Bad lies

148th Open Championship

There were 1600 entries into this year’s Open Championship but there is only one winner. Unlike 1947 when the name of the golf course, Hoylake was spelt as Holylake on the Claret Jug, the engraver Gary Harvey will make sure to spell Royal Portrush correctly.

This will be an Open that will be remembered for a very long time especially, by the Irish golf fans.

Ten years after winning the Irish Open as an amateur, Shane Lowry kept the fans excited over the weekend, firstly with a course record 63 on Saturday that gave him a four-shot lead, then a 72 which gave him the Claret Jug.

He is now without question a National hero in Ireland and will be in the golf history books for all time.

The final day was very difficult. Rain, wind and cold made scoring a challenge. Lowry made a few mistakes but he limited the damage and often made up with birdies. He won by six shots on 15-under par.

This once again proves that no single player is above the game. Woods, Mickelson, McIlroy and Scott all missed the cut, yet it’s been one of the greatest Open’s.

Tommy Fleetwood’s putter misbehaved and he had 4 or 5 holeable putts slip past the edges of the hole, while Tony Finau had another fabulous major finishing third.

Koepka, who was the second favourite behind McIlroy, started the final round with four bogeys and never really got going. He tied for 4th on 6-under alongside Lee Westwood, who missed a couple of very short putts.

Congrats to the R & A for bringing the Open to Royal Portrush. A great golf course, great hospitality and a wonderful championship.

For me, personally, working on the TV production was a blast. I worked with Dougie Donnelly, Dom Holyer, Sam Torrance, Tony Johnstone, Warren Humphries, Julian Tutt, Dom Boulet, Jay Townsend and Thomas Bjorn. I hope all of you that watched on Supersport enjoyed both the coverage and the commentary.

Two incidents stood out for me.
Firstly when Lee Westwood hit his ball unplayable and the ball was lying on greenkeepers rubble, he called for a ruling. The rules official asked him: “If the ball was in the exact position but lying on grass, could you play it?” Lee Westwood answered and emphatic “No” and took an unplayable drop. Case over.

Then on the last hole on Saturday, JB Holmes turned to Shane Lowry and said; “Sorry I didn’t play so well but it was a privilege to play with you today. Great round of golf.”

That is what makes golf great!

Dunlace Castle

Snippets: -

•    The 148th Open was a sold-out event with 237,750 spectators over the four days.

• Miguel Ángel Jiménez became the second man in the history of the European Tour to tee it up in 700 events. He’s now gunning for Sam Torrance’s record of 706 events.

• Dustin Johnson was awarded the Mark H. McCormack Award for the second year in a row. It’s awarded by the R&A for spending the most weeks at No. 1 in the world in 2018 (35 weeks). Only Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy have won it more than once.

• Ryan Fox made history in the Opening round shooting the first-ever 29 on the back nine in a round of The Open Championship. He’d shot 39 on the front nine before making six birdies on the back nine.

• Tiger Woods did not have a good start. He shot rounds of 78-70 to miss the cut. He was visibly in pain, which was not helped by the tough terrain, bunkers and weather conditions. He’s announced that he won’t play in the WGC – FedEx St Jude this week but will rather take some time off before the FedEx Cup play-offs begin. This is what he said after Thursday: - “If I am at home and have school pick-up and soccer practices, I’m a lot more sore than I am now…But playing at this elite level is a completely different deal. You’ve got to be spot on. These guys are too good, there are too many guys that are playing well and I’m just not one of them… I have to be realistic about my expectations and, hopefully, peaking at the right time. I peaked at Augusta well. And hopefully I can peak a few more times this year. … I’m going to have days like this, and I’ve got to fight through it. And I fought through it. Unfortunately, I did not post a very good score.”

• On a lighter note – check out this fun video which golf impersonator Conor Moore filmed just prior to the Open.

When the Ball Hits Back…

In life sometimes losing is not such a bad thing. Rory felt it on Friday at the Open and I’m sure when he looks back on the experience of missing the cut at Portrush he will realize that the love and respect golf fans have for him go way beyond the odd bad round of golf.

His successes over the years far outweigh those 5 disappointing hours on the golf course in round one (he opened with a 79). On day two he showed us his class, in his behaviour, attitude and golf game. He shot a new course record at Portrush with a 65 that included seven birdies and missed the cut by just one shot.

After the round he said: “As much as I came here at the start of the week saying I wanted to do it for me, you know, by the end of the round there today I was doing it just as much for them as I was for me. I wanted to be here for the weekend. Selfishly, I wanted to feel that support for two more days…It's been an eye-opener for me. Sometimes you're so far away and you forget about all the people that are cheering you on back home. And then you come and play in front of them, it definitely hit me like a ton of bricks today.”

Rory, I for one am a bigger fan that ever and it seems I’m not the only one.

This is what Justin Thomas had to say; “Even as a competitor and trying to beat the guy every week, sometimes I have to step back and realize how great Rory McIlroy is for golf. How he handles the highs, the lows, his social life, the fans, his golf, everything. It’s awesome to watch.”

Rory is a great example to all young golfers.

Do you remember that at the age of 16 Rory McIlroy, shot a round of 61 at Royal Portrush. Last Tuesday Rory arrived for his practice round in a shirt with a washing machine logo on it. That was a throw-back to him practicing his chip shots into his mom’s washing machine at home.

Check out these two videos – one of Rory interviewed on television at the age of eight, and the other of him in 2013 when the European Tour did their own take on Rory vs the Robot hitting at washing machines on the range.

Around the world…

• Despite a three-hour rain delay on Sunday, Jim Herman won the Barbasol Championship at the Keene Trace Golf Club in Kentucky, securing his PGA Tour card through 2021 in the process. He shot rounds of 65-65-62-70 to win by one on 26-under 262. Kelly Kraft was second and Sepp Straka third on 23-under.

• American Cydney Clanton and Thai Jasmine Suwannapura had a six-shot win in the inaugural Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational at the Midland CC in Michigan. They took a five-shot lead into the final round after shooting 63 in the alternate-shot format on Friday, and followed that up with a 59 in the best ball on Sunday to finish on 27-under 253. Jin Young Ko and Minjee Lee finished second on 21-under while Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn tied for third with Na Yeon Choi and Jenny Shin at 20 under.

Kristoffer Ventura won the Korn Ferry Tour’s Pinnacle Bank Championship presented by Chevrolet. He entered the final round at The Club at Indian Creek with a one-shot lead, and despite a delay of nearly 4 hours because of bad weather, shot a 1-under 70 to win on 16-under 268. He won by two over Andres Gonzales and Chad Ramey and secured his PGA Tour card for next year. MJ Daffue tied for 16th on 8-under and Dawie van der Walt tied for 30th on 3-under.

• Scotland’s Calum Hill won his second European Challenge Tour title at the Euram Bank Open at Golf Club Adamstal. He took a three-shot lead into the final round and built on that with a 4-under 66 to finish on 18-under 262. He won by four shots over Ewen Ferguson and Jose-Filipe Lima.

Clark Dennis won the Staysure Tour’s WINSTONgolf Senior Open at the WINSTONopen Course in Germany. He shot a superb 9-under 63 on Sunday to overtake overnight leader José María Olazábal and win by one on 15-under 201. Olazabal, who had been hoping for his first Staysure Tour win, finished solo second on 14-under after opening with consecutive 66’s. James Kingston shot 6-under 66 to finish third a further two shots back. Chris Williams tied for 25th on 2-under. This week is the Senior Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Anne’s where David Frost, Retief Goosen; James Kingston; Chris Williams and Mark McNulty will be taking part.

Lorens Chan won his maiden title on the PGA Mackenzie Tour Canada at the HFX Pro-Am presented by Steele Jaguar. He two putted for par at the last at Oakfield Golf & Country Club to win by two over Jake Knapp at 24-under 264. Taylor Pendrith; Blake Sattler and Hayden Shieh tied for third at 20-under.

• American Max McGreevy was declared the winner after 36-holes of the PGA Tour China’s weather-affected Guangzhou Open at Nansha Golf Club. It took until Sunday morning to get the second round completed and he won when the third round had to be called off. His score for the 36-holes was 9-under 129, two better than fellow American Trevor Sluman. Six players tied for third on 6-under.
• Kimberley’s Geoffrey van der Merwe won the Northern Cape Mid-Am Open at Upington Golf Club. He shot rounds of 1-under 71 and 4-over 76 to win by two on 3-over 147. Bertie Steenkamp & Basil Nortje tied for second on 5-over.

Yurav Premlall, Amilkar Bhana, Nash de Klerk, Christiaan Maas and Malan Potgieter will represent SA in the Reply Italian International Under-16 Championship at the Biella Golf Club Le Betulle in Italy from 3rd to 5th September, while Caitlyn Macnab and Kiera Floyd will compete in the R&A Girls Amateur Championship at the Panmure Golf Club in Scotland in mid-August.

Who’s up this week?
(Please note that this is the entry list as at Monday & is subject to change)

• PGA TOUR / EUROPEAN TOUR – WGC – FedEx St Jude Invitational – Louis Oosthuizen; Justin Harding
• PGA TOUR - Barracuda Championship – Brendon de Jonge; Tyrone van Aswegen
• LPGA / LET - The Evian Championship – Ashleigh Buhai; Lee-Anne Pace; Paula Reto

By the rules

July HNA Handicap News…

Calculating your differential:
Currently we follow the USGA in using the best 10 differentials ((Adjusted Gross Score – Course Rating) x 113/Slope) from players' last 20 differentials, multiplied by 0,96. This will change on the 1st October to the best 8 Differentials from the last 20, with no reduction. The reason for this is that after studying millions of records, it was clear that by using the best 8 differentials out of the last 20 and dropping the 4% reduction, handicaps proved more equitable across all forms of play.

Using the best 8 scores would also drop the Handicap Index quicker for golfers having a good run of form and it would move out more slowly for those having a bad patch. We all know that this cycle seems to be part of the game, even for professional golfers, but it does not necessarily mean that the ability of a golfer has changed.

Obviously there are long-term improvements and deteriorations, and these will be reflected in the golfer’s Handicap Index, but it’s the short term fluctuations, as well as making competitions more fair, that will be better managed by using the average of the best 8 score differentials out of the last 20 scores entered.

Acceptable scores for handicapping purposes:
Currently all rounds that are played should be entered on the HNA system, excluding the scores as listed in Section 5.7 of the GolfRSA Handicap Manual, as shown below.

Scores Not Acceptable:

a) When the score cannot be ratified by a playing partner or competitor.
b) When the types or number of clubs are limited (as in a competition in which only iron clubs are allowed).
c) When the round played includes the use of “Mulligans”.
d) Competition Match Play rounds.
e) When more than one ball is used at a time.
f) When the course played is not officially rated, including when a course is set up much longer or shorter than the Average Playing Length when the rating of the course was determined.
g) When the player uses non-conforming clubs, balls or tees or, with respect to Rule 14-3 (Rules of Golf), where an artificial device is used in the execution of a stroke or when equipment is used in an unusual manner during the execution of a stroke.

Many countries currently don’t allow match play or betterball formats for handicap purposes. The reason is that when playing match play and betterball formats, players often take different decisions to those during stroke play, depending on what their partners or opposition are scoring on a particular hole. In South Africa, and many other countries including the USA, both betterball and match play scores must be entered for handicap purposes. The reason for this is that, under an averaging system, the more rounds that are entered the more representative the players handicap is likely to be of their ability.

If in a match play competition the players walk off after completing the match and before playing the full 18 holes, they should enter par plus any handicap strokes they have on the remaining holes, as per section 8.3 in our current GolfRSA Handicap Rules, which can be viewed here. This will be the same under the World Handicap System Rules and will be further covered in later communications.

The following will be acceptable scores under the World Handicap System Rules:
Golfers must play the round in accordance with the Rules of Golf.
The round must be played on course with a current Course Rating and Slope Rating.
At least nine holes must be completed.
A marker must be present.
It must be in an authorised format of play (which includes all current formats of play and all match play rounds).

The South African Golf Cruise Classic


31st March to 6th April

Join Hutchie & I on a week-long luxury Cruise Ship, the MSC Orchestra, traveling from Durban to Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, playing golf along the way.
Click here to access the website – you can book here and get all your questions answered.

Bookings are open and there are only 360 places available. The Early Bird special offer is valid until 31st July 2019. A 50% deposit is required to secure your place. Balance is to be paid by 17 January 2020. Terms and Conditions apply.

On Tour with Dale

Dale Hayes Golf appreciates the ongoing support of City Lodge.

The Driving Range

This month Elsabe Hefer looks at some tips for beginners.

This week she looks at using a bump-and-run shot, especially in winter.

Elsabe Hefer is a Fellow Member of the PGA; a former Gauteng North PGA Teacher of the Year and PGA Top 20 Teacher. She is the Head Teaching Professional at Zwartkop Country Club.


And to finish off…

The rare hole-in-one, the perfect fluke ever, it’s the best feeling in golf. Celebrate – get the certificate and have bragging rights forever! For further information and to join, contact Margaret on (012) 654-1144 or click here to send an email.

Quotes by Peter Alliss on The OPEN Championship: -

 “In a split second, that lovely sand will envelope his sweet face and he’ll wonder why he bothered having a shampoo this morning.”
On Tiger hitting out of a bunker in the wind at Muirfield in 2013.

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