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Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Hough's It

Brooks Koepka successfully defended his US Open crown at Shinnecock Hills on Sunday, in the process becoming the 1st golfer since Curtis Strange in ’88 & ’89 to achieve the feat.


His play was spectacular on a tough course that beat up a lot of fancied players over all four days, and his putting, in stark contrast to his great friend Dustin Johnson, who played with him in Sunday’s penultimate pairing, was as brilliant.

Sunday’s play was very exciting, unlike on the previous 3 days, and it started with Englishman Tommy Fleetwood going out well and getting under par early on with 4 birds in the first 7, then continuing the birdie barrage with 4 straight from the 12th to the 15th. Then the Masters champion, Patrick Reed, started his round, really lighting things up with 3 straight birdies to open, then 2 more in the next four holes to be 5 under after 7, and tied for the lead. Reed slipped though around the turn, and that’s when Fleetwood continued going deep, and despite missing from about 10 feet at the last for the lowest ever round in US Open history, he signed for another US Open record-tying lowest round ever with his incredible 63, leaving him 1 shot shy of forcing a playoff.

DJ, who looked invincible after 36 holes, had a weekend to forget on the greens, with six 3-putts in the last 2 rounds being his undoing. By the way, it’s not the 1st time a seemingly bullet-proof DJ has frittered away a commanding halfway lead!! If you consider his weekend putting, and his terrible opening 4 holes on Saturday, and the fact that he only finished 2 shots behind, then DJ still remains the best golfer around!

But Koepka just stayed too steady and solid for the rest, and deservedly defended the title he won last year at Erin Hills.

Koepka now has 3 PGA Tour wins, with 2 of them being his national championship, and he now moves to #4 on the World Rankings and #13 on the Fedex Cup standings – despite taking 3 months off at the beginning of the year to rehab a wrist injury - as well as now leading the US Ryder Cup points list.

Right, now I’d like some help on this please! Let me know what you think.

I know that someone who writes any type of newsletter or blog or whatever should normally take a solid stance on things, but for this US Open, I just couldn’t decide which side of the fence I was sitting on. So I’m gonna list the pros and cons of what the governing body of golf in North America did last week.

For the USGA:

1. It’s the US Open, so expect a brutal course. It’s the 1 week of the year when par really means something, and it separates this particular week from the other dart-board-style golf courses where 20 and 25 under par are the rule.

2. The leaderboard come the final stretch of the tournament was loaded with Major-winners and popular players, and a successful event will always bring the cream to the top.

3. The luck of the draw! Complaints were raised about the unacceptability of the greens changing character during the day, but then, what about radically different conditions from morning to afternoon in Scotland in the Open Championship, or anywhere else for that matter? Normally those Pros playing near the back of the field always expect worse wear and tear on the putting surfaces.

4. Player Power! Just when do you start and stop listening to the whining and whinging of the pampered prima donna golfing superstars? These guys can be impossible, so suck it up and get on with doing what you do best.

Against the USGA:

1. They ‘lost’ the greens for the 2nd straight US Open at Shinnecock, when they expressly stated that they’d learnt from 2004, and wouldn’t do it again! Maybe it was only the hole locations that made scoring so difficult, and which even got the TV announcers saying so, and which got quite a few of the players tweeting and twitching. Maybe it was the winds which came up and dried out the patchy putting surfaces, but those winds apparently always get fresher during the day, and the general forecasts were pretty accurate, so why were the greens on such an edge of firmness and playability that a slight change in conditions ruined the spectacle?

2. Here’s more proof on the course set-up being wrong, and something I don’t think anyone on TV or social media picked up on, so I’m taking all the credit for coming up with this. The par three 7th hole at Shinnecock has a Redan green, an almost exact replica of the original Redan green on the 15th hole at North Berwick, one of the best courses in Scotland, and the course that originated about 3 major golf course design concepts that have been copied on courses the world over ever since. Yet on such a storied hole, the USGA used the same quadrant of the green for their hole locations on ALL 4 days!!! The defence for lack of variation rests its case, even though it’s clear that the conditions would have made any other hole locations totally unacceptable and a proper course setup would have allowed them to pin the entire green.

3. It’s the US Open, so expect controversy, but here I’m certain: Phil shoulda been DQ’d, and failing that, he shoulda pulled out! I mean I love Phil, but he intentionally hit a moving ball to stop it getting into more trouble! He admitted that he’d thought about doing this before, so it must have been in the back of his mind when facing that particularly slippery downhill putt on the 13th in Saturday’s 3rd round, and a really strong case for pre-meditation then exists, as does any claim of cheating! How much clearer can Rule 1-2 be when it mentions “A player must not (i) take an action with the intent to influence the movement of a ball in play …” and further that “… in the case of a serious breach of Rule 1-2, the Committee may impose a penalty of disqualification.” My major concern here is precedent! How is that not a serious breach? Phil ruined his 48th birthday celebrations! When the focus should have been on this popular and mercurial star of the golfing world trying to become the oldest ever US Open winner, and achieving the Grand Slam, instead, his 48th birthday party turned into a press conference about breaking the Rules, and the ensuing lenient approach thereafter by the USGA.

4. Fox Sports TV! Please USGA, just renege on your multi-year multi-billion dollar deal with them, and go back to those networks who do this stuff day in and day out all year round? Apart from a whole string of obvious mistakes, in the final round, they missed DJ teeing off, but showed his playing partner Koepka. Maybe they knew something!

Stand a chance to win R10 000 when you buy a dozen Srixon golf balls in the shop. You'll get a chance to choose your favourite number (1 - 100) and once we've sold 100 dozen golf balls we will have a draw to determine a winner. If you have the winning number, you get R10 000 to spend in the shop!

Daniel Rosenzweig won the 3rd leg of the Jack Nicklaus Champion of Champions when his 40 points were too good for the rest of the field on Saturday. Dave Farber was 2nd on 39pts, with Richard Heyman counting out Waseem Seedat and Jameel Nazeer on 38pts.

Club Champion Brett Berman now moves into pole position as per the Top 20 below, or you can click on the link for the complete list. Remember that only your best 3 scores of the 5 qualifying legs count towards the team selection, and the top 4 on the list will make up the team for Pecanwood at the end of November.


We have declared war on pitchmarks, as we are finding way too many unrepaired ball marks on our greens.

I must remind all golfers that care for the course is the player’s responsibility, not the caddie’s!

According to research, the average number of ball marks per golfer is 8 per round. That’s 1,200 on a busy Saturday, or about 2,400 per weekend, or about 10,000 weekend impressions per month, or about 120,000 per year.

And you’re trying to make putts through that?

I’d like to draw your attention to the R&A’s website that says:

Etiquette is an integral part of the game, defining golf's core values. It describes the manner in which the game of golf should be played to ensure all players gain maximum enjoyment.

In short, it’s about “respect”:

• Respect for the course – leave the course as you would like to find it by repairing pitch-marks, replacing divots and raking bunkers

We will definitely be asking our caddies to get more involved in this than what they already do, but I must re-iterate that it’s the player’s job to fix their damage, or have their damage repaired, and while you’re down there, repair a few more while you’re about it.

And you can check out this diagram below that I found on the web for the correct ways to repair the ball marks.

That’s all for this week.

Have a good one.


A mid-Iron second, over a nasty hazard, with more trouble right of the green,
tests your technique, your equipment, your fitting, and your confidence.


A Hybrid has the forgiveness,
and deeper centre of gravity this shot needs.
But some golfers struggle mentally with the
need to strike the ball a descending blow
with a Hybrid.
That’s why some manufacturers have
created Crossovers or Hybrid-Irons.
Mentally it is easier to think about,
and execute, a slightly descending
blow with this club.

If there’s an area of your approach shot game from the Fairway that punishes you too often,
there’s potential for scorecard improvement. Use the right fitted equipment with the right technique,
and you’ll be able to take the challenge on with a greater chance of success.
Spend 45 minutes with us. Let’s make a difference.

Got some friends who have just started to learn the game?
Give them a chance to have some fun out on the golf course.

You don’t have to tee off from the tee box – a hugely daunting and intimidating experience
for someone still struggling to get a full shot airborne consistently.
It will lead to a much longer round and not a lot of joy.
Why not play 9-holes with each hole starting at the 40 metre mark?
You don’t have to wait for us to create fun golf experiences.
You can create them yourselves as a four-ball, or a small group.
Respect everyone else, but enjoy your golf.


Try this with friends, if you’re a regular or even highly competitive golfer.
Come down after work, before work, whenever you have 2 hours.
Play a 9 hole 40 metre Championship. It’s a great game.

Anyone not shooting under 36?
Then it’s time to pay a visit and improve your short game.


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RetailTribe: Unit 8, Blaauwklip 1 | Blaauwklip Office Park | R44 | Stellenbosch | South Africa | +27 (0)21 880 2693
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