Different strokes


Compiled by PHILIP REID

Golf Boys looking to hit the right note

Rock stars like U2 and Bon Jovi are unlikely to be quaking in their shoes at the latest offering from Golf Boys – a group which features US Tour players Ben Crane, Rickie Fowler, Hunter Mahan and US Masters champion Bubba Watson – which was released as a download on iTunes yesterday.

All proceeds from the hip-hop song, which parodies boy bands, will go to a Third World charity that helps fund the provision of fresh water.

The golfing-singing quartet released their first song in June of 2011 and became an internet sensation, with over six million views on YouTube which prompted them to consider a second song that will benefit international aid organisation charity:water, with 100 per cent of proceeds from Golf Boys’ song “2.Oh” going to the construction of clean water wells in Ethiopia.

“I love that we can goof off on You Tube and help people across the world,” said unofficial band leader Crane, who has put the video up on the internet site at www.youtube.com/bencranegolf.

Youth development policy pays dividends

The policy is not a new one – as evidenced by the reminder that Darren Clarke won the King’s Cup all of 23 years go – but, nonetheless, the GUI’s decision to send Ireland’s top amateurs to compete in international competition, as far afield as Australia and South Africa on occasions, is one that continues to have positive benefits.

The latest example of this policy to blood players is Reeve Whitson’s win in the Spanish Amateur Open. In one fell swoop, the 21-year-old Ulsterman has added his name to that of Gavin Moynihan and Kevin Phelan as potential Walker Cup players for the match against the United States in New York later this season.

By then, of course, Alan Dunbar

– the current British amateur champion – is likely to have crossed the great divide in pursuit of a professional career. Dunbar’s last appearance as an amateur is expected to come in next month’s US Masters at Augusta, before he joins the ISM stable of players and, hopefully, benefit from a number of tournament invites to set him on his way as a pro.

Whitson’s win, however, underlines the fact that the GUI continues to provide a conveyor belt of young talent. A son of Royal County Down club professional Kevan Whitson, Reeve obviously has golfing blood in his veins and a head-start on many others when it came to taking up the sport.

However, the GUI’s ongoing policy – even in tighter financial times – of dispensing young players to compete in foreign climes is one that is of great benefit to Irish golf. For one, players become accustomed to the demands of travel (a point made by Rory McIlroy on his seamless move from amateur to professional); and, secondly, it provides the opportunity to instil a winning habit in players, which is something that can’t be taught. It must be garnered from experience.

Indeed, it’s fair to say that the GUI constantly punches above its weight in producing champions, with Dunbar’s British Amateur win of a year ago preceded in the not-too-distant past by Brian McElhinney (2005) and Michael Hoey (2001). And, if anything, the strike rate in the European championship has been even better with McIlroy (2006), McElhinney (2003), Stephen Browne (2001) and Paddy Gribben (1998) all claiming that particular crown.

Whitson’s win in Spain – joining a list of former champions that number Jose Maria Olazabal and Sergio Garcia – earns him an invite into next month’s Spanish Open on the European Tour and also reinforced the belief that the GUI’s policy of throwing players in at the deep end on the international circuit continues to be the right one.

IMG snap up Feng

A sure sign of the westernisation of China – as far as golf is concerned – is that IMG, the world’s largest sports management agency, has moved into the market. IMG has signed Shanshan Feng (right), China’s first Major champion, to its list of clients.

The first Chinese player to earn a card on the LPGA Tour in 2008 after negotiating Q-school at the first attempt, Shanshan Feng created history last year when winning the LPGA Championship, her first Major.

Guy Kinnings, the global head of IMG Golf, said the company were “very excited about what the future holds for this remarkable young lady . . . we cannot wait to see what she will achieve next, both on and off the course.”

Twitter talk

“Gonna put this out there. Rory will win the masters. #hearditherefirst”

– Shane Lowry gives his tuppence worth and shows confidence in McIlroy’s ability to bounce back.

“Rory has played how often this year? And the doubters have started. Remember the Masters? And then the US Open at Congressional?”

– Wisecracking TV commentator David Feherty gets serious to defend McIlroy.

“Stole a top 5 down the stretch today! Hope it made some of you some each way $$! Played the #BearTrap -3 this week. Ready to defend nxt wk”

– Justin Rose lines the pockets of his supporters in the Honda with a top-five finish ahead of defending at this week’s WGC-Cadillac championship.

“Apparently u can’t take pictures of golfers. In my Defense peeps always take pics of tennis players.”

– Tennis icon Serena Williams after being reprimanded by a security guard for snapping a photo of Tiger Woods during play at the Honda Classic.

Know the rules . . .

Q A competitor hit a ball into a clubhouse which was not out of bounds and had not been declared an integral part of the course. In order to play it out, he opened a window, claiming that it was a movable (or partially movable) obstruction. Was this permissible?

A Yes. Under decision 24-2b/14, the clubhouse was an immovable obstruction. However, any part of it designed to be movable, such as a window or door, may be moved to any position if this can be done without undue delay. The same principle would apply if the clubhouse had been declared an integral part of the course.

In the bag. . .

Stacy Lewis

(winner HSBC Champions)

Driver – Mizuno JPX-800 (9-degree)

3-wood – Mizuno MP-650 (15-degree)

Hybrid – Mizuno MP-650 (17-degree)

Irons (4-iron to PW) – Mizuno JPX-800 Pro

Wedges – Mizuno MP T-11 (52-degree, 56-degree, 60-degree)

Putter – TaylorMade Ghost TM-110 Tour

Ball – Titleist ProV1x

Shoes – FootJoy Women’s FJ Sport MyJoys

Number of the week


The number of Irish players – Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Pádraig Harrington – competing in this week’s WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral resort in Florida. The event was first staged at Valderrama in 1999 (when it was known as the American Express championship) and Tiger Woods won his first of six titles.

Quote of the week

He blended in perfectly with the grass, wasn’t but 18 inches long, but he was good enough that he could have bit you and hurt you pretty bad.”

– Boo Weekly demonstrates that golfers face danger from sources other than a malfunctioning swing after he was forced to use his driver to scoop away a snake from a tee-box during the Honda Classic

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