View From The Fairway - Brooks Koepka's Injury Woes Reapper
AT the risk of stirring up a hornet’s nest, the recent Workday WGC event at The Concession got me thinking about restricted field tournaments where there is no cut. Matthew Wolff withdrew after an opening round of 83. He had a miserable time of it. There was a veiled suggestion that he was injured but it was obvious to anybody watching that his head was simply not in the right place. Putting Wolff to one side, the tournament featured a 72-man field. As a WGC tournament you would be entitled to think it would only be open to the world’s top 72 ranked players. So how do you explain South Africa’s JC Ritchie and Danny van Tonder being in the field? Had there been a 36-hole cut, both men would have been heading. Instead they were forced to complete the full 72 holes. Ritchie finished 31 shots behind winner Collin Morikawa, while Van Tonder brought up the rear, 33 shots distant. I am not for one minute suggesting that players should not be given a chance to compete alongside the world’s best golfers, but I am saying that nobody wants to see them toil over 72 holes so let’s think about introducing a cut that sees only those within 10 shots of the 36-hole leader making it through to the weekend.
IT IS to be hoped that Brooks Koepka makes a speedy recovery from the knee injury that has forced him to withdraw from this week's Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass. Koepka has suffered horribly with injury over the past 15 months and has only recently rediscovered his very best form. Here's hoping that this is just a minor blip and that we will see him back in action again very soon.
IT SEEMS that some golfers have decided that the lockdown rules do not apply to them, and that they cannot be bothered to wait until March 29, when it is legal for us to start playing again. Coventry City Council has been forced to remove the holes from greens at a city course after it emerged that golfers were continuing to play at Allesley Park. It defies belief.
IF YOU choked on your full English when your golf club subscription demand landed on your door mat, spare a thought for the members at Wentworth. Quite apart from having to purchase a £150,000 debenture, they have to fork out £13,000 a year, up from £10,000 in 2017. Despite that, Wentworth is leaking money. It lost £16m in 2018 and £9m in 2019, and members have been warned that the owner, Yan Bin, a Chinese billionaire, will be asking for even more in 2022.
TIGER WOODS has expressed his gratitude after seeing several male and female golfers show their support for him last week. Rory McIlroy was among those who wore red and black - the colours Woods is known for wearing in the final round of tournaments. The 15-time major winner is recovering from serious leg injuries sustained in a car accident. "It is hard to explain how touching today was when I turned on the TV and saw all the red shirts," Woods wrote on Twitter. "To every golfer and every fan, you are truly helping me get through this tough time.” McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, Patrick Reed and Tony Finau were among those who wore red and black while competing at the WGC-Workday Championship in Florida. Phil Mickelson did the same at a PGA Tour Champions event in Arizona, as did Annika Sorenstam at the LPGA’s Gainbridge Championship. "I guess for us it's just a gesture to let him know that we're thinking about him and we're rooting for him," said McIlroy. "If there was no Tiger Woods, I just think the tour and the game of golf in general would be in a worse place. He's meant a lot to us; he still does mean a lot to us.”
CHRISTINA KIM has been putting her time during the lockdown to good use - and how. The 36-year-old American has spent 18 years of her life on the LPGA Tour and has achieved considerable success. And she is determined to take her career to the next level. Kim would be the first to admit that, for much of her career, she has been carrying a few surplus pounds. But no longer. She is almost unrecognisable after changing her diet and lifestyle. She has spoken publicly about her struggles with mental health but she now looks a million dollars and, more importantly, feels like a million dollars. She has lost 60lb, is swinging the club faster and has picked up an average 15 yards on every tee shot. She has been working with performance coach Ryan Blackburn but knows that her mental wellbeing is her top priority. “If I can get my mind in a good place, that’s going to help me more than anything else,” Kim says. She has struggled with depression in the past and when the 2019 season ended, she felt burnt out and tired. Her goal wasn’t to lose weight as much as it was to switch up her lifestyle in the hope that it would help her feel better mentally. “I’ve dedicated myself to give me the best chance to play better,” Kim says of her transformation. “It doesn’t mean I will, but at least I’ll know I did everything possible.” Kim’s reinvention accelerated while the LPGA was shut down because of the coronavirus. While her peers were locked up, Kim stepped into the spotlight as a commentator on PGA Tour Live and raised her profile on social media. “I really just ate a bunch of avocados and said ‘What’s the worst that could happen?” It will be fascinating to watch her progress.
THE USGA has announced the names of the 10 young men who will represent the USA in the Walker Cup at Seminole Golf Club in Florida on May 8-9. And if history tells us anything at all it is the fact that we should be taking a note of these names as you can bet your bottom dollar that we will be watching some major champions of the future. The USA has won the competition 37 times, with GB&I boasting just nine victories and one tie match. However, things have been closer since 1988, with the USA holding a 9-7 advantage. The team comprises Tyler Strafaci, Davis Thompson, Ricky Castillo, John Pak, Stewart Hagestad, Cole Hammer, Pierceson Coody, Quade Cummins, Austin Eckroat and William Mouw. The bad news for our boys is that all 10 are ranked 23 or better in the amateur world rankings. Hagestad is playing in is third match and is a career amateur, but look out for the others when they join the professional ranks.
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