Each to their own. Some golfers, like Rickie Fowler and Justin Rose are excited about Olympic golf, wheras Rory McIlroy is much more relaxed about the whole thing.
After the Open Championship Rory said this to the press about playing for Ireland in the games.
“I am doing it becuse it is the right thing to di and I missed it last time. For golf to be an Olympic sport you need your best players there and I want to represent the game of golf more than anything else.
“I don’t know there’s much to look forward to. It’s obviously going to be a very different environment. I’m looking forward to getting another week’s golf in and trying to get my game in shape. As I said there’s not much else to do there”.
So there’s not a lot of patriotism involved, but if he were to win the Olympic gold medal something might shift. Perhaps it is because as an Ulsterman, he’s acually British, but has chosen to represent Ireland. At this stage in his life and career, the bigger picture -apart from representing the game of golf- doesn’t seem to loom large, he said not so long ago that his job wasn’t to encourage participation or growing the game. Perhaps it is because he is happily settled in America and that’s where his focus is.
But a good performance this week could change all that.
Apart from be the ball, while we’re young was one of the catchphrases of Caddyshack. This spawned a series of golf commercials in America from the USGA to encourage golfers to get on with it. This one has Clint Eastwood playing Pebble Beach.
In this interesting intiative from 2013 the USGA were showing leadership to identify the root causes of slow play, Things like playing from the wrong tees, but also mistakes in how the course is set up – rough too high, overly tricky pin positions, greens too fast. The golfer themself is not solely to blame.
“The whole concept of the campaign if that we’re in this together,” added Nager, who is in his second year as USGA president. “It’s not just your own behavior you’re accountable for, it’s the behavior of the people you’re playing with. So we’ve tried to give people a fun, non-threatening vehicle to say to fellow players, ‘You need to pick it up,’ and to say to their course managers and club professionals, ‘We want to play this game faster. Set [the course] up so we can do so.’ “
Though cursory on the surface, the campaign is based on extensive research of mathematical and scientific principles that have helped the USGA to better understand the flow of players across a golf course.
It’s time for this to be rolled out again, as 8 years on the problem still persists.
A thrilling final day of the Evian Championship saw Australian Minjee Lee come from 7 shots behind Korean leader Jeongeung Lee6, who shot 71, to force a playoff. She had 7 birdies in her final round to finish -18. Yea,imi Noh shot 67 to narrowly miss out on the playoff when she missed a birdie chance on the final hole. Leona Maguire of Ireland shot 61, the best round in a major championship and tied 6th.
In the playoff Lee6 bogeyed the first extra hole when she hit a shot into water and Lee hot hers near to the flag. Lee converted the putt to win fer 6th LPGA title and first major, which she felt was “really amazing”.
He started the week at Sunningdale as a 200-1 outsider in a field that had former major champions, Langer, Clarke, Furyk and Els and on form Jerry Kelly, Miguel Jiminez and Thomas Bjorn. And yet it was Stephen Dodd’s coolness under pressure that saw him score -13 and win the Senior Open, a senior major that opens doors to the 150th Open at St Andrews and some life changing opportunities.
He won the 1989 Amateur championship and was a member of the first Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup side to beat the Americans on home soil.
Then three European Tour victories came along between 2004 and 2006. In 2005 he teamed with compatriot Bradley Dredge to claim the World Cup of Golf for Wales. And just over a decade later, he recorded the first of three wins on the European Senior Tour.
At Sunningdale he birdied the 72nd hole, to clinch the Senior Open title by a shot from Spain’s Miguel Jiminez with Darren Clarke and Bernhard Langer in third and fourth. Jerry Kelly, the leading momey winner on the Champions Tour couldn’t putt consistently all week and ended 6th.
“I knew exactly where I was,” said Dodd of his thoughts standing over the 6-iron he struck from the right rough to eight feet on the finishing hole. “I like to see the scoreboards and know what I need to do. For me it focuses my mind more on what I need to do. I hit some decent shots coming down the last few holes.”
For Dodd, who had played very little competitive golf—one tournament, in fact—over the previous 18 months because of the global pandemic, the perks of victory will surely outweigh the $375,000 first-place check he will be soon be banking. An exemption onto the PGA Tour Champions beckons, and just under a year from now the 55-year-old will be able to tee-up in the Open Championship at St. Andrews without having to qualify.
“That will be special,” he said with a smile. “I’ll have to start trying to hit it a bit harder and further.”
“This is an amazing feeling,” he siad. His third round 62 equalled the course record. “I was in control of my emotions out there, I just wasn’t in control of the ball, which was a problem. It was a bit of a battle out there. But luckily, I gave myself a few chances. I really didn’t know what sort of game I was going to wake up to. Today wasn’t a great one, so it was a challenge. I scrambled my way around because I hit a lot of bad shots. Holding the trophy was the last thing on my mind. I just wanted to come in and do myself justice. Hopefully I’ve done that.”
I have been at the Senior Open at Sunningdale this week. Framed and on the wall in the pro shop is a precious scorecard a beautiful round of 66 round the Old Course played by Bobby Jones before competing in The Open.
Today in a glass cabinet they also had Bobby Jones famous putter Calamity Jane. Wondrous.
PGA Tour winner Grayson Murray took to twitter on Friday with a description of the mental difficulties he has encountered playing the PGA Tour. 27 year old Grayson won the Barbasol Championship in 2017 and has made $3.68 million in five years on tour but is currently on a medical exemption due to injury.
I won’t call his twitter post a rant. Rather it is an insight into the mental health challenges of young playersmin professional golf. Grayson is single and travels on tour without a coach.
“I’ve played the last five years on the PGA Tour. A lots of ups and downs, mostly downs. The tour lifestyle is like being the keys to a Ferrari at 22 and being told to go full throttle”.
He talked about the financial strain of mintaining a tour career when you’re not winning every year. He then revealed that he is an alcoholic, on probation by the tour, after an incident in a hotel bar. If there is another incident, apparently, he faces a $20,000 fine.
This is the most stunning,statement. “I’m a f…ing alcoholic who hates everything to do with PGA Tour life”.
He states that he hasn’t been supported by the PGA Tour – in 5 yeats he’s never had a request acknowledged other than “we will get back to you”. Grayson says they’re more interested in promoting their top players than helping me with my issues”.
He concludes by sayint “I hope not only the PGA Tour steps up in areas they need tomstep up but also hope people are held accountable in their roles”.
The PGA respomded with the following statement:
“We can unequivocally say thatthe PGA Tour is a family and when a member of that family needs help we are there for them. That has been the case here and will continue to be”
There was an outpouring of support from the twittersphere, notably from fellow professionals.
Steve Elkington said “it took a lot to write this.The Tour has a massive blind spot, I’d like to help if needed”.
2018 European Ryder Cup Captain Thomas Bjorn, who I watched playing wonderfukky well this week at Sunningdale, has also highlighted the need for support for younger players. He has talked about his own battles with depression in 2003 (after he nearly won The Open) and 2010. He said “I was close to giving up the game.Mental health in young people is so,ethimg we need to address . Over analysing can lead to negative thoughts.An over active brain is not great for sport.
“I used to blame the game for how I was feeling, you end up hating golf. But this is your life and I found a way to love the game again”. Thomas Bjorn has co-written The Mind Game about mental aspects of the game,
Clearly this is a huge subject affecting professionals from Tiger Woods downwards. Will be interesting to see what Sky Sports presenter Sarah Stirk says on the subject in next issue of Golf Monthly.
It is right that Grayson spoke out so that we all know, and the Tour can be pressed to do something urgently.
News this afternoon from the Spanish Golf Federation that Jon Rahm has withdrawn from the Olympic Games Golf event starting on Thursday at Kasumigaseri Country Club after testing positive for Covid. Then news that Bryson Dechambeu has also withdrawn for the same reason. He will be replaced by Patrick Reed.
This is another roller coaster for US Open champion Rahm whoo had tested positive after leading the Memorial tournament in May. He was tested three times after competing in The Open and the third test proved positive. He has also been double vaccinated.
Social media reactions reached into their hundreds quickly. Most of which was negative. For example:
“Something isn’t right with all this” “Test him again!” “These tests aren’t legit”. “It’s fishy, the tests are BS” and so on.
Rahm will be replaced with Jorge Campillo. He issued the following statement.
Wish them both a speedy recovery, should they have symptoms.
Apart from the remarkable fact that he has won two major championships on his debut, here are a few randoms. Collin is a Taylor Made player but he has a Titelist wedge which pays homage to his love of breakfast cereal.
His girlfriend Katherine Zhu was a collegiate golfer at Pepperdine University who understands the game.
“We met in college and just clicked. It’s crazy because I won my first college tournament that next week and we’ve done pretty good since – it’s really fun.
Zhu admitted their relationship is “very competitive” when they hit the course together with Morikawa adding: “Always, we never let each other win.
“I think she beats me on probably 70 per cent of our chipping competitions. It actually makes me a better player. What’s great about her is that we’re always competing.
“To have her around [on the PGA Tour] on off weeks when no one’s around, she can always bring a wedge to the course and we can always do something fun.”
His iron play this week has been stellar, but he says he loves the creativity of hitting shots high, throw a narrow window and making up shots around the greens. A natural linksman, even if oops, in his winner’s speech he forgot it’s balled The Open, and called it the British Open. He’ll learn!
He played TV host Jimmy Kimmell at Super Mario Golf recently
Collin goes to Tokyo as a member of the United States Olympic team.
Here he is leaving the UK on his way back to America with some extra luggage.