Archive for December, 2008

Seasons Greetings


It’s Christmas time…

Going Home is a great song by Swedish singer Sophie Zelmani, Chris Rea sang about how he was ‘Driving home for Christmas’ and right now I feel I can relate to both of them. I don’t think I ever feel as empty as I do when a training camp is over. All the energy that has gone into preparing and putting everything in place and all the adrenaline that has been pumping while in the middle of delivering it is suddenly gone. All that is left is a growing sense of a head ache and an overwhelming feeling of tiredness. All this is combined, at least this time, with an impression that ‘wow, this was really great’. In a way it is like what a Sunday evening after winning a golf tournament must be like. Not that I would now anything about that but what I do now is that I am incredibly pleased to be both ‘Going home’ and ‘Driving home for Christmas’.

Today’s sessions at the camp had Martin Rowley, a long time and very experienced tour caddie, talking about his life and lessons learned as a caddie. In the afternoon there was a presentation about all the various routes that are available to get to where players want to go. Getting a degree in tournament golf, finding a British University, going to a US college and turning pro to find a place to play were all options that were discussed. The challenge is just to find what is right for each individual!

I will now take a blog break over the holidays and I will be back again in January. Merry Xmas!

Back to university

I have been a bit slow on the blog side this week. It has been a busy week though as I have gone back to university. This time together with all the players, coaches and officials working in the EGU Coaching programme. We are at Loughborough University which holds some pretty impressive sports facility. We are here for the traditional Christmas Camp and this time all our squads are on site together. Some fabulous speakers have sheared their experiences and told some inside stories about their lives and how they go about being as good as they are. The first day Dave Alred, one of the coaches behind England winning the Rugby World Cup in 2005, shared some of his philosophies around how to perform under pressure. Today Katherine Grainger inspired us all with her story about preparing for, competing in and recovering from the Beijing Olympics. Oliver Fisher and Dean Robertson spoke about their experiences of growing up in golf and going on tour. There has been some amazing stories told by these people and I look forward to seeing what impact this will have on the people attending.

Apart from running the camp I have also managed to produce a new Monthly Letter. Have a look at the Monthly section to find out!

More headlines…

Gary Player seems to have a habit to create headlines when he speaks. Perhaps you remember his comments on doping in golf at the time of the Open Championship at Carnoustie last year? They certainly created some headlines. This time an interview in the Daily Telegraph catches my attention. The interview appears in the series called School Sport Matters and Player speaks about the important role of schools in educating children on how to eat right. Player says:

“If you take Britain, probably 13 million of your citizens start the day with a white bread roll and two pieces of fatty bacon. What chance do you have when you start your day with that?”

In fairness he also slags off his own home country and the US and I like his idea of how to deal with this; Player says mothers (and had he not been 73 perhaps he would have said parents…) should attend class with their children when they start school, to be re-educated in matters to do with diet and exercise. Of course he is right! And believe it or not, it is the same thing with good habits in golf! Hence, when we do our Christmas Camp at Loughborough next week parents are invited together with their children. Good habits do start at home!

If you don’t think the current credit crisis is fair then here is another one… Henrik Stenson over the last two weeks made 1.4 Million pounds thanks to his wins in the World Cup and the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa. With that he jumped up to World number 7 and money aside he has had a pretty impressive finish to the season. Only one tournament to go now for most of the World’s top players, the South African Open the week before Christmas.

Winning 1.4 Million pounds less, Luke Gooddard was just as impressive when winning the Argentine Amateur Championships on Sunday. 4/3 in the final with an impressive array of birdies over the last 8 holes secured him the victory.

Funding in the days of the credit crisis

UK Sport revealed their elite funding programme for the next four years, leading up to the London 2012, yesterday. According to the Telegraph athletics and nine developing sports will see their budgets cut in the build up for the Olympic games on home soil. Tough, and obviously officials from these sports are more or less devastated as their chances of performing in 2012 very much depends on the level of funding from the government, through UK Sport. Having said that I cannot help wondering about the top-down approach to this. What happened to sports ability to raise funds ourselves? I know that one of the great ideas about the Olympics is that the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts and hence it is important for the country and not just the individual sport to do well. Therefore it is probably right to hope for some sort of public funding. That is not the same though as expecting it to bet there or even expecting it to be on the same level or higher than where it used to be. One big threat with money coming from somewhere above is that it tends to make the recipient reliant and instead of pro-activity it threatens to create reactivity. “Wait and see what funds we get” is a commonly used phrase. And of course we in golf are in exactly the same boat as what we are doing at the moment is to put our faith in Sport England’s decision on funding for the next four year period. That is expected to be revealed sometime just before Xmas or early in the New Year. Did somebody hear “wait and see what funds we get”?

Out in Argentina the English players Luke Goddard and Matt Haines have made it into the matchplay stages of the Argentine Amateur. If you would like to test your Spanish check out the website of the Association de Golf Argentina for the latest updates!

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