The nineteenth hole
I do begin to wonder if Steve Palmer is listening to me as in his column in the Racing Post yesterday he wrote:
“low stake betting is jolly relaxing, freeing up your mind, making you less stressed and fresher to tackle the other challenges of being human.”
You could not have had a better example of his new credo than in the back nine of the closing day of the BMW masters played in Shanghai, that well-known part of Europe providing a course for the Tour. Golf seems to have invented the concept of the 39th game as the USPGA was being played out in Kuala Lumpur.
Seven golfers were in the final shake up: Levy, Siem, Ross Fisher, Colsaerts, Grillo, Donaldson and Rose. Steve had recommend Donaldson and Colsaerts each way up to 5th place. The Belgian slugger managed to miss a short putt to finish 6th. Levy, having dominated the tourney from start to finish, carded a 78. Jimenez managed a 88 with a 13. Everyone in the top five had a collective loss of nerve – Siem missed a short putt to win outright but holed out from the fringe of the green to win the play off; Colsaert’s miss cost me £40 but Donaldson made it back for me by finishing fourth, so I had the extra dimension of the wager without any stress. I hope Steve was equally measured.
Rryan Moore retained the CIMB classic. Noh, a Palmer pick, the Young South Korean also lost his bottle and not for the first time after leading on the first round. Golf is one of the most demanding games mentally as you cannot hide. If you look at the greats and compare them to those that don’t win majors, it’s more they are stronger mentally than better technicians whose nerve hold under pressure.