Cruel but very funny…

Nov 15 2017

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It’s a risky business

Nov 14 2017

Thought for the Day
How important does a person have to be before they are considered assassinated instead of just murdered?

Enough Already
Henrik Stenson is going to miss the last two events of the European Tour season. They are the big money bonanzas, the Nedbank Golf Challenge that has just concluded in South Africa and the year ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. Both are among the eight tournaments that comprise the Rolex Series and therefore carry significantly bigger purses than run-of-the-mill events.

Henrik has pulled out because of a rib injury – not unusual in itself – but the real cause for concern is that he did not sustain it through too much play or practice but apparently because of a daft publicity stunt for a tournament sponsor. I say ‘apparently’ because initially Henrik hinted, more than strongly, that dangling above a stage in a harness was responsible, although he has subsequently rowed back from that suggestion.

Henrik Stenson fulfils his obligations manfully

Henrik Stenson fulfils his obligations manfully

The WGC-HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai has a long history of persuading the leading golfers in the field to take part in frankly ridiculous pre-event publicity shots; so much so that over the years I have been an avid collector of the marketing pictures showcasing them, just a few of which you can see here.

At the end of last month the theme was Golf Superheroes and this involved Stenson, Dustin Johnson and Chinese golfer Haotong Li, suspended above Hideki Matsuyama on stage, in the sort of harness usually worn by an ageing actress in (more…)

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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.


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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