View From The Fairway - Muirfield Village Should Host a Major
Golfshake's Derek Clements shares his latest View From The Fairway...
MUIRFIELD Village is the jewel in Jack Nicklaus’ crown. The 18-time major champion has created some fabulous courses, but the home of The Memorial Tournament is surely the best of them all. After last year’s tournament, Nicklaus tore up huge swathes of the layout to make it even better. It is a simply sensational course and there would be no more fitting tribute to the Golden Bear than for the US Open or PGA Championship to be staged there soon rather than later.
IT LOOKS like the LPGA Tour is finally biting the bullet when it comes to slow play. Four-time Solheim Cup player Carlota Ciganda birdied the 18th hole against Sarah Schmezel in the Bank of Hope Matchplay Championship against Sarah Schmezel of the USA. She thought she had won her match until she was taken to one side by LPGA officials and informed that because of the length of time it has taken her to get the ball in cup, the hole - and match - were being awarded to Schmezel. Ciganda is a notoriously slow player and this should act as a wake-up call to both her and her fellow players. There was another unedifying incident at the same tournament when Shanshan Feng decided to opt out of the third-fourth playoff match against Ariya Jutanugarn, citing exhaustion. She said she wanted to conserve her energy for the US Women’s Open. Astonishingly, Feng was allowed to walk away with fourth-place prize money.
IT SAYS much about Jordan Spieth that he recorded his eighth top-10 finish since February at the Charles Schwab Challenge without anything approaching his A game. The American was bitterly disappointed that he was unable to turn a 54-hole lead into a victory but the truth is that in almost anybody else’s hands his final round of 73 might well have been 10 shots worse. His driving was awry, his iron play was inaccurate but, time and time again, he holed crucial putts to keep himself in contention. Spieth refuses to let his head drop and although you have to feel some sympathy for his caddie, Michael Greller, into whose ear he constantly chirrups, it is impossible not to tip your hat to Spieth. He is working on swing changes and you have to believe that when they all click into place he may be even better than when he was winning for fun. He is now second in the FedEx Cup, back in the top 30 in the world and is looking like a shoo-in for the Ryder Cup. It is great to see him back where he belongs - and the fans clearly think so too.
JASON KOKRAK made more than 200 starts on the PGA Tour before he landed his first title earlier this season. He has now won twice, seeing off the challenge of Spieth at Colonial Country Club. Richard Bland won his first title at his 478th start and very nearly repeated the feat in his next start. Confidence is a great thing. In both cases, the key has been what they have achieved on the greens. A couple of years ago, Kokrak was one of the worst putters on Tour - now he is one of the best. It just goes to show that you should never give up and proves the truth of the saying that the pros drive for show but putt for dough.
JUVIC PAGUNSAN qualified to play in The Open with a three-shot victory at the Mizuno Open on the Japan Tour. Nothing remarkable about that, you might think, until you realise that the 43-year-old carried his own clubs because of Covid restrictions and that he had just 11 clubs in his bag. It was Pagunsan’s first win since 2007 and it does make you wonder about the true value of carrying 14 clubs. Most high handicappers use only a handful of clubs during a round and Pagunsan has proved, beyond question, that you really don’t need that many. Not only did he win, but he finished the tournament on 17 under par.
FURTHER proof of the boom enjoyed by club golf come with the news that Whitby Golf Club in Yorkshire has seen an increase in membership of more than 100 during the past 12 months. “There’s a really good feeling and a buzz about the place,” said director of finance Amanda Ing, a former ladies captain. The club, which has a new swing simulator, has also encouraged walkers, dog owners and cyclists to use its clubhouse. It also has a thriving new junior academy with 30 members as well as new adult coaching with a focus on women in golf, with four of its six board members being women.
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