Categories
European Tour

Gallacher among Ryder Cup stars seeking DP World Tour Q School redemption at INFINITUM

Stephen Gallacher is hoping to gain instant redemption and secure a 27th consecutive season on the DP World Tour as the Scot tees it up at INFINITUM this week for the return of the Qualifying School Final Stage.

The six-round marathon of golf will be played for the first time since 2019 and tension is building for the 156 players in the field, all of whom will battle it out for the 25 spots on offer to compete in the 2023 DP World Tour season.

Four-time DP World Tour winner Gallacher is one of four former Ryder Cup players in the field at the acclaimed Spanish venue, which will host the famous event from November 11-16. He is joined by fellow former Team Europe stars David Howell, Jarmo Sandelin and Chris Wood, forming an experienced quartet which boast 17 DP World Tour titles between them.

Gallacher: “You have to handle it like any other event”

The most recent of Gallacher’s four attempts at Qualifying School came 13 years ago, when he earned the third card on offer to bounce straight back after a disappointing 2009 season. He will be hoping he can repeat that feat this week at INFINITUM, a venue he has already played this year when the ISPS Championship in Spain was staged in April.

“You’re here for a reason and you’ve just got to handle it like any other event,” Gallacher said.

“You want to finish in the top 25, you want to win it and work your way around it. It’s six rounds and it’s a big mental battle more than anything, physically too. But I’ve done it three times and I’ve got my card three times so hopefully that trend continues.

“It’s been a whirlwind since 2009, I’ve reached my career goal with the Ryder Cup, I’ve had three wins, one of them with my son, and I’ve had my lows as well. But that’s golf, I got my card for the first time at Qualifying School in 2005, so it’s 27 years. You’re going to have your ups and downs, so I wouldn’t change anything.

“It’s a different chapter and you never know, you win here and you could win again next year – it could be the catalyst to work harder or figure out something.”

The tournament will be held over INFINITUM’s two 18-hole Championship courses, the Hills course and the Lakes course, both of which provide completely different challenges. Gallacher has been extremely impressed by the Tarragona resort and thinks it is a perfect fit for Qualifying School Final Stage.

“The Lakes is a great track and they’ve obviously reseeded it, changed it aesthetically as well, it looks really good and the greens are fantastic on both courses,” he said. “At the Hills, you’ve got to plot your way around, hit it in certain positions and it’s a lot tighter with more trees, whereas the Lakes is windier and dead flat.

“They pose very different challenges and you’ve got to adapt to both of them really. I quite like that; you’ve got to think all the time. They’re both challenging golf courses and you have to use your head.

“It’s exactly what you want for Qualifying School, it’s a great finish at the Lakes too. The 13th is a driveable par four, then you’ve got a good par three and then a couple of tough holes into the wind and then a reachable par five at the end. It’s got all the drama and everything you need, and I’ve no doubt the best players will get through at the end on this six-round format.”

Final Stage qualifying is the last opportunity for hopefuls to win their DP World Tour playing rights for the 2023 season and follows INFINITUM’s hosting of the ISPS Handa Championship in Spain earlier this season, over the Lakes course.

The 90-hole qualifying marathon has provided the platform for some of golf’s most famous names to go on to worldwide success, with Major champions José María Olazábal, Retief Goosen and Sandy Lyle among the list of previous winners since it was first held in 1976.

Final Stage qualifying was first played at INFINITUM in 2017, with England’s Sam Horsfield claiming victory to regain his Tour card along with 32 other players.

A year later, Spain’s Alejandro Cañizares and Zander Lombard, from South Africa, headed a list of 27 players who won their playing rights. Denmark’s Benjamin Poke topped the leaderboard in 2019 – with another 27 joining him in qualification – before the Covid-19 pandemic forced the postponement of the event.

Set to the west of the beautiful city of Tarragona on the Costa Dorada, INFINITUM is regarded as one of Europe’s most popular golf and lifestyle facilities in an area of natural beauty, and the 156-strong line-up will face two very different golfing tests next month.

The venue’s Lakes course was designed by Greg Norman and runs around the wetlands of the Sequia Major. As its name would suggest, water is the layout’s chief defence, testing players and their positional play on no fewer than 14 holes, while players will find the course in outstanding condition following extensive maintenance work this summer to upgrade the fairways from Rye grass to the more sustainable Bermuda Tifway grass.

The neighbouring Hills course poses an altogether different test; several elevated tees and tight landing areas are surrounded by mature, natural pine trees

Categories
LPGA Tour

LPGA Tour: Atthaya Thitikul Wins 2022 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Award

The LPGA Tour announced today that Atthaya Thitikul has earned the 2022 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award. Thitikul, who has two victories this season – the JTBC Classic presented by Barbasol and the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G – has clinched the honor after finishing in a tie for 10th at last week’s TOTO Japan Classic. Thitikul has earned 1,537 points and holds an insurmountable 250-point lead over Hye-Jin Choi, who withdrew from the Pelican Women’s Championship, with two events remaining in the 2022 season.

Thitikul is the second consecutive player from Thailand to earn Rookie of the Year honors and third overall, joining Patty Tavatanakit (2021) and Moriya Jutanugarn (2013).

LPGA Tour: Rookie of the Year

“It is such an honor to win the Rookie of the Year award, especially being the second consecutive player from Thailand to win this honor,” said Thitikul. “I’m happy to have made my home country proud. My rookie year has been really fun and memorable, but we still have a long way to go.”

The 19-year-old first earned LPGA Tour Membership after she finished third at LPGA Q-Series in 2021. In March, Thitikul became a Rolex First-Time Winner at the JTBC Classic when she defeated Nanna Koerstz Madsen in a playoff at Aviara Golf Club. She earned her second Tour title in September, beating Danielle Kang with birdie on the second playoff hole to win the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. Along with her two victories, Thitikul has 13 additional top-10 finishes this season, including a solo fourth at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, a tie for eighth at the Amundi Evian Championship and a tie for seventh at the AIG Women’s Open.

In a rookie year to the world’s best

Thitikul recently ascended to No. 1 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings on Oct. 31, becoming just the second Thai player to ever do so alongside Ariya Jutanugarn. With two events left, she is currently second in the Race to CME Globe standings (2,690.127 points), third in scoring average (69.435) and tied for third in the Rolex Player of the Year standings (130 points), 20 points behind leader Lydia Ko. Thitikul is leading the LPGA Tour in both birdies (392) and top-10 finishes (15), is fifth on the season’s Official Money List ($2,110,142) and is tied for third in strokes gained total (1.950). She is also tied for fourth in eagles made this season (11).

Thitikul turned professional in 2020 after a stellar amateur career that saw her become the youngest person ever to win a professional tournament at the 2017 Ladies European Thailand Championship at 14 years, 4 months and 19 days. She also won the 2019 Ladies European Thailand Championship as an amateur.

Prior to joining the LPGA Tour, Thitikul won the Race to Costa del Sol, Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year honors in 2021 on the Ladies European Tour, joining Dame Laura Davies, Carlota Ciganda and Esther Henseleit as the only players to win the Race to Costa del Sol and Rookie of the Year in the same season. She is the youngest-ever winner of the Race to Costa del Sol at 18 years, 9 months and 8 days.

Thitikul will receive the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award at the 2022 Rolex LPGA Awards ceremony, to be held Thursday, Nov. 17, at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples, Fla. during the week of the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship. 

Since its inception in 1962, 12 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year winners have become members of either the LPGA Hall of Fame or World Golf Hall of Fame: Susie Maxwell Berning (1964), Joanne Carner (1970), Jan Stephenson (1974), Amy Alcott (1975), Nancy Lopez (1978), Beth Daniel (1979), Patty Sheehan (1981), Juli Inkster (1984), Annika Sorenstam (1994), Karrie Webb (1996), Se Ri Pak (1998) and Lorena Ochoa (2003).

Text: LPGA Tour

Categories
Ladies Tours

Solheim Cup 2024: New points system and return to even years

The LPGA announced today that the 2024 Solheim Cup will be held Sept. 10-15 at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville, Va. The 2024 Solheim Cup, the 19th playing of the international team competition, will bring together the best female golfers from the United States and Europe, just outside the nation’s capital, for a celebration of athleticism and patriotism.

LPGA Tour: “We are looking forward to an unforgettable event”.

“We are so excited to finally share the official dates of the 2024 Solheim Cup, marking another step closer to bringing this incredible competition to life,” said Lindsay Allen, Executive Director of the 2024 Solheim Cup. “Robert Trent Jones Golf Club and the greater Northern Virginia area are already serving as gracious hosts for the Solheim Cup, providing the setting for what will undoubtedly be a can’t-miss event for sports fans around the world.”

New qualification system for Team USA

Points for the 2024 United States Team will start accruing at the 2023 Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions. In a new structure to the U.S. Solheim Cup points standings, players finishing in the top 40 at official LPGA Tour competitions will earn points, with those points doubled at the five major championships. In the Solheim Cup year, all points values will increase by 50%.

At the end of the 2024 qualification period, the top seven players in the U.S. Solheim Cup points standings will be named to the team. They will be joined by the top two players in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings not already qualified and three captain’s picks.

“After taking an in-depth look at the history of the U.S. Solheim Cup qualifying process, we feel this new points structure will provide the most comprehensive picture of the American talent working toward representing their country,” said Tommy Tangtiphaiboontana, Senior Vice President of Tour Operations.

The 2023 U.S. Team will be built using the previous point structure, with points earned for top-20 finishes, points for the majors doubled, and points increasing by 50% in the Solheim Cup year. The U.S. Team qualification period will end following the 2023 CP Women’s Open.  

Solheim Cup returns to even year numbers

2024 will mark the Solheim Cup’s return to an even-year rotation, opposite the Ryder Cup, and for just the second time in history, it will be held in consecutive years, along with 2002 and 2003. The 2023 Solheim Cup will be held at Finca Cortesin in Spain on Sept. 22-24, with Stacy Lewis serving as captain for Team USA and Suzann Pettersen serving as captain for Team Europe.

Information on tickets and sales packages for the 2024 Solheim Cup will be available in early 2023.

Categories
LPGA Tour

2022 Pelican Championship shortendes to 54 holes

After meeting with senior LPGA and tournament leadership and in consultation with our on-site meteorologist, Pelican Golf Club will be closed on Thursday due to Tropical Storm Nicole. Due to the chance of a delay in Friday’s start of play, the LPGA has made the decision to shorten the Pelican Women’s Championship to 54 holes.

Forecasts call for 1-3 inches of rain and strong winds, with gusts up to 50 MPH. Local authorities have closed schools and may need to close bridges, which would affect access to the course. Due to the high winds, it is not safe to have players, caddies, fans, volunteers and staff on site.

The first round of the Pelican Women’s Championship will begin no earlier than Friday at 6:55 a.m. Friday morning’s forecast from our on-site meteorologist, who is constantly monitoring the latest data, includes a chance of a lingering thunderstorm. The Friday forecast is thankfully trending in a positive direction, and we will share additional information with you as soon as we can.

With a full field and limited daylight, we feel this decision provides the fairest test to the entire field. All services at Pelican Golf Club will be closed on Thursday, including dining, the gym and all practice facilities. We will have an update on Friday’s start of play on Thursday afternoon.

NELLY KORDA READY TO DEFEND TITLE AFTER ROCKIEST PATCH OF PLAY THIS SEASON

After taking five weeks off from LPGA Tour competition, NellyKorda will defend her title at the Pelican Women’s Championship presented by Konica Minolta and Raymond James and make what she hopes will be a triumphant return. However, Korda would prefer to win in a different fashion than last year, when she survived a four-person playoff against majorchampions Lydia Ko, Lexi Thompson and Sei Young Kim.

“Last year it was definitely a very interesting finish. I think I tripled 17 and then I birdied 18 to get into the playoff, and then I birdied my first hole in the playoff. So, yeah, didn’t make it very easy for myself,” laughed Korda, who birdied the first playoff hole in 2021 to take home the title. “I definitely lost a couple years off my life with the stress that I caused. Other than that, amazing memories coming back here. Hopefully I can make some really good ones this year.”

Korda’s victory at Pelican Golf Club is her most recent win on Tour, and the event was one of the last she played before she suffered a blood clot in her left arm in February of 2022, which forced her to spend nearly four months away from the game. She returned to the Tour in June in resounding fashion, earning five top-10 finishes in 10 events since coming back. But it all hasn’t been smooth sailing.  

“I would recap (this season) in it was a rollercoaster. There was definitely a lot of ups, a lot of downs,” Korda said. “I played some solid golf since coming back, but I’ve also overdone it and also played some poor golf. So, definitely a learning year, more about myself, more about my body.”

Korda missed the cut in her two most recent LPGA starts, the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G and The Ascendant LPGA benefiting Volunteers of America, the first of which marked the first time she missed playing the weekend since June of 2021. The seven-time Tour winner has only missed one cut in each of the 2019, 2020 and 2021 seasons. Luckily, Korda says it isn’t an injury that has contributed to her lackluster play as of late, but rather an overly competitive desire to make up for lost time.

“I think I missed so much of the year that I kind of wanted to make it all up in a sense,” she said. “I think I came back at the time that I needed to, or that was acceptable. The only thing that I may have made a mistake in is then trying to catch up and just being on the road too much and not taking a breather and stepping back and being fresh.”

Text: LPGA Tour

Categories
Ladies European Tour

Hall and Cowan excited to play in Jeddah as 2022 Aramco Team Series reaches conclusion

Star female golfers Georgia Hall and Olivia Cowan are in confident mood and excited to tee it up at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club this week in the final Aramco Team Series event of the year.
Hall returns to Jeddah following incredible recent success in King Abdullah Economic City after winning the Aramco Saudi Ladies International here in March, while Olivia Cowan is in the form of her career after winning her first Ladies European Tour title in the Hero Women’s Indian Open, two weeks ago.
Both are relishing the opportunity to be back in Saudi Arabia this week with Hall commenting: “I love coming back here. I really like this golf course; it is one of my favourites to play in my season and it is always in great condition. The weather is always good, and the wind can get up quite a bit in the afternoons which makes the course have a linksy feel which I really enjoy.
“There are some tough holes out there, but I can also reach pretty much every par 5 which is nice so that gives me some really good eagle opportunities and the chance to try and shoot some low rounds. Every time we come here as players, we also get really well looked after, so it’s just a really fun week.”

Olivia Cowan and Georgia Hall: “We are thrilled to be playing here”

Cowan echoed the sentiments of Hall and added: “I feel really confident about my game at the moment coming off the back of that first win in India. I’m just really looking forward to playing this course, I really love playing it and being back here in Jeddah. It’s challenging and fun to play in, and the team event makes it a bit more relaxing. I just love coming back here and can’t wait for the week to get going.”
The tournament draft took place last night where the teams for this week’s event were selected. Each of the 36 Captains have one individual pick, before they are allocated a random player at the draft, with the team element of the tournament being decided after day two of the event. Individual player scores are then carried over to the final day as an individual winner is crowned.
Hall will be joined in her team by young compatriot, Lily May Humphreys, as well as French golfer Anais Meyssonnier. Cowan used her pick to select young English star, Cara Gainer, while Team Cowan will be completed by another English player in Rachael Goodall.
Other standout teams are Team Charley Hull with the highest ranked player in the field, Hull, selecting Isabella Deilert, and being allocated Moroccan star Maha Haddioui, while Team Alison Lee will be completed by Camilla Lennarth and Diksha Dagar.
Defending individual champion Pia Babnik will be joined by Kristyna Napoleaova and Lauren Taylor for the first two days of competition as she looks to start her title defence in the best way. All teams will be completed by a championship amateur which differentiates the Aramco Team Series as unique and innovative and both Hall and Cowan believe golf’s global series as been an extremely welcome addition to the Ladies European Tour schedule.
Hall commented: “It is fantastic to get this support from Aramco and Golf Saudi and having the five events on the calendar of the Ladies European Tour has really boosted the Tour. I know speaking to a lot of players, they are really grateful for that support. “All the players just really enjoy coming to these events, it’s something different and just brings a different aspect to the game.”
Cowan emphasised Hall’s opinion adding: “The set up and everything they do for the players is amazing. The weeks are set up like a major and the Aramco Team Series puts a lot of effort into the event and looking after the players for the week. We really appreciate that and hope other companies continue to show the same support for growing women’s golf.”

This week’s tournament takes place at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club from 10-12 November with tickets available free of charge. To secure tickets please visit aramcoteamseries.com and follow the event on social media @aramco_series.

Text: Ladies European Tour

Categories
Ladies Tours

Atthaya Thitikul Becomes No. 1 in Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings

For the first time in her career, Atthaya Thitikul has reached No. 1 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings as of the latest Rankings update. She becomes the 16th different player to reach No. 1 as well as the second player from Thailand to sit atop the Rolex Rankings following Ariya Jutanugarn, who was No. 1 for 23 total weeks between June 2017 and March 2019. Thitikul is also the second player to reach the No. 1 ranking in her LPGA Tour rookie year, after Sung Hyun Park in November 2017.

Rolex Ranking: Jin Young Ko must relinquish top position

Thitikul moved one spot on the Rolex Rankings to World No. 1, passing Jin Young Ko, who has held the top spot since Jan. 31, 2022. Ko first became World No. 1 in April 2019 and has spent 152 total weeks atop the Rankings, six weeks shy of Lorena Ochoa’s record 158 weeks at the No. 1 position.

Thitikul is only the second player under age 20 to reach No. 1 at 19 years, 8 months and 11 days, joining Lydia Ko. Ko was 17 years, 9 months and 9 days when she first reached No. 1 in February 2015, and 18 years, 6 months and 2 days the second time she ascended to the top spot of the Rolex Rankings in October 2015.

Atthaya Thitikul: “It is a great honor”

“It means a lot for my team, my family, my supporters and myself. It is such an honor to have my name at the top amongst the biggest names of the game,” said Thitikul. “It is very special to get to the top but it is much harder to retain it. I still have a lot to learn from all the legends and current players both on and off the course. I will continue to work hard for my family, my team, my fans and my country.”

Thitikul has two victories so far in 2022, becoming a Rolex First-Time Winner at the JTBC Classic presented by Barbasol and adding another win at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G. Along with her wins, Thitikul has recorded 12 additional top-10 finishes this season, including three at major championships. She currently leads in the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year standings with 1,487 points, is third in scoring average on Tour (69.432) and fourth in the race to become Rolex Player of the Year (129 points). Thitikul also ranks first on Tour in birdies (375), second in rounds in the 60s (44) and tied for fourth in number of eagles (11).

The successful step onto the LPGA Tour

Prior to joining the LPGA Tour, Thitikul became the youngest player ever to win the Ladies European Tour’s Race to Costa del Sol in 2021 while also securing Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year honors. At 14 years, 4 months and 19 days, Thitikul also became the youngest golfer to ever win a professional golf tournament with her victory at the LET’s Thailand Championship in 2017.

Text: LPGA Tour

Categories
Europe Travel

La Hacienda Alcaidesa Links Golf Resort – the new highlight on Andalusia’s Costa del Sol

Ambitious for the future

The US Millenium Hospitality Group has big goals. With La Hacienda Alcaidesa Links Golf Resort, it wants to become one of the leading and most luxurious golf resorts in Spain. It has entrusted this task to the Fairmont Hotels & Resorts Group, which is one of the most renowned luxury hotel brands worldwide.

The first steps have already been taken. The golf course, previously known as ‘Alcaidesa’, was rebuilt at a multi-million dollar cost and shines in a complete new splendour. The new, stylish clubhouse with its cool restaurant and the extraordinary beach club are already in place. The same goes for the huge driving range with new grass tees and the large putting, pitching and chipping area. Added to this is the already existing 18-hole Heathland Golf Course, so that the resort has two completely different golf courses.

By Easter 2024, a five-star hotel complex comprising 153 exclusive rooms and 51 villas is to be built on an area of 400 hectares.  Several more villas, all with private pools, will be available for purchase. Various restaurants and bars will be part of the complex as well as swimming pools, a spa and fitness centre and event facilities. A halfway house is under construction on the newly designed links course.

Millenium’s plan to become the flagship in Southern Europe with the resort seems to be working, because they have already been accepted as a member of the European Tour Destinations and are happy about this seal of quality.

All in white

As soon as you enter the white clubhouse of La Hacienda Alcaidesa Links Golf Resort, shining in the sun, you sense something special. The arc of tension is slowly built up, starting on the steps to the entrance. It continues as you cross the huge entrance hall and ends in front of an infinity pool with a view of the Mediterranean.

Unique: infinity pool at the clubhouse Terrasse (Photo: La Hacienda Alcaidesa Links Golf Resort)

The modern pro shop offers everything you need on a round. The rental clubs are of the best quality. The first tees of the two courses are in opposite directions. We first play the Heathland Course, which leads into the hinterland.

The Heathland Course

The 18-hole Heathland Course was designed by former Ryder Cup player Dave Thomas. The par-72 layout has a length of 6,373 m from the back tees and features different landscapes. While holes 1 to 5 and 17 and 18 are located on a plateau and resemble a heath landscape, the other courses wind their way down into the valley with magnificent views of the Mediterranean Sea, where several water hazards await.

This is also the case at the 13th, a par-5, where the tee shot has to be hit well in order not to land in the water hazard crossing the course head-on.

Challenging Par-5 on the Heathland Course (Photo: Juergen Linnenbuerger)

Due to the sometimes considerable distances between the individual holes and the considerable differences in altitude, a buggy is highly recommended. Some of these are brand new and of course equipped with GPS.

Unique Links Golf Course

The next day we played the only links course in southern Spain. The origin of the course dates back to 1992 and was designed by Peter Alliss and Clive Clark. Its current redesign is due to the US-American Kurtis Bowman, who redesigned all greens and added several bunkers. The course was only opened this summer but is already in great condition.

The par-72 course has a sensational layout and is suitable for all handicappers. The course is teed off from four tees. Players with a handicap of less than nine are recommended to use the white tees. The course then has a length of 5,841 m. At the moment, there is no table of playing conditions. I play off the yellows and am looking forward to the 5.5 km journey ahead of me. I know of no other course in Spain that offers such sensational views. The Rock of Gibraltar, which is clearly visible on a clear day, keeps attracting attention on various courses and distracts from the game. We are lucky with the weather and after a short initial rainfall, we enjoy the sunshine on the rest of the round.

Tee off to enjoy (Photo: Juergen Linnenbuerger)

The varied courses, the constant ups and downs and the great views over the course make the round of golf an unforgettable experience. Everything is extremely well-maintained and also perfectly matched visually.

The water hazards are impressively designed and interrupt the different shades of green of tees, fairways and greens with their brilliant blue. The course is not only great to play, but also meets the highest aesthetic standards. Some holes run directly along the sea.

Everything at its best (Photo: Juergen Linnenbuerger)

Development is already encroaching on some of the holes. This will increase further with the Fairmont Hotel La Hacienda, which is being built in terraces level with the back end of the beach with the best views across the course to the sea.

Directly along the beach (Photo: Juergen Linnenbuerger)

The palate will also be pampered

What could be better than finishing off a successful round of golf with a great meal and special drinks? The fact that this is possible at the resort is thanks to the Azotea Group. Behind it are the journalist Cristina Lasvignes and her husband José Manuel García. Among other things, they have founded various restaurants and bars in Spain under the Sal Verde brand that meet the highest standards.

Attractive location above the golf course (Photo: Juergen Linnenbuerger)

These include the Clubhouse Restaurant as well as the Arena Bar in the Beach Club, which is located directly below the golf course. Both combine a great ambience, the highest quality and outstanding creativity.

Arena bar at the beach club (Photo: Azalea)

Exceptional dishes and creative cocktails are created by the Michelin-starred Executive Chef Manuel Berganza and the renowned mixologist Luca Anastasio. The latter plays a special role in Sal Verde’s concept, because high-quality cocktails play an essential role in Sal Verde’s gastronomy concept.

Spectacular from the air as well (Photo: James Hogg)

Those who have a choice are spoilt for choice. Either you choose the Spicy Moscow Mule, the Senorita Margarita, the Amalfi Ten Tonic, the Galan or Paloma, or you try them all. With one exception, they were all new to me and impressed me as much as the menus of the latest Spanish star chef. The tuna tartare, popular in Andalusia, served here with truffles and spring onion dressing, melted in my mouth just as much as the mussels au gratin with spicy tomato sauce, to name just two of the various delicacies tasted.

As the Fairmont accommodation is still under construction, we are staying at the Aldiana Club near the golf courses while we get to know the new resort.

Adiós Aldiana Andalusia

The sun still rises every morning over the Aldiana Club Costa del Sol in Alcaidesa. But this will come to an end on 21 November 2022, because the resort will soon change hands. After the planned renovation, it will be called Sun Club Costa del Sol from next year and will continue as a four-star hotel under a new flag.

Sunrise at Aldiana Alcaidesa (Photo: Juergen Linnenbuerger)

The current all-inclusive concept will then be replaced by an offer that includes a choice of breakfast, half board or full board. It remains to be seen whether the great barbecue in the beach restaurant, which is still part of the club, will be offered.

I enjoyed the freshly prepared Andalusian specialities and especially the extremely spicy chorizo sausages. These remain in my positive memory as well as the varied and high-quality offer in the entire club. The well-maintained facilities and the friendliness and attentiveness of all the staff contributed in equal measure to my feeling of well-being during my stay. Not to forget the bright and clean room with the extremely comfortable bed.

Spicy and extremely delicious (Photo Juergen Linnenbuerger)

I am convinced that the Millenium/Fairmont concept will work out and that their guests will be delighted with the high-quality offer. I already am and look forward to another round on one of the most impressive golf courses in southern Europe. Hasta luego. 

Categories
LIV Tour

LIV Golf Update: “Innovative” Team Championship Modus & First Round Pairings

A total of eight events are on the schedule for the new LIV Golf Invitational Series this year. The last event in Miami will be a Team Championship with prize money of 50 million US dollars. The league led by Greg Norman has announced the pairings for the final tournament. There is also a short explanation of the format, which brings some innovations.

A new team format will be played with a combination of stroke play and match play. The event at the Trump National Doral Miami will of course also be held over three days from 28 to 30 October and will include a knockout stage from quarter-finals to finals. In the first round Martin Kaymer and his “Cleeks” will meet Joaquin Niemann and Team “Torque”. Dustin Johnson is granted a rest and will only start the Team Championship on Saturday with the “4 Aces”.

LIV Golf Team Championship in knockout stage

On the first day, the quarter finals will be played. In this round, the top four teams of the regular season will get a bye and move directly into the semi-finals. The remaining teams (places 5 to 12) will play each other in head-to-head matches. The pairings will not be determined by a seeded list (5th against 12th, 6th against 11th, etc.), as is often the case, but the best teams will be allowed to choose their opponents.

From the teams of four, the two team captains compete against each other in match play. In addition, another individual match as well as a classic foursome is played by the team mates. All matches are played until a winner is decided, so there are no draws. One point is awarded for each victory, so two points are needed to win. The winning teams then advance to the semi-finals, which are played in the same mode.

Final in stroke play

The final day of the Team Championship, however, is different. The four winners of the semi-finals will tee off in a stroke play format. In contrast to the previous events, the performances of all players will be included in the team ranking and thus decide the outcome of the tournament. The 16 golfers play in groups of two, with the captains teeing off together. The team with the lowest overall score will ultimately become the LIV Golf Invitational Series Team Champion.

During the final tournament, LIV Golf stays true to its spirit. The event will of course be played over three days and in a shotgun start.

DJ has a bye

Currently (as of 26.10.2022), the “4 Aces” around Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Talor Gooch and Pat Perez clearly lead the team ranking after four victories in a row, as well as another three top-6 finishes and can redeem their bye in the quarter-finals of the Miami event. Behind them follow the “Crushers”, the “Fireballs” start in 3rd place in Miami. Louis Oosthuizen and the “Stingers” secure the last place for a safe entry into the semi-finals.

Martin Kaymer as captain of the “Cleeks” is currently ranked tenth among the teams. Bernd Wiesberger is part of the “Hy Flyers” with captain Phil Mickelson, who currently hold 8th place in the team standings. Based on the results of the first seven events, the teams received staggered points (32 points for the winner, 0 points for places 9 to 12).

“The Invitational Series finale, played at the fan-favorite Blue Monster at Doral, is befitting our game-changing model that delivers an innovative, one-of-a-kind experience for players and fans,” said Greg Norman, CEO of LIV Golf, on the announcement of the format. “I’m looking forward to this monumental event that will harness the beloved traits of team golf and head-to-head rivalries in a historic setting.”

The first pairings are fixed

In the quarter-finals, places 5 to 12 will have to play each other first. Martin Kaymer (Cleeks) will face Joaquin Niemann (Torque) on Friday, Ian Poulter (Majesticks) will play Kevin Na (Iron Heads). It will be exciting in the duel of the giants, Phil “Lefty” Mickelson (HyFlyers) will meet the “Golfer of the Year” Cameron Smith (Punch) in this first round. Brooks Koepka (Smash) faces a challenge in the form of Harold Varner III (Niblicks) in the quarter-finals.

In addition to the “captain’s matches”, the other team members will also go round. In a classic foursome, for example, Bernd Wiesberger and Cameron Tringale will compete for Mickelson’s team “Hy Flyers” against Wade Ormsby and Matt Jones. Matthew Wolff represents the HyFlyers in the second singles against Marc Leishman from team “Punch”.

All quarterfinals match-ups

  • HyFlyers vs Punch
  • Torque vs Cleeks
  • Majesticks vs Iron Heads
  • Smash vs Niblicks
Categories
Equipment

Cobra Puma Golf extends equipment sponsorship with Ewen Ferguson

The 26-year-old Scot will continue to play with Cobra clubs and carry a Cobra staff bag, while wearing Puma apparel, footwear and accessories.

Ferguson first joined Puma in 2019 and started using Cobra equipment in 2020. During his time with the brand, he graduated from the 2021 Challenge Tour and took little time to secure his first professional win at the 2022 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters. 

In August, Ewen went wire to wire to secure his second title at the ISPS Handa World Invitational at Galgorm Castle Golf Club.

Henrik Pantzar, Head of Golf Europe at COBRA PUMA Golf, said:“We are very excited to be extending our partnership with Ewen Ferguson, Ewen will continue to be a leading figure in our roster of athletes. Ewen has taken his game to the next level during the current season with two wins, and his trust in our equipment is a testament to it being at the forefront of the game, and we are looking forward to working with him on the next stage of what is an already impressive career.”

Ferguson’s victory at the ISPS Handa World Invitational saw him use Cobra’s LTDx Driver, LTDx LS Fairway, LTDx Hybrid and Cobra King Tour MiM Irons, as well as being dressed head to toe in Puma apparel and footwear.

“I couldn’t be more excited to continue my journey with the COBRA PUMA Golf team,” said Ferguson, who is currently 13th in the DP World Tour ranking and 143rd in the world ranking. Having already had huge success with their products, I’m excited to see them continue their innovation with the clubs.

”I also love the PUMA apparel and footwear. It’s so important to have products to support me through all the different climates we experience on the DP World Tour, and PUMA not only do that, but they also make sure I can look cool at the same time.”

(Text: Cobra Puma Golf)

Categories
LPGA Tour

Four Events Remain in 2022 LPGA Tour Schedule

Four events remain in the 2022 LPGA Tour schedule, including the third edition of the BMW Ladies Championship this week in the Republic of Korea at Oak Valley Country Club.

Rolex Player of the Year

A quick look at the standings of the season-ending awards and races: There are 18 players who have a mathematical chance of winning the Rolex Player of the Year award. Of the top four in contention, Minjee Lee, Brooke Henderson or Atthaya Thitikul would earn their first Player of the Year honors if they were to win by the end of 2022. Lydia Ko would earn her second POTY award; she won in 2015 with 280 points Ko would be the 16th player since 1966 to earn the award at least twice in her LPGA Tour career.

1Minjee Lee*149 points
2Brooke Henderson130 points
3Atthaya Thitikul*124 points
4Lydia Ko*120 points
*In the BMW Ladies Championship field

Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year

Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year honors is mathematically down to Atthaya Thitikul and Hye-Jin Choi, which Choi only trailing by 243 points. If she were to win by the end of 2022, Thitikul would become the second consecutive player from Thailand to earn the honors, following Patty Tavatankit, who clinched Rookie of the Year following the 2021 BMW Ladies Championship. She would also become the third player from Thailand to win, along with Tavatanakit and Moriya Jutanugarn (2013).

1Atthaya Thitikul*1,425 points23 events
2Hye-Jin Choi*1,182 points24 events
*In the BMW Ladies Championship field

Vare Trophy

Lydia Ko currently leads in the hunt for the Vare Trophy. Minjee Lee would need an average strokes per round of 68.389 in her remaining events to pass Ko’s current average. Atthaya Thitikul would need an average round score of 67.158 to contend If she were to win by the end of 2022, Ko could become the first back-to-back winner of the award since Stacy Lewis in 2013 and 2014. Ko would also become the 15th multiple winner of the Vare Trophy since 1953 The average winner’s scoring average since its inception in 1953 is 71.35451. Annika Sorenstam holds the record for the lowest scoring average – 68.70 – in 2002.

1Lydia Ko*69.17674 rounds
2Minjee Lee*69.33360 rounds
3Xiyu Lin69.43982 rounds
4Atthaya Thitikul*69.46484 rounds
5Brooke Henderson69.47971 rounds
*In the BMW Ladies Championship field

Official Money List

1Minjee Lee*$3,742,44017 events
2In Gee Chun$2,603,12817 events
3Brooke Henderson$2,307,58420 events
4Lydia Ko*$2,047,06219 events
5Atthaya Thitikul*$2,005,94523 events
*In the BMW Ladies Championship field

(Text: Megan McGuire)