As 2016 draws to a close , Tiger woods made sure we all started thinking about golf in 2017, with an excellent comeback at the Hero World Challenge. Prior to the event press speculation had got the better of him and he said "I’m not dead, I’m ready to go!" Interestingly he had 24 birdies for the week, the most of any player in the field which after over a year out is pretty amazing.
The other players clearly enjoyed having him back on the tournament scene and just when golf is in need of a boost, I think his comeback could be just that. There were a few parallels with his golf and ours in that he hit a few errant shots, and got ‘ a bit tired ‘ on the back nine, welcome to golf post 40!
The winner was fast rising star Hideki Matsuyama, who has won on 4 of his last 5 starts and now in pole position to become Japan’s first major winner.
Again a great year in the world of golf and for me the highlight was the Open Championship, with Henrik Stensons' amazing duel with Phil Mickleson. The European Tour is in slight transition, however, although we got the wrong result in the Ryder Cup, the emergence of Thomas Pieters Cabrera Bello and Matt Fitzpatrick prove we are on the up, and of course the people’s champion Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnson will provide some meaty golf ( sorry couldn’t resist).
This time of year always leads us to review all sorts of subjects, and certainly in golf it’s good to think of what we love about our great game. So my top three would be ( I think the actual list is up around 50!)
The sound of a putt rattling around the bottom of the cup, followed by the slightly choked response of ‘ well done ‘ from your opponent.
That feeling of joy when you absolutely flush a shot, so even after 1000’s of swings the purity of that experience never fails to amuse.
Watching the elegance of great swings like Justin Rose and Lydia Ko , and the way they carry themselves in the world of golf. For someone who has become so good so young Lydia has an abundance of humility and good cheer to all. Justin is the perfect gentleman, and I loved his child like joy in winning the Gold Medal in Rio, and converting the doubters as to whether golf should be part of the Olympics.
For me personally it’s been a year of change and I have really enjoyed expanding my role with my dear friend David Short with our Golf Schools and golf holidays. As ever Golf Monthly have provided me with some great pieces of work to do and the 50 faults and fixes piece we did this year was a publishing highlight for me, and pushing Rory off the front cover of the magazine amused me greatly.
Thank you all for your support and interest in my projects and welfare, and this week many of you spotted me on Sky Sports at one of my favourite golf events, the Trilby Tour on Sky Sports.
Another great year for them and next week they have a programme on their first foray into the junior market the Trilby Teens, where I shall also be passing on a few pearls of wisdom.
Wishing you all a lovely Christmas and a peaceful New Year, and may all your drives go straight and putts rattle in the hole ......... ideally on the first attempt!
All the best