Archive for February, 2009

Four Englishmen in the last eight

As the Spanish Amateur moves into the quarter finals four out of the remaining eight players are English: Tom Lewis, Eddie Pepperell, Sam Hutsby and Matt Haines. Sam and Matt unfortunately face eachother while young Tom Lewis is up against British Amateur Champion Rainer Saxton. Follow the results here.

Whitnell and Woods out

Two favourites left their respective championships early. Tiger Woods lost to Tim Clark in Arizona and Portuguese Amateur Champion Dale Whitnell failed to make the 36 hole cut in this week’s Spanish Amateur. 9 English players made it into the match play with former British Boys Champion Matthew Nixon finishing runner up as the leading English plaayer. Full results are available here. When the match play starts on Friday results should be possible to follow here.

Development in Golf

Last night I made my debut as an after dinner speaker. That is a tough job and even tougher if you are up against the closing minutes of Inter vs Manchester United on TV. Lucky for me there wasn’t a break before I was due to come on so those that would have taken such a chance to disappear would have been easily spotted had they tried to sneak out of the room. As an after dinner speaker you should be funny, quick, enthusiastic and inspirational while you deliver a thoughtfuland relevant message. I am under no illusions that I met any of those expectations but what I wanted to do was simply to get the many people involved in Golf Development to understand how important they are to not only the growth of the game as a whole (by getting people into the game) but also to the generation of future elite players. Perhaps this is a golf thing and doesn’t apply to other sports but we tend to talk about these things as separate from each other. As if the way to work would be substantially different when our focus is to get people started compared to if we think about how good these people can then become. I think that is a big mistake as what we need to do is to create an environment where people and children want to be as much as they possibly can. Those that spend a lot of time there will have the chance to become really good. Those that don’t will not reach as far but they will still enjoy to play the game.

This week is a big and awaited one in the golf world. The Tiger is coming back to the tour, 254 days after he won the US Open on one leg. Reports suggest that he is fitter an stronger than ever and it will of course be interesting to follow his every move in this week’s WGC event in Arizona. I would not think that it is a coinsidence that he comes back at a tournament sponsored by Accenture… Follow the action here.

In the amateur game the Spanish Amateur has just started with the first round today. Seven English players are in the top 14 so far. The top 32 after tomorrow’s round qualify for the match play stage. Results are available here.

Whitnell wins the Portuguese Amateur

Dale Whitnell, ©Tom Ward

Dale Whitnell, ©Tom Ward

The Portuguese Amateur 2009, the first individual amateur event of the year on European soil, ended as an all England affair. Jamie Abbott faced his England Squad friend, slightly more experienced Dale Whitnell in a play off for the title. With a birdie on the second play off hole Dale managed to seal the victory leaving Abbott in second place. This was Whitnell’s first international victory and also by far Abbott’s best international performance so far. Two more englishmen, Sam Hutsby and Luke Goddard finished in the top 6.

Pos. Nome Clube To PAR Total Dia 1  Dia 2  Dia 3 
1   Dale Whitnell ENG   – 6   210   71   68   71  
2   Jamie Abbott ENG   – 6   210   73   69   68  
3   Reinier Saxton NED   – 4   212   72   70   70  
4   Luke Goddard ENG   – 3   213   72   70   71  
5   Jurrian Van Der Vaart NED   – 3   213   68   69   76  
6   Sam Hutsby ENG   – 2   214   72   66   76  

For full results visit the Portuguese Federation results update here.

Another pretty impressive amateur this weekend was New Zeelander Danny Lee who managed to win the Johnnie Walker Classic in Perth, Australia. By that he became the youngest ever winner of a European Tour event. Ross McGowan finished in a very nice tie for second place, one shot behind the winner.

Portuguese Amateur

It seems like the rain in portugal continues and the 120 players in the filed have only managed to complete two rounds. Four Englishmen are in the top 10; Sam Hutsby, Dale Whitnell, Jamie Abbott and Luke Goddard. The tournament continues tomorrow and you can follow the action here.

Portuguese Amateur 2009

As the amateur circuit has reached Europe the Portuguese Amateur of 2009 is underway. The tournament that usually kicks off the European calendar, in the last few years with a very strong field, started yesterday and if my Portuguese serves me right (news from round 1) it seems like bad weather meant that only 78 of the 120 players in the field made it around the full 18 holes. Leading the way so far is Portugal’s Pedro Figueiredo on 69. Of course this may change as the rest of the field make it to the 18 holes mark. Follow the results on the Portuguese Federation website here.

“If it looks too good to be true…

it is normally too good to be true.” I remember Deborah Meaden saying this in one episode of the Dragon’s Den on BBC. Perhaps the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) should have taken the step into the Dragon’s Den to check whether the offer from Sir Allen Stanford was a good idea before they signed the deal for the US$ 20 million Twenty20 series? Of course it is really easy to look back in hindsight and point the finger but the stories that are now being rolled out can hardly be good for the sport. And when even a Swede is talking cricket you know there is something seriously wrong.

The whole thing to me looked like something that really should not belong in sports. Here is the rich American bloke, apparently with a big interest in cricket, who simply decided to buy himself a match series. When the TV pictures of him with wives and girlfriends of England players on his lap were shown to the world I have a feeling there were more than a few eyebrows raised.  So where did this go wrong? Some would spell it money and perhaps there is some truth to that. Was this a way for the ECB to stop their players from going to India to play in the lucrative Premier League? Possibly. And if they had not managed to do that, then what kind of press would they have had? The tricky thing is that the short term decisions that seem to save us for the moment are not always right for the sport long term. There are a long list of examples of that as athletes very seldom are interested in thinking long term. Their careers are way to short for that. It is the officials that will always sit there with the responsibility, accountability and unfortunately way too often also the blame!

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