Hi Everyone and Happy New Year,
Although the calendar is telling us that a new golfing year has begun, sadly here in the UK the weather doesn't want to play ball. A combination of fog, rain and even a day of snow have certainly limited our golf for 2017 so far. Still the professional tours have no such issues and a lovely story emerged from last week's South African Open. Rewind to the last event of 2016 and Graeme Storm was in the toe curling awful position of losing his Tour Card by the matter of 100 Euro's having missed a par putt on the last green of his tournament year. However, a reprieve came when US star Patrick Reed opted not to play in the final two events thus moving Graeme up a spot and retaining his card. He made the most of it in South Africa and after a terrific week's golf found himself tied with World Number 2, Rory McIlroy. It took three extra holes to decide the winner and how the press love the titles "Rory caught in a Storm", "The perfect Storm" and perhaps my favourite a picture of Graeme having a celebratory cuppa, "Storm with a Teacup".
Out in Hawaii a different kind of golfing storm has been blowing over the past fortnight. Justin Thomas in the opening event of the year, Tournament of Champions, posting 22 under for the week, hops over to the next island and in the first round of the Sony Open shoots a 59! The rest of the week was a procession and he wound up 27 under for 72 holes. making him 49 under for a fortnight. Not surprisingly he is breaking records at break neck speed and clearly is a young man to watch as he moves into the world top ten.
The LPGA start their campaign in the Bahamas (Hawaii, South Africa these pro's are smart!) and later in the year Hannah Burke will have the opportunity to play some events on their tour, having earnt partial status to play. I caught up with her before Christmas, where she came and joined in the Herts Girls session we were taking at Chesfield Downs. It was great for the girls to meet, play and ask questions of our local girl made good. Hannah is a great example of what ambition and hard work can do. On top of her terrific golfing ability, she is a generous, fun, a giving person and a super role model for our girls.
On the golf watching front, I am really looking forward to following the progress of Tom Shadbolt on the Challenge Tour this season. It is a step up in competition for him and I have every confidence he will be very competitive this year. He has just been out in Dubai for a few days modelling some new clothes (which apparently happens if you are tall and handsome!) and then working on his game in readiness for the season opener on March 17 in Kenya.
Not to be left out on the sun front, I was fortunate enough to be hosting a group of golfers on a David Short Golf tour in Portugal over the Xmas period. We played some super courses in amazingly warm weather. Two highlights for me were Monte Rei on Christmas Day and Quinta South on New Years Day, where I'm glad to say the temperature was in the 70's as was my score!
I am now on holiday in Florida with my wife although I will report from the Orlando Trade Show as I guess I should do some work!
Hopefully for those of you in the UK the weather will hold up and the phenomenon that I heard of on the BBC weather doesn't come back, that of "thunder snow". So basically it is a thunderstorm but snow falls instead of rain. Not as I originally thought, "oh it's a new comic book character with some impressive super powers".
I hope you manage to get some holes in over the rest of January.
All the best