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Chipping In - Warren's deserved win sees him added to Ryder Cup candidates

By: Golf Shake | Tue 19 Aug 2014

Chipping In is a weekly column by Golfing Journalist Nick Bonfield 

Marvelous Marc

He’s been threatening for a large portion of the summer, and now Marc Warren can add victory in the inaugural Made in Denmark event to his resume. The Scotsman played some fine golf in tricky conditions over the weekend to fend off resurgent Welshman Bradley Dredge and claim his third European Tour title – the first time he’s tasted professional success since his play-off triumph over Simon Wakefield at the 2007 Johnnie Walker Championship. It’s been a tough few years for Warren, having finished outside the top 100 in the European Tour Order of Merit in 2011 and 2012, squandered great chances at the 2012 Scottish Open and 2013 Open de Espana and lost out in a play-off last year’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.


But he’s been a consistent performer on tour this season, and his victory was well deserved.  A third-place finish in the Scottish Open was followed by a strong showing in the Open Championship and a top 15 in the USPGA – proof that he’s unfased by the big occasion. Paul McGinley has some tough choices ahead, but he could do worse that selecting an in-form Scotsman who’s now inside the top 20 in the Race to Dubai standings, who’s earned almost €600,000 in his last four events and who’s playing his best golf for seven years. Add home support into the mix and you’ve got a more-than-viable proposition.   

Victory for Villegas

It was another long-overdue win in the USA for Colombian Camilo Villegas, a player many thought would be a mainstay in the world’s top 10 for a significant number of years after wins at the 2008 Tour Championship and 2010 Honda Classic. Indeed, he moved to world number 7 after his victory at East Lake and spent some 30 weeks inside the top 10 between 2008 and 2010. But he dropped to 291st in March 2013 and lost his full playing privileges the same year after a catastrophic loss of form.


He has shown great character, though, in bouncing back from adversity. He finished 110th in the 2013 FedEx Cup to re-gain a full card for 2014 and stormed through the field on the final day at the Wyndham, shooting a final-round 63 at Sedgefield Country Club to take the title by a single shot. There have been a plethora of recent success stories for players who’d endured a period of inauspicious form, and Villegas certainly belongs on that list. But he’ll now hope his dark days are behind him, and a two-year PGA Tour exemption and the confidence gleaned from a first victory in more than 50 months should facilitate a surge up the rankings. What’s more, he’s a popular, athletic and aggressive player, so his resurgence can only be a good thing for the game of golf, particularly in South America – a key growth area for the game, especially with the 2016 Olympics creeping up.

Park at the double

Inbee Park defeated home hope Brittany Lincicome in a play-off at the LPGA Championship to end a run of American domination, defend her title and claim her 5th major championship at the age of just 26. Lincicome missed an 8-footer on the 18th green at the end of an enthralling day’s play to fall into a play–off with the World Number 3, a play-off she’d loose with a bogey at the first extra hole.


It was another exciting women’s event, and while golf continues to struggle globally, there is cause for optimism in the ladies’ ranks. The likes of Lydia Ko – who, amazingly, has reached world number two at the age of 17 - Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda, Charley Hull and Michelle Wie are ushering in a new era and commanding significant attention around the world. What’s more, sponsorship has grown accordingly. In 2011, when Americans won just four LPGA titles, there were only 23 events on the schedule. This year, there are 33. It’s an exciting time for the LPGA Tour – in terms of growth, media attention, rising popularity and sponsorship – so let’s hope the knock-on effects can be felt around the world, starting with the Ladies European Tour, which itself is producing a number of fine young players.

Ryder Cup watch

It was great to see Thomas Bjorn all-but secure his place on the European Ryder Cup team with a solid performance at the inaugural Made in Denmark event (a very strong, well-supported debutant on the schedule). He’s been rewarded for a period of extended consistency and I, for one, am delighted someone with such skill and experience has effectively secured a spot on a team that’s brimming with talent. He’ll be invaluable behind the scenes, he’s in excellent form, he can partner anyone and he’s the type of player you’d expect to get the most out of his teammates. 

Woods WD

On the subject of the Ryder Cup, I was glad to hear the news that Tiger Woods has made himself unavailable for selection. He’s clearly taken a more pragmatic approach, decided his fierce desire to compete at all costs has done him no favours and realised he needs a spell away from the game. Golf is undoubtedly better with Woods in the picture, but not a disconsolate Woods who trudges around the course battling both self-inflicted injury and the frustration of not being able to compete. I’ve said before he needs to go away, refresh himself and come back with a renewed vigour. I just hope he, and his sponsors, allow him long enough away from the game.


It’s also a good thing for Tom Watson. Granted, he doesn’t have someone who could have been his biggest asset, but he no longer has to deliberate over Woods’ potential inclusion and field relentless questions about whether he’s worthy of a place. Golf is in a good place right now, with the likes of Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler flying. A pulsating Ryder Cup without Tiger would be the perfect way to show how much the sport is thriving.

This week, the European Tour heads to Eastern Europe for the Czech Masters, while the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup Play-offs get underway with The Barclays


The Ryder Cup is unlike any other tournament in golf and the atmosphere is something that every golf fan should experience. The experts at Golfbreaks.com can help with all aspects of your Ryder Cup experience, from accommodation and ticket packages to hospitality and travel and playing some of the fantastic nearby courses.

More Ryder Cup Coverage

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Tags: tiger woods Marc Warren Camillo Villegas

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