Golf - A Global Game

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I must first say thank-you to those of you who wrote to me regarding my last article a fortnight ago.
 
I had asked for your views on the WGC events and the response was somewhat overwhelming. And I did read all the e-mails. It was extremely interesting to hear the varied viewpoints on the matter.
 
Most folks are in favor of bringing the best players in the world together and if that means having to play the tournaments on American soil then so be it. I will point out though the international communitys views differed, favoring a truer global series. Here are some of the more interesting points:
 
  • The LPGA Tour is way ahead of the PGA TOUR in terms of encouraging participation from countries outside of its home
  • One WGC event should be played in the U.S., the other in Europe and final one in Asia, Africa or Australasia
  • The WGC should move toward basing their series on the Masters series in tennis
     
    The English Open Returns
    Many of you reading this in the United States will be planning or may have taken a golfing trip to Europe. The great links venues are a must see but there are some other courses worth a trip, one of which is the International at St. Mellion.
     
    A Nicklaus design, the course works itself around a hillside, diving down into the valley below, giving a very mixed bag of shots and some gorgeous views. It played host to the Benson and Hedges International Open for a number of years, The Players Championship of Europe has been there and in recent times, The Midas English Seniors Open.
     
    Now, The English Open will be reborn at St. Mellion.
     
    I remember as a youngster going to watch the English Open, it was always a good event, especially at the Forest of Arden, with the par 3 finish, and a haunting back nine through those big ancient oak trees. In 2003, the tournament vanished from the European Tour schedule, seemingly never to return, but next season it will, thank goodness. Yes, its my national open and Im bias, but with Ballesteros, Norman, Woosnam, Montgomerie and Westwood on the winners list this one deserved to stick around.
     
    I will say though, wait until after the 2009 tournament before making your visit, the course, clubhouse and hotel facilities are going through an upgrade and youll want to see this place in its best light.
     
    One to Watch
    My home club of Walton Heath, just south of London, hosts the South of England Amateur Championship each year. Top players from throughout Europe and some further afield come to compete. Last year a young Englishman surprised all the big names by running away with the title - 10 shots was the victory margin. The very next week he went to the English Amateur Championship and did it again, this time in match play. A Walker Cup cap beckoned and no longer were people saying whos Daniel Willett?
     
    It seems Willett is no flash in the pan, last week he captured the Spanish Amateur Championship with a 5 and 3 victory over local boy Jordi Garcia Pinto at Pals on the Costa Brava. Willett was on scholarship at Jacksonville State University in Alabama, but decided to pack it in after a couple of years with the Gamecocks to concentrate on his career in Europe. A life in the pros is surely beckoning, dont be surprised if you see his name pop up as the European Tour hits the continent in the coming weeks.
     
    On Safari
    The Challenge Tour regulars boarded planes in various spots around the globe on Monday, destination Nairobi. After a break of three months the boys are back at in Southern Africa for the third event on the schedule. Five players to watch-out for this season are:
    -Miguel Rodriguez
    -Marco Ruiz
    -Rafael Cabrera Bello
    -James Heath
    -Adam Gee
     
    Email your thoughts to Tom Abbott
     
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