The Great Danes
The Danish pairing of Søren Kjeldsen and Thørbjorn Olesen wasn’t on many experts’ short list for title contenders at this year’s World Cup of Golf, but when the dust settled at Kingston Heath, they were 4 shots better than their closest pursuer. The Danes were able to separate themselves from the pack after a scintillating second-round 60, where they made 2 eagles and had a stretch of 5 straight birdies to open up their back nine. Over the weekend, the pair was unflappable as the steady Kjeldsen routinely fired darts at pins while the long-hitting Olesen provided the firepower to take advantage of the 6,800-yard setup.
Sunday saw China, the United States and France challenge the Danes at times, but no one could muster enough birdies to pull even. China and France did impress though, particularly each of the team’s 21-year-old prodigies, Haotong Li and Romain Langasque, each of whom will play next season as full-time members of the European Tour.
What was he thinking?
American star Jimmy Walker had a disappointing Sunday. His poor play led to him being in his pocket more often than putting for birdie. The only thing worse than his play was his outfit choice… not sure if he was going for the upscale caddie jumpsuit look or if he was trying to blend into the bunkers he so often found himself in.
Distance isn’t everything
While the Danes triumphed in Melbourne, the Dan Souter/Alister Mackenzie masterpiece was the star of the show. Measuring just over 6,800 yards in length, Kingston Heath gave the pros all the test they could want and more. Masterful designs such as this one prove that distance isn’t the only way to protect against par in the modern era. Its numerous risk/reward half-par holes wreaked havoc on players’ decision-making skills, consistently putting them in uncomfortable and precarious situations. Something that I took away from the championship was that Kingston Heath showed the need for an annual high-profile championship that draws the world’s best players and showcases the world’s best courses that don’t have an opportunity to host a major championship. Other courses could include Valderrama (Spain), Royal Melbourne - West (Australia) and Royal County Down (Ireland), to name a few.
After October’s false start, we are mere days away from Tiger Woods’ long awaited return to competitive golf at this week’s Hero World Challenge. The Hero offers an excellent opportunity for Woods’ return as the annual event in the Bahamas sells only a limited amount of tickets and its timing is during golf’s slow period. Nonetheless, the golf world is in a frenzy, anxious and unsure of what type of play to expect from Woods, that of an all-time great or the washed-up, chipping yip-riddled player we saw in 2015.
One thing we are sure has changed is some of Tiger’s equipment. Nike’s exit from the equipment industry has afforded Tiger the opportunity to play whatever he would like. It looks as though he will stick with his long-time Nike Irons but will move to a Taylormade M2 driver and 3W and Bridgestone golf balls (shameless plug: which you can win by sharing this newsletter). More to come on the Hero and Big Cat’s return in Wednesday’s edition.
Trouble in Rio...
Sad news came out of Rio this weekend regarding Gil Hanse’s Olympic Golf Course, which is reportedly on the verge of ruins. Following the Olympics, the course was handed over to Progolf to manage since it became Rio’s first public golf course.
Unfortunately, Progolf hasn’t been paid by the Brazilian Golf Confederation and therefore isn’t maintaining the golf course and threatening to pull out of the operation. It looks as though Hanse’s design, which received unanimous praise for its brilliance, could be the story of a great golf course going to waste.
The road to Rich Harvest Farms: USC Trojans
This year, we will be doing extensive coverage of college golf and the National Championship at Rich Harvest Farms. To kick things off, we profiled the University of Southern California’s team and title chances. Check out one of the favorites to win this year’s National Championship here.
Player Profile: Trey Mullinax
I expect big things from this PGA Tour rookie, who starred at Alabama and helped the Crimson Tide win two national championships. Learn more about Trey Mullinax’s game, swing and path to the PGA Tour here.
When you know it’s time to quit smoking...
Ask an Architect! We will have our 2nd edition coming out next week, so if you have questions you would like answered, let us know here!
Chucky Triple Sticks
In case you missed it over the holiday weekend, Soly hosted Charles Howell III on the NLU podcast. Howell talks about the PGA Tour, Tiger’s return and Anthony Kim, listen here.
Glutes = Activated
Celebrate Tiger’s return to golf by reliving one of his worst moments, when he cited his glutes not activating for his withdrawal from the 2015 Farmers Insurance Open.