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Readers Letters - July/Aug 2012

Too much easy money at the Volvo match play

I am compelled to write after watching the coverage of the Volvo World Match Play Championships from the magnificent Finca Cortesin resort in Andalucia, where Nicolas Colsaerts ran out a deserved winner (but such a shame there were so few spectators on the ground to watch).

The players were all singing the praises of the golf resort, reputed to be one of the finest golf hotels in the world, with fantastic hospitality.

But I have a massive gripe: Why when it is only a small field do the players that participate earn points in the Race to Dubai? This is surely unfair, especially as there were players there because some of the leading players weren't available. This has such a knock on at the end of the season when players are fighting to save their cards. A few weeks ago in Madeira more than a hundred players played for an overall purse less than Colsaerts won this weekend, a lot of those will be in the mix come the end of the season.

If a player misses the cut he earns no money, so is it fair that if you are invited to play in an event, where even if you fail to win a game you still earn 50K – a good start to keeping your card. I don’t have a problem with the payment of what is effectively appearance money, but under no circumstances should that count towards the Ryder Cup and Race to Dubai.

Malcolm Pugh, via email

Opening ones mind to a better game of golf

I discovered your magazine just a short while ago and must say that in each of the four issues I have so far purchased I've enjoyed the diverse nature of the content, often thought-provoking beyond the same stories, drills and tips I constantly find in some of your competitors. The article by Dr Karl Morris was one of the most enlightening pieces of golf writing I have read in some considerable time and I believe that many golfers could learn a lesson or two from it. It wouldn't be the first time I've read an article around the mental aspect of the game, but it was certainly the first I've read where it breaks down the issue of perfection.

As a mid-handicapper I fall into the bracket of knowing my ability (and limitations) but have now realised that I'm also guilty of believing that I'm going to hit every shot to that top ability. My issue has always been inconsistency, but breaking down some of my more recent scorecards it is obvious that the expectation to hit the perfect shot has actually cost me more shots than gained!

Taking my new approach – courtesy of Dr Morris – onto the course was very refreshing, without becoming a negative player I was selecting shots based on the reality of the outcome as opposed to my usual high expectation. In doing this I felt more in control of my scorecard than I have for a long time and, as suggested in the article, enjoyed my time out on the course more so than I had been doing. Of course there were still poor shots but my positive thinking allowed me to quickly move on and stopped one poor shot becoming a terrible hole.

I doubt whether this new found approach will turn me into a single figure handicapper but I am delighted that such an article has been able to bring me more enjoyment out on the course along with some improved scoring.

Benn Ashford Epsom, Surrey

Lack of visibility at home hurts European interest

Richard Gillis is right (Golf Business, GI #110). The Golden Age of the late 1980s dominance was better than the current age – and not just because we saw more over here of Faldo, Lyle and Woosnam compared to Donald, McIlroy and Westwood.

We also saw more of Ballesteros, Langer and Olazabel so were able to consider each of them as ‘one of ours’. As such, their major victories were greatly received.

Accepting Richard’s point that wins abroad by Donald do not carry the same resonance as those by Faldo did, then how much less did Kaymer’s US Open mean to your average British golf fan? Should Cabrera-Bello, Hanson or a Molinari achieve similar I don’t believe it will have anywhere near the impact of those by the European players from the 80s and 90s.

All this is because Britain hosts hardly any professional tournaments – the natural consequence of which will be a decline in interest. I wonder when the tour will start to rue their decisions to chase the money?

Thinking about it, there is a certain irony that in future golf is to be included in the Olympics to raise the profile of the game in areas where there is little interest. Obviously it should have been included from 2012.

Kevin Ryan, via email

Mid-summer madness

Last Saturday (June) I played in a team game best two to score. It had rained for three days solid and was pouring down, windy and cold as we stepped onto the first tee in full waterproof gear.

An added problem in these conditions is trying to keep some form of clear vision if like me you wear spectacles. It was only seven weeks previous when our team match against a local club was abandoned due to a hailstorm!

Although I have recalled these two games in particular they are in no way unusual for the amateur club player in the northwest. We play year round in all weather conditions. I couldn’t help but smile when I was watching coverage of the PGA Tour the other night with the entire field in lightweight summer slacks and short-sleeved polo shirts only for Sir Nick Faldo to say how tough the conditions were with the wind getting up and the temperature dropping into the 60’s!

I know Sir Nick has to gear his comments for the American viewers but I am sure he has not forgotten the masochistic fun of playing with your pals in all weather conditions. The song said ‘only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun.’ Well it’s the golfers who go out in rain, sleet and blizzards out of choice! Real golfers.

Have a nice summer.

Tom McGrail, Cheshire

More than qualified to tackle the top jobs

Further to John Hopkins’ notice that several of the top jobs in golf may be coming vacant (Last Shot, GI #110) I wonder if he might cast an eye over the attributes I was thinking of including within my CV for the same?

- I’ve never had a run-in with Tiger.

- I’ve never been accused of slow play.

- An inability to understand the Fed Ex points system hasn’t stopped me enjoying it.

- I’ve always stayed up to watch The Masters finale, even during the boring years.

- I wear clothes on the golf course I would never wear anywhere else.

- I took a driver on the 10th at The Belfry and birdied the hole. (OK, rather than a long, high fade onto the green I topped it down the middle. But I pitched and one putted and, as they say, there’s no pictures on the scorecard.)

- I never use any of those tiresome golfing clichés.

- I have a complete collection of Golf International going back 6 years.

- The World Matchplay Championship over the West Course at Wentworth remains my most favourite tournament. (Though I have had trouble tuning in the last few years. Has coverage changed to a different channel?)

- I moan about how technology is killing the artistry in golf, but use the latest equipment whenever I can.

- I am happy to have our job interview on the course and am free to play St Andrews, Pebble Beach or Augusta National anytime, any day.

- I will work tirelessly to promote more golf tournaments actually in Europe. (The Race to Dublin anyone?)

- I take every opportunity to play golf including during a recent holiday. (Well, technically it was a honeymoon rather than a holiday but I made sure my bride did not feel she was a golf widow – I allowed her to caddy for me all the time.)

- I already have a short list of deputies to work with me – Tom Cox and Clive Agran.

- I have green credentials (i.e. I will use any ball I find on the course).

- I think I could agree terms at £10,000pa. (I know it's not much but it's all I can afford to pay them.)

Once I get one of these jobs Golf International is most welcome to do an indepth interview with me. (But no offence Mr Hopkins, I’d rather it was Sarah Stirk you sent.) Yours faithfully,

Bill Weller, via email

Editor’s note: Glossing over the gaping hole in your magazine collection, it appears to me that you are over qualified for any one of the positions soon to become vacant.

Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine


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