2016 US Masters: UK’s Danny Willett Wins The Green Jacket

April 12, 2016

2016 US Masters: UK’s Danny Willett Wins The Green Jacket

Danny Willett-2016 Master Champion

The agony of Jordan Spieth admitted the ecstasy of Danny Willett. One hour which surely imposed psychological scarring on the 22-year-old Texan shaped a path for Willett to etch his name into the record books. That a 28-year-old vicar’s son from Rotherham walked it without so much as a wobble is worthy of immense credit.

More importantly for Willett, Masters champion, it befits winning a Green Jacket. The cruelty element is that Spieth was obliged to present it to him.

This fairytale began on March 30, when Willett became a father. Owing to that unpredictable but impending circumstance there had been a question mark as to whether or not he would even take part in this tournament. Less than a fortnight after the arrival of baby Zachariah James, daddy was at the epicentre of one of the most jaw-droppingly exciting afternoons in Masters history. Bare statistics of Willett’s final-round 67, five-under total and three-shot win belie exceptional stuff.

Willett is only the second Englishman to win the Masters, the first European to take that prize since 1999 and he is suddenly catapulted into a level of scrutiny completely alien even when he was in the hitherto hardly insignificant placing of 12th in the world.

No tale of this event, though, can pass without deep mention of Spieth’s tribulations. Shortly after 5pm on Sunday the defending champion reached seven under and held a five-stroke lead. Spieth subsequently bogeyed the 10th, which barely registered with the crowds, but a dropped shot on the 11th combined with Willett’s birdie three holes ahead prompted collective cries of “hang on”.

Spieth, 20 years on from Greg Norman’s epic capitulation to Nick Faldo here, was to feature in an uncharacteristic horror show of his own. The 12th provided 155 yards of abject terror for Spieth and the first quadruple bogey of his professional career. Willett was three clear by the end of it. American golf fans checked Wikipedia.

Typically, as befitting a champion, Spieth summoned the only instinct he knows but he was to fall short; tied second for a second time in three years will offer absolutely no consolation. His closing stretch became painful to watch.

As the defending champion battled in vain, Lee Westwood and Dustin Johnson did likewise. Westwood, who shares a management company with the champion, was also Willett’s playing partner and will take heart from evidence that the claiming of a major title is still not beyond him but elements of jealousy and hurt would be only natural. He shared second place with Spieth.

On an inside wall of the Augusta National clubhouse a series of bronze plaques show the celebratory poses of Masters winners. Willett’s image will join them and the fact that it will would have defied belief from the moment Spieth made the 50-yard walk from 9th green to 10th tee, cheered every step of this narrow corridor by adoring crowds. They thought they were acclaiming the 2016 champion.

The improbability of a Spieth meltdown to anything like what transpired will resonate. He showed no mercy when sealing Masters success one year ago, just as glory at the US Open two months later demonstrated the matching of God-given ability with ferocious competitive spirit. When Spieth leads, he wins; he had been in front at Augusta since Thursday. The breaking of that run came in front of an astonished audience.

And yet traces of impending trauma had been visible. Spieth did not seem wholly content all week – and rose to the top of the pile when clearly displaying his B game – to the extent that he called back his coach, Cameron McCormick, from Dallas between rounds three and four. On each of those instances Spieth had appeared on site three hours before tee time to iron out flaws. His driving had proved erratic, as offset by a recurring ability to pull off escape acts.

There had been routinely good fortune, such as at the 4th on Sunday when a horribly carved tee shot, apparently bound for a different zip code, instead rebounded from a tree into semi-rough. Spieth was to make par. This was far from an isolated incident; begging the obvious question as to how long he could continue unscathed.

Willett was the man to take advantage when Spieth’s wheels flew off. Any onlooker could only admire the nerveless manner in which he played the last two holes, with straight pars after making birdie at the 16th, when doubtless aware of the life-changing prize within view. Willett grasped opportunity with confidence.

Wake Forest University Honours Arnold D. Palmer

January 17, 2016

Wake Forest University Honours Arnold D.Palmer


Arnold D. Palmer (born in 1929) was responsible for making me a golfer with “Go for Broke” golfing style. I started playing golf when I was a graduate student at The George Washington University in 1968-1970. I had the opportunity of meeting him during one of his visits to The White House. My classmate, Guy B. Meeker, who went on to be a very successful Investment banker in New York City,  encouraged me to play the game.  And I have been hooked on the game ever since.


Guy Meeker and I admired (and we  were also inspired by) Arnold Palmer, the handsome and charismatic golfing friend of President Dwight David Eisenhower, who was on the way to being named Player of the Decade for his contributions to the game of golf and American sports.  It  is the indeed appropriate that his alma mater should  honour of this outstanding athlete and pride of Wake Foresters. My rather belated congratulations to the “King”and his family.–Din Merican

Islamist extremists pose a threat to Asian statehood

January 15, 2016

Islamist extremists pose a threat to Asian statehood

by Victor Mallet

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/100d78e4-b949-11e5-b151-8e15c9a029fb.html 1/13/201

 Do not forget the menace of violence and religious bigotry in the east, says Victor Mallet



 The first self-styled Islamic state of the postwar era was established not in the Arab world but in South Asia, in Pakistan. It was followed by Mauritania in West Africa, Iran and then Pakistan’s neighbour, Afghanistan.

 While the world frets over the spread of violent Islamist extremism through the Middle East, most recently under the banner of Isis, there is a tendency to forget the menace of violence and creeping religious bigotry among the vast Muslim populations of Asia. It is in Asia, after all, that most Muslims live.



In Asia, as in Europe and the Middle East, Isis is a popular brand among young Islamist militants. But the puritanical and bloodthirsty Sunni ideology it represents has been extending its influence there for decades under the guidance of other groups and governments, including al-Qaeda, Saudi Arabia and a plethora of local organisations.

Many westerners — because their own troops have been fighting and dying there in the recent past — are aware of the savagery of the civil war in Afghanistan between the ultraconservative Taliban and the government in Kabul.



But how many recall that Sunni extremists in Bangladesh have in the past few months hacked to death liberal writers and attacked foreigners, police officers, Shia Muslims, Hindus and Christians? That scores of recruits from the Maldives have gone to fight for Isis in Syria? Or that Pakistani terror groups routinely slaughter the perceived enemies of Sunni puritanism at home as well as launching occasional murderous raids into neighbouring India?


Red Shirt Malays

With Ameno wanita supporter, Isa Samad cannot afford to lose in Bagan Pinang


Worrying trends in Najib’s Malaysia

East Asia is not immune either. Just as south Asians once revelled in their religious diversity and syncretic Hindu-Muslim culture, so it was long argued that the brand of Islam practiced in Indonesia and its neighbours was “milder” than the harsh versions of the Gulf. Yet in recent decades we have seen terrorist bombings in Bali, Islamist separatism in the Philippines and Sumatra, the burning of churches in Java and increasing Wahhabi religiosity that runs counter to the tolerant and heterodox traditions of Islam in the east.

Analysing the role of postwar nation states and their constitutions is crucial for understanding the crisis of Islamist violence in Asia: the very name of the country is one reason why the problem is so severe in the pioneering Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

 When Muhammad Ali Jinnah separated Pakistan from the rest of India in 1947, it was to protect the Muslim minority of the Raj. He envisaged a secular, tolerant state where Christians, Hindus and others could worship freely.

When Muhammad Ali Jinnah separated Pakistan from the rest of India in 1947, it was to protect the Muslim minority of the Raj. He envisaged a secular, tolerant state where Christians, Hindus and others could worship freely.

That was not the way it turned out. Pakistan has become a place where the supposed will of the religious majority is imposed by violence. By becoming an “Islamic” republic, it by definition discriminated against non-Muslims. Non-Muslims are vilified not only in madrassas but also in government school textbooks.


Farahnaz Ispahani, a former member of the Pakistani national assembly, describes in her book, Purifying the Land of the Pure, how the non-Muslim share of the population dropped from 23 per cent at independence to 3 per cent today.

But the “drip, drip genocide” — 60,000 Pakistanis, she says, have been killed by jihadis — did not stop there. Members of the Ahmadi movement were persecuted and declared non- Muslims. Extremists then started massacring Shia. Now the targets are Sufis and other “soft” Sunnis considered insufficiently orthodox by clerics.

There is, nevertheless, a glimmer of hope that Pakistan might, one day, become a moderately open Muslim society. The army seems to have realised that violent Islamists who slaughter Pakistanis pose an existential threat to the state itself.


The Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde of Malaysian Politics

Unfortunately, the generals make a specious distinction between “good” and “bad” jihadis, supporting the “good” who stage terror attacks on Pakistan’s neighbours. The four men who crossed the border and attacked the Indian air base of Pathankot this month were believed to be from a group supported by the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence agency.

 Yet, as Ispahani points out, the same people who kill Indians or Afghans in the summer will return home when the fighting season is over and murder Pakistani Shia or persecute the few remaining Hindus and Christians.

If Pakistan and other Asian nations want to survive as modern, constitutional states rather than descend into the communal violence now common in the Middle East, they will have to enforce a minimum level of religious and cultural tolerance and suppress all their extremists.


GOLF: Great News for NIR’s Rory Mcillroy at Dubai

November 23, 2015

Great News for NIR’s Rory Mcillroy  at Dubai

by BBC Sports


DP World Tour Championship: Final leaderboard
-21: R McIlroy (NI) -20: A Sullivan (Eng) -15: B Grace (SA) -13: BH An (S Korea), M Fitzpatrick (Eng), E Grillo (Arg), F Molinari (Ita), C Schwartzel (SA), D Willett (Eng) -12: M Kaymer (Ger), S Kjeldsen (Den), P Reed (US) Selected others: -9: L Donald (Eng) -7: J Rose (Eng) -3: I Poulter (Eng), L Westwood (Eng)
Full leaderboard

Rory McIlroy wins the World Tour Championship in Dubai.

The Northern Irish former World Number one shot a six-under-par final round of 66 to finish on 21 under, one clear of England’s Andy Sullivan.

Victory means 26-year-old McIlroy retains his Race to Dubai title, the third time he has won it in four years. England’s Danny Willett finished tied for fourth in Dubai, and second to McIlroy in the season-long standings.

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland plays a shot on the 2nd hole during the final round of the DP World Tour Championship golf tournament in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland plays a shot on the 2nd hole during the final round of the DP World Tour Championship golf tournament in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

McIlroy said: “It’s the best way to finish 2015 and I can’t wait for next year.”

The four-time major winner carded eight birdies in Sunday’s first 15 holes to open a two-shot lead over Sullivan, only to find the water with his tee shot on the 17th. But McIlroy holed a 30ft putt to salvage a bogey and stay a shot ahead of overnight leader Sullivan.He maintained that advantage down the last to win his fourth title of the year and first since May.

McIlroy missed three tournaments this summer, including the defence of his Open title at St Andrews, because of an ankle injury sustained while playing football.

That meant he needed an exemption to compete in the European Tour’s season finale, having not played in enough events.

McIlroy said 29-year-old Sullivan, who finished eighth in the Race to Dubai, would be an “asset” for Europe’s Ryder Cup team.

“Luckily I came out on top but he’s a fantastic player,” said McIlroy, who added a £822,828 bonus for winning the Race to Dubai to the £934,599 he banked for his World Tour Championship victory.

“He kept holing putt after putt and I just kept chipping away, and thankfully I holed a few good ones of my own coming down the stretch.”


Golf: Cristie Kerr captures CME Group LPGA Tour Championship

November 23, 2015

Cristie Kerr Captures CME Group LPGA Tour Championship

by Amy Rogers.


NAPLES – Cristie Kerr captured the 18th win of her career Sunday at the CME Group Tour Championship. With a share of the 54-hole lead, Kerr posted a final round 4-under, 68 to win by one stroke at 17-under par.

“It’s pretty cool. It’s a lot of different honors,” said Kerr. “That’s what the year-end is about. It feels pretty cool to win the last tournament of the year.”

Players took advantage of the soft course conditions following overnight rain that continued into the morning and delayed the start of play by one hour. But Kerr got off to a slow start, making par on her first eight holes before making back-to-back birdies on the 9th and 10th holes.

“Didn’t seem like a whole lot was going my way early.  All of a sudden at the end, I was there when I needed to be,” Kerr said.

She then drained a 35-footer for birdie at the par 4, 15th to stay in the hunt and move back into a share of the lead with Ha Na Jang at 15-under par.

“I knew that I was leaving putts short and I knew I had to get it there,” Kerr told the media. “When it left my putter and it was going towards the hole, I’ve had so many that were in the heart of the hole that I left a foot short this week.  It just kept going and I was like get there, get there, get there.  It went in and I was like, this was the first bit of momentum I’ve had almost all day.”

It was at the reachable par 5, 17th where Kerr closed out the tournament, draining a long putt for eagle to take the outright lead heading to the final hole. Kerr’s victory is the second of the season, having also won the Kia Classic in March.

Both looking for their first career wins on Tour, Ha Na Jang and Gerina Piller finished T-2 at 16-under par. In contention for much of the day, Lexi Thompson finished fourth at 14-under par.

While Inbee Park and Lydia Ko came up short in winning this week’s event, they both will go home with new hardware. Ko takes home the $1 million dollar Race to the CME Globe for the second consecutive year. She is also the 2015 Player of the Year and tops the money list.

Park captures the Vare Trophy for 2015 with the lowest scoring average for the season. With that she earns the 27th and final point needed to earn her way into the LPGA Hall of Fame. She will be eligible in her 10th active season on the LPGA Tour. This is her ninth season.

Malaysia: Jessica Korda wins 2015 Sime Darby LPGA

October 11, 2015

Malaysia: Jessica Korda wins 2015 Sime Darby LPGA

by Bernama

Jessica Korda2015 Sime Darby LPGA Champion

Jessica Korda from the United States won the 2015 Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia Golf Championship to clinch her first LPGA Tour title of the year. The 22-year-old daughter of former Czech tennis professional Petr Korda concluded the tournament with a six-under 65 score today for a total of 18-under 266 for the tournament.

Lewis-KoStacey Lewis and Lydia Ko

She was four strokes ahead of New Zealand’s Lydia Ko (66), United States’ Stacy Lewis (67) and defending champion, China’s Feng Shanshan (66) who finished in a three-way tie for second place at 14-under.

S Feng 2  Defending Champion Feng Shanshan

In today’s round, she started off strongly with five birdies but her only blemish came when she dropped a bogey at the par-four 11th hole. However, Jessica who was only four-years-old when her father won the Australian Open Tennis Grand Slam title in 1998, managed to recover with two birdies at the 16th and 18th holes.

Jessica who was in tears after birding the final hole, received the trophy from Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and pocketed US$300,000 (about RM1.24 million) for her feat. “Just to win again is amazing, especially after the year I have had,” said Jessica who claimed her fourth LPGA Tour title of her career.

Since turning professional in 2010 and joining the LPGA Tour in 2011, Jessica has won three LPGA competitions, namely the Women’s Australian Open (February, 2012), Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic (January, 2014) and Airbus LPGA Classic (May, 2014).

World number two, Lydia was hot on her American rival’s heels with six birdies, but a bogey on the 13th spoiled her hopes for a third consecutive victory following back-to-back wins at the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open and Evian Championship last month.

Meanwhile, for defending champion Shanshan, it was her second time ending up on the runner-up podium in the tournament. “I wasn’t really looking at the leaderboard but I kind of knew that somebody was way ahead…My goal today was to get to 15-under and I got to 14. I think I played very well,” she said.

Among the tournament’s highlights on the final round was by Morgan Pressel (USA) who shot a hole-in-one on the par-three 17th hole.