U.S. Open 2015@ Chambers Bay: Jordan Spieth Wins


June 22, 2015

NY Times Golf

U.S. Open 2015@ Chambers Bay: At 21, Jordan Spieth Achieves the Stuff of Legends

UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. — Chambers Bay Golf Course had already served as the backdrop for one big event in the life of the 21-year-old Jordan Spieth. A month after Spieth won his first pro event as a PGA Tour rookie, he was a witness at a wedding on the grounds between his caddie, Michael Greller, and the former Ellie Morris.

Spieth, whose birthday is in July, opened with a bogey but closed with two birdies on his last three holes for a one-under 69 and a 72-hole total of five under. Playing in the group behind Spieth, Dustin Johnson three-putted from 12 feet for a par on 18 to finish with a 70. He was tied for second with Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion from South Africa, who played the final nine holes in a record-equaling six-under 29 for a 67.

Jordan's ArmourAdam Scott, the 2013 Masters champion, who resumed working last week with Steve Williams, the caddie who helped him to his only major title, posted the low round of the day, a 64, to vault into a share of fourth at three under.

It was surreal for Scott to be chasing Spieth, who as a child ran down Scott for his autograph at the Byron Nelson tournament. He displayed the signature on his bedroom bulletin board in his family’s home in Dallas. Spieth recently moved to his own home, but Scott’s autograph is still hanging in what is now a guest room in his parents’ home.

“He certainly is making me feel my age a little bit if someone’s got my autograph on the wall and he’s playing out here,” Scott said, adding: “I think he’s handled himself incredibly well. I hope he keeps doing the same.”

On a day when his putts were not all falling and his tee shots took some strange bounces, Spieth showed a patience and maturity that belied his youth. His mettle was tested in the stretch when he carded a double-bogey 6 at the par-3 17th to fall into a tie with Oosthuizen. Spieth rebounded with two perfect shots at No. 18, playing as a par 5, to set up the birdie that sealed the win. Cameron McCormick, who has worked with Spieth for nearly a decade, said Spieth’s ability to perform in the clutch could be traced to his “bulletproof self-image.” He added, “No matter what happened previously, he can will the outcome to his desire.”

Rising from the site of an old sand and rock quarry in 2007, the Chambers Bay course is even younger than Spieth, and unlike the champion it spawned, it did not get high marks from the players. Billy Horschel closed with a 67, then opened fire on the United States Golf Association for organizing a national championship on a course with greens that he said did not always reward well-struck putts.

“I’ve hit a lot of really good putts that have bounced all over the world,” said Horsteel, who finished at four over

He added, “I think a lot of players, and I’m one of them, have lost some respect for the U.S.G.A. and this championship this year for the greens.”

Horschel, 28, the reigning FedEx Cup champion, also expressed pity for the thousands of fans who flocked to the course, including a man overheard reverently telling a friend near the practice green that he had waited 53 years for this week. Horschel noted that it was impossible to get close to the action on several holes. The best vantage point this year to watch the tournament unfold was perhaps one’s Barcalounger.

“The viewing is awful,” Horschel said, adding, “When you’re not able to get up close and watch championship-caliber players play a golf course, it’s disappointing.”

Even from afar, it was easy to tell Sunday that the Australian Jason Day’s struggles with his equilibrium were ongoing. His gait was deliberate. And whenever he bent down, Day looked like he had a dictionary balanced on his head, so straight was his posture and so fixed were his eyes on a spot in the distance.

Day came into the week with seven top-10 showings in 18 major appearances. His closest call came at the 2013 Masters when he led by two strokes with three holes to play but bogeyed the 16th and 17th and finished third. Day said he got ahead of himself at the end, and started to imagine winning instead of rooting his thoughts in the present.

From the moment his head started spinning Friday and he collapsed in a heap on the ninth green, Day’s focus shifted from winning the tournament to staying upright. He was not fixated, as he usually is, on controlling his breathing. The swing thoughts he normally wrestled with were pushed to the recesses of his mind as he concentrated solely on making solid contact. In an odd way, the act of trying to maintain his physical balance helped Day strike a mind-body balance that enable him to swing freely on the final, frantic holes.

Could Day one-up the Australia women’s soccer team, which earlier in the day had upset Brazil in the knockout round of the World Cup? He won fans with his effort but a double-bogey 6 at No. 13 derailed his championship hopes as he posted a 74 to finish at even par.

Rory McIlroy, the world No. 1 who won the 2011 tournament, began the day eight strokes back. He started fast, with three birdies on his front nine, and tried to chase down the leaders but hit the wall on No. 15. McIlroy, 26, played the last four holes in four over for the week, including two over Sunday, to post a 66 and finish at par for the championship.

“When I look back at this tournament that’s where I’ll rue some missed opportunities,” McIlroy said.

With the tee boxes on multiple holes changing from day to day, drastically altering the players’ lines, an ability to adapt was a requisite for success this week. Spieth’s choice of attire Sunday was a testament to his flexibility.

When he became a brand ambassador for Under Armour shortly after turning pro in 2012, Spieth was finicky about his wardrobe. He sent back bright-colored pants, making clear he preferred blues and grays. And he delivered another stipulation — no white pants.

So what was Spieth wearing when he sealed his first major victory at the Masters in April and again on Sunday when he tried to keep his calendar year Grand Slam hopes alive? White pants.

Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 champion who closed with a 67, finished a few hours before Spieth. Assessing Chambers Bay, Ogilvy said: “You have to move the ball both ways and you have to use your brain, which is a rare thing in modern golf and something we’re not very good at, I don’t think. It’s going to be a class act of a player who wins, and really that’s all you want.”

A version of this article appears in print on June 22, 2015, on page D1 of the New York edition with the headline: 21-Year-Old Achieves the Stuff of Legends. 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/22/sports/golf/jordan-spieth-wins-the-us-open-as-dustin-johnson-misses-putt.html

Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club Membership Transfer Fee: A Rip Off


April 17, 2015

Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club Membership Transfer Fee: A Rip Off

KlgccA few of my friends have been trying to sell their KLGCC membership since they wish to relocate overseas for reasons that have to do with the politics of our country. To their horror, they have to come to know that the club membership transfer is now RM70,000 and will be able to do so only if they are prepared to absorb this fee or share it with a prospective buyer. It would appear that in KLGCC, you can get in but cannot get out easily.

One member received this response from private agency and I quote:

There are quite a few buyers but their offer price is around RM200k to RM230k inclusive of transfer fee (TF). Unfortunately the buyers are not willing to fork out the high transfer fee RM70k which the club increased last year from RM25k.

Last year (before TF increase) there were transactions at about RM195k to RM200k incl TF, ie. sellers received RM170k to RM175k. With the increase of TF since August last year, there have been no transactions…because while buyers are willing to share part of the TF they are not willing to absorb completely the TF price increase.

Although KLGCC declares the “market price” of the membership at RM350k, we have not seen any buyers willing to pay this amount yet. If they buy at RM350k, they would need to sell at RM420k(RM350k + TF) just to break even. Perhaps they don’t expect the price to continue to increase in the near future. This is the current situation.

I am told that this  increase in transfer fee was initiated and approved by Sime Darby Berhad, the multinational company which has a big say in the management of this so-called prestigious club  ostensibly with the support of the membership body. This is a substantial increase from RM 25,000 previously. No reason is given for this change. Even rm25,000 is already a huge sum. I wonder how much work is involved by the Club, and which hot shot legal firm is being used,  to formalise the ownership transfer. How complicated can this transaction  to warrant such a cost. So isn’t any wonder that the transfer market is dead?

One would have thought that Sime Darby would understand that the objective should be to facilitate membership change and allow those who have invested in the club membership over many years to exit and realise a reasonable return on their investment. Obviously, this is not the case. It is just nothing but a ripoff.

Will  the Sime Darby  management, the Club President and the Club Captain, Dato Mustafa Ali, look into this matter and the benefits of being a member of this Club. For example, members and non-members are charged the same rates of use of banqueting facilities for events like weddings, parties and other social functions. Surely, there are other ways for Sime Darby to make money.–Din Merican

Golf: Jordan Spieth wins the US Masters at Augusta


April 13, 2015

Golf: Jordan Spieth wins the US Masters at Augusta

Defending champion Watson of the U.S. puts the traditional green jacket on compatriot Spieth after Spieth won the Masters golf tournament at the Augusta National Golf Course in Augustahttp://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=11431741

Jordan Spieth got more than redemption and a green jacket Sunday. He took his place among the best in the game with a Masters victory for the ages.

One year after he lost a bid to become the youngest player to win the Masters, the 21-year-old Texan turned in one of the most dominant wins ever at Augusta National. He never let anyone get closer to him than three shots after his record start. He never gave anyone much hope on Sunday.

Spieth closed with a 2-under 70, missing a 5-foot par putt on the final hole that would have set yet another record. Instead, he tied Tiger Woods at 18-under 270.

For all the talk about the Grand Slam bid by Rory McIlroy and the return of Woods, this week was about the arrival of another star. “It’s awfully impressive,” McIlroy said after finishing fourth. “It’s nice to get your major tally up and running at an early stage in your career. It’s great to see, great for the game, and I’m sure there will be many more.”

Spieth became the first wire-to-wire winner at the Masters since Raymond Floyd in 1976, and this might have been even more special. Craig Woods in 1941 is the only other Masters champion who led by at least three shots from the opening round to the trophy presentation.

Phil Mickelson tried to make a run. So did Justin Rose. Neither got closer than three shots at any point, and it wasn’t long before Spieth was making another birdie putt to take the drama out of the back nine.

Mickelson (69) and Rose (70) tied for second. It was the 10th time Mickelson has been runner-up in a major. Woods jarred his right wrist then he struck wood under the pine straw on the ninth hole. He recovered and closed with a 73, 13 shots behind.

Spieth won for the third time on the PGA Tour and fifth time worldwide. He will rise to No. 2 in the world, still a ways to go to catch McIlroy at the top. When McIlroy won back-to-back majors last year to establish himself as the game’s best player, the quest was to find a rival.

Spieth answered that this week on perhaps the biggest stage in the sport with his record-setting week at Augusta.

Anirban Lahiri wins 2015 Hero Indian Open


February 22, 2015

Anirban Lahiri wins 2015 Hero Indian Open

Anirban Lahiri wins 2015 Hero Indian Open.  (Photo - www.europeantour.com)

• His second European Tour International Schedule victory in his 41st European Tour event.

• Could move to just outside the 30 of the Official World Golf Ranking, from 39th.

• This is his second European Tour victory of the season, following the Maybank Malaysian Open.

• Becomes the second multiple winner of the 2015 season. They are: Branden Grace (Alfred Dunhill Championship and Commercial Bank Qatar Masters) and Anirban Lahiri (Maybank Malaysian Open and Hero Indian Open).

• Wins his second title in the space of three tournaments.

• Graduated from the 2014 European Tour Qualifying School. Is the first Qualifying School graduate to record multiple victories the year after graduation since Branden Grace in 2012, who won the Joburg Open and then the Volvo Golf Championship. (The South African went on to win a further twice in that season).

• Joins Gordon Brand Jnr (twice in 1982), José María Olazábal (twice in 1986), Johan Edfors (three times in 2006) and Branden Grace (four times in 2012), as Qualifying School graduates to record multiple victories the year after graduation.

• Is in his rookie season on The European Tour. Is the third Qualifying School rookie to win twice the year after graduation, following Gordon Brand Jnr (1982), José María Olazábal (1986).

• Follows Gordon Brand Jnr (1982), José María Olazábal (1986), Stephen Leaney (1998) and Sergio Garcia (1999), as rookies to record multiple victories. (Leaney was a Challenge Tour graduate and Garcia joined as an affiliate member).

• Becomes the second Indian to record multiple victories in the same European Tour season, following Jeev Milkha Singh in 2006 at the Volvo China Open (April 2006) and Volvo Masters.

OTHER FACTS

• Began the day seven shots behind S S P Chawrasia. Would become the sixth winner this season to triumph after making up a final round deficit. He won the Maybank Malaysian Open after making up five shots with 18 holes to play.

• Becomes the 11th Indian victory in European Tour history.

• The first time since 2008 that India have recorded multiple victories in the same European Tour season. In 2008, India won three times.

• Has won his first two European Tour titles on Asian soil. The first player to achieve this feat since Andrew Dodt, who won the 2010 Avantha Masters and 2015 True Thailand Classic presented by Black Mountain.

• The first Indian to win the Hero Indian Open since Chinnaswamy Muniyappa in 2009.

• Becomes just the eighth different Indian to win the Hero Indian Open since the event was first played in 1964.

• The fourth time he has won at event at the Delhi Golf Club in a play-off. The previous three were the 2011 Panasonic Open India, 2012 and 2013  SAIL –SBI Open.

• Becomes the 49th victory overall by a Qualifying School graduate the year after graduation.

• Gains his 15th win as a professional.

* Thanks to European Tour.

India’s Aniban Lahiri is 2015 Maybank Open Golf Champion


February 8, 2015

India’s Aniban Lahiri wins 2015 Maybank Open Golf

Maybank Open Golf 2015

Anirban Lahiri’s early birdie blitz saw him snatch the  2015 Maybank Malaysian Open from Bernd Wiesberger of Austria in a dramatic finish at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club.

The 27-year-old golf professional from India birdied four of his first five holes and held his nerve down the closing stretch as a final round 68 gave him a 16 under par total and one shot victory.Lahiri’s maiden European Tour title comes just three months after coming through Qualifying School, and is all the more remarkable given he was outside the top 20 at the halfway stage.

A sensational ten under par 62 on Saturday gave him a chance, but in-form Wiesberger appeared a clear favourite when he started the day two shots clear of Alejandro Cañizares and five ahead of the eventual winner.

The Austrian, who climbed into the Official World Golf Ranking’s top 50 for the first time by finishing sixth, third and fourth in the three Desert Swing events, even birdied the first two holes on Sunday – both courtesy of eight foot putts.

Wiesberger at Maybank 2015 Golf Open

But, after laying up at the par five, Wiesberger (above) chunked his third into the water at the fifth and ran up a double bogey seven to blow the title race wide open.

After converting from 18 feet at the first and a par the second, Lahiri, who already had five titles on the co-sanctioning Asian Tour, tapped in at the third, holed from ten feet at the fourth and pitched to six feet at the fifth for a hat-trick of gains that left him just one behind.

With the breeze picking up, Wiesberger was happy to head to the turn with a run of pars, and it was enough to restore his two shot advantage as Lahiri did well to escape the ninth with a bogey after almost finding water off the tee.Lahiri reduced the gap to one again with a birdie from 12 feet at the tenth, and although Wiesberger paid the price for missing the fairway at the 12th, where there was just one birdie all day, up ahead Lahiri dropped a shot from the sand at the 13th – where there were no birdies on Sunday and the field were a collective 31 over par.

Wiesberger did well to salvage his four there after driving into the trees, but paid for another errant tee shot at the 14th when he failed to get up-and-down from behind the green.The Austrian did manage to rescue par from a green side bunker at the 15th, but Lahiri rolled in a 40 foot putt from off the green at the 17th to snatch the outright lead for the first time and, although Wiesberger birdied the 16th from inside five feet, he made a mess of his approach to the next to hand the shot straight back.

Lahiri found sand at the last but scrambled par and, when Wiesberger left his 20 foot birdie effort agonisingly short, the World Number 73 was confirmed as champion – with a place in the game’s top 50 and a potential Masters Tournament invite among his rewards along with the €439,796 winner’s cheque.

“I don’t think it’s sunk in just yet,” said Lahiri. “But I’m pretty sure when it hits home it’s going to be a really happy moment for me.

“I think I’ve got a bad habit of making it hard for myself, but I’m happy I got over the line, as ugly as it was towards the end. The Masters is definitely one of my targets. I don’t know how far I’ll move up, but I’m pretty confident now with this win I should have a pretty good chance.”

Of Saturday’s 62, he added: “In hindsight that was one of the most crucial rounds of my career and it’s fantastic when you play well at the right times.”A fourth top-ten finish in a row moves Wiesberger into the top five on The Race to Dubai, but the 29-year-old was left to rue the errors in his closing 74.“It hasn’t quite finished the way I intended to,” said Wiesberger.

“After the hiccup on five, I didn’t hit it anywhere near as good as the last 15 rounds. It’s tough to say, but it is what it is and unfortunately I beat myself out of it today.

“I hit a bad lay-up, flew a lot on the downhill lie and my mind wasn’t there; I hit a bad shot and needed to miss it long and take par and get on with it. It’s disappointing.

“I just didn’t trust my swing enough which was good the last couple of weeks. It’s still a good week, and congratulations to Anirban who played a lovely round today. I will try again.”

alejandro-canizaresSpain’s Alejandro Canizares

England’s Paul Waring and Spain’s Cañizares were also over par for the day, but finished tied for third on 13 under, while the anticipated challenge of defending champion Lee Westwood never materialised after the former World Number One double bogeyed the second en route to a round of 75 and share of fifth

http://www.europeantour.com

Floods: The Watershed for Change in Malaysia?


January 2, 2015

Floods: The Watershed for Change in Malaysia?

by A Kadir Jasin

http://kadirjasin.blogspot.com/2015/01/banjir-is-watershed-for-change.html

AK JasinDEBATER Ismail Muda had the following to say – “Dari sudut politik, kita amat berharap akan muncul pemimpin baru yg lebih berwawasan berkaliber dan penuh tanggongjwab membetulkan segala kepesongan.”

Translated, it says, from the political angle, we are very hopeful that a new leader with calibre, vision and sense of responsibility will emerge to put right all the wrong.

I am afraid his statement typifies the dissatisfaction of many Malaysians with the leadership of Prime Minister, Mohd Najib Abdul Razak and his merry men and women – not all but many.

The “banjir besar” (big floods) could have been the ultimate opportunity for them to rise to the challenge and prove to the people far and wide that they are concerned and capable.

Instead the Prime Minister himself had chosen to put his so-called “golf diplomacy” with US President Barrack Obama ahead of the flood victims and played hide and seek with the rakyat on the whereabouts of the government jet he used to travel to Hawaii and also the whereabouts of his wife, Rosmah Mansor.

Najib and Rosmah

On the positive side, despite the extent of the floods the lost of lives had been minimal. More people died in a New Year stampede in China! Still the lost of properties, sources of income and economic opportunities are significant and will take time to recover.

The Malays have a saying that “sekali air bah, sekali pasir berubah.” It means, each time it floods the sandbank would move. If that saying holds true, I believe the wave of change will only get stronger. UMNO has to do something about its President and Prime Minister if it wants to stop the situation from getting worse. Like the sandbank, it could be swept away the next general elections.

The big floods may be the watershed that we are hoping for. They may spell the beginning of the end of a mediocre leadership. That old Malay wisdom about the banjir and the pasir could very well have a literal meaning for Mohd Najib.

The Beginning of the End?

Mahathir-Vs-NajibIt is a watershed and an ominous one when the rakyat, through the blogs, the independent news portal and the social media outlets, discovered that the PM was golfing in Hawaii while a quarter million people were flooded out of their homes, they asked, does the PM care?

No amount of explanations and attempts to gloss over the Hawaiian misstep by his propaganda machines will restore the Prime Minister’s image as a caring leader. His “rakyat didahulukan” (people first) slogan is a sham.

His RM500-million allocation and the speeding up of 1Malaysia People Assistance (BR1M) may help to mend fences with the rural poor but is unlikely to appease his critics and detractors.

His psychological warfare onslaught is farcical. For instance, in calling for his ministers, who were also holidaying abroad, to come home, the Prime Minister was proving the social media right that some members of his cabinet were more concerned with their holidays than the well-being of the people who elected them.

In seeking to placate the people, the PM is clearly being poorly advised his psychological warfare specialists, of whom we know there are many. The instruction to his holidaying ministers to come home should not have been made public. It makes it to sounds like “bapa borek anak rintik” – like father like son.

For UMNO and the Barisan Nasional, a change has to happen. If it does not happen, the situation can only get worse and the grand old coalition may finally succumb to old age. Like the Romans who had to choose between Caesar and Rome, the time has come for UMNO and BN to choose between Mohd Najib and Putrajaya.

The Buck Stops with the PM

An aerial view of flooded streets of the National Park in Kuala Tahan, PahangNO matter how we look at the handling of the big floods in particular and the administration of the country in general, we have to be very clear that the buck stops with the Prime Minister.

We cannot hope to have a motivated, committed and transparent civil service, the Police, the Military and, above all, the populace if the man at the top does not display the same motivation, commitment and transparency.

Can the “golf diplomacy” not wait? Would Obama be fuming mad if Mohd Najib told him that he could not come because his country is suffering big floods?

Manek_Urai_floods_Bomba_251214How many more disasters and tragedies do we need before we dare judge our government, our leaders and our Prime Minister and say, enough is enough? Just ask ourselves do we still believe in “Malaysia Boleh”? Does people first, performance now slogan has any meaning?

By the look of things, the future does not hold great promise for the rakyat jelata (the populace) if this situation continues. And unless UMNO and the BN have lost all sensibilities and bearings, they would by now know that the future does not hold a great promise for them either.

They can pretend and continue to be in a state of denial, but the record of the last few years does not speak well of their performance and their endearment with the rakyat.

The Heavy Price of Denial

najib-1malaysia

I am sorry to have to say this. UMNO and BN can keep the PM and pretend that everything in fine, but they must accept the fact that the risk of them being thrown out by voters in the next GE is immense.

The Pakatan Rakyat parties do not have to do much. They just need to keep their internal differences in check and stop washing dirty linen in public. If they stop bickering about ideologies and stop being egotistical maniacs, they stand a good chance of keeping their 52% popular votes and probably get more in the coming polls.

Anwar-UbahHudud will likely undo the PR Coalition

In simple language, all that the PR has to do is keep its nose clean and hope that no positive changes happen in the leadership of the BN and the government. Do not underestimate the voters’ desire for change. The tumbling support for the BN since the 2008 GE suggests that this trend is gaining momentum.

BN should realise that it has not only lost the popular votes but also the battle of words. Its propaganda machines have lost the war with the social media.

Also, the PR has many more younger and smarter leaders than the ageing BN parties. Can we name more future UMNO-BN leaders other than Youth Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Dr. Wee Ka Siong?

Do not forget that the young people who are joining the rank electorates are the prime movers of social media and the BN is a poor second in the use of this new communication tool. For UMNO, do not forget that the most numbers of unregistered voters are Malays and UMNO is trailing the DAP in enticing young people to register as voters.

Ibrahim-ali and MahathirThe era of strong leaders like (Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohamad and late (Tun) Abdul Razak Hussein is over for UMNO. The survival of the party, for now, appears to rest on collective leadership, which Mohd Najib has failed to put together.

This is because, from the start, he fashioned himself as a president not a prime minister. He does things not in consultation with the party and the civil service. Instead he surrounds himself with presidential-type councils, committees, advisors, consultants and special officers many of whom are not government servants but have access to confidential materials and state secrets.

And may be Mohd Najib’s earliest mentor (at PETRONAS), the Gua Musang MPTengku Razaleigh Hamzah Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, is entirely correct, when he said Malaysia may be heading into 2015 but we have deviated from the path of progress, and instead progress has been set back several decades.

In his New Year message, the former Finance Minister said, 2014 had been a “horrible year” but the future does not look bright particularly because of worsening racial and religious politics.