Almanac Golf: Golf Capital – Danes rules Sixes, LPGA’s Twitter bogey



A collection of golf news, notes, and thoughts from the week. It was the European Tour’s latest attempt at a new format (which I think is here to stay) as Denmark won Golf Sixes whilst Cory Crawford, Brian Harman and Sei Young Kim picked up victories across the Australasian PGA, PGA and LPGA tours, respectively.


Opening drive:
The Danes, and Thorbjorn Olesen in particular, have dominated team golf in the last several months with victory at the Centurion Club north of central London in the inaugural Golf sixes. Olesen, teaming with Lucas Bjerregaard, came from 1-0 down to take the last three holes and win the final 3-1 over the Australian duo of Sam Brazel/Scott Hend. This came after they had finished second in their group behind England before beating France then Italy in the knock-out phase prior to the six-hole final. The European Tour heads to Portimao this week for the Open de Portugal – a tournament which hasn’t been played since 2010.


Match play was the focus on the LPGA with Kim winning the tour’s first event in this format since 2012 beating world number two Ariya Jutanugarn at the Club de Golf Mexico to claim the Loren Ochoa Match Play title. The LPGA now returns to the USA in a fortnight heading to Virginia.


After a new format last weekend the PGA Tour returned to the traditional tournament format for the Wells Fargo Championship which saw a one-stroke win for Brian Harman in North Carolina. Harman benefitted from Patrick Reed’s collapse throughout the final round. Reed lead by a shot after 54 holes but finished in a tie for 12th with Harman also seeing off other challenges before getting a slice of luck on the 18th hole when he got a free drop before he stubbed a chip shot out of the rough near the grandstand only to then drain the birdie putt for his second PGA title.


Perhaps inspired by fellow Queensland golfer’s Cameron Smith’s recent win, but more likely suited to the weather conditions, Cory Crawford won the Papua New Guinea Open in Port Moresby on Sunday, but he needed six holes in a playoff before prevailing over Brisbane’s Brett Rankin. Rankin had a chance to win on 18 in regulation play before seeing his bogey on the 78th hole hand the title to Gold-Coast based Crawford.


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 – which is always fun to do after a win. The Players (aka. the fifth major) at TPC Sawgrass in Florida sees world number one Dustin Johnson play his second tournament back from injury after going close on the weekend behind Harman but also the return of world number two Rory McIlroy who hasn’t played since the Masters.


20 to 50: Justin Rose. Before he was second at the Masters, the Orlando resident (when he’s in the States) had five top 15 finished in 2017 with three top four placings among those figures.


20 to 50: Justin Thomas. Thomas was T3 here last year and has won already in 2017. Playing with Bud Cauley he was also T5 in the recent team’s event on the PGA.


50 to 100: Daniel Berger. The Florida native, albeit from a different part of the state, has a recent T5 in Houston to his credit plus he wasT9 here last year.


50 to 100: Matt Kuchar. Since T4 at the Masters he has played twice with a T11 at the RBC Hertigate the best of the two results. He was T3 here last year with a closing round of 68 and that came off a T9 a few weeks prior at the 2016 RBC Heritage.


100 to 200: Patrick Cantlay. Paired with Patrick Reed Cantlay finished T14 in New Orleans and in two of his last three stroke-play event’s he’s come second and third. Few in this field, despite the quality, have that sort of form. He will be benefitted by an early tee time on Thursday.


100 to 200: Brian Harman. Last weekend’s winner Harman gets an early tee off time on Thursday and we’ve seen players not only when this season but contend or win at the subsequent event. The Georgia native has risen from 133rd to 52nd in the past 12 months.


Greens in regulation
Denmark’s Golf Sixes win will be the first of many tournaments in this format just looking at how much the European Tour officials seemed to love their event. Even without multiple mega-star names the event went well timing wise with rounds done within 75 minutes if not less and changes in opponents throughout the day providing some great variety but, Golf Sixes needs work…


-The scoring. Normally linked to the European Tour website, was linked to the event one and it was a hash. The scoreboards only appeared to be up when the tournament was taking place and the draw for the knockout stage wasn’t easily available.

-The walk-on intro. Yes it’s not dark and the players aren’t wearing socks like Dustin Johnson was for his tumble which caused him to miss the Masters but the steps down to the opening tee is asking for trouble. Why not just a tunnel?

-Why not names on the shirts? Most teams had themed shirts with Team Australia running Twitter polls to get fans to pick their choice but why not names on the players on the back? New fans need to know who they are watching.


Overall the event has a bright future but it was nice to hear honesty from Alexander Levy when the Frenchman and his teammate Gregory Bourdy were beaten in the knockout rounds. Levy told Vernon Kay he wanted the knockout rounds to be more than six holes – perhaps nine or 12. Similar to rugby sevens tournaments which have finals longer than seven minutes a half this idea has merit but might only work logistically for the final otherwise players could be playing 27 holes minimum on the final day.


Tap in
Perhaps scrambling for relevance after the recent rules controversy in the ANA Inspiration the LPGA, for the tournament in the first week of June the Shop Rite Classic in New Jersey, ran a Twitter poll for a special exemption. The idea has been roundly hounded largely due to the sexism aspect when it appeared, on face value, that there one player of the quartet in contention (Scotland’s Carly Booth) was clearly the best credentialed so logic would dictate she should have got the entry anyway. Booth, twice a winner on the Ladies European tour, lost out to India’s Sharmila Nicollet who is yet to finish inside the top 15 of the LET tournaments she has played. Developing opportunities for players from nations not usually playing on the LPGA makes sense but why not just have a dedicated spot for those players from developing nations? Booth’s Twitter following 35.9K followers is dwarfed by Nicollet’s of 358K. Astonishingly, or perhaps not actually, Booth didn’t even poll second. Nicollet got 39% of the vote with Blair O’Neal who works for the Golf Channel second on 30%. Booth polled 25% with Bolivia’s Susana Benavides on a paltry 7%. An utter trash idea and what should have been a chance for Booth, 24, to play on the LPGA.


This golfing wrap first appeared on From the sideline of sport


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.

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