5 Things: Westwood on Hazeltine, farewell Se Ri Pak and hello Olly
1) Westwood opens up on Hazeltine
The weeks after the Ryder Cup are always fascinating as the first nuggets begin to emerge as to what the players really made of the week. Lee Westwood could have overtaken Sir Nick Faldo as Europe’s all-time record points scorer with two and a half points from the week but added nothing to his points tally from three matches – Westwood missed a short putt for birdie for a half in the Saturday fourballs and then lost the last three holes in his singles against Ryan Moore.
When asked if he had let down his captain (and best mate) Darren Clarke, Westwood said: “Yeah, a little bit. I was a captain’s pick and I would have liked to have performed well for him, but we sat down (afterwards) and chatted about it.
“He said ‘What could I have done differently?’ and I said I thought you did all you could. The American team did to us what we have been doing to them the last 20 years.”
“I rarely lose sleep and people are always going to miss putts. It was a lot of pressure on that situation and just one of those things. I didn’t put a good stroke on it and shoved it a bit and didn’t go in.
“I think sometimes I get judged unfairly on my putting because the rest of my game is so strong. When you break it all down, if I had won the two games that I was involved in that came up the last, we’d have lost by a point.”
As for his future captaincy plans he has 2020 in his mind, with France in two years not an option.
“I certainly wouldn’t want to be the captain next time around. That’s too soon for me, but I think 2020 is definitely on my radar. After that, you know, 2022, who knows. There are a lot of candidates for it but I’ll be putting my name in the ring for sure. It’s something I’d like to do.
“I’ve played on 10 teams and witnessed 10 different forms of captaincy, so I’m pretty well qualified to be a captain I would have thought.”
2) And they say Westwood can’t putt…
How to putt from off the green… https://t.co/Tnvxa4Gyk8
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) October 14, 2016
3) Farewell Se Ri Pak, a genuine legend
The women’s world rankings are fairly well dominated by Korean players, with six in the top 10 and 22 in the top 50. Ask any of them where their inspiration comes from and Se Ri Pak’s name is the first to leave their lips.
When Pak joined the LPGA in 1998 she was the only Korean on the Tour. By July of that year she had won two Majors including the US Women’s Open in a 20-hole play-off against amateur Jenny Chuasiriporn. When Pak returned to Korea that autumn, she had to be hospitalised for exhaustion. Television cameras even came into her hospital room to give the latest news.
And so began the boom of female Korean golfers.
Her career ended with a total of 25 titles, five of them Majors and a place in the World Golf Hall of Fame. This year she was captain of the Olympic side where Inbee Park claimed gold.
Last week the 39-year-old played her last round, in front of her own fans at the HanaBank Championship. She shot an opening 80 but nobody cared and withdrew from the tournament as planned.
Pak cried almost throughout the retirement ceremony on the 18th, something which began when playing the hole.
“When I reached the 18th I felt like I couldn’t make the shot,” Pak said. “I think I cried all throughout the hole. I didn’t expect myself to feel this way.
“I could see the gallery and the fans and there was just a lot of love and support. I think it was one of the best moments. I’ve had a lot of the victories in my career, and I have to say it was one of the best, happiest moments of my career.”
4) And hello again Olly
Welcome back to the European Tour Jose-Maria Olazabal. The Spanish maestro last played at Augusta last year and has been struggling with rheumatoid arthritis in his feet, something that left him bedridden 20 years ago.
Olazabal turned 50 earlier this year but he is not quite ready for the Senior Tour, at the British Masters he opened up with a birdie before missing the cut by just three shots and he will be teeing it up this week at Vilamoura to gauge where his game is.
“The problem is due to an inflammation of the extremities of the tendons and it’s been a long process of recovery. I hit rock bottom last December and started improving slowly from January. Although I’m feeling better I’m still not at 100 per cent. The pain is not so bad now, it gets a bit painful from time to time but I think that’s just getting old,” he told I News.
“I’m excited to play, I want to see how the body can cope with the regular competition, rhythm of practice and 18 holes. Lately I’ve played 18 holes two days, nine holes another two days.
“The two weeks will be a good test to see if I can stand up all day. I want to see how it goes during the two weeks and that will help me to take a decision on whether I will keep on playing the European Tour or the senior circuit next season.”
And in a typically self-deprecating comment the Spaniard added: “I have been out of the European Tour such a long time that I will need to re-introduce myself at the driving range. My opening line might need to be ‘hello, I am Jose-Maria, nice to meet you.”
5) For when you forget your long tees..
Watch this, it’s worth it..