by Robert Bicknell This has long been a problem for the USGA / R&A, but it’s not the average players making the complaint, nor is it the Tour professionals. Rolling back the ball seems more like a solution in search of a problem than anything else. When queried, the overwhelming response by the average recreational player in general is that they are happy with things the way they are and the USGA / R&A should leave it the hell alone. In a recent study, MyGolfSpy asked players a lot of questions and the overwhelming answer was what was just reported above. In fact, what surprised me was that most players attributed to increased distance to “improved fitness” as well as “improved techniques” rather than equipment modifications and that got me to thinking… which is dangerous. As I have mentioned in previous columns, I will use my own experiences for reference… First of all, I am now 60-years old, and when I was young (read: 16-26 … [Read more...] about Does the golf ball go too far?
Augusta national golf course
By Robert Bicknell OK, we’ll get to the Open Championship in a moment, but first there is the issue of Tiger Woods vs Phil Mickelson head-to-head for US$10 million bucks. Yep, you read that right. Ten million US dollars. Of course, this amount of money is peanuts to Tiger and, probably, also to Phil, but he’s a bit more low key about his finances. Tiger is sort of like Rolex and Phil is like Patek Philippe. One is flash and the other is equally expensive, but most people don’t realize it at first glance. I have heard many comments on line, especially from some of the mainstream golf commentators, who are turning their noses up at the event. They claim it is just a ploy of some kind to generate interest. Of course it is, but then again so was the Skins Game and, if you really want to go way back, Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf. The latter had two big name players going head to head over 18 holes. We got to see Ben Hogan vs Sam Snead, etc. Great stuff, … [Read more...] about Money where your mouth is
Viet Nam News By Robert Bicknell With the 19th Annual Norfolk Invitational Tournament coming up next week, I went down to the host venue, The Bluffs at the Hồ Tràm Strip Golf Club with an old friend, to see the new design changes, which is returning this award winning course to a true links design as intended. Before I go any further, let me remind everyone that The Norfolk event is an “Invitational” not an “Open” (Same as The Masters – which is an invitational as well) and it’s the longest running event in Vietnam. Every year they have to remind everyone that “If you’re not invited, you’re not getting in. Don’t even ask.” End of story. The Bluffs plays much differently now. Following the instructions from the Greg Norman design team, they have been removing a lot of the vegetation on the dunes surrounding the holes, which visually opens it up more and allows the wind to play a bigger role in your shot … [Read more...] about At Norfolk, you need an invite
Viet Nam News AUGUSTA, United States — Tiger Woods, unable to make birdies on the Augusta National par-5 holes he has dominated over the years, grinded his way through his long-awaited Masters comeback round on Thursday. With the world hoping to see one of the great injury comebacks in sports history, the 14-time major champion fired a one-over par 73 for a so-so start to his first major round since the 2015 PGA Championship and first Masters round in three years. "It felt great to be back out there again. It’s nice that I came out to play," Woods said. "I could have easily let the round slip away from me but I got it back and I’m right back in this tournament." Woods underwent four back surgeries, the latest a spinal fusion, to heal nagging health issues that left him wondering if he would ever walk without pain much less return to top-level golf. But after two top-five finishes in tuneup events last month, Tigermania again buzzes at Augusta National, where … [Read more...] about Tiger battles through with clutch shots in Masters return
Eight-time major champion Tom Watson became the oldest Masters Par-3 Contest winner at age 68, capturing the casual competition on Wednesday (Apr 4) at Augusta National on the eve of the 82nd Masters. Tom Watson of USA celebrates with the trophy after winning the Par 3 Contest prior to the start of the 2018 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images/AFP) Watson, who also turned time back in the 2009 British Open at age 59 before settling for second at Turnberry to Stewart Cink, fired a 6-under par 21 on Augusta National's special Par-3 layout. "After I birdied the first four holes I said it would be all right to win the par-3," Watson said. "Since I'm not playing in the tournament I said let's go for it this year." No Par-3 Contest winner has ever taken the Masters in the same year, but the "curse" won't be a factor this year since Watson has retired from playing in the Masters. England's Tommy Fleetwood, 41 years younger than Watson, and … [Read more...] about Timeless Tom Watson wins Masters Par 3 crown at age 68
Tiger Woods of USA plays a shot during a practice round prior to the start of the 2018 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images/AFP) Tiger Woods excited fans and rivals alike by practising on Monday (Apr 2) at the Masters, the 14-time major champion totally healthy at Augusta National for the first time in five years. Woods, and the potential for his first major victory since the 2008 US Open and first Masters win since 2005, was the talk of the course, even with a dozen other stars on peak form ahead of Thursday's start of the year's first major championship. "When Tiger walked onto the range there was an anticipation and excitement from the crowd to watch him compete again," said Britain's Justin Rose, last year's Masters runner-up and the 2013 US Open champion. Woods hasn't won a title since 2013 but after failed comebacks and four back surgeries, the last a spinal fusion, he's a contender again at age 42. "I got a second chance on life," Woods … [Read more...] about All eyes on Tiger Woods at Masters practice as tension builds
It has been 25 years since Bernhard Langer won the most recent of his two Masters titles, but the 60-year-old German's enthusiasm for the challenge of Augusta National hasn't dimmed. Bernhard Langer of Germany plays a shot during a practice round prior to the start of the 2018 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images/AFP) "My goal is not just to maybe make the cut or something," Langer said on Monday (Apr 2) as he looked forward to his 35th Masters start on Thursday. "I would like to be in contention, like to be on the leaderboard and have a chance on Sunday to win the trophy - or the green jacket in this case." Jack Nicklaus, 46 when he won his 18th and last major title at Augusta in 1986, is the oldest Masters champion. Langer donned his first green jacket in 1985 and his second in 1993. Two years ago, a 58-year-old Langer trailed 22-year-old Jordan Spieth by two after 54 holes. His closing 79, Langer says, was the result of an aggressive … [Read more...] about At 60, Langer still relishes challenge of Augusta