Almanac Golf: Golf Capital – More Hatton Time as Olympic golf legacy draws a long bow

@hamishneal

 

A collection of golf news, thoughts and notes from the week plus an Olympic golf venue update. Jin Young Ko won for the first time on the LPGA, Tyrell Hatton won again on a weekend in which one of golfs ‘everymen’ Pat Perez announced he wasn’t “gonna change” a thing, including his attitude to the gym, after he won in Malaysia for his second victory in two years.

 

Opening drive

 

It was no dull speech after his win in Kuala Lumpur for Pat Perez following what ended up an easy triumph. Perez who won his third career PGA title at the age of 41 saluted by four strokes from Keegan Bradley and backs up this week as the PGA Tour plays it’s first individual event in South Korea.

 

England’s Hatton withstood challenges on the final day in Monza to win for the second time in a fortnight as he eventually finished at 21 under, one clear of Ross Fisher and Kiradech Aphibarnrat, in the Italian Open. The European Tour heads to Spain this week for the Andalucia Valderrama Masters at the Real Club Valderrama course in the Southern Spanish town of San Roque.

 

Jin Young Ko nudged home by two strokes in the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship in the South Korean city of Incheon after the South Korean prevailed over compatriot Sung Hyun Park. Ko, 22, has ten victories to her credit on the South Korean LPGA tour but this was his first win at the top level. Taipei hosts the Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship this week won last year by Ha Na Jang.

 

This weekend the Australasian PGA Tour resumes with the WA Open at the Royal Perth Golf Club in South Perth which local Curtis Luck the defending champion.

 

Player performance notes

 

Players I’m interested to see how they go with notes related to capital investment if that’s your thing. A first for the USA PGA Tour will see the men take the course in South Korea in an individual stroke-play event. (The nation has hosted a Presidents Cup) at the CJ Cup on Jeju Island.

 

20 to 50: Rafa Cabrera Bello. The Spaniard is making a rare start for this time of year on the PGA Tour, especially given the European Tour event is in Spain this week. Given he was T10 last time out it’s fair to suggest he’s elected to play this event for a strong reason.

 

20 to 50: Sung Kang. The South Korean golfer was T3 last weekend in what was his first top five finish since July. A T21 last time out in Malaysia and improved effort last weekend puts him in a good spot for a possible win in his home nation.

 

20 to 50: Cameron Smith. The Australian has finished T5 and T12 in his last two starts. This is important given we are looking at an unfamiliar venue at this level.

 

50 to 100: Danny Lee. The Kiwi settled down and fired 68-68 over the weekend in Malaysia after an inconsistent start of 73 followed by 65. The South Korean-born golfer kicked back into form after four missed cuts and a withdrawal and it was a better result than his T61 last time out in Malaysia.

 

50 to 100: Chez Reavie. The American is playing better then when he was T60 at the CIMB Classic this time last year finishing T17 on the weekend and was T13 and T12 the two times out prior to Malaysia so he’s adjusting better to the region.

 

50 to 100: Charl Schwartzel. The South African’s 15 professional tour wins have come in five countries and with a new venue in play an ability to adapt to varied conditions will be important. However Schwartzel, 33, hasn’t finished in the top ten since June when T2 in the St Jude Classic

 

Greens in regulation

Mexico’s Rodolfo Cazaubon Jnr has moved up to 611 in the world after his six-stroke victory in Aberto de Brasil (Brazil’s National Open) on the PGA’s Latinoamerica Tour. Normally we wouldn’t dip down to this tour well below the class of the PGA Tour itself but the result wasn’t the interesting factor it was the venue – the Olympic Golf Course in Rio de Janeiro. The tournament was played for the second time at the 2016 Olympic venue, only it’s fourth professional event counting the two Olympic tournaments. The post-Olympics boom didn’t come and reports in late 2016 showed how wasteful this project, in a section cut out of a national park in Rio, was.

 

This report from the Olympic website is instructive it what it doesn’t say. There is no mention of members, course usage per week, numbers of juniors etc. Having a public course is obviously needed to grow the game but it might have been cheaper for the local organisers to buy one of the private courses in the city and develop that for public access. But given the gold-standard corruption which reportedly took place at the highest level it’s maybe not a surprise sensible options weren’t taken. The latest from the Rio golf venue comes over the course of the same weekend that yet another city, Innsbruck in Austria, has had an opportunity to bid for the games (2026 Winter Olympics) defeated via a referendum. Yet another example of the race to not bid for the Olympics becoming a sport itself, with wastefulness such as the Rio golf venue it’s no wonder it has taken so long.

 

Tap in

Tiger Woods can go back to back swinging a golf club “as much as he needs to do” says his agent Mark Steinberg. Wait. What? Woods was almost consigned to the end of his career wasn’t he? No, I am not going down the rabbit hole. I will not watch the footage. Please don’t give me the death-of-career-by-press-release again.

 

This golfing wrap first appeared on From the sideline of sport

 

Read more golf pieces from Hamish Neal, and others. HERE.

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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