The 2015 European Tour has now started in 2014 in South Africa with their flagship Nedbank event at Sun City. Luke Donald came right back to form but it was the Sheffield Slugger Danny Willett that just shaved the trophy.
The Steve Palmer pick Jamie Donaldson retired with a migraine after one round. Interestingly none of the South Africans, Chalry Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace, rarely featured.
Over in the States in the Hero championship Jordan Spieth followed his victory in the Australia Open with a 6 shot victory in this. I often thought that if you bet on Jordan Spieth it was only a question of time before he won his first tournament as he is the best of the young Americans. The attention predictably was on Tiger Woods who finished last and was rather grouchy. He has not really come to terms with his decline in form and I don’t think he will win another major.
Many British golfers do not now even live in the UK. Mcilroy and Westwood live in Florida, Donald in Chicago. This is sad as not so long ago golfers were associated with a club: Neil Coles at Coombe Hill, Tony Jacklin at Potters Bar, Bernard Hunt at Hartsbourne, Dai Rees at South Herts. I knew Bernard and his brother Geoff who ran the golf shop best. Geoff gave me my first golf lessons and I remember one anecdote of when he played Billy Casper in the Ryder Cup. Casper, a superb pitcher, was in a fairway bunker only to play out it 200 yards with a sand wedge and birdie. In that moment Geoff realised he would never be a top flight player and might be better off selling top flight balls.
In those days few British golfers played the USPGA and Neil Coles had a phobia of flying so I can see the logistics of residence. Incidentally Coles had to take a liner to the States assuming he was selected for the Ryder Cup. However the club and its members provided a support mechanism and for us weekend golfers an exciting contact with a top professional. Golfers are still more accessible than premier footballers, often spending at least half an hour giving autographs and posing at the end of the round, but it’s not quite the same thing.