Golfs Superb Little Secret - Wales

By George WhiteJune 1, 2005, 4:00 pm
In the lands just off the coast of mainland Europe lie the mythical birthplace of the game of golf. We know them as the British Isles ' theres the country of Scotland, and England. Across the Irish Channel lies Ireland, both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
 
If youre a golfer, undoubtedly youve heard of each. Every golfer, around the world, has the dream of one day going there and playing golf on the soil where golf was first played.
 
Celtic Manor
The Roman Road course at Celtic Manor Resort opened in 1995.
But wait ' havent we forgotten something? How about, Wales? Wales is the western portion of the island comprising England to the south and Scotland to the north. Wales is a hidden gem, undoubtedly one of the finest places in the world to tee up a golf ball, but one of the least self-trumpeting.
 
This week in Wales, the European Tour comes calling at the Celtic Manor Wales Open. Celtic Manor is one of Wales newer beauties, but it is by no means the only top Welsh layout. This year, three made Golf Digests top 100 international course list ' Royal Porthcawl, Royal St. Davids and Aberdovey. Royal Porthcawl was rated 15th on the list and the ninth best course in Britain ' higher, incidentally, than any course in England.
 
Wales, in European terms, has not been that well established as a golf destination, agrees Roger Pride, director of marketing for the Wales Tourist Board.
 
People know a lot about Scotland, England, Ireland. I guess here in Wales, we never realized what a great golf background we have.
 
Wales has a superb combination of the new ' American Robert Trent Jones, Jr., designed Celtic Manor ' and the old.
 
Weve got some tremendous traditional links courses, said Pride. Weve developed the whole idea of golf as it should be as a way of trying to capitalize golf in Wales. What we are trying to do is develop the idea of golf as a very relaxed atmosphere, where there is a genuine welcome, played in a great natural environment.
 
The terrain and soil in Wales is the same as in the remainder of the British Isles. The grasses are the same. But perhaps something has been missing which would call attention to them ' a massive clubhouse, perhaps. But then again, a huge clubhouse would detract from the idyllic charm of the out-of-the-way places.
 
We have some very old and established links courses, which again have not been as well recognized as some other countries ... places like Royal St. Davids, Royal Porthcawl - they could all compare with any links product anywhere, said Pride. And there are courses such as Nefyn, Conwy, Pennard, Southerndown, Tenby, Pyle and Kenfig, just waiting to burst onto the top 100 list. All these courses need is the infrastructure around it.
 
Celtic Manor
Celtic Manor Resort claims to have 'Europe's Finest Clubhouse.'
They dont have the mega-resorts around them, but to be honest, Im not even sure that is the way we should go.
 
But golf in Wales is due to get a huge boost in the coming years. The Ryder Cup will be played there, at Celtic Manor Resort and now the reticent Welshmen will have to start touting all their golf venues ' Europeans, Americans and Canadians are bound to start flooding the countryside.
 
Its not all about the Cup, though, said Rob Holt of Ryder Cup Wales 2010. Its about everything the event raises.
 
Many Americans have not heard on Wales at all. It gives us an opportunity to tell a little about us. Were trying very hard to make ourselves better known ' Lets give everybody who comes across a great experience, give them the most spectator-friendly event theres ever been.
 
All our courses are very friendly, very welcoming. The prices are incredibly good. Most are only about $35. A woman from America came up to me and said, That must cost $200. I said, No, 35.
 
She said, Total? I said, Total.
 
Thats the type of thing you run into all the time.
 
Wales is only 1 hours by auto west of London, and Cardiff on the south coast has a major airport if thats too long a drive. For those who plan to attend the 2006 Ryder Cup in Ireland, Dublin to Cardiff is just a 30-minute plane ride and only costs the equivalent of approximately $71. Hidden in the country are numerous little treasures, all slumbering while waiting to be discovered.
 
And it took winning the Ryder Cup to actually create a catalyst, which has created a tremendous movement in Wales, said Holt. We now have a stated intent to be one of the worlds top golf destinations by the time the Ryder Cup comes in 2010.
 
The Ryder Cup is going to provide the platform.
 
Email your thoughts to George White
 
Related Links:
  • Learn more about Golf in Wales
  • Wales Tourist Board
  • Getty Images

    Garcia among bubble boys keeping playoff hopes alive

    By Randall MellAugust 18, 2018, 12:34 am

    Sergio Garcia gave himself a chance to keep his perfect FedExCup Playoffs record going with his rally Friday at the Wyndham Championship.

    D.A. Points moved into position to make a historic leap into the postseason.

    And Johnson Wagner dunked his last shot of the day from long range to keep his hopes of making the playoffs alive.

    But the day didn’t end nearly as well for Tyrone Van Aswegen’s FedExCup hopes.

    Van Aswegen didn’t do himself any favors trying to hold on to the 125th spot on the FedExCup points list. He missed the cut by a shot.

    Only the top 125 advance to The Northern Trust and next week’s start to the playoffs.

    Van Aswegen wasn’t alone among “bubble boys” missing the cut. No. 122 Jhonattan Vegas, No. 123 Seamus Power, No. 124 Martin Piller, No. 126 Chad Campbell and No. 127 Robert Garrigus all failed to make the weekend.

    Garcia is among 13 players who have advanced to the FedExCup Playoffs every year since they began in 2007, but his run was in jeopardy of ending starting the week. He’s 131st on the FedExCup points list

    With a 65 Friday following his opening round 66, Garcia is in more than a great position to advance. He’s in position to win the Wyndham. He is tied for fourth, five shots off the lead. The day ended with Garcia projected to move up to 118th on the FedExCup points list.


    Wyndham Championship: Full-field scores | Full coverage

    Current FedExCup points list


    “I'm just going to try to keep building on the things that I did well these first two days,” Garcia said. “Whatever happens, happens. Like I said at the beginning of the week, if I have a great weekend, then it will be great. If I don't have a great weekend, it will still be great because

    I'll get to rest.”

    Points started the week 214th on the FedExCup points list. With back-to-back 64s, he trails only Brandt Snedeker going into the weekend. He’s projected to move to 81st in points. Nobody has ever started the Wyndham Championship that far back in points and qualified for the playoffs. Davis Love III was 186th when he won and advanced in 2015.

    Wagner, 136th on the FedExCup points list, went to spectacular lengths Friday to keep his playoff hopes alive. He was outside the cut line until holing his 153-yard approach at the last.

    Bill Haas, who is among those 13 players to have qualified for the playoffs every year, started the week 150th in points. He can keep his perfect playoff record going with a big weekend. He shot 68 Friday to make the cut. He’s tied for 52nd in the tournament.

    Getty Images

    Points two back after missing 16 of 17 cuts

    By Randall MellAugust 17, 2018, 11:54 pm

    What’s the better story come Sunday?

    Brandt Snedeker turning his 59 in the opening round into a victory at the Wyndham Championship?

    Or D.A. Points winning after missing 16 cuts in his last 17 starts?

    They’re both scripts in the works at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C.

    Points, who has been struggling this season with a herniated disc that causes numbness in his fingers, has broken through his season-long funk to shoot back-to-back 64s. He starts the weekend in second place, two shots behind Snedeker.


    Full-field scores from Wyndham Championship

    Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos


    “It's been difficult,” Points said of his slump. “It's been hard on my family. I was in this position a couple years ago, and I clawed my way back and won in Puerto Rico.

    “I had that big downturn, and I clawed my way out of it just to find myself way back down in another deep hole again.”

    Points, 41, is a three-time PGA Tour winner. He won his first title playing alongside Bill Murray at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in 2011 and two years later won the Shell Houston Open. He slipped into a three-year funk after that, before rebuilding his game and winning the Puerto Rico Open last year.

    “Hopefully, this is my way of starting to claw back out,” Points said.

    Getty Images

    New 'Mr. 59' Snedeker needs Day 2 rally to keep Wyndham lead

    By Randall MellAugust 17, 2018, 11:24 pm

    Brandt Snedeker struggled coming off the emotional high that comes with shooting 59, but it didn’t stop him from rallying Friday to try to turn his historic round into a victory at the Wyndham Championship.

    After a sluggish start to the second round, Snedeker caught fire on the back nine at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C., to take the lead going into the weekend.

    With a 3-under 67, Snedeker moved to 14 under overall, two shots ahead of D.A. Points (64).

    “I knew it was going to be tough” Snedeker said. “It wasn't going to be the same way it was yesterday. Kind of battling the emotion of everybody pulling hard for you, wanting to see you do it again. So the front nine was disappointing.”

    A day after becoming the ninth player in PGA Tour history to post a sub-60 tournament round, Snedeker opened with three bogeys and two birdies on the front nine. He said it was a struggle to begin anew.


    Full-field scores from Wyndham Championship

    Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos


    “You hear people telling you every two seconds, `Mr. 59,’ or saying how cool it was to watch it,” Snedeker said. “Phone's still blowing up this morning, guys in the locker room are still talking to me about it. So, yes, totally on your mind. You can't ignore it. You can't try to forget about it. Hardest thing is trying to get back into a rhythm.”

    Snedeker did with an eagle and two birdies on the back nine. Rolling in a 30-foot eagle putt at the 15th gave him back the lead he lost earlier in the round.

    “To see that go in was huge,” Snedeker said.

    Not every player to break 60 on the PGA Tour has gone on to win. In fact, Snedeker is looking to become just the fifth player to do so.

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    Garwood (64) leads Dick's Sporting Goods Open

    By Associated PressAugust 17, 2018, 9:53 pm

    ENDICOTT, N.Y. - Doug Garwood birdied the final three holes for an 8-under 64 and the first-round lead Friday in the Dick's Sporting Goods Open.

    The 55-year-old Garwood had nine birdies and a bogey, playing his final nine holes - the front nine at En-Joie Golf Club - in 6-under 31.

    ''Drove it well, hit the irons well, pitched well, putted well, thought well,'' Garwood said. ''I got to a point I was just making birdies and I kind of lost track of how it was going,'' Garwood said. ''That's always a good thing.''

    He won the 2016 SAS Championship for his lone PGA Tour Champions title.


    Full-field scores from the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open


    "I haven't been playing great this year, but I've been working hard on my game and things I've been working on are paying off,'' Garwood said. ''My golf, I take it a shot at a time, don't think about too far in advance because you really can't control, you know, the 13th hole tomorrow. It's just about the tee shot on No. 1.''

    Michael Bradley and Marco Dawson shot 65, Woody Austin and Clark Dennis followed at 66, and Bob Estes and Tom Gillis were at 67.

    ''It was a good day,'' Bradley said. ''I've traditionally not driven the ball well here and you've got to drive the ball good here to shoot a good score. I drove the ball well and made a few putts, so that was that.''

    Kenny Perry, the 3M Championship winner two weeks ago in Minnesota, had a 68. Bernard Langer and Miguel Angel Jimenez each shot 70. Langer won the 2014 tournament. Jimenez is coming off a victory at St. Andrews in the British Senior Open.

    Defending champion Scott McCarron had a 72. Kevin Sutherland also had a 72. He shot the only 59 in PGA Tour Champions history in the 2014 event. John Daly, the winner of the PGA Tour's 1992 B.C. Open at En-Joie, opened with a 73.