Edition 1497
20 October 2018
Edition: 1497

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

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The numbers game

by Neil Connolly, in Sport · 01-02-2018 14:27:00 · 0 Comments

Month one of 2018, done. Golfing wise it has shown a couple stablemates getting back into the action. Namely Tiger and Rory, now fully fit and competitive.

The numbers game

Rory finishing second around the Emirates Golf Club to a youngster called Li, with Tiger making his first competitive cut in 889 days.
Their World Rankings have slipped a little due to their enforced absence with Rory having slipped out of the top ten in the world and Tiger languishing down in 656th at the end of 2017. Yet a good showing for both has put Rory at 8th and Tiger for making the cut and finishing tied 25th, well that was worth a jump of 117 spots to 539th in the World Rankings.
A promising sign for the rest of the year, with both of their focuses on the first major of the year, they have plenty of time to polish off their ring rust and be fighting fit for Augusta in April.
There was another return to the world of competitive golf this week past. You would be forgiven if you hadn’t heard, but if you had spent any time around the Golf Integrated Academy at Vila Sol, you would have seen a middle-aged Pro getting some practice in for his first foray into the world of Senior Golf. You see, I turned forty-eight last year, so I am now eligible to play on the Senior Golf Circuit, not to be confused with the European Tour’s Senior offering, now called the Staysure Tour.
The tournament was held at the magnificent Monte Rei course, over two rounds. Having, for the last ten years, been one of the oldest competitors in the field it is truly uplifting to be able to turn up to a tournament where you are the youngest. It is strange and levelling to be in a field where you think you are competing against people your father’s age and then realise that you fit in perfectly. They say one day you will look in the mirror and see your father looking back at you, it was like that but with golf clubs.
It was on the range where things took a surreal turn, you could not have had a more diverse spread of body shapes, sizes and fitness. It looked like a normal driving range anywhere in the world, except all of these guys could hit a ball, knew how to putt and most importantly knew how to compete. We had ex European Tour players, County Champions, PGA Regional Champions. Some players who have been Professionals for the last thirty years and some who have been amateurs for the last thirty years and have been waiting for the clock to turn in their favour and turn professional. Even Club Professionals who now have a little spending money to see how good they really are.
Being a Jack Nicklaus signature course, Monte Rei is a wonderful test of golf, five star in every category. I handled myself well over the first 18 holes where a 76 was carded in feisty winds. It was good enough to lie tied 7th going into the final round. My body was in good shape, my mind at ease because I knew that I could compete.
Then golf showed me once again that it was the boss, any sense of control was fleeting. The course showed me that if you wander off the beaten path by a few feet it would take quite a golf shot to get back in position. My first three holes amounted to the ‘number of the beast’ 6-6-6. I managed, in forty minutes, to drop more shots than in four-and-a-half hours the day before.
Feeling like a total numpty I carded an 81. I chalked it up to experience and all that, better luck next time, learn from your mistakes etc. Then I found that tied 19th covered expenses. It is safe to say that I have played a lot better and won a lot less. Seniors Tour proper is in two years’ time, plenty of time to iron out the wrinkles in the game, not the face.

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Edition 1497
20 October 2018
Edition: 1497

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

Twitter

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