Almanac Golf: Golf Capital – McIlroy’s Back and Ko Seeks Second French triumph



A collection of my golf thoughts from the week plus some player performance/form notes for the next few days.


Opening drive


Closing rounds of 66 and 65 on the holiday weekend saw Rory McIlroy claim victory in the second of four playoff events on the PGA Tour when he overhauled Englishmen Paul Casey at TPC Boston. The weekend also saw wins for a German and Swede across the other main women’s and men’s tour events, but the focus was very much on events in New England. Winning on average almost once every year on the European Tour from 2001 until 2014 Casey had only claimed victory once in the USA and couldn’t convert a three-stroke lead after 54 holes with McIlroy recovering from a bad start on Friday to win by two strokes. With the spectre of Nike’s recent announcement that it will no longer design and produce golf equipment McIlroy was able to push aside the hordes of gear getting sent to him by other suppliers and make sure the ‘swoosh’ is prominent for at least the next few months.


Before Ulsterman McIlroy won on Labor Day in Massachusetts Swede Alex Noren won a second European Masters title in Crans Montana Switzerland when he defeated Australian Scott Hend in extra holes and Caroline Masson won the LPGA event in Canada, a career first for the German who has been on the tour for four years. The event preceded this weekend’s major in France which is the final for the year on the women’s tour.


Player performance notes:


Players I’m interested in to see how they go with notes that interest me and/or are related to capital investment, if that’s your thing. We head to the third leg of the playoffs on the PGA Tour which is in Carmel, located north of Indianapolis.


20 and under: Rory McIlroy. Last week’s winner doubled up in the playoffs saluting last week’s venue and here in 2012. Course specialist alert!


20 to 50: Patrick Reed. The winner of the first playoff event was well in contention last weekend shooting no worse than 70 in each of his four rounds to finish T5.


20 to 50: Bubba Watson. Given the course layout the two-time Masters winner is favoured but he hasn’t set the world on fire recently with his recent best a T8 at the Olympics.


50 to 100: Gary Woodland. If not for a third round 74 Woodland would have been well in contention for at least a top five finish at TPC Boston. As it was T15 is still a respectable result in that field.


50 to 100: Russell Knox. Getting left out of the Ryder Cup team for Europe didn’t exactly fire up the Scot as he only opened with a 73 last week but then went on to record 67, 69 and 67 which tells me he got his head around the snubbing and back into some form.


100 to 200: Jason Kokrak. Another column mention for the Canadian-born player after a T8 last week in which he closed with a 66. On the bubble, as they say, for the final playoff event as he is currently 34th in the standings (the top 30 qualify.)


100 to 200: David Hearn. 100 players from TPC Boston are trimmed to 70 for this event and Hearn is in form. One to the biggest movers to ensure he features this week Hearn finished T8. The results meant he jumped 33 spots from 92 (well outside of contention) to 59th – comfortably playing this weekend but he still needs to jump another 29 places to feature next weekend.


200 to 500: Charles Howell III. The Augusta native has really been scratchy of late, including missing the cut at the Barclays, however he does rank in the top seven for par five scoring, a key stat on this course which favours longer hitters. The American needs to move up 18 places to make the final event.


Greens in regulation


The BMW Championship event is to be played at the Crooked Stick Golf Club whilst the European Tour event, the KLM Open, is played at a venue simply called ‘The Dutch’ in the village of Spijk. Surely this must be the best double header of names for a long time. Disappointingly the women’s major – the Evian Championship – is at the predictably named Evian Golf Club which really is letting the golf world down this weekend. Course names aside, Lydia Ko returns to defend her title and seeks to become the first multiple major winner this season. Four of the top five in the world rankings have all scored a significant win this campaign if you include the four majors already played and the Olympic event. Ko, who won the first major of the season the ANA Inspiration, was emphatic winning this event last year by six strokes. Given the Kiwi secured silver on Rio and finished with rounds of 64 and 68 to tie for fifth last weekend she is in the right vein of form to win again in France.


Tap In


This column has spent recent weeks talking about what modern ideas the Olympic golf could give the professional tours, and the European Tour has recently signaled the possibility of having some six-hole events as it’s new modified format. However, occasionally reflecting on golf in the ‘olden days’ can be glorious. This terrific European Tour video piece which runs just under four minutes sees three current pros take on a fun golf idea. The challenge was to use hickory golf clubs over a short format event taking on the 2013 Hickory World Golf Champion Paolo Quirici.



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. I enjoy your golf reviews Hamish. Always pick up the important issues of the week. Perth’s time zpne is well suited to watching the European Tour, so I stayed up last weekend and caught a lot of the European Masters from Crans Montana in Switzerland. Breathtaking scenery for a golf course set in a narrow valley with the towering Alps as backdrop.
    Having Aussie Scott Hend (42) to barrack for helped. Playing with 46yo Richard Bland and the much younger Swede Alex Noren in the final round. Interesting contrast of styles. Bland has never won on the European Tour and it showed with him trying to hang on for the 3rd place cheque. Was as nervous as any pro golfer I have seen. Last hole duck hook ended up on the ladies tee! His final 3 putt was from a lag left 12 foot short! Golf really is a mental game – in both senses of the word.
    Hend looks like George Lazenby’s James Bond and consistently outdrove the more athletic Noren. Hend plays very fast – particularly after a poor shot – and you could hear his caddie constantly telling him to slow down when he wanted to get on with it. Very unlucky to lose. He got several poor bounces whereas Noren’s poor shots rebounded into play. Noren holed some monster putts including a 30 footer to win on the first playoff hole.
    Very entertaining and the second tier of golfers on the European tour and their unique courses are more entertaining than the homogenized precision of the US PGA Tour. The Women’s golf has been great recently too.
    Keep up the good work with your golf reports. Regards.

  2. The earlier post got the wrong date for the final women’s major of the season. The Ladies European Tour does indeed have an event this weekend September 8-11 with the Ladies European Masters in Germany. The event at the Golf Club Hubbelrath located in Dusseldorf is the last pro event before the Evian Championship which is on between September 15-18. However the LPGA is on a week off. You can be rest assured the sub-editor who made this error after the first posting has been made to watch old clips of bad John Daly rounds on rotation.

  3. Peter, you make a very astute observation about Hend. Perhaps he cold do with watching some of Jason Day. Okay maybe not that slowly. He would love the Bond comparison.

    Re the variety of players on the European Tour, that probably has something to do with the fact there are a few events, eight I think this season, that are co-sanctioned with the Asian Tour. Their courses, certainly in recent weeks, have been great to watch.

Leave a Comment