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One of the best of British

This year marks a special 50th anniversary for a certain British icon – and I’m not talking abut the Ford Cortina. More a vintage roller. Tony Jacklin turned professional in 1962, and after serving his traditional apprenticeship as an assistant in his home county of Lincolnshire he became one of the most exciting and successful players on the ‘home’ circuit before establishing himself as a major force in world golf with that epic victory in the 1969 Open at Royal Lytham – status that would be underlined the following summer as he trounced the field in the US Open at Hazeltine, winning by seven strokes.

Jacklin’s achievements mark him out as one of the greatest British sportsman of modern times, and in a Ryder Cup year that also sees the return of the Open to Lytham I am delighted to announce an exclusive collaboration with Jacklin that will produce a series of features in Gi covering his recollections of golf and life in the late 1960s, a unique insight to the characters who drove the early years of the European Tour and, of course, his memories of that defining week at Lytham in ‘69.

As good as Jacklin was as a player, it was for his passion and commitment he brought to the role of Ryder Cup captain that would effectively define his career in golf. Quite simply, Jacko transformed the Ryder Cup, having been given carte blanche by the PGA to do whatever was necessary to make the match a contest. Picking up the reins in 1983, Jacklin set about building his team around the incomparable Severiano Ballesteros, and his recollections of Europe’s talisman will make for a fascinating and fitting tribute as we near the anniversary of Seve’s passing this May.

All that is to look forward to. In the meantime, enjoy an issue packed yet again with some terrific reading – and a couple of instruction articles that illustrate just how far apart the modern professional game is from the one you and I play. European Tour coach and Sky Sports analyst Denis Pugh provides a fascinating analysis of the trends he is seeing on tour in terms of swing fundamentals based on sheer athleticism and rotational speed of the body as players maximise their leverage to optimise the performance of modern equipment – a technique that is a million miles away from the natural flowing motion our guest coach., Stephane Bachoz, advocates ‘can be as natural as walking’ in a refreshing piece that offers sound advice for mere mortals looking to hit more good shots without having to think about it.

Wherever your game sits on that scale, I hope you enjoy the issue.

March 2012

Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine


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