Archive for January, 2009

Close but…

Despite a heavy loss against Finland today Germany did manage to come out victorious in the Qudrangular Match at Costa Ballena. England was looking very good halfway against Spain having won all three foursome matches before the lunch break. A tougher afternoon meant that the two teams tied on 4.5 points each and a total of 3 points for the tournament.  As England had scored half a point more against Germany it was England in 2nd and Spain in 3rd. Finland finished 4th and was ironically the only team to beat Germany. By a convincing 7-2 as well!

Final results:

1. Germany 4

2. England 3

3. Spain 3

4. Finland 2

Full match results are available here.

A sizzling start

Rory McIlroy

With Jumeirah all over his cap Rory McIlroy must have pleased quite a few of the locals in Dubai after his first round 64 in the opening of the Dubai Desert Classic. Rory is making quite an impressive impact already on tour and at 19 years of age he has already cruised to number 39 in the World. We will probably have to look back to the early days of Sergio Garcia to find a teenager who has made such an impression in the professional game immediately after leaving the amateur game. Rory was always a very promising player as an amateur and to think that good things was going to come was probably not too far off the mark. To show promise is one thing though and to actually deliver is something completely different and my hat is off to Rory for what he has done so far.

In Costa Ballena the English Team  of David Oldcorn’s and Graham Walker’s A squad players have had a bit of a rocky start. Germany proved to be a strong first round opponent but England came back to comfortably beat Finland in the second match. Germany beat Spain in their second match (full second round update here) and now have a good chance to win the whole thing, if they can beat Finland today. England play Spain today and need to win to finish in the top two. Final results should be available here sometime this evening.

Here we go again!

I am not sure if it is just me and the fact that I am currently more bogged down in budget figures than I am out watching golf but I do feel like the golf at this early part of the year seems further away than normal. The US Tour has started and I am not sure how many people have noticed it. The top players, obviously Tiger Woods included, seem to have taken a bit of a lie in start to the year and even though I am sure that Pat Perez is a great player his winning the Bob Hope Classic does not exactly excite me. European Tour is far out east, in Dubai this week, and with the very strong field on display perhaps this can be the injection that at least I feel is needed.

The amateur game has started even further out east from our point of view. A group of Englishmen is flying the flag in Australia with Adam Wainright and Jason Palmer staying for more or less the full spring season to compete for Waverly Golf Club in the Pennant series and Charlie Ford and Farren Keenan doing a shorter stretch of events to return to the UK again in mid February. So far Charlie has put himself forward by finishing 2nd in the Avondale Medal and 3rd in the Lake Macquarie Amateur Championships. Next on the list for these guys is the New South Wales Medal and Match Play Championships. 

And apart from trying to get the budget figures to add up I have just posted the first Peter’s Monthly of 2009. Check it out under the Peter’s Monthly section. The first England Team of the year is out in Costa Ballena, Spain, where David Oldcorn’s and Graham Walker’s A Squad players are trying to capture the first title of the year. I will try to feed information from them through on this blog! If your Spanish is up to it you should also be able to follow the results on the Spanish Federation website.

Too good to be true…

The English Open, scheduled to come on the European Tour schedule in August 2009 has been postponed until 2011. This is particularly unfortunate as the English Golf Union together with Crown Golf, the owners of St Mellion where the event is to be held, and the European Tour have developed a really interesting concept for amateur qualification into the event. England is by now just about the only major golf country in Europe that does not run or at least have links into a European Tour event where their top amateurs can test themselves against the top players in Europe. The English Open would have created this and Crown Golf were very welcoming, open to our ideas and excellent to work with. They could not control the economic climate however and when sponsorship got increasingly difficult to find, their partners in developing the facilities at St Mellion struggled for various reasons and the whole enchilada that the English Open was supposed to be wasn’t possible to create, then I guess there was only one way to go. Let us just hope that the tournament will become a reality in 2011 though and perhaps that before that there might be other opportunities for the top amateurs to benchmark themselves against the tour players.

Give us back our game

When the EGU Coaching Conference started on Thursday a few eyebrows were raised and questions were asked about the background of this theme. For me this conference is a bit of a “dream come true” in that the role of games and their importance in developing athletes in sports have followed me ever since I got involved in coaching. One of the first people I met when I started university in Stockholm was Rolf Carlson who had just done a study on the Swedish success in tennis. Sweden at one time had 5 men in the top 10 of the world rankings and Rolf had found that playing games and spending most awake hours of the day on the tennis court growing up played a huge part in these players’ background. This encouraged me to do a simular study in golf and I wasn’t too surprised to find the same results also in my sport.

This role of games and what some has referred to as the “intelligence of play” has then followed me in my discussions with both coaches and players around the world over the years and interestingly, I have found the same background in pretty much every sport. I would also argue that this role of games and play should not diminish as players develop and grow. The list of players that I have come across telling the story of how they left their successful way of using games in practice for a more “serious” approach, working on their technique and practicing “properly” on the driving range goes on and on. For many of them this has not taken them further up the rankings. On the contrary they have gone the other way and on a number of cases ended up off the tour. For the more than 100 people that attended the first day of the conference I don’t think this is too difficult to understand, having listened to Paul Cooper, Lynn Kidman and a panel discussion featuring Peter McEvoy, Paul Affleck, Paul Eales, Paul Schempp, Rod Thorpe, Kendal McWade accompanied by both Cooper and Kidman. This is in no way saying that technique is not important but the big problem is that in the search for excellence in their golf swings players tend to completely miss out on the scoring skills that playing games taught them.

Give us back our game is about returning to good habits and introducing new ideas that will get the ball in the hole in fewer strokes. It is about putting the performance in the centre and using every available initiative or idea to improve that performance.

Time to set the wheels in motion again!

After a long and very much needed break it is about time to get back on track again. Two weeks over Christmas is probably the only quiet time in the golf world today. The European Tour is providing playing opportunities just about every week of the year and even the week before Christmas saw a really strong field in the South African Open. The US PGA Tour is not that different even though the top players now seem to take a bit more of a relaxed approach to the fall season as the Fed Ex Cup and the Tour Championship pretty much conclude things in September. Most of them are back on the battle field this week though with the traditional season opener in Hawaii.

Top Amateur golf is not that different as a group of our players have already left for Australia and the first early events of the year, probably in slightly better weather than what we currently see in this part of the world. The juniors are already out in South Africa for a week of strong competition that will no doubt give them a good benchmark of where their games stand at the moment.

Domestically this coming week is a very busy one. The EGU Coaching Conference entitled “Give us back our game” is in the pipeline, scheduled for Thursday and Friday. An extensive speakers’ list promises for an exciting couple of days. For more information click here.

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