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USA wins 2019 Presidents Cup

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to watch a single second of this year’s Presidents Cup due to private and family commitments.

What I did check however were scores along the way. So I am aware that the USA team has been coming from behind just on the final day Sunday. And I also believe congratulations are in order.

The Presidents Cup always has been an event in the shadow of the Ryder Cup. It was this year when I had the feeling that this event somehow increased its media coverage and found its way to mass media coverage a bit more, compared to the last events, maybe for the wrong reasons though…

This edition of the cup obviously was a kind of special one. Ernie Els, team captain of the Internationals, asked local spectators in Australia to not root for Tiger Woods and his boys but rather cheer for the Internationals.

Then there was the incident with Patrick Reed just days before the tournament and this clearly didn’t calm the waves. On the contrary, I was told there have been many people shouting nasty things towards the US boys, in particular to Reed.

Who’s to blame? Well, it’s a team event and with that comes a certain degree of enthusiasm and volume that can be helpful for one side, but can at the same time be very hurtful for the other. It’s something that golf in general is not very used to.

Unfortunately this might be the topic of the week and will long be in the people’s mind looking back at this event. Generally I take off my hat to the Americans for winning this after they were behind for almost the whole time.

Congratulations! Well done! Can’t wait for the next edition of the Ryder Cup now!

Golf needs more celebrity tournaments

I wanted to write this for quite a while but so many things came jeopardizing it to some extent. But it is as true as it was some weeks back really, when the 2019 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship took place.

dunill-links-logo-1

I doubt it, but in case you are not familiar with the tournament, it’s a proper European Tour event, this year end of September. There is another Alfred Dunhill Championship taking place in South Africa every year, but here I’m talking about the Scottish links variant of the tournament.

There are multiple things that make this tournament so special:

  1. The courses
  2. The players
  3. The vibe

So let’s discuss all that and what it does to golf, the sport, the industry, the marketing and the general public perception as I believe you can’t really underestimate its effect(s).

Continue reading Golf needs more celebrity tournaments

Ball Showcase: NVGJ 25 Jaar 2019

Recently I was given this ball as a present by a fellow golf journalist who I met in Mallorca at the Mallorca Press Cup 2019 which we both participated in as players.

img_5976The NVGJ, or Nederlandse Vereniging van Golfspelende Journalisten, is the Dutch association of golfing journalists. In 2019 they have their 25-year anniversary and therefore issued this ball.

I had no contact to the organization before but since we were talking golf and journalism a lot, we came across this particular group and I indeed became interested to join the German counterpart, the DMGG, Deutsche Medien Golf Gesellschaft.

Leo, if you read this, thanks again for the ball and the conversations we had. And who knows, maybe we’ll meet again in one of the golf journalists’ European Championships, head-to-head Germany vs The Netherlands. Looking forward to that.

2019 is not over yet

Just when you slowly but surely come to year’s end and golf is not in focus anymore (at least here where temperatures now hit 0°C) there’s a treat that presents itself out of the blue and promises to really reboot 2019 again.

And why shouldn’t it! Life is too short to sit around and wait for spring time for your next round of golf.

There’s something around the corner I’m really looking forward to and you need to remain curious to see what it is soon.

Just this as a hint:

Son-Muntaner-Golf3

More to come. You bet I’ll keep you posted.

What if Kaymer could putt like Cabrera-Bello

I stumbled over some statistics on the European Tour website the other day and couldn’t resist to do some number crunching. It wasn’t scientifically accurate but interesting nonetheless. Let me give you the basics.

I’m talking about these two numbers:

kaymer_cabrerabello

Being German myself, I feel for Kaymer’s recent plummet and while I wish him well, at the same time I strongly believe he didn’t do himself a big favor to change his swing a couple of years ago while he was in his prime. It was unnecessary (in my humble opinion) and definitely the wrong timing.

But anyway, the story is told, Kaymer kept dropping and dropping in all rankings imaginable.

Looking at the number above (from 17 Nov 2019) 77.9% GIR is a pretty impressive number. On nearly 8 out of 10 holes he puts the ball onto the green in regulation for a birdie putt—which he then mostly misses. Why else would he drop to 68th spot in the Race to Dubai or 118th in the OWGR with 17 tournaments played!

So in other words, he gets the ball onto the dance floor but then fails to execute.

Rafa Cabrera Bello on the other hand shines with a stunning 27.7 average putts per round figure. That’s not more than 1.5 putts per hole on average. Rafa is 21st in the Race to Dubai and 37th in the OWGR with 18 tournaments played.

Now imagine Kaymer could not only put the ball on the green but also putt like Rafa. There’s no easy way to calculate this but by approximation let’s just presume on 14 holes he needs 1.53 and on the rest he’d need 2 putts. That would translate into this staggering calculation:

14 holes GIR + 14 * 1.53 putts + 4 holes with 2 putts (assuming an 18 hole golf course) = 65.42. Even rounded up, Kaymer would still have a stroke average of 66. Rory McIlroy, current 2nd in the world, momentarily has a stroke average of 68.6…

This obviously shows the small likelihood of occurrence, that one player is equally strong in long and short game and at the same time a world class putter, too.

But it doesn’t hurt to dream!

Golf plans for 2020 in full swing

The 2019 is coming to an end slowly but surely. The days are getting shorter, it’s getting much nastier outside than it used to be weeks ago. As I’m writing this, it’s raining cats and dogs outside and nobody would get me on a golf course right now.

Unless fall is showing up again with a lovely October or we spontaneously decide to leave for a break to the southern hemisphere, the proper rounds I’m going to play are coming to phase out for this year (unfortunately).

Perfect timing to plan for next year!

As some of you might know, throughout the year I’m playing a Deutsche Bank tournament series which brings me to lovely courses here in the region, including:

  • Frankfurt
  • Main-Taunus
  • Lich
  • Hanau-Wilhelmsbad
  • Hofheim

…and many others.

For recreational golf, without any tournament pressure, I created a list of German golf courses which I plan to play in 2020:

  • München Eichenried
  • München Aschheim
  • Gut Kaden
  • Weimarer Land
  • St. Leon-Rot
  • Winnerod
  • Mannheim-Viernheim
  • Stuttgart Solitude
  • Köln
  • Ulm
  • Hardenberg

As you see, these are spread all over Germany. Some in the north, some in the south-east, some in the south-west, in the west, in the east—so pretty much all over the country. And even though this means a lot of driving, I can’t wait for some to play (some for the first time).

Excellent round of golf at one of Germany’s top destinations – Golf Club St. Leon-Rot

When it comes to famous German golf courses, admittedly, there might only be a handful. Munich-Eichenried comes to mind, so does Lärchenhof due to the BMW tourneys. More recently the European Tour teed off at Green Eagle near Hamburg and both Frankfurt and Gut Kaden have already staged pro events in the past.

So did St. Leon-Rot, one of Germany’s top courses and host to numerous Deutsche Bank SAP Open tournaments as well as the Solheim Cup.

The course is located 90 minutes from where I live so I decided to give it a go, a couple of weeks ago. On a Monday morning, in beautiful sunshine, I went down there and had a pure blast. But first things first:

Continue reading Excellent round of golf at one of Germany’s top destinations – Golf Club St. Leon-Rot

GOLF.TV – the one big thing golf fans waited for

For the last years during which I refrained from paying pathetically high subscription fees for Sky, I paid from time to time a week ticket for Sky Ticket, which is basically the stripped-down version of Sky for those who want to pay-per-view.

It was easy to do, easy to use and I bought such week ticket usually for the bigger tournaments such as majors, when I thought I had time to sit down and watch some golf. That’s not given during the day with a 2-year old toddler which is supposed to only watch one episode of Peppa Pig a day.

I seriously dislike Sky for all what they are doing, for their price policy, their stupid apps and all business decisions they take. In 2019 however, as an infrequent Sky Ticket user, I was offered a multi-month subscription free of charge. ‘Why’ you will ask would they do that. Well it’s the football break in Europe that time and I reckon they fired out free subscriptions as a Marketing gig. If they’d be smart enough they would have checked that I never watched a single football match and sticked to golf only.

Clearly I didn’t complain and was able to watch the Masters, the PGA Championship, the US Open and The Open Championship for no charge at all.

After that period I dropped out of Sky Ticket again and was kind of relieved to be honest, even tough I had no chance to watch golf anymore.

Then I finally found golf’s broadcasting holy grail and since then love every minute of that experience. Let me explain why.

Continue reading GOLF.TV – the one big thing golf fans waited for

Season goal overachieved

Currently being over the moon with my weekend round, I can report that my (long-time) season goal no. 1, namely #Project12, now finally is accomplished.

Overachieved I have to say. I wanted to reach a handicap of 12.X by year’s end. Two weekends ago I managed to come down to 13.1, which actually was already great news. Then yesterday, in wet and cold conditions, I scored 40 net points, which brought me further down to 11.9.

Dark, cold and wet conditions at Golf Club Domtal Mommenheim. 

During my round at Golf Club Domtal Mommenheim, south of Mainz, Germany, I shot 7 pars, 10 bogeys and unfortunately had to pick one up on the easy 18th. That’s 24 gross points and the mentioned 40 net points. And all that without using any woods, teeing off with a 3-iron only.

Since #Project12 is now in the books, it’s all about #Project9 and #Break80 for the coming weeks and of course next season. Wish me luck!

Ball Showcase: Golf Club St. Leon-Rot

The domestically famous St. Leon-Rot club is a 90 minutes Autobahn ride from where I live and I actually passed the course often. I never played it though which had to change.

So I was overly happy to walk in the footsteps of golf’s greats on the St. Leon course, where the Solheim Cup, several Deutsche Bank SAP Open and other tournaments were staged, where Tiger Woods and Ernie Els battled it out some years ago and where Germany’s amateur golf elite is practicing.

It’s no spoiler when I tell you I really liked it there. Going to St. Leon-Rot (once for each course) on a yearly basis will be my new tradition, and a nice one indeed.