Blink and you'll miss it
By Harry Emanuel Last updated: 19th January 2011
The 2011 golf season has been slow to start but is certainly in full swing this week. Maybe I'm still suffering from a New Year hangover because I can't remember such a busy week in the world of golf for some time.
So far this week Jose Maria Olazabal has been picked as the next European Ryder Cup Captain, Elliot Saltman has been banned for 'cheating', the late season schedule has come under criticism from Ernie Els, and Padraig Harrington has become the first R&A Working for golf Ambassador.
That's all before three totally different golf tournaments get underway around the globe.
In America the Bob Hope Classic is a five day pro-am tournament which starts on Wednesday, in Europe a stellar field has assembled in Abu Dhabi for the start of the Golf Swing on Thursday and there is a new style stroke play/match play tournament being piloted in Australia.
Once you've drawn breath let's have a quick look at the big story - Major champion and Ryder Cup stalwart Jose Maria Olazabal will be the Ryder Cup captain at Medinah Country Club in 2012.
It was a wonderful pick for European and World Golf. He has been a great player who commands the respect of the entire golf community.
As a captain he may not be the most outspoken person or a natural leader but few know more about the Ryder Cup and the players will play for him.
It's always difficult to win the Ryder Cup 'away from home' but the good news is Medinah Golf Club seems to suit European players. At the 2006 PGA Championship the European players fared well - Donald, Garcia (tied 3rd), Poulter (9th), Stenson (14th), Anders Hansen (24th), Karlsson (26th), Westwood (29th), McDowell (37th), Rose (41st) and Jimenez (65th). The only Ryder Cup players to miss the cut were Casey and Harrington.
Only four Americans made the top ten in what is their home major. The Ryder Cup is a long way away but if you're not already excited you should be.
The other main news is the eye popping disparity between the PGA and European Tour events this week. In the lost hope, sorry Bob Hope, there is only one player from the World Top 20 (Matt Kuchar 13th), one major winner from the last seven seasons (Stewart Cink Open champion 2009) and three times more amateurs than professionals in the field.
In contrast the European Tour event in Abu Dhabi has six of the World's Top 10 and 11 of the World Top 20, last year's four major winners and the World Number One.
One of the really interesting things is Phil Mickelson, a marquee name, huge crowd draw and two-time winner of the Bob Hope, has abandoned his local event and home Tour for this week's European Tour event.
There was a time when he never travelled outside the States but yet here is the world number four playing in a regular European Tour event. I'm not sure he's just chasing the world ranking points and I would guess he will be fully remunerated for his expenses but what a change.
This is another example of the growing stature of the European Tour in world golf and adds further weight to arguments that the European Tour is currently the strongest in the world.
Let's give credit where credit is due and praise those in charge of the tour. They have tapped into the growing Middle Eastern Market, which is one the global financial power houses, and now the players and the tour are reaping the rewards of their forward thinking.
It's not only the European Tour leading the way at the moment as the Australians are trialling a very interesting new style of tournament this week.
The Surf Coast Tournament is a unique mixture of stroke play and match play. After three days of stroke play the top 32 players go into a six hole match play knock out competition on the final day to decide the winner.
It's a new concept and sounds very entertaining and who knows it could play an important role in the way some golf tournaments are played in the future.
So there's something for everyone this week. Whether you're interested in watching celebrities smashing the ball all round the park and the pros shooting in the low sixties, watching the best in the world do battle in the Desert or you prefer match play you'll find something to watch.
Just don't blink or you'll miss something.
- Now O'Grady has to apologise
- Sponsor considers Garcia position
- Simpson urges PGA to ignore ruling
- Rose eyes Wentworth win
- McIlroy confirms 'something's up'
- Clark: Players exploring legal options
- Woods condemns 'hurtful' comment
- McIlroy scoops top award
- Guan to miss US Open
- Garcia slur sparks race row
- Anchored putters to be banned
Neville Leck Blog
"When Adam Scott won at iconic Augusta National on Sunday, he not only took possession of his first Major, he also c..."
As the famous Club's website quite correctly boasts, entering Wentworth "is like entering another world".
Colonial CC, home of the Crowne Plaza Invitational, is the brain-child of a man who was obsessed with bent grass greens.
PING's innovative iPING putter app is now available as a free download on the Google Play store for the Samsung Galaxy S III.
Ping have launched a new putter with an industry-first, new face they believe will produce unmatched distance control.
George says: "...And thats what sepearates the men from the boys. if not anderson taking wickets then broad. if not steyn then ..."
Looking For The Perfect Pitch? Visit The Swing Doctor!