Bryden Macpherson – 2014 Tweet Of The Year

16th December 2014

UPDATE – Nice of Bryden to acknowledge the post !

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Like it is for most golfers it has been a year of ups and downs for Bryden Macpherson.

I am pleased to report that today has been a good one for him.  Bryden shot a level par 71 in the sixth and final round of the Web.com Tour Final Q-School event.  More importantly, his -10 total and T21 finish at PGA National in Florida will ensure him a high ranking card for the 2015 season on the United States’ second tier Tour.  Onwards and upwards.

You may recall the 24 year old Australian is a former Amateur Champion, winning the prestigious title in 2011 at Hillside GC.  He went on to play in The Open at Royal St. George’s later that year, missing the cut after reasonable rounds of 71 and 73.  He was studying at Georgia University at the time but left the following season as golfing doors opened for him around the world.

Bryden Macpherson

Brydon Macpherson – 2011 Amateur Champion

His name may also resonate with you because he made the headlines – good and bad – earlier this year at The Open Championship.  It is this that I really want to talk about as it probably goes down as one of my golfing highlights of 2014.

In Round 1 at Royal Liverpool Brydon shot 90 (-18).  This was the worse score in the field by 8-shots.  Afflicted by poor driving and the putting yips around the turn he badly lost his way shooting a score he hadn’t seen for many years, if ever.  Many players would have withdrawn.  Brydon didn’t – he came back for more shooting a second round 80.  He unsurprisingly missed the cut on +26.

He pitched up in front of the media afterwards and answered all of their questions.  His attitude in defeat on 18th July was so exceptional that he made a real impression on every one who listened to or read what he had to say.

“It’s major golf.  I think if you don’t enjoy it then you shouldn’t be playing it as a living” he stated.

On the question of possibly withdrawing he said: “Definitely not, no.  I’ve never pulled out of a tournament, a competitive event, and I plan to keep that for the rest of my career”.

He tried to take the positives from his poor performance that week: “I think it is just character building, that’s all it is”.  “I enjoyed every moment of it, as much as you could.  You go out there and you try and take in the experience for what it is, instead of what you want it to be”.  He put his poor play down to a changed mindset: “We just got away this week from one of the feels that I’ve been using”.  “That has obviously taught me a lesson not to do that again”.

For me though the tweet he posted the following day summed the guy up.  In the face of huge professional embarrassment he stayed strong, maintained his dignity and conducted himself as we would all hope to but few could probably manage.  If there has been a better tweet this year from a professional golfer I haven’t seen it: –

It is great to see Bryden qualify strongly for the Web.com Tour today.  They are lucky to have him.  I wish him all the best for the 2015 season and hope to see him on the PGA Tour soon and who knows winning The Open in a few years time.  Now that would be a great story.

ME.

Copyright © 2014, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

We Need To Talk About Tyrrell

21st November 2014

Tyrrell Hatton is fast becoming one of the best golfers in the world and he doesn’t appear to be hanging about either.

As recently as May 2013 he was ranked 995th in the Official World Golf Rankings.  He was 376th at the end of 2013 and currently lies 153rd.  A good finish at the DP World Tour Championship (DPWTC) – he lies T10 on -6 after 36-holes – should help him move comfortably into the Top 150* on Sunday.

[* A T6 finish at the DPWTC lifted TH to 132nd in the OWGR – 24/11/14]

His achievement in retaining his card for 2015 and better still qualifying for the Road To Dubai (R2D) Final Series should not be under-estimated.  This year just four Challenge Tour graduates and eight Q-School qualifiers have retained their cards.  Just two from each group have made it all the way to the Top 60 and the DPWTC.  To date he has earned €781,280 and lies 46th in the R2D standings.  This is one hard working, driven and ambitious golfer.

With no European Tour wins to his name and Brooks Koepka stealing some of his thunder he has quietly crept up all of the rankings, a little under everyone’s radar.  He seems to make as much noise in the media for not wearing a cap and for occasionally blowing a little hot on the course as he does for his golfing prowess.  Nevertheless, his consistent, solid play appears to quickly be taking him to golf’s top table.

Tyrrell Hatton

Tyrrell Hatton

So what do we know about Mr. Hatton ?

He is still young – born in 1991 he only turned 23 on 14th October – which makes his achievements over the last 18 months all the more impressive.

He is from Marlow, England and is the son of a Pro – Jeff Hatton, his dad, still coaches him and fits his clubs.  He started swinging a club as soon as he could stand up and started playing at Wycombe Heights Par 3 Short Course when he was three.  When he reached 11 he joined Harleyford Golf Club and his association with them continues to this day.  Unsurprisingly he holds the course record with a 65 which he shot there in 2010.

His amateur career was good if unspectacular.  A few minor wins and a number of creditable performances seems to have been the story.  He represented his county, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire (BB&O) and was selected for both the England U18 Boys and Men’s teams on occasion.  He qualified for the 2010 Open at St. Andrews as an amateur and was in the shake up for a 2011 Walker Cup spot but ultimately missed out.  Tommy Fleetwood (the other English golfer making real headway this year), Tom Lewis, Eddie Pepperell and Andy Sullivan were amongst his peers at this time.

With a handicap of +4.3 he turned Pro on 18th August 2011, signing up with John Fay’s Georgia Group.  He is relatively small for a modern Pro – just 5ft 9″ and 11st 7lbs but is well built and clearly generates good club head speed. It also helps that he is normally an excellent putter.

He made his way out on to the Satellite Tours and secured his first win at Woodcote Park on the Jamega Pro Golf Tour that September.  He fell at the Second Stage of the European Tour’s Q-School process but won the 2012 PGA EuroPro Tour Q-School which broadened his playing opportunities.  He enjoyed another win at Caversham Heath on the Jamega in 2012 and quickly followed it by winning the Your Golf Travel Classic at Bovey Castle in Devon on the Europro.  He was also invited to play in eleven Challenge Tour events in 2012, finishing the season ranked 77th (€18,015) and thus earning himself full 2013 playing rights.

Tyrrell demonstrated his consistency in 2013 playing in 17 Challenge Tour events and only missing two cuts.  He made his European Tour debut in June having been given an invite to the Lyoness Open in Austria – he finished 19th.  However, the real turning point last year came in September when his Dad produced a Ping i20 driver for him to try.  His increased confidence off the tee led to two late-season T2’s in the Kazakhstan and Foshan (China) Opens and ultimately qualification for the Challenge Tour’s season finale in Dubai at Al Badia.  A creditable T6 there led to him finishing 10th (€92,114) in the Challenge Tour rankings and better still promotion to the European Tour.

After missing two early cuts on the 2014 European Tour he gained a lot of confidence from a T10 finish in the star-studded Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship in January.  Whilst he has missed 9 cuts this year from the 29 events he has completed to date he comfortably retained his card and a place in the R2D Final Series.  The other highlights being a T2 at the Joburg Open, a T4 at the AAM Scottish Open and a T3 at the Omega European Open in Switzerland.

The only negative in Tyrrell’s rise to the top of the European Tour has been his occasional lapses in on-course behaviour.  This was most notable in the Scottish Open, when playing under the pressure of a possible first win and automatic qualification for the following week’s Open, he appeared to over-react to most shots and was far from the supposedly calm state beloved of sporting psychologists.  As a result of this high profile show and other scenes this year his temperament has been questioned by some.  However, I believe as long as it stays within the boundaries of acceptability and doesn’t overly effect his play – which it hasn’t – he should be cut some slack in this regard.  I know I am a bit more relaxed about course conduct than some but I am all for a bit of passion and personality.  Nowadays too many golfers are congratulated for being Robo-Pro ice-men. There is nothing wrong with wearing your heart on your sleeve.

Good luck to Tyrrell over the weekend in Dubai.  It would be great to see him finish the season in style with a high finish.  He is an exciting player to watch and is fast becoming a great example to young Amateurs and aspiring Pros with ambitions in the game.  Whilst some troughs in form will no doubt need to be overcome in the years ahead I for one hope he can continue pushing on and quickly gain entry to all of the Majors and WGC events.  When it comes to GB&I players at the top of the game – the more the better for me !

How far do you think Tyrrell can go in the game ?

ME.

Copyright © 2014, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

10 Things You Should Know About Bobby Locke (Video)

20th November 2014

As the years go by any reminiscences about South African golf increasingly start with the name of Gary Player.  However, before him came Bobby Locke.  Whilst not in the legendary bracket of Mr. Player Locke is certainly worthy of further note and in no way should be forgotten by us.

Bobby Locke

Bobby Locke

On the anniversary of his birthday here’s my Top 10 Bobby Locke Facts (in chronological order): –

1. Arthur D’arcy “Bobby” Locke was born in Germiston, South Africa on 20th November 1917.  He died, aged 69, on 9th March 1987 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

2. He achieved a scratch handicap by 16 and went on to win the South African Boys (1931), South African Amateur (1935 and ’37) and South African Open (1935, ’37 – both as an Amateur – ’38, ’39, ’40, ’46, ’50, ’51 and ’55).

 

Watch Bobby Locke Win The 1940 South African Open

3. After World War II, which interrupted his career, he toured South Africa with Sam Snead playing a series of exhibition matches.  After Locke had won 12 of the 16 they played Snead encouraged him to try the PGA Tour in the USA.  He started playing in the US in April 1947.  He won six tournaments that season, including four in five weeks.  In 1948 he won the Chicago Victory National by 16-shots (a record).  In two and half seasons he played in 59 events; winning 11 (19%) and finishing in the top three in 30 (34%).

4. In 1949 he was banned from the PGA Tour.  The official line was that he had failed to turn up at events he had previously committed to after his first Open win (see 5. below).  Unofficially it is often said that the other players opportunistically sought to remove him because he was simply too good for them.  The ban was lifted in 1951 but Locke rarely returned, his stock having by this time risen in Europe and the Rest of the World.

5. He won The Open Championship four times, in 1949 (Royal St. George’s – after a 36-hole play-off), 1950 (Troon), 1952 (Royal Lytham) and 1957 (St. Andrews).

6. His win in the 1957 Open proved a little controversial.  Having hit his approach to the last hole to a yard he famously failed to properly replace his marker having been asked to move it.  The newsreel footage was clear and the rules at the time indicated he should have been disqualified.  However, the R&A, having already presented Locke with the Claret Jug, allowed the result to stand, arguing that to not do so would be inequitable.  He had secured a birdie at the last and won by three strokes from Peter Thomson.

Watch Bobby Locke Win The 1957 Open At St. Andrews

7. Whilst very accurate he played with a relatively unattractive in-to-out swing and hit big draws for almost all of his full shots.  He was famous for being a smart dresser often playing in plus-fours.  He was impenetrable with a superb temperament but also notoriously slow.  He would only ever play at his own pace, irrespective of any penalties that he was threatened with.

Watch Bobby Locke’s Famous Golf Swing

8. He quickly realised: “No matter how well I might play the long shots, if I couldn’t putt, I would never win”.  He therefore became a magnificent putter, in many people’s opinion (including Gary Player’s) the best there has ever been.  He again had an unorthodox style, trapping the ball and imparting a hooking, top spin to it.  He later coined the often used golfing maxim: “You drive for show but putt for dough”.

9. His competitive career was shortened by a serious car accident in 1959.  Headaches and sight issues thereafter meant he never fully recovered his A-game.

10. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1977.  He was only the second non-USA or UK entrant after his fellow South African Gary Player (1974).

ME.

Copyright © 2014, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.