B because of travel problems surrounding the fall-out from the Icelandic
Richard Heath, the new EGA Secretary General, told of one Spanish boy by
the name of Carlos Pigem who showed
the kind of dogged determination in getting to the venue which has to have him
earmarked as a champion of the future.
When his original flight from Madrid
to India was cancelled, he went instead
from Madrid to Italy. From Italy, he
made for Moscow, and from Moscow,
he flew to Delhi and on to Bangalore.
His clubs, not that he needed them,
failed to arrive and, by all accounts,
have never turned up since.
Salvador de Lucena, the general
manager at the Monte Rei Golf & Country Club, explained how his complex
was one of five Portuguese venues to
express interest in holding the 2018 Ryder Cup when the country was involved
in the aforementioned bidding process.
As applied to the other locations on
the Algarve, it lost out to a proposed venue some 80 miles south of Lisbon, though
that, of course, missed out as well when
the contract was awarded to France.
“We would love to have had the
match,” said de Lucena, “but the Sir
Michael Bonallack Trophy has been the
best of consolation prizes. We wanted
something really special and this is it.
The players we’ve seen are going to be
the Ryder Cup players and major cham-
pions of the future, so there’s plenty of
prestige involved.” (Justin Rose, Geoff
Ogilvy and Rory McIlroy are just three
to have played in the event previously.)
Bearing in mind the language barriers, it was hardly surprising that there
was the occasional long silence around
the Asian players’ luncheon table. Yet,
it was interesting to look across to the
European table and see that there were
times when precisely the same applied.
In this modern era, all the golfers
were playing games on their mobile
No less than in the professional
arena, slow play was a talking point.
APRIL 30, 2012
Much to the dismay of Carlos Pigem, the Sir Michael
Bonallack Trophy will be held in Bangalore in two years.
Though Sir Michael Bonallack could
remember the days when international
foursomes would take under three
hours, last Wednesday’s opening foursomes took closer to five.
Pierre Bechmann, the match chairman, admitted that there were mitigating
circumstances in that there were long
walks between greens and tees – and
that some among the Asian-Pacific players had never played foursomes before.
However, he still saw fit to give one
competitor “a bad time” and to advise the
referee that if the player in question had
another, the penalty would be loss of hole.
There was a particularly slow Spaniard
in Jon Rahm-Rodriguez, and a less than
flying Dutchman in Robin Kind, though
both, it has to be said, could play a bit.
Sir Michael observed that the main
factor in the slow-down had to do with
one player no longer walking ahead to
prepare for the second shot.
In every foursome at Monte Rei,
both players would stand on each tee,
with the second man doing nothing
more useful than serve as the cheerful
recipient of a high five if his partner hit
a good tee shot.
To go back to the lack of foursomes’
experience on the visiting team’s part,
there were two players fielded on the first
morning whose first foursomes this was.
Small wonder that the Europeans
only conceded two points in that format.
admits that parents push their children in
golf and explains that the children do not
rebel “because they like to do what their
parents ask them to do.”
Plenty of Western parents will blink
Ben Taylor and Jack Hiluta, both
English players, had never clapped eyes
on each other before last week when
they were paired together. The reason,
here, is that Hiluta, though he once captained an English boys’ side, had been
dropped from the English squad system
while at university in the States.
He went out to this year’s Spanish
International championship on an individual basis and, when he won, he was
at once reinstated in an England squad
besides receiving his invitation from the
European Golf Association to play at
All of which sends out the best of
messages to those who bemoan their bad
luck when they have been dropped from a
squad. There is always an answer. l
Kyungjae Lee, who was supporting
the two Korean contestants, Soo-Min
Lee and Chang-Woo Lee, suggests that
Korean men could be on a par with the
women within the next five years. “Ten
years ago,” he said, “there were only a
couple of players on the PGA Tour. Now
there are ten.”
He said that the average golfer in
Korea cannot believe what he is see-
ing when TV shows LPGA leaderboards
packed with Korean names.