Cutting Edge: The Club link to view

Here is where you can still see the documentary

https://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-club

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American Golf become title sponsors of Rose Ladies Series Order of Merit

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American Golf, Europe’s largest golf retailer, has offered to match Justin Rose’s financial contribution to the Rose Ladies Series Order of Merit.

They will be matching the £35,000 that the Rose family have put up for the series.

Justin Rose said:

“I am so delighted that American Golf has decided to join forces with me and Kate in support of the women’s game,” Rose said. “We cannot thank them enough. American Golf has always played a huge role in their support of the game, particularly in terms of encouraging more women and young players to take up the sport.

We’ve always been impressed by the way they go about their business and I cannot thank all the team at American Golf enough for contacting us to see how they could help support the Rose Ladies Series.”

Justin and his wife Kate are sponsoring and organising the series of 8 one day UK tournaments which begin next week with the event at Brockenhurst Manor on 18 June.

Although golf has re started on the PGA Tour this week, the women have to wait until August for the LPGA and LET to return. Sky Sports will be broadcasting all of the series.

Justin said “You can’t distinguish between mens golf and womens golf. The dreams are the same but it is the opportunity and the platform that is skewed.

Kate Rose, who was a former European gymnastics champion, said : “It’s important for the mental health of the female pros to get back to work and see their colleagues again. We are very happy that we can do our bit because of the life golf has given us.

“Golf needs more players to step up for the women. We need feminist voices to not just be female. We all have to be promoting the sport we love”.

Dame Laura Davies, Charley Hull and Bronte Law have all committed to play. The winner of the Order of Merit wins £20,000.

 

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GOLF IS BACK!

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Overjoyed to see the first tee shot by Ryan Palmer at the Charles Schwab Cup at Colonial Country Club just now.

Golf is back!

All the top 5 players in the world competing and 9 of the top 10. Justin Thomas says we would rather play without fans than wait. 91 days between tournaments. Though not the longest break professional golf has had. In 1918 371 days of competitive play was missed due to the Spanish flu pandemic.

The excitement amongst the golf family is at fever pitch.

Wonder if I’m going to be seen on the PGA Tour broadcasts as one of the virtual fans they filmed a couple of weeks ago. Perhaps not, everyone else was American and I did have to wave my Union Jack flags and cheer “go Rory!”

Sorry if I lowered the tone.

 

 

 

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Golf for Good

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All European Tour tournaments from July until December will also be part of the Tour’s new ‘Golf for Good’ initiative, a narrative which will underpin the season and one which aims to give back in three key areas:

 

Supporting the Communities where the European Tour plays.

Rewarding the true heroes, such as the front line workers.

Promoting the many health benefits that golf offers.

 

The ‘Golf for Good’ initiative will be launched at the new ‘UK Swing’ in July and August, six weeks which will culminate in £500,000 from the European Tour being distributed equally between charities local to the tournament venues and charities chosen by the leading ten players in a mini Order of Merit which will run across the six tournaments.

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European Tour unveils the 2020 schedule bit by bit

Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the European Tour,  has announced the re-start of tournaments by unveiling the first part, a six week UK swing which begins with the Betfred British Masters at Close House on July 22.

This is followed by the return of the English Open at the Forest of Arden GC – the first playing in 18 years. The following week the English Championship will be contested at Hanbury Manor.

A two week stay at Celtic Manor, Wales for the Celtic Classic and the Wales Open to be played on different championship courses. Finally, in the last week in August the UK Championship will be held at The Belfry. At the moment the plan is no spectators, to be held behind closed doors.

24 tournaments are being aimed for between July and the end of the year. The Aberdeen Standard Investment Scottish Open will be played at the Renaissance Club 8-11 October and the Tour’s flagship event the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth is moved back to October 15-18 . Two further Rolex events The Nedbank Challenge at Sun City in South Africa will take place December 3-6 and the DP World Championship at Jumeriah Estates Dubai December 10-13 will finish off the season.

Keith Pelley said: “Some of you might want to ask the question, ‘is The European Tour bankrupt or running out of money?’ And I would say, absolutely not. Of course, we’ve been affected like millions of businesses the world over, but we’ve worked hard and been extremely responsible in our financial approach to this global crisis.

We have consistently said that safety is our absolute priority and that is why today we are announcing our resumption in two months’ time supported by a comprehensive health strategy which has been led by our medical team.

“Without question we have had to think differently about the remainder of our 2020 season which is reflected in today’s announcement. As golf’s global Tour, diversity is ordinarily one of our biggest strengths, but in this instance it has become one of our biggest challenges.

“Initially, therefore, based on the expert guidance we received, playing in clusters, in one territory, is the best option in terms of testing, travel and accommodation.

“I would therefore like to take this opportunity to thank Betfred, Close House, Marriott, The Forest of Arden, Hanbury Manor, The Celtic Manor Resort and The Belfry for sharing our vision for this ‘UK Swing’ and we look forward to returning to tournament play in July with this innovative stretch of six events.

“As well as getting golf going again for our players, our broadcasters, our stakeholders and our millions of fans around the world, these new events will also enable us to give back during these unprecedented times, building on some of the community support already given by our players over the past few months.

“I also want to pay tribute to Rolex, BMW, Aberdeen Standard Investments, the Scottish Government, Nedbank, Sun International and DP World, for their continued commitment to the European Tour which allowed us to move four hugely important tournaments on the European Tour into new dates later in the year.

“Not only did they show flexibility, they also showed understanding of the current global situation and we are truly fortunate to have them as partners of the European Tour.”

While the intention remains to crown a new Race to Dubai Champion on Sunday December 13, as part of the changes to the end of the 2020 season caused by the impact of COVID-19, the European Tour’s Tournament Committee recently agreed that all Members’ 2020 Categories, and their ranking within that category, will be retained in 2021 with related playing rights being protected to the absolute maximum possible in the 2021 season.

That decision was passed unanimously by the Committee, as was the fact that there will no longer be a ‘Minimum Tournament Regulation’ for the 2020 season.

Pelley added: “We recognise that when we resume playing golf, each player’s circumstances will be different. We therefore do not want to put anyone in a position whereby they feel they have no choice other than to play in certain events in order to protect their livelihood.

“Similarly, the feeling was that it was not fair to disadvantage any member who might want to play in an event but who might not be able to due to ongoing travel restrictions. Therefore, in consultation with our Tournament Committee, it was agreed preserving their exempt status for 2021 was the fairest solution in these unprecedented times.

“As a consequence, there will be no Qualifying School this year and no formal graduation from the Challenge Tour, although the Tournament Committee has agreed to reward exceptional performance on both the European Tour and the Challenge Tour in 2020, precise details of which we will announce in due course.”

 

This all looks positive with the rigorous health protocols put in place. The look of the UK swing is quite nostalgic. It looks like the schedule from the early 1980s when the Tour had long stays in the UK for such glorious tournaments in the North of England such as the Benson and Hedges International at Fulford near York, the Care Care Plan at Moortown. Leeds and the Laurence Batley Invitational at Bingley St Ives. Further south The Oxfordshire held a big tournament the week after The Open, and we would visit East Sussex National and go down to St Mellion in Cornwall. That all seemed like an almost quaint distant memory until today. But why two events on the same course? While Celtic Manor has held a Ryder Cup, is it superior to the links at Royal Porthcawl or St Pierre which adjoins England and Wales? Seems like a missed opportunity to showcase either of these fine Welsh courses. It is a real shame that British fans who would have loved seeing this six week swing in person cannot attend in person, but even behind closed doors it will be an uplifting lap of honour to start the 24 tournament season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Match 2 is the most watched golf telecast in cable TV history

Turner Broadcasting has announced that Sunday’s charity match between Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning v Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady which raised $20 million for Covid 19 relief charities was the most watched golf event in cable TV history, across four platforms. A 5.8 million viewers on average with 6.3 million at peak. It was the number one programme on television all day.

It helped that Tiger’s swing looks in impeccable form. Really great position at the top, delivering the clubface square and accurately hitting all 14 fairways. He looks in formidable form for when professional play resumes.

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Gareth Bale defends the amount of golf he plays

Gareth Bale has hit back at criticism from Real Madrid fans who object to the amount of golf he plays. When Wales qualified for the now postponed Euro 2020 competition he tweeted “Wales, golf, Madrid in that order”.

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“I don’t know what their reason is because I’ve spoken to doctors and everybody’s fine with it. The media has this perception that it’s not good for me, you should be resting, it can cause you injuries.

He has built a golf course in his back garden in Wales, added that he plays on a handicap between three and four and plays golf at least twice a day when the football season is over.

 

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Golfers on Ice

European Tour today issued these photographs which they say were taken at a tournament played on ice in Norway, but it looks like the Drambuie World Ice Golf Championship which has been played since 1999 in Greenland. This was hosted at Uummannaq, 600 km north of the Arctic Circle in the shadow of a volcano.

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Rory has a hunch the 2020 Ryder Cup will be postponed

2016 Ryder Cup - Singles Matches

In an interview with BBC Northern Ireland this morning Rory McIlroy was clear. It will be the right call to push the Ryder Cup back and his hunch was that it will be. He said that the event without the fans is not the Ryder Cup. The majority of players want to see it pushed back and they are the ones that make the Ryder Cup, so I don’t see how it can happen. Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka have also spoken out against the match being played on September.

The 2001 Ryder Cup was postponed days before the match due to the 9/11 attacks on America and went ahead at The Belfry in 2002. If this years event is postponed the format will return to alternate years matches in ‘odd’ years. No official word from the tours yet.

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Golf World and Today’s Golfer cease publication

 

We choose our words carefully in these difficult times. So I choose the word “deflated” to describe how I felt when I found out the news that Golf World and Today’s Golfer have both been shut down by Bauer Media after 40 years and 32 years respectively. They have been a meaningful part of my life for so long and I will miss them.

The shutting down of Today’s Golfer on its 400th issue comes not long after the passing of its originator and founding editor Bill Robertson who died on March 6 after a long illness. They have left us together. This gentleman contacted me, a young sprog who kept on sending him material when he edited Golf Illustrated, to invite me up to Peterborough for a meeting.

I had a dilemma when I received this letter for the timing was difficult but I went to see him anyway. He offered me the chance to work for him regularly. But I  had to decline. That week coincided with losing my lovely Dad and I wasnt in the right headspace at the time to take on such a challenge. So I watched later as the journalists he did cultivate went on to great opportunities, not least the most talented Lauren St John who became golf correspondent of the Sunday Times before leaving the sport to become a successful author. He spoke lovingly of his wife and family, told me he had a 2 handicap and generously told me all kinds of inside knowledge about The Masters. I was grateful for this gesture of opportunity, but it was not possible to take it at the time. But how proud he must have been of how well the title turned out. But most of all how he cultivated the progress of others.

Golf Monthly and Bunkered continue on in our newstands for now, but their circulation figures are less than 20,000 sales a month. While they continue I shall be buying and enjoying the feel of holding the glossy pictures and passionate writing within because digital media is just not the same. There is a distance, a detachment. I shall be enjoying print media while it lasts.

A toast to Golf World and Today’s Golfer for recording all the memories.

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