Different Strokes: Wentworth not feeling the love from Europe’s stars

Meadow has cut at tournament drop-outs; Spieth’s goal; Twitter twaddle; In the bag; Know the Rules

 Rory McIlroy of Europe shakes hands with Jack Nicklaus at the Ryder Cup  in   Scotland. Photograph: David Cannon/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy of Europe shakes hands with Jack Nicklaus at the Ryder Cup in Scotland. Photograph: David Cannon/Getty Images

 

Flagship event deserves more support

The challenge faced by the PGA European Tour is aptly demonstrated by this week’s Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio, where ONE-TWO-THREE in the world rankings tee it up. The “Big Three” of golf – Jason Day, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy – are the headline acts in a tournament that is special not so much for the $8.5 million (€7.6 million) purse but for the fact that it is hosted by Jack Nicklaus.

It is his tournament on his course in his hometown and, a bit like the storyline in ‘Field of Dreams’ where Kevin Costner’s character built a baseball field in the middle of nowhere, Nicklaus’s tour stop at Muirfield Village has acted like a magnet in drawing players to it. He built it, and they have come! There are no appearance fees. Nothing like that. The Memorial boasts a star-studded line-up, a tournament of real box office material every year, because of the Golden Bear factor.

In stark contrast, the field at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth was disappointingly poor. It certainly deserved better, for it is a marvellous tournament that ticks so many boxes in terms of crowds, atmosphere and ambience . . . it must frustrate the hell out of everyone at European Tour HQ that so many of their top-line players, many of whom will feature in Darren Clarke’s team at the Ryder Cup later this season, didn’t find a way to work it into their tour schedules.

Will next year’s Wentworth showcase be any different?

Perhaps, if only because a significant amount of money is set to be invested in improving and upgrading the green complexes: the condition of those greens has long been used as an excuse (valid or not) by so many players in explaining their absence and the bulldozers move in next week. The move back to the original Harry Colt design concepts of angles and playing the ball on the ground as well as in the air should help.

Keith Pelley, the chief executive of the European Tour, is very much a realist and his vision for the European Tour – which is a global tour in that it has tournaments this year in 27 countries on five continents – would appear to involve a dialogue with the tour players, of all ranks, aimed at delivering an ever stronger circuit.

Pelley brought up the stark reality of what he called “the migration of some of our top players to the US” with us at Wentworth and talked of “providing the best golf course for our players to play on, the best golf experiences and to increase the prize funds.” A strategy is apparently in place which will be seen next season and strengthened further for the 2018 season. What that is, he wasn’t at liberty to say.

“Everything that we (on the European Tour) do, we do with a players first philosophy, and everything we do, we do with consulting our players,” said Pelley.

For sure, he has the ear of the players. Time and time again, they’ll tell you how impressed they are with the Canadian who has a vision on where the Tour is headed. The real proof, though, that they’re all buying into the vision would be to make sure that the BMW PGA Championship – their flagship event – is pencilled into the schedule as one of the must-play events, each and every year.

Meadow vents frustration over quitters

Fair play to Stephanie Meadow for letting rip at players who tee it up in a tournament only to withdraw through injury, or for whatever reason.

The Northern Irishwoman vented her frustration after SEVEN players withdrew during play at the Volvik Championship on the LPGA Tour . . . an event for which Meadow was the on-site first reserve, ready and willing and able to play.

In a post on instagram, Meadow – who has had limited outings on tour this season – said of the mass exodus of players from the event prior to the two-round cut: “I understand that there are certain circumstances that cannot be helped and justify a withdrawal during play (injury sickness etc) but certain do not. If you’re not ready to play 36 before the cut no matter what you shoot then you should not enter. If we continue this we are sending out the wrong message to the young girls who idolise us.”

Meadow’s message got support from a significant number of tour players, among them Brittany Lincicome. “Could not agree more!!” tweeted the American in support.

Word of mouth

“There’s always certainly the goal to try and be number one in the world. I mean, that’s just a fantastic title to own” – Jordan Spieth – after his victory in the Colonial Invitational – on his quest to chase down and overhaul Jason Day.

By the numbers

300

A milestone will be made by Denis O’Sullivan when he tees up in the Wales Senior Open at Celtic Manor this week: the 68-year-old Corkman – a winner of six professional events in his time on the circuit – will become the first player to play 300 events on the European Seniors Tour.

Twitter Twaddle

Gary Hurley – after five weeks on the road and up and currently 18th on the Challenge Tour order of merit – looking forward to the Waterford-Clare championship game

Sergio Garcia – borrowing a sentiment from Ireland’s Call – in giving the thumbs-up to Pádraig Harrington, Thomas Bjorn and Paul Lawrie on their call-up to Big D’s backroom team.

Chris Wood on that winning feeling.

In the Bag

Rocco Mediate (US Seniors PGA winner)

Driver: PXG 0811 (9 degrees)
3-Wood: PXG 0341 (15 degrees)
5-Wood: PXG 0341 (18 degrees)
22-Degree Hybrid: PXG 0317
4-9 Irons: PXG 0311T
Pitching Wedge: PXG 0311T (48 degrees)
Sand Wedge: PXG 0311 (51 degrees)
Lob Wedge: PXG 0311 (56 degrees)
Putter: PXG Drone
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

Know the Rules

Q

A player unable to find his ball after a brief search drops another ball (Ball B) under Rule 27-1 and plays it. His original ball is then found within five minutes after search for it began. The player lifted Ball B and continued to play with the original ball. Was this correct?

A

No. When the player put the substituted ball into play at the spot of the previous stroke with the intent to play a ball under Rule 27-1, he proceeded under an applicable Rule. Therefore, Rule 20-6 does not apply, and he must continue with the substituted ball (see Decision 27-1/2). The original ball was lost when Ball B was dropped under Rule 27-1 (see Definition of ‘Lost Ball’).

When the player lifted Ball B, he incurred a penalty of one stroke under Rule 18-2. When he made a stroke with the original ball after it was out of play, he played a wrong ball (see Definitions of ‘Ball in Play’ and ‘Wrong Ball’) and incurred a penalty of loss of hole in match play or an additional penalty of two strokes in stroke play (Rule 15-3). In stroke play, the player would be disqualified if, before playing from the next teeing ground, he did not correct his error (Rule 15-3b)

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