View From The Fairway - More Accolades For Collin Morikawa
Ahead of Christmas, Golfshake's Derek Clements shares his latest View From The Fairway, as the game prepares to usher in the New Year with an exciting schedule to come in 2022.
NO GREAT surprise that Collin Morikawa was named Golfer of the Month of November after winning the season ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai and crowned European Number One. The reigning Open champion had destiny in his own hands with a win on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates all but guaranteeing him to become the first American to win the Race to Dubai. Three rounds of steady play left the 24-year-old trailing four-time Major winner Rory McIlroy by three shots but a bogey-free final round 66 gave him the Dubai double and a maiden Rolex Series victory in the United Arab Emirates. Morikawa is a credit to his country and it is to be hoped that we see far more of him on the newly-branded DP World Tour in 2022. J.B Hansen of Denmark was second in the voting following his win at the AVIV Dubai Championship. The Dane opened with a stunning 63 and never looked back, trailing just once all week, and delivered a bogey-free 68 on Sunday to give him a one stroke victory at 24 under-par in what was a low scoring week in Dubai. Rounding off the voting was Thomas Pieters who claimed his fifth Tour title at the Portugal Masters at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course.
AT A time when the world is still gripped by the pandemic - and with few signs that it is going away anytime soon - the world of professional golf is awash with money. The Legends Tour has just announced its schedule for 2022, with a minimum of 20 tournaments due to be played and prize money increasing to at least £15m.
MEGHAN MacLaren is a multiple winner on the Ladies European Tour but she was one of two British golfers who found the challenge of the LPGA Tour’s Q School too much. It is a test of endurance and MacLaren came up three shots shy, while fellow Briton Anita Uwadia missed out by a single stroke. However, there was good news for Scotland's Gemma Dryburgh, who finished 22nd of the 46 qualifiers and now has the opportunity to make her name on the LPGA Tour alongside the likes of Lydia Ko and the Korda sisters. "It's very gratifying,” said 28-year-old Dryburgh. "When we finished it was such a relief, it was just like a weight off your shoulders. It's obviously very different from a normal tournament. Q school is way more intense, everything matters because it is for your job next year. It's like re-interviewing for your job every time, so its very stressful.” Dryburgh comfortably made it through to the initial stage after a fourth-round 65. She then added rounds of 71-74-70-73 to finish nine under par.
THE DP World Tour has announced a change to its early 2022 schedule, with the Hero Indian Open moving forward a week in the calendar and will now take place from February 17-20. It was originally due to be played at DLF Golf and Country Club in New Delhi from February 24-27, following a two-year absence due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Instead, it will move into the week originally scheduled for a fifth event in the Middle East, following the two Rolex Series events, the Abu Dhabi HBSC Championship (January 20-23) and the Dubai Desert Classic (January 27-30); the Ras Al Khaimah Championship Presented by Phoenix Capital (February 3-6) and the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters (February 10-13). This is, of course, entirely dependent upon what happens with the pandemic. It is to be hoped that it will be safe for golfers to travel and with Covid still wreaking havoc around the globe there are no guarantees.
IF YOU get the opportunity, check out the Richard Bland documentary on Sky Sports Golf. It is a 30-minute documentary following Bland’s victory in the British Masters at The Belfry. It was Bland’s maiden victory at his 478th attempt and it was, without doubt, the most heartwarming victory on the European Tour in 2021. Bland is one of the most popular golfers on tour and his post-tournament interview with Tim Barter was a real tearjerker. Barter has worked with Bland for many years and was almost as emotional as Bland at the end of it all. It is moment like this that make sport so special.
KEEP an eye on Rookie of the Year Germany’s Matti Schmid in 2022. He was awarded Rooke of the Year after securing his full playing rights on the DP World Tour just three months after turning professional. Make no mistake - Schmid is the real deal. The award caps a year in which Schmid earned the Silver Medal as the leading amateur at the Open Championship in July, turning professional directly after his performance at Royal St George’s and instantly going on to prove his worth in the paid ranks. Schmid, who also claimed a top 15 finish as an amateur at the BMW International Open in June, made the cut in his first two professional appearances on the European Tour. A runner-up finish in September’s Dutch Open, a top-ten at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and tied 11th at the Mallorca Golf Open rubber-stamped his membership.
AS WE come to the end of what has been a quite extraordinary year for golf at all levels, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all Golfshake members and readers a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. We wouldn’t exist without your feedback and support and we never take it for granted.
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