue and excellent competition. The Seve Trophy seems to be a great way for the Europeans to respond, to have their own little Presidents Cup if you like. But with the failure of the big names showing up it seems were going the wrong way about it. Maybe its because the FedExCup took so much out of the players, and we still have some really important events left in Europe. Evidently the top Europeans dont give anywhere near as much merit to the Seve Trophy as the Americans give to the Presidents Cup, and I cant see this changing anytime soon.
So with that said, the Dunhill Links might just be the remedy for FedExCup-itus. Three of the worlds best courses: Carnoustie, St Andrews and Kingsbarns; Hugh Grant, Ray Romano, Dennis Hopper, Samuel L. Jackson and Sir Bobby Charlton among the celebrities; and 16 of the top 50 in the world teeing it up. Harrington returns to the site of his Open Championship triumph; Rory McIlroy the low amateur at The Open is playing as a pro; Nick Faldo makes his third start of the year; and even Scott McCarron is in the field ' what a week! And, of course, Renton Laidlaw is in the commentary box for live coverage for GOLF CHANNEL.
During my recent trip over to The Open and Womens British Open, I had the chance to spend a little time at my home club, Walton Heath. The head professional, Ken McPherson, is one of the games great historians, a true golfing gentleman. Anyone making a trip to London on business or pleasure should stop off for a game or at least to pop into the shop and clubhouse. In its 104th year, Walton Heath has had just three professionals: James Braid, Harry Busson and Ken. Braid won five Opens and was a renowned club maker; Busson even more so ' during the Ryder Cup there in 1981 he was inundated with orders from the players themselves. This means Mr. McPherson has some wonderful clubs lying around, and this summer I got the chance to go out and have a good practice session with an old set of hickories. I cant tell you what they were, who made them or their particular vintage, but what I can tell you is, theyre not easy to stripe. I had more than a little trouble getting these beauties to go where I wanted and with some sort of decent flight. With this in mind I was interested to see the results of the World Hickory Championship, which took place last week at Craigelaw in Scotland. Lloyd Saltman was the victor with a 1-over 72. Competitors were limited to six clubs of pre-1935 vintage and many went all out by looking the part with classic Plus Twos and long socks.
If youre an avid golfer and are looking for a bit of a new challenge and a good laugh might I suggest obtaining a small set of hickories; I think youll find it fun.
Tom Abbott will host live coverage of the Longs Drug Challenge on GOLF CHANNEL beginning Thursday at midnight for viewers in the UK Sky Digital Channel 423.
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