24 Year Old Justin Thomas is the 2017 PGA Champion

August 14, 2017

24 Year Old Justin Thomas is the 2017 PGA Champion

Breaking free from a five-way tie for the lead early on the back-nine of a fascinating and ever-changing final round, world number-14 Justin Thomas emerged as the winner of the 99th USPGA Championship at Quail Hollow. The 24-year old American reached eight-under par with a closing 68 to claim the year’s fourth and final Grand Slam title by two shots. Three players – Patrick Reed, Francesco Molinari, Louis Oosthuizen – tied for second place.

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The clinching moment was the 15-foot putt Thomas made for a two on the short 17th – the second component in Quail Hollow’s so-called “Green Mile.” It was only the fourth birdie of the day on the 221-yard par-3 and afforded him the luxury of a bogey on the potentially treacherous closing hole. Having driven into the left-hand fairway bunker, golf’s newest major champion played safely for the five that clinched his fourth PGA Tour victory of the season and made him $1,890,000 richer.

“I felt like I had the game to get it done,” Thomas said.

That fact has hardly been in doubt for some time. Thomas was a star back to his junior days, winning three times on the prestigious AJGA and earning Junior All-American honors on the circuit twice. He then moved on to Alabama, and won the Haskins Award Presented by Stifel … as a freshman.

He left after his sophomore year and two straight team national championships, and the outside expectations were high. But Thomas never gave in to the crush of pressure. He won on the Web.com Tour in 2014 and cruised through to the PGA Tour, where he won early in his second season (at the CIMB Classic in November 2015).

But Thomas, of Goshen, Ky., really accelerated his play in 2016-17. The 24-year-old won three of five starts from October to January, the last of which was a seven-shot romp at the Sony Open that started with an opening-round 59.

“He’s pretty amazing,” said Kenny Perry, a fellow Kentuckian who has known Thomas since the young star was a teenager, in January. “He’s a superstar.”

That line was on point, if not prescient. Is he the superstar in the game? Well, no. Not yet, at least.

Thomas now has five PGA Tour wins, with four of them coming this season. That 2016-17 total beats everyone in golf. But Jordan Spieth, a good friend who hung around the 18th green to watch Thomas close out after he failed to earn the Career Grand Slam in a T-28 showing at 2 over, still has him topped by two majors and six Tour wins overall, and Rory McIlroy (T-22, 1 over) is still the leader of the current crop when it comes to majors with four. (Side note: McIlroy hasn’t won a major in three years, and his 2017 might be over.)

Heck, Brooks Koepka captured his first major at age 27 earlier this year, while PGA Championship contenders Hideki Matsuyama (who tied for fifth at 5 under) and Rickie Fowler (also T-5 after four straight birdies on the back nine briefly put him in contention) are always a threat to nab their first major.

Thomas has been firmly in place among this stunning group of young stars, but he was desperate to climb the ladder; jealous that he wasn’t winning majors like some of his quicker ascending peers.

“There’s no reason to hide it,” Thomas said. “I would say anybody, they are jealous that I won. I was jealous that Sergio won (the Masters); that Brooks won (the U.S. Open); that Jordan won (the British Open). I wanted to be doing that, and I wasn’t.”

It’s fitting, too, the manner in which Thomas earned his first major title.

The Kentucky kid is a player of hot flashes, certainly a high talent, but also a streaky one that is nearly unmatched in the ability to put together electric runs. The 59 speaks to that, as did a third-round 63 at this year’s U.S. Open. (That one also came with a closing eagle.)

But could one of these scorching bursts bring Thomas a major championship – more known for being earned through a plodding approach? Thomas proved his methods could mesh with a major title.

The streaky player entered the tournament in a lull, having missed three straight cuts before a tie for 28th at last week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational (a no-cut event). Nothing went to dispel the notion of the struggles continuing when he opened at Quail Hollow in 2-over 73.

Then, his hot flashes started to return. Six birdies arrived in a second-round 66 that moved him from a weekend of morning tee times to firmly in the hunt at five shots back.

The nonchalant twenty-something proceeded to follow up with a 69, using what he referred to as his “B or C” game, to sit two shots back entering Sunday.

If Thomas’ performance wasn’t overwhelming to that point, his mental process sure was. Thomas said he had an “unbelievable calmness” the whole week and all but predicted his ensuing victory Saturday night.

Beginning the final round two shots back of Kevin Kisner, Thomas opened the day bogey-birdie-bogey to fall three behind. Maybe his vision wasn’t to be after all.

Thomas, though, exhibits more patience than his ups and downs would imply.

“He was very smart, very grounded,” Perry said in January. “When he asked me questions as a teenager, he always wanted to know how to practice, what I think about golf shots, golf courses, how to get around a little bit on the Tour. He picked it up fast.”

So, Thomas didn’t fret. In fact, his bogey at No. 1 came after holing a 14-footer. It was the first turning point.

“The putt on No. 1 was pretty big,” Thomas said. “Starting with a double there would have been pretty terrible.” But his ability to incite electricity on the course wouldn’t emerge until hours later. Then it came with a fury the rest of the field couldn’t handle.

Thomas predicted it, too, telling caddie Jimmy Johnson in the middle of the round that “something good’s going to happen.”

He started proving himself right by burying a side-winding 36-footer for birdie at No. 9 that got him to within one. “I had a feeling I was going to make it,” Thomas said.

Just a hole later, he topped himself. A wild drive left actually bounced off a tree into the middle of the fairway, only after Thomas implored for the ball to “get lucky” and beseeched the tree to spit it out. He added on a “please” for good measure. It all worked.

The lucky break allowed Thomas to go over the green in two, and he chipped up to 8 feet. The crucial birdie putt, to move back within one of Matsuyama after the Japanese player birdied the hole, was supposed to go right at the end, but it didn’t. At first.

The ball ended on the left lip and hung there for quite a few seconds, to Thomas’ dismay. Then he tried to help himself out. “I threw a little fit to try to see what would happen,” Thomas said.

Again, the golf gods listened, as Thomas’ ball decided to drop in the cup, a birdie, if a belated one, and the moment of the tournament.

A hole later, Thomas was in a five-way tie for the lead after a Matsuyama bogey, and then all by himself when his compatriots faltered.He showed no mercy by making it a two-shot cushion via a birdie chip-in at No. 13. “Probably the most berserk I’ve ever gone on the golf course,” Thomas said.

 Now, it was just a matter if Thomas could hold on. Reed was charging hard and several others lurked on the edge. It didn’t help Thomas’ cause when he parred the benign 14th and 15th holes, and was struggling as he came to Quail Hollow’s infamous “Green Mile.”

He batted it around up the first of the stretch’s monstrous three legs. With his lead down to one as he faced a 6-footer for par at 16, Thomas could’ve been consumed by the pressure of the moment.

Instead, he buried the putt and went right at a treacherous pin at the water-shrouded par-3 17th, knocking his tee shot to 15 feet.

“I’ll never forget that vision in my head,” Thomas said. “That was one of the best golf shots I’ve probably ever hit in my life.”

When Thomas rolled in the birdie putt to move to 9 under, he all but sealed the win.

He would enter the final hole two ahead, and was three shots clear when Kisner posted a bogey at 16. By that point, it hardly mattered what Thomas did up the closing hole.

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He hit it short of the green from a fairway bunker, chopped his third to 25 feet and two-putted for an easy bogey, his 68 and an 8-under 276 total.

Only a Kisner hole-out eagle at 18 could force a playoff, a dream that came crashing down when the 33-year-old hooked his approach in the water. The 54-hole leader would double bogey and plummet to a tie for seventh at 4 under after that final-round 74.

Thomas’ first major coming at a PGA Championship fits in another way. Both Thomas’ dad, Mike, and his grandfather, Paul, have been longtime teaching professionals – the backbone of the PGA of America, which runs the PGA Championship.

“For me, the PGA definitely had a special place in my heart,” Thomas said. “For this to be my first one and have my dad here, and I know grandpa was watching at home. I was able to talk to him and that was pretty cool.”

The younger Thomas never lacked the ability to win a major when it came to physical talent. It was on the mental side where he felt he could still grow.

He’s not entirely wrong, spiritual clairvoyance and whatever respect he has from Perry aside. As “streaky player” would imply, Thomas has been prone to valleys that are no joke. He followed up his three-win stretch with a run of 14 events where he didn’t post another and missed six cuts.

It was what appeared to be his most nondescript round, his third-day 69, that Thomas was most proud of then this week.

He invoked Tiger Woods after that performance, noting the 41-year-old used to win tournaments by five or six without his best stuff.

Thomas may not be that good, but it was an attitude he espoused Saturday that he used in no shortage in finishing things off a day later.

“I like to think that I’m mature now and I can manage an under-par round when I don’t have my best stuff,” Thomas said after his third round. “I think that’s why I feel like I’m ready to win a major championships now versus last year, I probably didn’t have that.

“You are going to have a day, usually at least a day in the tournament where you don’t have your best. You are not hitting it well. It’s what you can do with it.”

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Justin Thomas won in Malaysia. Two-time CIMB Classic champion Justin Thomas  becomes the youngest player in PGA TOUR history to shoot 59, and joins the likes of Tiger Woods as only the 5th player to win four tournaments or more before age 24.

He’s figured it out, and now it’s a major and three other wins this season. That’s probably a good thing for golf, as Thomas has never been adept at losing. Father and son often played for a dollar in the evenings of Justin’s adolescence and when the young boy lost, it wasn’t pretty.

“It was pretty heated out there,” Thomas said. “And I’m a pretty sore loser, so I did not handle it well when I lost and had to give up a dollar.” If a dollar meant that much, it’s a wonder he played with so much calm with millions on the line.

Of course, this is not the end but a likely beginning. The season isn’t over yet. Thomas has to be the favorite for player of the year honors, and that means his quest for glory this season is far from complete.

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When queried about goals this season, Thomas wasn’t ready to rest on his laurels with the Wanamaker Trophy in hand. “Let you know when the year’s over,” Thomas said.




Korea’s Kim wins 2017 Ladies British Open @Kingsbarns Golf Links, Scotland

August 7, 2017

Korea’s Kim wins 2017 Ladies British Open @Kingsbarns Golf Links, Scotland


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Korea’s I K Kim displayed nerves of steel to hold off the challenge of fast-finishing Englishwoman, Jodi Ewart Shadoff, and win the first major title of her career at the Ricoh Women’s British Open at a wet and windy Kingsbarns Golf Links.

29-year-old Kim started the final round with a six-shot lead over the field but, when Ewart Shadoff became the third player of the week to card a course record 64, the Korean needed to produce nine consecutive pars over her closing nine holes to post a one under par 71 and finish two shots clear of the Englishwoman on 18 under par 270.

Kim’s shot of the day came at the 17th where she hit a 5-wood 197-yards into the wind and over a ditch to set up a 15-foot birdie putt. She did not hole it but her regulation par gave her the luxury of a two-shot lead heading up the last and she went on to play it in text book fashion to bury the inner demons she has harboured since missing a one-foot putt on the 72nd hole of the 2012 Kraft Nabisco (now ANA Inspiration) before going on to lose the subsequent play-off to Sun Young Yoo.

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“I feel uplifted and say that because I didn’t expect to win this week,” she said. “I didn’t really have any expectations. I had one of my best warm-ups of the week, so that gave me quiet confidence. But the wind was blowing differently, and I wasn’t hitting the ball as close. I didn’t have many makeable putts, but I think as well as I could with what I had today, I think.”

Ewart Shadoff’s round of the day started with a birdie on the second and she went on to fire five more in succession from the sixth before claiming her share of the course record with two further birdies at the 13th and 17th.

“I just tried to stay in the moment and hit as many good shots as I could,” she said.

“Honestly, I didn’t think I had a shot. IK was so far ahead, and she’s been playing so good recently, so I was just trying to finish as high up as I could.

“It’s been a big boost to me,” she added. “I didn’t have much confidence coming into this week, having missed the cut last week (at the Scottish Open) but I played great. The key was my putting, my putter was on fire.”

Ewart Shadoff’s 16-under par total of 272 saw her finish three shots ahead of compatriot Georgia Hall, Germany’s Caroline Masson and first round leader Michelle Wie from America. Korea’s Jenny Shin posted a 67 to finish alone in sixth place on 276 while China’s Shanshan Feng returned the same score to finish tied seventh on eleven under par 277 alongside Korea’s Hyo Joo Kim, America’s Stacy Lewis and Swede’s Anna Nordqvist.

English international Sophie Lamb faced a Rules query and then an anxious three hour wait before being confirmed as the winner of the Smyth Salver awarded to the leading amateur who plays all four rounds of the Championship.

The 19-year-old from Clitheroe birdied the last to post a 69 and finish on six under par 282 but it was then discovered that she and playing partner Jane Park had signed for their scores on each other’s cards. A Rules official was called to the Recorders Area and she adjudged that the situation was covered by Decision 6-6d/4 and that no penalty should be applied.

Lamb then had to wait for most of the afternoon until her nearest challenger, Irish World No. 1 Leona Maguire, returned a 75 for it to be confirmed that she had won the amateur prize by three shots. Swedish amateur international My Leander also played all four rounds and closed with a 79 to finish on nine over par 297.

“It has been a fantastic week,” Lamb said. “I have played very well and it was nice to finish with a birdie.

“As an amateur, you play a lot of links golf, and I think that helped me this week,” she added. “It’s all been a bit crazy but I’m delighted to know I can compete at this sort of level. It gives me a lot of confidence.”

American Jordan Spieth wins The British Open 2017

July 24, 2017

American Jordan Spieth wins The British Open 2017

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SOUTHPORT, England — Jordan Spieth won the 146th Open Championship on Sunday at the Royal Birkdale.

On the verge of another meltdown in a major so wild off the tee that he played one shot from the driving range at Royal Birkdale and lost the lead for the first time all weekend, Spieth bounced back with a collection of clutch shots, delivering a rally that ranks among the best.

Spieth played the final five holes in 5 under and closed with a 1-under 69 for a three-shot victory over Matt Kuchar, giving him the third leg of the career Grand Slam and a chance to be the youngest to win them all next month at the PGA Championship.

Spieth joined Jack Nicklaus as the only players to win three different majors at age 23, and even the Golden Bear was impressed.”Is Jordan Spieth something else?” Nicklaus tweeted during a wild back nine.

Spieth missed four putts inside 8 feet on the front nine and lost his three-shot lead. Then, he looked certain to lose the British Open — and the reputation he craves as a reliable closer — when his tee shot on the par-4 13th was some 75 yards right of the fairway, buried in grass on a dune so steep he could barely stand up.

He took a penalty shot for an unplayable lie, and when he realized the practice range was in play, headed back on a line so far that he was behind the equipment trucks. He still had a blind shot with a 3-iron over the dunes to a fairway littered with pot bunkers, stopping just short of one of them near the green.

Kuchar, who had to wait 20 minutes for Spieth to get his situation sorted, missed his 15-foot birdie putt. Spieth pitched over the bunker to 7 feet and made the putt to escape with bogey, falling behind for the first time.

And that’s when the show began.

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Spieth hit a 6-iron that plopped down in front of the pin at the par-3 14th and came within inches of a hole-in-one. He rolled in a 4-foot birdie putt and tied Kuchar. Given new life, he holed a 50-foot eagle putt and turned to caddie Michael Greller and said, “Go get that!”

Emotions rolling, Spieth followed with a 30-foot birdie at the 16th and was ahead by two. And after Kuchar holed a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-5 17th, Spieth assured himself a two-shot margin up the final hole by pouring in yet another birdie.

From the driving range to the claret jug, Spieth put himself in hallowed territory just days before his 24th birthday. Nicklaus was about six months younger than Spieth when he won the 1963 PGA Championship for the third leg of the Grand Slam.

Spieth goes to Quail Hollow in North Carolina next month with a chance to get that final portion of the Grand Slam.

Last year, Spieth spoke with “CBS This Morning” co-host Charlie Rose on how Tiger Woods influenced his game.

“[Tiger] made it cool. He made it athletic. He showed that he kind of had an influence on a younger generation of athletes that maybe [thought], ‘Hey, golf’s cool. Let’s try golf,'” Spieth said. “And you know, it certainly was that way with me.”

On Sunday, Kuchar closed with a 69 and did nothing wrong. He just had no answers for Spieth’s final blitz. Kuchar had a one-shot lead leaving the 13th green. He played the next four holes with two pars and two birdies and was two shots behind.

Li Haotong of China shot a 63 and finished third.

US Open 2017: Brooks Koepka is the Champion@ Erin Hills

June 19, 2017

US Open 2017: Brooks Koepka is the Champion@ Erin Hills


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American Brooks Koepka equalled the US Open’s lowest winning score of 16 under to claim his first major at Erin Hills.

Koepka had three successive birdies from the 14th to match the total set by Rory McIlroy when he won in 2011 on a par-71 layout compared to this par 72.

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His five-under 67 was only bettered by Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama who posted 66 to tie for second on 12 under with overnight leader Brian Harman (72). England’s Tommy Fleetwood, shot a level-par 72 to end fourth on 11 under.

The 26-year-old from Southport, playing in just his second US Open, was unable to keep pace with playing partner Koepka on the front nine.The pair started Sunday’s final round one off the lead but Koepka holed three birdies in his first eight holes, while Fleetwood followed a birdie on the second with three bogeys in his next six holes for a five-shot swing.

Fleetwood, ranked 33rd in the world, steadied his round with a birdie on the ninth and returned to 11 under by picking up another shot on the par-five 14th and then parred his final four holes.

“I didn’t play how I wanted to,” he said on Sky Sports. “You never know how you’re going to react being up there in the final round – you’ve got to deal with that and it’s all new for me.”

However, he was quick to praise the champion. “He was brilliant, the shots he hit down the stretch, you can’t describe how hard some of them are,” Fleetwood continued.

“He was phenomenal – I would’ve like to have played like that. It was windy and he shot five under, fair play.”

How did Koepka win the title?

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BBC Radio 5 live’s Jay Townsend said in commentary that Koepka only seriously got into golf after being involved in a car accident at the age of 10.

Townsend added: “As a result, he was banned from playing contact sports and that’s how he seriously got into golf. It was kind of by accident.”

The 27-year-old from Florida had won four times on the European Tour and just once on the PGA Tour before this week.

He opened his final round in perfect fashion with birdies on his opening two holes. Another followed on the eighth and he battled hard after dropping a shot on the 10th, holing a 10-foot par-putt on the 13th before effectively winning the title with his birdie streak from the 14th.

The statistics show that he won with a combination of power and accuracy from tee to green on the 7,845-yard course, the longest in major championship history,

The fairways were the widest in US Open history and Koepka took full advantage, averaging 307 yards off the tee and hitting 88% of them across the four rounds, tied fourth overall.

“It was bombs away,” he said. “You could hit it far and the fairways were generous enough. That was a big plus for me. I’m a big ball striker. On some of these par fives I don’t even need to hit driver to get there.”

Staying on the fairways and out of the punishing thigh-deep fescue rough helped Koepka hit the most greens in regulation, 62 out of 72.

Once on the greens Koepka said he “putted brilliantly”, although he took 1.71 putts per hole, slightly above the average for the field.

On joining the likes of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as a US Open winner, he added: “To be in the same category as some of the guys on this trophy is unbelievable. This is truly special, it really is.”

What of the world’s best?

For the first time since world rankings were introduced in 1986, the top three, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day, all missed the cut at a major.

American Jordan Spieth, winner in 2015, closed with a three-under 69 as the fifth best player on the planet finished on one over. The 22-year-old was pleased with his tee-to-green play but conceded he was “not comfortable” on the greens all week and has “work to do with the putter”.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia is world number seven and the Spaniard had a solid, if unspectacular, week in Wisconsin. A two-under 70, followed by two 71s and a 72 returned a four under par total.

Rickie Fowler started the final round two off the lead and birdied the first but the world number nine did not threaten the lead at any point and costly bogeys on the 12th and 15th holes saw him finish on 10 under par after a 72.

Rest of the Brits

Eddie Pepperell was the only one of the six other Britons to make the cut to finish the day better than he started it. The 26-year-old, playing in his second US Open, carded a one-under 71 to improve to five under.

Paul Casey, who was in a four-way tie for the lead at halfway on seven under par, saw his challenge effectively end with a three-over 75 on Saturday. A quiet finish with just the two bogeys saw the 39-year-old end on two under.

Scotland’s Martin Laird also went backwards, closing with a 73 to finish the tournament as he started, on level par.

Matt Fitzpatrick of England was next best on one over after posting a four-over 76 that featured six bogeys, one double bogey and four birdies. Compatriot Andrew Johnston dropped five shots in five holes on his front nine but rallied with a couple of birdies on the back nine as he closed with a three-over 75 and two over total.

Lee Westwood finished his 18th US Open with a four-over 76 to end on seven over.

Sergo Garcia wins the 2017 US Masters in style

April 10, 2017

Sergo Garcia wins the 2017 US Masters in style

by Ewan Murray

Image result for sergio garcia wins 2017 mastersSpain’s Sergio Garcia dons the Green Jacket as the 2017 Masters Champion


The long, painful wait is over. On what would have been the 60th birthday of Seve Ballesteros, at the conclusion of his 71st consecutive major, Sergio García is a champion. Amid moving scenes at Augusta National, which emphasised so many frustrations, sudden-death victory over Justin Rose afforded García the status he courted since childhood but had been so cruelly, so routinely denied him in the past. Sergio García, major winner: it is a phrase many thought impossible.

Dean takes a dig at Trump and Putin and fires a cannon shot at Najib

February 12, 2017

Dean takes a dig at Trump and Putin and fires a cannon shot at Najib in an orgy of self adoration

by Dean Johns@www.malaysiakini.com

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Malaysia’s Prime Minister will be trying to do a Obama con on Trump–Will he get a chance to play golf at Trump’s Resort, Mar-a-Lago?

With St Valentine’s day due next week, my thoughts naturally turn to love. And given that a column is no place for portraying or pursuing my personal amours, I’ve been getting lots of vicarious, indeed voyeuristic enjoyment from observing some of the most passionate love affairs currently being conducted publicly, if not pubicly, by various famous or notorious figures.

To me the most extreme of these, and by far the most excruciating because it’s impossible to avoid incessantly watching, reading and hearing about, is the absolute orgy of self-regard, adoration, infatuation, call it what you will, between new US President Donald Trump and himself.

The man personifies and projects narcissism to such a pathological extent that it’s almost beyond caricature. And in any event all the countless attempts to caricature him only seem to accentuate the crush he has on himself.

Just as those who swoon over him are genuine and only doing him justice, he seems to reason, those swine who refuse to swoon are just revealing how justifiably jealous they are of his supreme excellence.

And every time the media rebut one of his pathologically lying statements, he feels entitled to justify himself with the flagrant falsehood that he’s the innocent victim of ‘fake news’.

At this juncture I imagine some readers will be thinking I’m being a bit unfair to Trump, as on the face of it he does appear to have feelings for some others, like, for example, First Lady Melania and First Daughter Ivanka, even to the point of flagrantly un-presidentially promoting the latter’s fashion brand.

But I’m not prepared to believe that Trump sees these or any others who belong to him as people in their own right, but only as part of his desperate narcissistic need to feed his love of ‘me’ with as much as possible as he can get of ‘my’ and ‘mine’.

That being said, however, I can’t deny one glaring piece of evidence against my thesis that Donald loves only Trump and Trump loves only Donald. And that’s the curious fact that, while he hates just about everybody but himself, or possessions, extensions or supporters of himself, he has the total hots for the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin.

Given the plainly evident fact that Putin runs a kleptocracy as corrupt as inept as any on earth, including my perennial bugbear, UMNO-BN’s Malaysia, and is an ally of Bashar al-Assad in his all-out bloody war on the Syrian people, this is a very curious love-fest indeed.

So much so, that as I wrote on Trump’s inauguration, or, more accurately, Inughuration Day, I’m amazed that the penny or rather rouble hasn’t dropped with conspiracy theorists that he could well in real if not TV reality be a Russian security agency FSB operative named Trumpski, and thus the first Russian agent to not only successfully and safely breach US security, but to actually run for and seize the presidency into the bargain.

Bizarre blip

But whatever the rationale for the bizarre blip, flaw or anomaly in his constitutional narcissism that enables Trump to feel something that looks for all the world like romantic love for the highly undesirable Vladimir Putin, as far as I’m concerned I can’t help thinking of February 14, 2017 as international St Vladentine’s Day.

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Though of course members and supporters of Malaysia’s UMNO-BN regime won’t agree with me at all. Firstly because in their attempts to appear supportive of Islam, the religion they so disgrace, these crooks choose not to recognise St Valentine’s Day or any variant of it because it’s ‘Christian’.

And secondly they would surely claim that the love that dares not speak its name between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin is far outshone by the relationship between Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and any significant world leader who deigns to give him a game of golf.

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As he’s already boasted that Donald Trump did years before he even thought of running for President, although as far as I’m aware Trump himself has no recollection of this event.

In any case, as his supporters can persuasively argue, Najib is every bit as big-time as Trump is in the self-love stakes. It was Najib, after all, who, earlier in his premiership, lavished heaps of public money on signs proclaiming ‘I love PM’ and on paying crowds of people to carry and display them.

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And Najib, allegedly, at least, who even arguably trumped Trump in the self-love department by arranging to have RM2.6 billion of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) funds into his own, personal bank account(s).

But then came Najib’s big mistake in my book. Any world-class narcissist worth his salt would have welcomed revelations of these payments with the comment that he was entitled to the cash and worth every cent of it, but Najib failed the test by claiming that it was a ‘donation’ from some anonymous ‘rich Saudi’ benefactor.

In other words, Najib’s pretence to pure, narcissistic Trump-style self-love is fatally marred not only by his lust for other people’s money, but also by his complete failure to take responsibility for, let alone to show pride in this self-indulgence.

So, even though as I recall giving him a dishonourable mention in ‘Be my Villaintine’ back at this time in 2014, and he’s clearly right up there with Trump and Putin when it comes to self-love, he’s clearly not a party to their special relationship, and thus, however hard he might be Valentryin’, he’ll never be a candidate for Vladentine.