AS THE 2018 RYDER CUP will be held for the first time in France, Ryder Cup Captains Jim Furyk and Thomas Bjorn visited Paris to initiate the countdown, and then popped up the Eiffel Tower to recreate the memorable occasion in 1976 when Arnold Palmer hit a golf ball off the tower into the gardens below.  The captains were invited to dinner at Versailles and breakfast at the President’s palacial pad, although as M. Macron’s knowledge of golf is probably on a par (excuse the pun) with his English the conversation over the croissants must have been a bit one-sided.

ON THE PGA TOUR schedule next year the Asia swing in October will have as many tournaments as the Florida swing in March.  The CJ Cup, won last week in South Korea by Justin Thomas, offers $9.25 million in prize money. Only the four majors, The Players and the World Golf Championship have higher purses.  Not all Tour pros are thrilled at the prospect, what with jet lag, no decent cheeseburgers, and the possibility of a North Korean missile landing on the green.   Kevin Kisner said:  “It’s great that there’s a tournament with a  $9.25 million purse in South Korea, but we’re not all keen to get on a plane and fly over there.”

Unfortunately the American economy isn’t up to sponsoring limitless multi-million dollar tournaments; the PGA Tour is simply recognizing where the growth is.  They can’t afford to ignore it.

REMEMBERING A HERO.  In 1931,  21 yr. old Douglas Bader lost both legs following a crash while attempting a low level flying manoeuvre over Reading airfield.   Refusing to permit his injuries to rule his life, he fought in the Battle of Britain, shooting down over 20 German aircraft, and was eventually captured and imprisoned in Colditz.   After the war he threw himself into golf to keep active, quickly getting down to single figures, after a shaky start when “Every time I swung a club I fell over.” 

He became a fixture on the golf circuit, frequently appearing in the pro-celebrity series on television.   Outspoken and with little patience with whingers, Sir Douglas was only upstaged once, according to Peter Alliss, and that was by Henry Cotton after a pouring wet day at the Berkshire, when everyone came in off the course absolutely sodden.  Bader said: “Moan moan moan, I don’’t know what you’re complaining about Cotton,” to which Cotton replied: “It’s all right for you Douglas, your feet don’t get wet.”

Group Captain Bader, CBE, DSO & Bar, DFC & Bar,  founded the Bader Cup, which was held annually, and raised over £20,000 a year for the disabled.  The last Bader Cup was held at the Berkshire in 2013, players included Sir Bruce Forsyth.  Now the good work is carried on by the English Disability Open, held this August at The Warwickshire Golf Club, the British Disabled Open, held at Ufford Park, Suffolk, in September, and the On Course Foundation which supports disabled ex servicemen and helps them obtain employment in the golfing industry. 

Sir Douglas Bader died, aged 72, in1982, but his legacy lives on.

A TRIUMPHANT SERGIO GARCIA won the Andalucia Masters at Valderrama, after battling the elements.  Coming in after Day 2 he groaned:  “I found it really tough out there this afternoon. It was a little bit breezy, the fairways were starting to firm up, and the rain had made the greens a tiny bit bumpy.”   Poor soul, it must have been hell.

WILL LAS COLINAS win Spain’s Best Golf Course award for the 3rd year running?  La Manga Club and Resort will play host from 23-26th November to the most prestigious awards programme in the golf tourism industry:  ‘The World Golf Awards.’   The organisers say that “Luminaries” will be ferried by limo from the airport to a 3-day jolly packed with exclusive golf activities, followed by a red-carpet Gala Ceremony.   According to the dictionary, ‘Luminaries’ are “heavenly bodies giving off light” so  shouldn’t they arrive in their own Fiery Chariots?

Until next time: Happy Golfing.

Contact Mick for your club regripping and repairs, 638 859 475.

The post In The Bunker With Mick The Grip appeared first on The Leader Newspaper.