What in the world is going on in golf
Golf gets the league treatment in India while a tricked-up course is set to debut in China
Published on Monday, Jan. 07, 2013 10:33AM EST Last updated on Monday, Jan. 07, 2013 10:46AM EST
With golf returning to the Olympics, China is one of the countries which has ramped up its player development. Despite the government’s attempt to cut down on the explosion of golf course openings, developers are dreaming up new and daring designs in hopes of capitalizing on increased interest in the game.
Among the ideas is a golf course featuring items you might normally encounter on a much smaller scale on a mini-putt course. As CNN’s Paul Gittings reports, among the suggestions for a new course that will be part of the 22 course Mission Hills complex in Hainan Island, China, are the Great Wall for a hazard, a fairway threading through Mayan ruins and a panda-themed hole. There’s even an homage to the infamous "island green" at TPC Sawgrass only the Chinese version of the hole will feature a putting green swimming in a giant bowl of noodles and chopsticks!
GOLF NIGHT IN INDIA: Four former Major winners are expected to take part in a new franchise-based golf tournament in India next month.
Darren Clarke, Angel Cabrera, Michael Campbell and Rich Beem are among the players who have confirmed their participation in the $400,000 tournament which is part of the new Golf Premier League - India’s new franchisee-based golf league.
The league - which is co-sanctioned by the Professional Golf Tour of India - is based on a similar league model used by other sports in the country such as cricket, badminton, wrestling and field hockey.
Shiv Kapur, one of the event organizers and one of India’s top golfers, explains that eight city-based franchises will take part in an auction in late January to “hire” four golfers to compete in three rounds of golf over 14 holes. Each team will comprise a Major winner, an Indian who plays on the professional circuit, an Asian tour star and a local player.
The tournament will be played over three days from February 8 at the Aamby Valley golf course near the western city of Pune and will be telecast live and offer a winner’s purse of $250,000, making it India's richest golf event.
Kapur says the event will not only help younger players improve but also promote the sport of golf in India.
CLARKE RECONSIDERS: Whether or not Tom Watson is successful in helping the United States re-gain the Ryder Cup in one years time, his appointment late last year has gotten into the head of at least one potential rival candidate from Europe.
The European Tour is set to announce its pick for the 2014 European Ryder Cup captain next week in Abu Dhabi but Darren Clarke - considered a favourite for the 2014 role along with Paul McGinley - appeared to take himself out of contention over the Christmas break.
Clarke was quoted as saying in a Reuters news report that maybe the European Tour should consider a big-name appointment even if that means bringing someone back from the past in order to counter the American appointment of Tom Watson.
Clarke seemed to be suggesting someone like Colin Montgomerie, who captained the Europeans to victory at Celtic Manor back in 2010.
"We seriously need the right man for the job," Clarke told the BBC. "We do have an (unwritten) rule where we don't ask anybody to do it again, but we might have to look at that."
"A lot of people, myself included, were surprised when Tom Watson was appointed. It's a big statement and brilliant for the event. There are few more iconic figures in golf, he's adored in Scotland and it sends out a statement that they are very serious about winning the trophy back."
Clarke seemed to indicate he might have to think long and hard about accepting the offer this time around.
“If they asked me to do it, it would be a difficult decision to take. I’m still only 44 and it’s not that long ago that I won the Open (in 2011).”
SHARK BITE: Over the Christmas break, reports emerged that Greg Norman has cut ties with the prestigious Medalist Golf Club in Florida after he objected to plans to renovate the 1995 course he helped design along with Pete Dye. In a story first reported by Golf Digest's Tim Rosaforte, Norman not only wants his name taken off the course but he also wants all his memorabilia returned to him including the iconic shark situated above the bar in the men's locker room.
Ironically, Bobby Weed - a former disciple of Dye - was comissioned by the course to carry out the restoration and had already started to work on some of the bunkers this past summer before Norman stepped up and offered his services for free. In a letter to current club president De Mudd, Norman claims the "integrity of the original designed course has been compromised by your alterations without consultation or discussion with neither Pete Dye nor me."
"It's really a slap in the face at the end of the day," Norman said in an email to Rosaforte. "It hurts a lot to tell the truth. It's a shame."
“It’s a game of mistakes, it’s a game of misses. And if you dwell on all those misses and mistakes, you’re not going anywhere.” — Steve Stricker.