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View From The Fairway - Captaincy Door Opens For Luke Donald

By: | Mon 06 Dec 2021 | Comments

It may be December, the golf season is apparently over, but the headlines don't stop! Golfshake's Derek Clements reflects on what has most caught his eye.

LEE WESTWOOD has thrown a spanner in the works by announcing that he is not interested in being Ryder Cup captain for the match in Italy. The veteran English golfer looked like a shoo-in for the job but has now made it clear that he wants to focus on his playing career. You have to come to the conclusion that Westwood, who is in the autumn of his playing career, has decided that he is going to be following the Saudi money that is being thrown at the game. And if he does decide to go down that route, it would be very difficult to give him the captaincy at a later date. So who is going to succeed Padraig Harrington? The favourites must now be Henrik Stenson, Luke Donald and, if he can be persuaded, Ian Poulter. Thomas Bjorn, who led Europe to glory at Le Golf National in 2018, is also back in the frame.

Luke Donald

PROFESSIONAL golf may be heading some troubled waters. Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood, Sergio Garcia, Tyrrell Hatton, Shane Lowry, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood have all agreed to take part in next year’s Saudi International, being played near Jeddah, from February 3-6. The tournament, which was previously part of the European Tour schedule, is now the Asian Tour’s flagship event and the participation of so many high-profile golfers means they are putting themselves on a collision course with the PGA and DP World Tours. It could lead to fines, suspensions or a loss of world ranking points. This is an issue that is not going to go away anytime soon.

IT WAS with great sadness that I learnt of the death of Lee Elder at the age of 87. Elder was the first black golfer to be invited to play in The Masters and was a pioneer for African-American players. His achievements were finally recognised at The Masters this year when he was named as one of the honorary starters, along with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. Sadly, Elder was too ill to hit a ceremonial drive. It is a tragedy that the recognition came too late for him to be able to enjoy it.

CONGRATULATIONS if you are one of the lucky ones to have received tickets for the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews in 2022. For the first time, the R&A decided to open a ticket ballot for the tournament. Unbelievably, 1.2 million people subscribed, which means that the vast majority will have been left disappointed. It means there will be record crowds for what is certain to be the most memorable Open for many a long year.

SPEAKING of The Open, it is absolutely farcical that Thriston Lawrence, Zander Lombard and Ashley Chesters should have been handed three qualifying spots for St Andrews as a result of their finishes in the Joburg Open. The tournament, which was the first event in the new-look DP World Tour, was initially reduced to 54 holes in order that golfers from Europe could return home without having to go into quarantine after the emergence of the Omicron variant of Covid, but was then cut to 36 holes because of extreme weather. The 150th Open is the biggest and most important tournament on the planet in 2022 - those three qualifying places should have been made available at an alternative event.

Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography

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Tags: PGA Tour FedEx Cup european tour


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