View From The Fairway - Time to Embrace the WHS
Derek Clements shares his latest View From The Fairway!
SHOULD we be worried that one of the PGA Tour’s new official partners is betting firm BetMGM? According to the Tour, the company offers “multiple betting formats, from money line and point spread bets to parlays and futures”…whatever that means. At the CJ Cup the leaderboard not only showed how the players stood but also flagged up their odds of winning. Regular Golfshake subscribers will know that in my weekly tournament previews I select a potential winner and a couple of each-way bets, together with a selection of fantasy picks. I have had some success but, in general, my record is dreadful. And that is why I stick to writing instead of trying to make a living as a tipster. I believe that at a time when we actively try to discourage people from gambling, and raise awareness of the potential pitfalls, it is fundamentally wrong for the Tour to get into bed with a gambling company.
WE ARE not going to see Bryson DeChambeau again until The Masters. That means he is doing more work on his physique, slurping more energy drinks and eating more food, so heaven alone knows what he is going to look like when he emerges at Augusta. He keeps telling us that he has been experimenting with a 48-inch driver. It defies my imagination what he could achieve with a Green Jacket at stake! He claimed on social media on Friday that he carried the ball 400 yards through the air on a simulator!!!!!!
I have news for Sky Golf’s commentary team - if you have microphones next to players competing in tournaments with no spectators, you are going to pick up everything they say. And we have all heard an awful lot worse than some of the language for which the commentary team feel the need to keep apologising for. In an on-course interview, Nicolas Colsaerts said that his golf was either “s**t or champagne”. The Belgian is a thoroughly likeable man and meant no offence. But, seconds later, Richard Boxall was issuing an apology, Really, there is no need.
HOW good it was to see Jason Kokrak finally securing his first victory after more than 230 attempts at the CJ Cup. It just goes to prove that dreams really come true. However, I have to question what on earth Tae Tee Lee was doing in this so-called elite field. He shots rounds of 75, 75, 82 and 74 to finish the week on 18 over par - a mind-boggling 38 shots behind Kokrak.
HATS off to Tyrrell Hatton once again. He won the BMW PGA Championship and then took an eight-hour flight to the USA and still finished third at the CJ Cup. Had he not been struggling with jet lag he would probably have won yet another tournament. His latest performance took him to ninth in the world rankings. Speaking of the rankings, Kokrak’s victory saw him rise from 53rd to 26th. Fair enough. Adrian Otaegui, of Spain, was ranked 248th in the world before the Scottish Championship at Fairmont St Andrews. He played brilliantly, opening with a 62 and closing with a 63 to win the tournament by four strokes. He beat a really strong field, including the likes of Lee Westwood and Matt Wallace. His reward? He is now ranked 157th in the world. The weighting towards the PGA Tour is absolutely absurd.
LIFE has begun again for Phil Mickelson at the age of 50. Still one of the longest hitters on the PGA Tour, though not necessarily on the right fairways, he has just won his second tournament on the Champions Tour. He secured the Dominion Charity Classic by three shots from Mike Weir, closing with a 65 to finish on 17 under par. His 199 total was just one shy of the tournament record and he became only the third player after Bruce Fleischer and Jim Furyk to win his first two starts on the Champions Tour. Lefty is fitter than he has ever been but was dead last in the field when it came to finding fairways from the tee.. It seems certain that he is going to smash all sorts of records in his second career but he still believes that he isn’t finished yet on the PGA Tour and is focusing on making a serious challenge at The Masters. Don’t be surprised to see him contend at Augusta next month.
THE clocks have gone back, which can only mean that winter golf has arrived. When you get to the course and discover that you are playing from temporary tees to winter greens, that bunkers are filled with water and fairways are muddy, please remember how much you missed playing during the lockdown. And be thankful that you are still out there.
WE are all now counting down to the introduction of the World Handicap System. It has attracted a huge amount of criticism, with many club golfers describing it as being too complicated and too difficult to understand. Whether we like it or not, it is here to stay. We should embrace it. And the slope system will provide the level playing field we have all been looking to achieve for so long.
LOOKING for a shoo-in each way bet for The Masters? Xander Schauffele is your man. It was a huge surprise that he struggled during the third round of the CJ Cup, but everybody is entitled to an off-day and he stormed back into contention in the final round. Schauffele goes about his business quietly and with the minimum of fuss. He is not the longest hitter but he strikes it plenty far enough - and he finds lots of fairways. He is a superb iron player, a genius with a wedge in his hands. And a great putter. He is also a golfer who tends to produce his best in the sport’s biggest tournaments. It is only a matter of time before he lands his first major, and it might well come at Augusta.
WAYNE RILEY is a scream. In an era when so many sportsmen, TV commentators and analysts take themselves far too seriously, the Australian is a breath or fresh air. First and foremost, he is a brilliant on-course reporter, but he always finds the right thing to say to lighten the mood. The players love him. His colleagues love him. And he is surely the funniest man striding the fairways. And that includes David Feherty.
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