Long-hauling it around the fairways of the international golf world has its charms
South east Asia offers welcome diversity from the predictable flow of the PGA Tour
Rory McIlroy plays out of a bunker on the 14th hole yesterdsay during the Pro-Am event at Lake Malaren Golf Club in Shanghai, China, where the European Tour kick-off their end-of-season mini-series today with the BMW Masters tournament. Photograph: Matthew Lewis/Bongarts/Getty Images
It’s the serious travelling time of the year again. Any of you following the salvage mission of Peter Lawrie dragging himself from Iberia to Australia in order to successfully retain his playing rights on the European Tour for next year will be aware that come October, golfers are long- hauling it to ply their trade.
Some players were starting entirely different, and less livelihood-threatening golfing missions on the other side of the world.With Rory regaining some confidence in a One Asia event in Korea last week by finishing second, my man Ernie Els joined the Asian Tour players in Macau for the week and ran third, and with those Europeans battling for survival in Western Australia, it would be fair to say that golf is in the diffused season.
The Americans are already starting their third week of the 2014 year and the CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur is a landmark event in that it is part of the PGA Tour’s new season FedExCup countdown. This is the first time a FedEx event has taken place in south east Asia and and is further proof of the ever-expanding horizons of the PGA Tour.
As if that’s not all confusing enough as regards where the boundaries now lie in world golf, the European Tour kick-off their end-of-season mini-series in Shanghai with the BMW Masters event at Lake Malaren Golf Club.
Race to Dubai
This marks the first of four events that conclude with the denouement to the Race to Dubai in the city itself in four weeks’ time.
It could be confusing were it not for the clarifying fact that the most modest of these events is worth €5 million in prize money.
No wonder we are all wandering around Asian capitals disoriented, dishevelled and in a bewildered state of disarray; they all represent wonderful opportunities to improve rankings and bank balances. These are the early end-of-year bonus trips.
I arrived in the Malaysian capital on Monday last after about 22 hours of travelling, door-to-door. It is usually easier to look at a screen in front of your seat on the plane to tell you where you are, given the well-equipped information systems of modern aircraft.
I was in a window seat so I took the opportunity to see my final destination live. I looked down upon a sea of palm trees, sub-urban developments, oil refineries and the calm waters of the Strait of Malacca as we made our final approach to Kuala Lumpur International.