View From The Fairway - Leopard Creek is Majestic
Golfshake's Derek Clements takes aim at several topics with his latest View From The Fairway!
While the European Tour’s truncated season approaches its conclusion, over in America the top players are getting ready with their wheelbarrows to collect their Christmas bonuses as they compete in a series of fun tournaments that will bring the curtain down on 2020. It is to be hoped that these fortunate men take the opportunity to count their blessings and hand over some of the money win to deserving causes. The QBE Shootout next week has a field of 24, playing in pairs, with a prize fund of more than $3.m. The tournament raises millions for charity - it would be heartwarming to learn that all 24 players intend to hand over their prize money to good causes. It’s not as if the players need the money. But don’t hold your breath.
Patrick Reed divides opinion. I love the way that the guy plays golf and can’t help but admire his determination to become a global player. He came over to England to play in the BMW PGA Championship and made a serious run at it and he has an opportunity to win the Race to Dubai. Reed has made it clear that he will be taking part in the Dubai World Championship - and that he will not be there to make up the numbers. He will be joined in the field by US PGA champion Collin Morikawa. I still can’t quite work out how he qualifies to be a member of the European Tour. Sadly, there will be no Rory McIlroy or Jon Rahm in Dubai but the tournament still promises to deliver a thrilling climax to the strangest of golf seasons. And before we know, we will be off and running again for the 2020-21 season. It is also beginning to look like we will not have to wait too long before we see fans back again.
With club golf returning in England this week it may be that some patience is required as we try to get back out on the fairways. Many believe that there will be a mad rush for the first tee. I am not so convinced. We are talking about early December, after all. We may be looking at cold, wet weather and that will put off a lot of club golfers. But if you do struggle to get a tee-time why not head down to the driving range instead and work out the kinks that are likely to have developed after four weeks of inactivity. And when you do get back out on the course, do not expect too much. Please pardon the pun but temporary greens and tees, preferred lies and waterlogged greens are likely to be par for the course. Just get out there and enjoy yourselves. And don’t forget to visit the clubhouse for a drink and a bite to eat. Our golf clubs have suffered horribly this year. Trust me - they will be pleased to see you back.
Is there a more special venue anywhere in the world than Leopard Creek, venue for the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa? The course is fabulous, but it’s the wildlife - where else in the world do you see elephants, giraffes and hippos ambling by? This is one unique venue, one that I look forward to every year. Brandon Stone describes it as the holy grail of golf - it is difficult to argue with him.
There are some special things happening in women’s golf right now. Did you catch Emily Pedersen’s performance in Saudi Arabia? She was just sensational in winning her third tournament of the season (and second in a week) to sew up the Race to the Costa del Sol. She then followed that up with another success in Spain. Incredible Having established herself as the best in Europe, she will surely be heading off to the LPGA Tour next year. The Dane is 24 years old. She was rookie of the year five years ago and has struggled since then but this year has seen her emerge as a genuine world-class contender. Keep your eye on her over the coming year. And the same applies to South Korea’s Sei Young Kim - she has just enjoyed her second win of the season and is a great each-way bet for the forthcoming US Women’s Open. Kim already has one major to her credit (she won the PGA Championship recently), has 11 LPGA victories to her credit and a staggering 51 top-ten finishes.
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