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.

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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

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.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

My take on the OWGR Top 10 of 2019

What I really like about golf is not only playing the game for myself but also to cheer for one or the other professional player. I try to see some pro tournaments on TV which is not easy with a full business and family life, but I do have some favorite players that I follow, double-tap on Instagram and support in other ways.

Compared to other sports like football I seriously appreciate the fact that rooting for one player not at all means that I hate everybody else in the field—a behavior which unfortunately is so predominant in football.

Anyway, I like playing golf and I like support a handful of golf players. It’s a gentleman’s sport throughout and spectators should be included in the equation. I’m aware that the Ryder Cup or the Solheim Cup might be sort of an exception, where two continents, two teams clash together and the situation is artificially hyped to an extreme. It’s different from the rest, one could say.

Brooks Koepka
Current world’s no. 1: Brooks Koepka | (c) golfweek.com

Coming back to the normal tour schedule, players earn points according to their stats in the weekly events. The better they play, the more they earn, the more points they receive. Easy as that.

Translated in a ranking of points earned globally on any given tour, this adds up to the current standing on the official world golf ranking high-score list. Please find below the 2019 season ending top 10, enriched with my personal view on the person in question:

Continue reading My take on the OWGR Top 10 of 2019

Slow play is killing the game

Not just since the most recent discussions about Bryson DeChambeau’s or J.B. Holmes’ approach to slow play, it has been a hot topic on tour.

What is slow play, why is it dangerous for our beloved sport and how could the tours increase the pace of play, watch this.

I’d consider myself a quick player: I don’t do practice swings at all, neither on the tee, nor on the green, I have a quick decision process what clubs to take and I’m a fast walker. For me the only things that take a second is to plan the shot (shaping) and to get distances right.

For the latter I highly recommend GPS devices such as watches or handheld products, or the good old laser. There’s a blog post coming on that soon, so please check back and have a read.

Playing in a group of course creates some dependencies to other players but there are measures to speed up: Ready golf is one, leaving the flag stick in is a second. And before you ask, yes there’s a blog post coming on that one too!

Tiger did it again!

One of the biggest comebacks in sports or just in golf? Whatever you go for, Tiger’s 2019 Masters win will end up in sports history books as the triumphant comeback of a man who suffered so much pain, lost so much, changed so much and was pretty much absent from the game for so long.

He now came back with a great major tournament, The Masters supposedly one of his favorites, great touch, good drives and the luck of the Irish.

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Photo: foxsports.com

I take my hat and salute a great man, who went from idol and role model to pretty much the opposite—and back. Fingers crossed he’s feeling home again on the tournament circle and will spark some enthusiasm again, win again and will continue to write history and lead a new generation of golfers to take care of this beautiful sport and its future.

A big ask, I know… But the 2 million dollars he went home with may be a kind of compensation – not that he would need it…

Is match play the better golf to watch?

I haven’t had much time to watch the Dell Technologies Match Play on TV over the weekend. My parents visited for a couple of days and golf became 6th priority, if at all.

What I realized however in the small snippets I got to watch through social media, and that’s no real surprise, match play is pretty cool to watch. I followed the Ryder Cup extensively in the past years and the various match play variants they play there are truly fascinating to watch and much more exciting than the stuff we tend to see in normal tournaments every other week.

Don’t get me wrong, a Masters weekend with 5 guys in contention is pretty exciting too, but a whole weekend in mano-a-mano battles in order to get to the next stage is something refreshing in golf, at least in front of the television. And it must be for the players too! No fixed schedule, just need to beat the next guy in line, not playing against the own abilities but actually against another person. And it’s social media heaven, I’d reckon.

I’d be in favor to see more of these, even if that would mean that there are fewer players to see in total. I say there’s more strategy, more battle, more excitement and consequently a shame we don’t see it that much on regular tour.

What do you think?

The world laughed about Rory’s shoes

…in the end he’s the one laughing—with a $2.25 million smile.

I’m not good at betting and my money definitely wouldn’t be on Rory lately, but after quite a long period of time during which he wasn’t able to win or at least substantially satisfy, he came out with a win at the 2019 Players Championship, the unofficial 5th major tournament.

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Wear gold, win gold. ūüŹÜ

A post shared by GOLF.com // GOLF Magazine (@golf_com) on

This young bloke is in the hunt for the career slam and personally I keep my fingers crossed for him. I wish him well, wish he’s able to make a move on the PGA Tour and in particular in the majors (and in the Ryder Cup, but that’s a different story). He has the potential and, believe it or not, he matured and is able to get his head around things happening on the course.

What you saw over the weekend was a crystal clear Rory McIlroy, focussing on the next shot, on the win, on getting better and taking a lesson from every suboptimal shot. There were indeed some as putting is actually not his strong suit, but boy can he drive the ball off the tee! And I’m not sure if I would stand the pressure to take out driver on the 18th on Sunday that close to Jim Furyk, risking a play-off.

Rors did and he did win this prestigious tournament in fashion. Frankly I missed a big jubilance and thought he was a bit too cold, but that’s I guess the case when you won dozens of tournaments and your big aim is that huge career slam—with the rest being just practice under tougher conditions.

Congratulations, Rory!