Alamanac Golf: Golf Capital – Garcia salutes, Matsuyama masters Phoenix (and playoff) again



A collection of golf news, notes and thoughts from the week across the globe covering Tiger Woods’ withdrawal in Dubai plus action across Asia, the USA and Australia.


Opening drive:
Tiger Woods’ pulled out of the Dubai Desert Classic (eventually won by Sergio Garcia) after playing only one round but elsewhere there were was a fifth win in five months for world number five Hideksi Matsuyama when he defended his title in Phoenix. Garcia, 37, is a hugely successful player in the Middle East with the Spaniard only second to Rory McIlroy in prizemoney gained in Desert Swing events in the last five years. Garcia won easily in the end (by three stokes) at the Emirates Golf Club but it was a difficult tournament for some players, including Dane Lucas Bjerregaard, with windy conditions blowing over signage during play.


The home of the party hole saw another playoff win for Matsuyama in Arizona when he won the WM Phoenix Open. Matsuyama, 24, won on the fourth playoff hole (the same as he did last year) seeing off American Webb Simpson who was seeking his first triumph since October 2013. Simpson shot a best of the day 64 before losing the playoff and has slumped to a 1-4 record in playoffs he’s contested on the PGA Tour. The PGA Tour moves to from TPC Scottsdale to Pebble Beach in California with a host of big names, and celebrities, but also sees the PGA Tour debut of Australian Brett Coletta.


13th Beach Golf Links at Barwon Heads hosts the Oates Vic Open this week with Kiwi Michael Long the defending men’s champion. The tour stays in Victoria after Damien Jordan, after playing 36 holes in Sunday, triumphed in the Victorian PGA Championship to win the first Australasian Tour event of 2017. Jordan, who has secured his card until the end of 2018, has an unusual background for a professional golfer having been stationed in Iraq on two occasions in the Australian Armed Forces.


Player performance notes:
Players I’m interested in to see how they go with notes that interest me related to capital investment if that’s your thing. With half the course teaming with celebrities (including Superbowl winning coach from last weekend Bill Belichick) at Pebble Beach for the AT&T Pro Am we look to an event with a full professional field at the Maybank Championship in Malaysia. Co-sanctioned between the Asian and European Tours it takes place at Saujana Golf and Country Club in Kuala Lumpur.


20 and under: Lee Westwood. The Englishman won this event in 2014 and has nine Asian Tour events, plus four titles in Japan, to his credit so loves this part of the world and experience counts.


50 to 100: Jorge Campillo. Going back to the well with the Spaniard who was T4 at this event last year, albeit at a different venue in KL.


100 to 200: Sam Brazel. The Hong Kong Open winner isn’t the most recent Australian to win on this tour after Todd Sinnott won in Myanmar a fortnight ago but Brazel’s likeness for these conditions and knowledge he isn’t playing for his card this season should see him in a comfortable mental space here.


100 to 200: Jazz Janewattanond. The Thai 21-year-old won last week’s, admittedly not strong, Bangladesh Open but form and comfort in the conditions is important.


100 to 200: Soomin Lee. The Korean has been out of form with a T60 and two missed cuts in the Middle East but was second at this event in 2016, although it was at a different venue in KL. Hopefully he has recovered from his three-shot collapse which handed the title to Australian Marcus Fraser.


100 to 200: Curtis Luck. He won the Asia Pacific amateur title in Incheon Korea in October so has already shown versatility to win in different conditions. Luck, 20, finished 23rd in Dubai last weekend.


Greens in regulation:
In addition to this men’s event in Australia the women’s tour is also linked to the Vic Open this weekend. This comes after the RACV Challenge was won by Thailand Prima Thammaraks by one stroke from Australian Sarah-Jane Smith on the Gold Coast. It’s ironic the linked male/female tournament (which has been going for a few years) is occurring the same weekend another mixed sporting innovation is taking place in Victoria with the third and final leg of the inaugural Nitro Athletics series wrapping up at Lakeside Stadium in Albert Park on Saturday. The first Nitro event was covered in depth elsewhere on The Footy Almanac by Joseph Ryan and it’s an interesting read about developing innovation in sport. Which is very pertinent to the Super 6 golf tournament which is on in Perth next week.


Tap in:
Tiger Woods’ withdrawal in Dubai, naturally, saw strong reaction varying from ‘he was here for the money’, to ‘he’s still not ready.’ The real answer might be somewhere in between. My initial thought was taking part in this event was always a step too far amongst the group of tournament he lined up to play to open 2017. Whilst he had triumphed in the Middle East before the advantages of playing well, say finishing top 20, in this event would have been outweighed by solid practice before competing in the Genesis Open which comes up after this weekend’s event in Pebble Beach. It was interesting to note that the Golf Channel, which has a huge vested interest in Tiger doing well, was posting columns to the effect of maybe ‘we are seeing the end.’


This golfing wrap first appeared on From the sideline of sport


FA Write from the heart

About Hamish Neal

Born in Lower Hutt New Zealand Hamish is forever wedded to all things All Black, All Whites, Tall Blacks and more. Writing more nowadays in his 'spare time' (what is that anyway?) but still with a passion for broadcasting. Has worked in various sports development roles in England, Northern Ireland and Australia.


  1. As I have said before I find the European Tour more interesting than the US PGA. Both the variety of players and the courses. The US PGA is so bland, homogenous and corporate for the most part.
    Really enjoyed the skill and class of Sergio and Stenson in Qatar. Watching the players finish in the dark on Saturday night after Friday’s wind delay. Putting out on the 18th by the lights of the bar!
    Tiger’s back looks shot to me. Can’t do the preparation work to be competitive against younger, stronger men.
    This time next week I will be out at Lake Karrinyup to follow the European tour players for a day. The fields for Malaysia this week have fallen away after the Middle East swing, and the field looks thin again for next week. Was Patrick Reed ever really coming or just a marketing spin??? Happens all the time with international sport in isolated Perth. Still even the ‘average’ pros are astonishing up close.
    Keep ’em coming Hamish. Always an insightful read.

  2. Excellent notes as ever Peter_B
    Hope you enjoy Perth. It’s a shame Reed isn’t going but the new format offers enough excitement even without the American.

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