Martin Vousden and Bad Form

Oct 17 2017

Thought for the Day
Never do something permanently foolish just because you are temporarily upset

Class can be temporary, too
When a tour golfer is going through a bad spell we often hear the mantra: ‘Form is temporary, class is permanent’ but I wonder. Leaving aside the journeyman pro who hits a vein of form that can last a few months or even longer – do you remember Steve Richardson – there are still those who seem to have everything, be the real deal, and yet they go off the boil never to recover.

Steven Richardson

I’m not talking about the surprise one-hit wonders who manage to pull everything together for one week, which just happens to be the week in which a major occurs. Into these ranks we can add the names of Ben Curtis in The Open and the other one whose name is so difficult to remember (Todd Hamilton). In the US Open we have had Lucas Glover and Geoff Ogilvy; Larry Mize and Mike Weir had their four days of glory in the Masters and the US PGA Championship has seen unexpected winners in Jason Dufner and Yang Yong-eun, the first Asian golfer to win a men’s major, and he beat Tiger Woods into the bargain.

These names represent the fortuitous moments that occur in all sports, where that welcome but rare peak of ability coincides with one of the biggest events of the calendar year, but turns out to be a one-off. Whether Danny Willett joins their number remains to be seen.

What I am thinking about is the golfer who is more than a journeyman; a player whose skill and temperament set them apart from the herd because of innate ability and application. The sort of competitor who becomes a multiple major winner. The most obvious recent example is (more…)

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Rory’s Trouble As Vousden Sees It

Sep 25 2017

Thought for the Day
If you really want to do something you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse

Rory discovers the realities of the good life
Everyone has a boss; someone to whom they are answerable. Even the megalomaniac tycoon has to consider shareholders, or the customers who buy his services or products. So it is little surprise to learn that tour golfers, including the best in the world, have to dance to someone else’s tune. You may have thought that, as self-employed, independent practitioners who sink or swim by their own efforts each week, the tour pros might be immune to such pressures but it ain’t so – just ask Rory McIlroy.

He, you may remember, damaged his ribs in practice way back in December. He tried to get an early start to the season during the ‘desert swing’ in the Middle East after playing one event in South Africa but withdrew from the Abu Dhabi WGC Championship, hoping to get fit in time for the Masters. Unfortunately, the pattern of heralded comeback followed by disappointing results and more withdrawals has continued throughout the season. Following the last major of 2017, the USPGA Championship, he announced to no real surprise that he might miss the rest of the year.

Rory

Some of us fervently hoped he would, and write-off 2017 as a bad lot. We wanted him to see his dismal year as a consequence of an initial problem being constantly exacerbated by premature attempts to get back into competition. It was something of an unexpected revelation, therefore, when he returned to compete in the FedEx playoffs over recent weeks. It was no surprise, however, to see him play badly by his standards and frankly, not look too bothered at his lacklustre performances. When he failed to make the (more…)

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Martin Vousden on Ladies

Aug 25 2017

Thought for the Day
People are more what they hide than what they show

The wimmin are doing good
At least a decade or so ago writers like me would often advise: If you really want to learn from Tour pros how to improve your game, don’t go to a men’s event but watch the women instead. The logic was twofold. First, the best men in the world play at a stratified level that we handicap hackers could never hope to replicate. It would be like visiting an exhibition by Manet or Degas and then trying to paint a masterpiece of our own. The most important thing to study at a men’s event, we argued, was the rhythm and timing of a smooth swinger like Ernie Els or Colin Montgomerie. As for the rest – forget it Buster, only in your dreams.

The women, in contrast, demonstrated pretty much the same clubhead speed as a reasonable male handicap golfer. They concentrated far more on hitting the ball straight because, unlike their counterparts on the US or European Tours, they didn’t have the strength to slash the ball out of a thick buried lie and still get it on or near the green. And then came putting. I once pondered as to why the best women in the world still could not match their male counterparts on the greens because there was no physiological reason why they should not; it was always a bit of a mystery.

usa solheim team

Watching the Solheim Cup, however, was further proof of just how much the women’s pro game has improved over the last decade or so. Golfers from both sides of the pond were hitting it both straight and long, recovering from any manner of hopeless positions and getting it close from just about anywhere on the course. And when it came to putting, the Americans at least, were as good as anyone – seemingly able to hole it from any part of the green almost at will. And that’s where this Solheim Cup (more…)

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Wayne “Radar” Riley profile

Aug 14 2017

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Gary Player: Technology is destroying golf

Aug 14 2017

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Martin Vousden at the 2017 Open

Jul 24 2017

Thought for the Day
It’s better to be alone than to be in bad company

Back from the dead
I was about to make a comparison between Jordan Spieth’s astonishing turnaround during the last nine holes of the Open Championship and Lazarus famously rising from the dead – but of course, every journalist in the country is probably doing exactly the same thing. The problem for we scribes is that Lazarus is the only well-known historical example of someone coming back from the deceased to which we can compare – Jon Snow’s unlikely revivication in last season’s Game of Thrones doesn’t really cut it.

jordan speith

But a resurrection it certainly was, almost without parallel in modern golf and it underlines what Paul McGinley said about Spieth being the fiercest competitor in modern golf. The difference between him and Tiger Woods is that Jordan manages to keep that competitive fire burning red-hot in his belly while never forgetting the (more…)

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