Two golfers, Brandon Grace and Bill Haas who have been winners over the past few years claimed the Qatar Open and Humana respectively in tight finishes both winning by one stroke.
Brandon Grace has won 6 European events and is well respected as a strong finisher on the final day. Bill Haas is one of those Americans who is consistent week in, week out in the style of Jim Furyk but more of money than trophy winner.
Steve Palmer after his mega punting with two winners was less successful but as ever I followed his picks and Oliver Fisher finished in the top ten – just – in Qatar, as did rookie Justin Thomas at the beautiful La Quints courses – the tourney was played in three of them, two designed by Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer .
The talk in golf is whether the BBC will hold onto the Open. Personally I think Sky do a very good job in coverage in terms of camera work and analysis. They cover the European Tour, US PGA , Ladies Tournaments and the Senior tour and if Sky can persuade stalwarts like Peter Alliss and “the Colonel” Bruce Critchiey over they will have a powerful team headed by Euan Murray. The worry is Sky are less interested in viewer numbers than selling subscriptions and advertising. The sponsor might wants to see more numbers.
I have long held the opinion that golfers need to be more viewer conscious and it’s frankly dull for them to see anyone deliberate over a putt. Unlike football golf does not have continuity of action which puts the pressure on commentators to enliven the proceedings. This Peter Alliss does supremely well. As the camera flashes to some sea bird you can rely on Peter to accompany this with some jolly reference which brings the game into your room. People knock him as he is getting on and is non-PC but it’s quite a skill. Compare this to the nasal Brummie tones of Mark Roe at Sky who indisputably knows his golf but does not animate his commentary. With the Murdoch empire less influential in the forthcoming election rest assured that politicians will jump on the bandwagon. We will hear as much about preserving the Crown Jewels of sport on terrestrial channels as how the Royal and Ancient will allocate the munificent funding of Sky to improve grass roots golf .