Nov 21st, 2015
To our great disappointment, Paul Casey has decided not to rejoin the European Tour. So he won’t be coming to Hazeltine for the Ryder Cup. Boo hoo!
To our great disappointment, Paul Casey has decided not to rejoin the European Tour. So he won’t be coming to Hazeltine for the Ryder Cup. Boo hoo!
It's the news we have all been waiting for this side of the pond. European Tour golf is to return with the first tournament in a six week 'UK Swing' kicking off with the Betfred British Masters hosted by Lee Westwood, which will take place between 22nd and 25th July – a week earlier than originally scheduled. Dates have also been announced for four Rolex Series events including the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open.
The PGA Tour will kick off on 11 June with the Charles Schwab Challenge in Texas. However, players and caddies returning to the USA for the tour face the headache of 14 days in isolation due to the strict quarantine rules in place in the USA.
The LPGA announced its revised calendar for 2020 on Wednesday with a planned return to play at the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational in Michigan on 15th July. There will also be more cash available due to increases in the purses for many of the events. Players will compete for an average of nearly $2.7 million per event.
Players such as Rory McIlroy may believe that a Ryder Cup without fans is not a Ryder Cup and so should be postponed but the truth is Europe cannot afford to postpone the event if the knock-on effect is the pushing back of the 2022 match.
A quite mind-boggling act of vandalism took place at Walton Heath at the weekend as thugs on motorbikes delighted in churning up a green one of the courses. This truly unbelievable video footage shows the animals doing doughnuts on the green and then riding off as walkers watched in disbelief.
As the Coronavirus crisis rumbles on golf tours facing an uncertain future. Every week that passes means that both the PGA Tour and European Tour are losing millions in TV and sponsorship revenues. The Americans have a plan for survival but their European counterparts face the perfect storm of challenges that threaten the existence of the European Tour itself.
We reported last month that Lefty might be taking on Tiger in a rematch of ‘The Match’ which took place in November 2018 for an obscene prize pot. The good news is that the match is confirmed and as we hoped this time it is for charity.
The European Tour today confirmed the cancellation of the BMW International Open and the Open de France and the postponement of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open, a Rolex Series event, due to the continuing threat posed by the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). At the same time, the PGA Tour announced its plans to resume the 2019-20 season with the Charles Schwab Challenge between 11th and 14th June.
Following the understandable cancellation of the Open, the proposed new dates for the remaining three majors are known. The PGA Championship will take place between the 6th and 9th of August at TPC Harding Park, the U.S. Open remains at Winged Foot and has been moved back to the 18th to 21st September and the Masters, usually the first major of the year will now come last between 12th and 15th of November.
Well, the R&A finally made a decision and somewhat surprisingly for some the decision was to cancel the 149th Open Championship because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Tournament will now take place at the same venue, Royal St George's Golf Club in Sandwich, in 2021.
As the various tours are losing millions each week in TV and sponsorship income and the Coronavirus trundles on the R&A continues to put out woolly statements about continuing to look at the options. Given the likely time frames for the lifting of social distancing and the issues over international travel, the R&A must postpone.
Golfers on the European Tour have come together to record a message to encourage everyone across the world to follow the World Health Organisation’s guidelines amid the coronavirus outbreak, reinforcing the #STAYATHOME message.
It’s not so Manic Monday as sadly the golf calendar has been decimated by the Coronavirus crisis. It will be a very quick round-up of all the results and stories from the weekend as only the Ladies European Tour managed to finish an event.
PGA TOUR has announced an expansive media rights deal that brings in ESPN with its streaming services alongside incumbent broadcasters CBS and NBC. The deal aims to increase the reach with more video content reaching a broader audience.
GolfPunk favourite Ian Poulter saw red following comments by Paul Azinger at the weekend suggesting the European Tour was a lot easier than the PGA Tour. Poulter took to Twitter and did not hold back on what he thought about what was said by the ex-Ryder Cup captain.
Martin Slumbers, the R&A chief executive, recently stated that “Golf has to change” when referring to the restrictive dress regulations at golf clubs as one of the reasons why prospective players are put off, with membership levels down across the UK. Fashion brands Lyle & Scott are in total agreement as borne out by their recent collaboration.
There was plenty of excitement at the last week’s events and plenty of great play. Here is GolfPunk’s pick of the best shots and we use the word ‘best’ in a rather loose way for one of them!
It was inevitable that Patrick Reed, who is playing at the WGC event in Mexico City this week, was going to be asked about the latest comments from Bob Kostis and Brooks Koepka. Talking after Thursday’s first round he managed to dance around the question.
The Scottish government has refused planning permission for a controversial plan to build an 18-hole championship golf course in the Highlands of Scotland. The plan had been to build a championship golf course at Coul Links, Embo, near Dornoch.
Surely the least contentious and well-deserved award for 2019 was Jon Rahm being voted the Seve Ballesteros Award as the 2019 European Tour Players' Player of the Year, after a spectacular campaign which included two Rolex Series titles, another victory on home soil and culminated in him being crowned the Race to Dubai Champion.
Mickey Wright’s who possessed one of the best swings in golf passed away on Monday at the age of 85. Wright was one of the greatest players on the LPGA amassing 82 LPGA titles over a 14-year professional career.
Ok as nobody else seems to be doing it, I am going to come out and defend the seemingly indefensible, or at the very worst add a bit of perspective. Hank Hainey made a pretty unwise statement and was clearly mistaken in taking what might be described as ‘locker room humour’ to the airways. But, was he being ‘racist, xenophobic, and sexist’ as stated by the PGA Tour’s lawyers?
It was great to see Graeme McDowell win again on the European Tour but had the tour applied the slow play rules more strictly come Sunday afternoon might it have been a different story? The Northern Irishman was carrying a ‘bad time’ after a transgression during his second round and playing in the final pairing come Sunday he and partner Victor Dubuisson became detached at the back of the field.
Thomas Pieters leads the Omega Dubai Desert Classic after an impressive opening round of 67 on the tough Emirates Golf Club course. The Belgian leads by one shot from David Lipsky of the USA with a gaggle of twelve players, which includes Englishman Eddie Pepperell, Robert Karlsson of Sweden and Dane Søren Kjeldsen, a further shot back.
A lot of us have old clubs languishing in the garage or in the attic gathering dust. Those of a certain age may also have a modern-day antique - a wood actually made out of wood! But there is a man who has not one but over one thousand woods tucked away in storage and all of them made from what was the holy grail of golf manufacturing materials – persimmon!
It looks like the PGA Tour are moving to close down the debate on the Patrick Reed saga. Rumours have it that Cameron Smith has been admonished by the PGA Tour for his outspoken comments on Patrick Reed's behaviour at the Hero World Challenge.
I didn’t think I would hear myself say this, but I feel sorry for Patrick Reed. Don’t get me wrong the guy has handled the whole affair badly and he clearly was borderline cheating at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas last December. However, due to the Tour’s insistence that the matter has been dealt with it has basically thrown the American to the lions, who in this case are the media and the golfing public.
With all due respect to Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods et al we think the Golf Writers Association of America (“GWAA”) were spot on in voting for Brooks Koepka as Player of the Year for 2019. Koepka’s performance at the four majors was undeniable impressive – to win one, finish second in two and tie fourth in the other is quite some feat.
No one can ignore the terrible fires ravaging Australia and to help in the relief efforts of those affected by the fires, a number of LPGA players including the Korda sisters, Marina Alex, Australian Sarah Kemp and England’s Charlotte Thomas, have publicised that they will be making a donation.
The European Tour has a real headache on its hands following Iran’s recent threats to "destroy" parts of the United Arab Emirates if there is retaliation after the attacks they launched on Iraq in reprisal for the US killing of Qassem Soleimani.
The gods were smiling on Justin Thomas in Hawaii on Sunday. Two clear, with three to go it looked like he had the Tournament of Champions in the bag. However, two sloppy bogies in his last three holes saw him have to win a play-off against Patrick Reed and defending champion Xander Schauffele.
The FootJoy folk never seem to stand still and the latest iteration is the Tour X which seeks to combine all that was good from previous tried and tested FootJoy models. The new Tour X has been born from the synthesis of 3 Tour-proven models, the DNA, Tour-S and Fury.
Well they’ve had the boxing, Tiger and Rory have declined big pay days to play there and now Saudi has made history by announcing the first-ever professional women’s golf event in the Kingdom. The fully-sanctioned Ladies European Tour event will be staged in collaboration with Golf Saudi and the Saudi Golf Federation and carry a purse of $1 million.
When Peter Fowler picked up the winner’s trophy at the MCB Tour Championship it was not his golf that was centre stage in the post event online discussions. The trophy Fowler received is apparently inspired by the coc de mer or Seychelles’ nut but did they seriously not realise what else it might resemble?
Puma Golf’s rolled out its new “Saltwater Collection” at the Hero World Challenge at the Albany Golf Course in the Bahamas this week. In the collection is the, rather tongue in cheek, Slow Play Golf Polo, which sports lovable turtles holding clubs and flagsticks in its design. Gary Woodland from the Puma fold was happy to wear the shirt but one Bryson DeChambeau, who can be seen on the website wearing the new creation, was not so keen to take to the course in it.
GolfPunk send it condolences and prayers to Tom Watson and his family on the sad passing of Hilary Watson just before midnight on Thanksgiving Eve. Hilary, who Tom described as ‘my hero’ had been battling pancreatic cancer for two years.
We pondered yesterday what would the result of the Race to Dubai be if Jon Rahm won the DP World Tour Championship and Tommy Fleetwood was alone in second? The answer was confirmed when Rahm holed a three foot putt birdie putt on the 18th to take the World Tour Championship and also pip Fleetwood to the Race to Dubai title.
Hats off to the European tour for coming up with another little classic for us all to have a laugh at. A few years back the tour let Little Billy loose on the players. Billy gave the pros a complete grilling with a series of cheeky questions, the Rory McIlroy one is a classic. Three years on, a documentary crew follow him as he returns to Dubai for the season-ending DP World Tour Championship.
For the first time since 1955 there will be no live coverage of any golf on the BBC in 2020. The BBC has lost their rights to show any live coverage of the Augusta event which means that the UK pay TV Channel Sky is now the only place to watch live coverage of the majors. This is the end game for millions of golf fans who have seen the free to air coverage of their favourite sport fade and die in the hands of the BBC over the past decade.
In the final Hero Challenge of the year South African Erik van Rooyen defeated former Masters Champion Danny Willett. You know the Hero Challenge, it’s the one where 6 top pros compete at target golf, hitting to a floating green out in an expanse of water. The closer to the flag you are the more points you score, with the closest ring being 50 points the next 25, well you get the gist.
This coming weekend the LPGA Tour reaches its climax at the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Florida. The winner will pick up a cheque for a cool $1.5 million. Meanwhile, the members of the ladies European Tour are sitting out yet another week. Their last event was the Hero Women’s Indian Open back at the beginning of October.
Derek The Donkey, GolfPunk's grumpy horse-envier once again delivers his 'Joke of the Week'. As you know he likes nothing better than a proper good laugh as long as it's at someone else's expense...
Take one tour pro, 500 golf balls and a 165-yard par three hole. The challenge, to make a hole-in-one. The odds of an average golfer making an ace are roughly one in 100,000, while stats suggest a European Tour pro's chances are closer to one in 2,500. Step up Thomas Pieters.
It’s been a while since this fine course has featured a major event and it’s been even longer since GolfPunk played it. If we recall correctly you head south out of Dublin on the M9 and you can’t miss it – well you can as its in middle of nowhere, if we recall.
Stop Press: Sweden’s Annika Sorenstam is set to become the first female professional to compete in the PNC Father Son Challenge. We’ve just picked the Brigadier up off the floor spluttering something about it never happening at West Hill or something. Yes, it is called a father son event but this is 2019 and actually the fairer sex has competed before.
Englishman Josh Hill entered the record books becoming the youngest player ever to win an Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) event with his two-stroke triumph in the Al Ain Open on the Mena Tour. But sadly, as an amateur he couldn’t take home his £10,000 prize money.
Jason Day gets in private jet, hot foots it from CJ Cup in China where he was 31st and then beats Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and home favourite Hideki Matsuyama to the spoils taking home $210,000 of the $350,000 pot. Happy Days then (do you see what we did there?)! Well perhaps for Jason but not really for golf as the inaugural 'The Challenge: Japan Skins' lived up to our pretty low expectations.
Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Hideki Matsuyama will go head to head in a globally televised skins game, the first in a series of annual competitions staged by GOLFTV. "The Challenge: Japan Skins" will take place on the 21st October ahead of the PGA Tour's Zozo Championship at Accordia Golf Narashino C.C. in Chiba, Japan, and we will not be watching.
Take one bike, one set of clubs, 14 different Open venues and one complete nutter and you have the ‘The Great British Open Challenge’. London-based PGA professional, Luke Willett, he with a famous golfing namesake, is to pedal his way between all the Open venues playing 18 holes at each and cycling with his clubs on his back!
Poor old Bio Kim. The Korean who is leading the money list on the Korean tour, has been handed a three-year suspension for raising his middle finger at members of the crowd at the weekend. This seems a rather harsh punishment and will cost the young man a lot of dosh.
Paul Casey has moves up to 14th in the world following his victory at the European Open in Hamburg. The Englishman shot a bogey free 66 that took him to 14 under and squeezed out Scotland’s Robert Macintyre, Austria’s Matthias Schwab and home hope Bernd Ritthammer by one-stroke.
Something for the weekend? Ooh suit you!
With stunning views of the China Sea along with the city skyline Sentosa Golf Club is home of the Singapore Open and more recently has been the venue for the HSBC Women’s World Championship.
The techies at Cleveland believe that the keys to success are control and feel which gives confidence in putting and their new Huntington Beach SOFT range does just that, so that we make more putts, "plain and simple!"
Something for the weekend? Ooh, suit you!
What happens when you pair one of the world’s biggest pop stars with the world’s number two golfer at a Pro-Am event? Well it’s no joke but what you actually get is a lesson in bunker play in the middle of the round, oh and a very near miss!
The Tour Championship is looking like it will provide a thrilling finale to the men’s season on Sunday as at the halfway point as Brooks Koepke leads Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas by one stroke, with Xander Schauffele and Paul Casey still very much in contention.
Something for the weekend? Ooh suit you!
There was lots of concern that the new format of the Tour Championship was going to result in the FedEx Cup leader running away with things and there being a lack of drama at East Lake Golf Club over the last big weekend for the PGA Tour. Well things didn’t really work out like that as Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele and Brooks Koepka all start day two tied on 10 under with Rory just one behind.
Hot on the heels of the success of the ISPS Handa World Invitational Men | Women event in Northern Ireland presented by his Modest! Golf Management outfit Niall Horan has announced he will be teeing it up in the BMW PGA Pro-Am on 18th September at Wentworth. Horan who is a member of the Wentworth Club in Surrey will take to the fairways of his famous home club alongside some of world golf’s biggest names.
The finale of the PGA Tour season is upon us and already we have a leaderboard in the race for that crazy payout of $15 million to the winner. Thirty men, honourable and true, will tee it up at the East Lake Golf Club just outside Atlanta with dollar signs in their eyes. Justin Thomas already leads by two, crazy we know but then again, the whole thing is.
Motocaddy, is upgrading its popular free-to-use GPS app to incorporate potential lifesaving features that indicate the location of on-course defibrillators and provide golfers with CPR instructions to administer to anyone suffering a cardiac arrest when playing golf.
The The European Tour has announced a concrete four-point plan aimed at tackling the issue of slow play in professional golf. The plan will be implemented at the start of the 2020 season and focuses on four key areas: regulation, education, innovation and field sizes.
After exhaustive reseach, including feedback from tour players, their caddies and PGA professionals, Titleist have produced their latest tour bag collection. This is a glimpse of what is to come from Titleist in 2020 and clearly the theme is a sleak jet black look.
The stuff that's floated our boats and scrunched our undies this week...
The European tour has been pretty creative with its content of late, who can forget the ‘Content Committee’ or Eddie Pepperell’s prank on Matt Wallace. By far our favourite though are the ongoing 14 Club Challenges.
Well we have run out of majors but Tiger will still be coming out to play in August as the FedEx Cup Playoffs commence this week in Jersey City, with The Northern Trust. It’s all change with the play-offs and we had to read it a few times before we sussed it out. So here’s how it will work..
The AIG Women’s British Open is now set to follow Woburn Golf Club with back to back regal courses with Royal Troon added to the Championship roster for 2020 and Royal Porthcawl confirmed for 2021. It seems therefore, that that we are set for some quality golf on iconic courses now that The R&A has taken over the women's home Championship.
Less than 24 hours after the Evian Championship was wrapped up by Jin Young Ko, 49 of the top 50 women in the world hightailed it to Milton Keynes to somehow prepare themselves for the very different test that Woburn Golf Club’s Marquess Course will offer. Or at least most of them would have been preparing had Lexi Thompson not left her passport in her bag!
Paula Creamer was going along nicely in the sun at the Evian Resort in Evian-Les-Bains when the weather took a turn for the worst. Wearing a rather provocative top with ‘Kiss My Putt’ emblazoned across her chest, the American sank a monster putt from the edge of the 12th hole to move the overnight leader to nine under par and one off the lead.
They needed it to be tough out there if they were going to challenge Shane Lowry but in the end, it was too tough and the conditions actually played in to the hands of the big man. For a man who grew up playing links golf up and down Ireland he was always going to be one of best equipped if the really high winds came.
As we sit and watch the various trials and tribulations of the players at the 148th Open, something pops up and immediately the whole team at GolfPunk are in total agreement, an event which I can assure you is as rare as rocking horse poop. The chance to own a luxury residence at the Hamilton Grand one of the most iconic buildings located virtually on top of the 18th hole of the Old Course at St. Andrews and in time for the 150th Open in 2021. The very definition of lovely stuff!
The fairy tale has slowly unwound. Local boy, Darren Clarke, who led the field off on Thursday in the 148th Open Championship, took seven at the last to miss the cut. Rory McIlroy, who famously shot 61 around Royal Portrush at the age of 16, shot 65, equalling best score of the day, but agonisingly missed the cut by one. And our man, Gmac, held firm just making it through on the cut line, nine back from the leader.
Lee Westwood backed up a first day 68 with an impressive 67 and is currently tied in 3rd position with Tommy Fleetwood, just one shot off the overnight lead. Based on his recent form this is somewhat unexpected. What has changed you might ask? Well he’s brought Helen Storey, his girlfriend, in as his looper and, despite her not knowing much about golf, it just might provide the fairy tale story for one of the finest golfers never to win a major.
There have been many incredible Open debuts, here is our Top 10...
There have been many an odd occurence at the oldest of all the majors but these are our pick of the top ten weirdest Open Championship moments.
Why is the golf now only on Sky TV in the UK with the BBC set to produce, if last year is anything to go by, a set of very ordinary highlights programmes? Who is to blame - Sky, the BBC, the politicians, the R&A or perhaps even Brexit?
Hughie's is the 416 yards, par 4 first hole on the Royal Portrush course. There is out of bounds on both sides of the hole with most golfers most concerned with that on the right. However, as there are bunkers on the right and left of the fairway at 262 yards and 291 yards respectively, most pros will go with an iron.
Who will win the Open? Vote now for your pick of the Top 20, as per the bookies, or do you think it will be more of an outsider who takes the Claret Jug on the shores of Northern Ireland?
Darren Clarke will hit the opening tee shot at The 148th Open, while fellow local favourite Rory McIlroy is paired with US Open champion Gary Woodland for the opening two rounds at Royal Portrush, which we cannot wait to see!
Each year the winner of The Open receives the famous claret jug which he must return before the following year’s event. But what is the history behind this iconic trophy?
The Open is looming up on the horizon so come and test your knowledge of all things Openey with the GolfPunk Open Golf Quiz 2019. It's got something for everyone who err like quizes.
So Muirfield or to give its proper title, The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, has formally invited women to join the club as members for the first time since voting to change the club’s rules in 2017.
Derek The Donkey, GolfPunk's grumpy horse-envier delivers his 'Joke of the Week'. He likes nothing better than a proper good laugh as long as it's at someone else's expense...
The US open is returning to Pebble Beach with its magnificent views, tiny greens and changeable conditions. All factors that are taxing The Spiv’s brain matter as he sips on his port and peruses the field. But this year its all different as GolfPunk has a new algorithm and its going to make us all rich (necessary caveats and waivers apply of course).
It was a great day for Northern Ireland at the final day of Canadian Open from Hamilton Golf and Country Club. Rory McIlroy shot an incredible nine under 61 to take the title by 7 shots and Graeme McDowell finished in the top ten and qualified for The Open.
Rory McIlroy shot a six under 64 in the third round of the Canadian Open to move into a share of the lead with the US’s Matt Kuchar and Webb Simpson. McIlroy’s countryman Graeme McDowell slipped back slightly but sits in joint ninth on eight under – Come on Gmac!
Graeme McDowell shot a second round 67 at the Canadian Open to sit on eight under, four off the halfway lead which is held by Matt Kuchar and Scott Brown. Gmac still work to do if he is to grab one of the three spots available for The Open but he is well placed come the weekend.
Keegan Bradley leads, some other folk are in second, third etc., including Shane Lowry of Ireland, but all we care about is how Graeme McDowell is doing. Gmac must be at The Open in July and we are cheering him all the way.
The Open is coming back to Northern Ireland after a break of 68 years. When Max Faulkner, one of the most flamboyant golfers of his generation, won the Open Championship in 1951 at Royal Portrush it would be 18 years until a Brit, Tony Jacklin in 1969, was to do so again.
Derek The Donkey, GolfPunk's grumpy horse-envier is back with 'Joke of the Week'. He likes nothing better than a proper good laugh as long as it's at someone else's expense...
GolfPunk's resident tipster, Nick Fleming, picked 2nd place Joel Dahmen as an each way bet at Wells Fargo Championship at the weekend and sadly missed out on Jorge Campillo, who down as a winner, faded to finish third as Mikko Korhonen came through to see off France’s Benjamin Hebert at the first play-off hole.
Last night at our team get together we were discussing all things golf and one of the team asked what our Top 5 golf related movies were sparking heated debate until the boss put his foot down and decided what they were and also the order (which was perhaps even more hotly contested as you will see!).
Who wouldn’t want to tee it up in their home open? Well for one, Rory McIlroy, who is giving this year’s Irish Open a miss. No biggy, I hear you say, it’s not like choosing to miss something like the Olympics is it? Oh, hang on Rory turned that one down too. So, what are the priorities of the 29-year-old darling of Irish Golf
As Tiger Woods holed the winning putt some time around 7.35pm on Sunday I was asked an awkward question: "Are you crying??", "Seriously, mate, are you crying?" "I've just something... sniff... in my eye, that's ... sniff... all..."
Lilac was the colour of the day at The Masters as the leaders appeared to have coordinated their wardrobes to don shirts of the same hue. The three players that lead in to the final round chose the colour for their shirt with Tiger again modelling a very snazzy mock turtle neck number. Ian Poulter, always one to be different, went instead for a lilac pair of strides.
The threat of bad weather has resulted in an early start for the whole field. Play will commence from both the 1st and 10th tees at 7:30 local time and will be in groups of three. Rather handy for UK and European viewers who can watch it after their Sunday lunch rather than having to stay up late!
We had everything on Friday at The Masters: A stellar leaderboard; birdies galore; storm threats; unbelievable recovery shots; a marshall slide-tackling Tiger Woods on the 14th hole (he still made birdie) and some truly comical moments starring Zach Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.