Sport Golf

Thursday 14 December 2017

Westwood builds up head of steam

LEE WESTWOOD'S decision to take a leaf out of the book of golf's two most recent Major champions could yield rich dividends at this week's US PGA, judging by his faultless 65 on Sunday at Firestone, which was matched only by winner Adam Scott.

Westwood (38) broke the habit of a lifetime last Sunday week and consulted with a sports psychologist, Dr Bob Rotella, who was credited by Darren Clarke for his serenity at Sandwich, especially on the greens.

The Worksop man also worked with American putting guru Dave Stockton, who helped US Open-winner Rory McIlroy get over his Masters meltdown. Brilliant from tee to green at the Bridgestone, Westwood also polished off his putts with aplomb. Are the stars falling into alignment for him at the Majors.

Keeping eyes peeled on longest drive

IF at first you don't succeed, then quit, quit and quit again!

This snappy slogan caught my eye during the mind-numbing 500-mile haul from Orlando to Atlanta for this week's US PGA.

It featured on a poster urging people to quit smoking. Another huge roadside hoarding near Macon, Georgia blared: "Fireworks -- Come See Wanda, the Bang-Bang Lady."

A grinning Wanda was pictured. She's a bespectacled, eminently respectable-looking woman of age who plainly was blessed with a great sense of humour!

Why the long drive? Well, the simple journey from Dublin to Atlanta or Charlotte cost hundreds of euro more than it did to travel to either hub (on the same aircraft) and then take an onward flight to Orlando. Plane daft!

fan base in situ for korean army

IRISH golfers invariably enjoy massive support from the galleries at Majors in America ... yet a very special welcome awaits the powerful five-man Korean contingent at this week's prestigious US PGA.

Atlanta Athletic Club is situated in Johns Creek to the city's north east, and the surrounding area has a huge and vibrant ethnic Korean community.

For example, 10pc of the population in the neighbouring Gwinnett County, that's 80,000 people, are of Korean descent and their language is commonly spoken and features on signage in churches, shops, restaurants and other businesses in the sprawling local city of Duluth.

YE Yang, who saw off the challenge of Tiger Woods to lift the Wanamaker Trophy in 2009 -- becoming the first Asian-born player to win a Major -- should feel as much at home here this week as Padraig Harrington would in Boston.

crowds receive lift of silent treatment

SPECTATORS will be permitted to bring mobile phones onto the premises at Atlanta Athletic Club this week ... the US PGA is the first of the four Majors to allow cell phones, provided they're set on silent and calls are made only in specially designated areas.

The policy is similar to that employed by the US Tour. Teams tournament marshals, usually off-duty law-enforcement officers, are empowered to confiscate phones from those who break the rules.

Spectators have gone to great lengths to try and smuggle mobiles through the airport metal detectors which operated at the other three Majors this season, concealing them in shoes, underwear and even in a soggy sandwich filling.

Anyone caught with a phone at Augusta National during the Masters is banned for life.

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