Friday, October 21 2016


Teed Off (Jul 5, 2015)

Update: July, 05/2015 - 00:20

with Robert Bicknell

Well, I turned 57 yesterday (58 in Viet Nam) despite my best efforts to punch my own ticket over the last 25 years. But hey, I wasn't alone in my efforts, I had a lot of friends and enemies trying to help me.

Ah, it feels good to be wanted, even if some people simply want to see you suffer.

For the last, 22 years, I have done just about everything I can to help promote golf in Viet Nam. I've managed clubs, built clubs, taught adults and kids how to play, helped start the very first National Golf Team for the 1999 and 2001 SEA Games, started a lot of juniors on the road to a golfing future. I've helped clubs to provide over 10,000 jobs for poor people in the provinces.

I've been in a few hundred international newspapers and magazines talking about golf in Viet Nam, been on CNN and BBC a few times as well.

While it might seem I am tooting my own horn (I am), Viet Nam has also been very good to me in return. It gave me a wife for 18 years (which amazes me as I never thought anyone could put up with me for that long) and a beautiful daughter.

It's been a fun ride for sure and I don't regret a minute of it. OK, sure, there were a few times I should have kept my mouth shut and spared myself (and those around me) a LOT of aggravation, but I've never hidden my feelings.

With me, what you see is what you get. The good, the bad and the really ugly.

I have always tried to live by a simple rule: "Treat me good, I'll treat you better. Treat me bad, I'll treat you worse." Strangely enough, I learned that from Sonny Barger, leader of the Hells Angels. Interesting philosophy, eh?

It seems that, in life, you're gonna have people who love you no matter what and, by the same token, you're gonna have people who hate you no matter how hard you try or no matter what you do. It's not easy to ignore it, but ya gotta find a way or you'll go insane.

If, by fate, I manage to do myself in this year (I'm gonna get a bigger motorcycle - 2000cc), I can actually say I've done my best for golf in Viet Nam. It might not have been "THE" best, but it was the best I can do, so I cannot complain, even though complaining is what I seem to do best.

So, now let's see what the next 22 years will be like…

A Golf magazine posted something on Facebook about Tiger Woods odds of winning the Open Championship.

MY feeling is that he actually has a chance at playing well - not because he's won The Open at St Andrews before, but because he did it by only playing irons. No woods, no driver.

It's the driver which has been killing him the most recently (yeah, OK, besides his chipping, pitching and putting), so if he just sticks with irons off the tee, he might have a good chance to play half decently.

Even though he's not winning, Tiger still seems to find a way to dominate the golf news. It's just the way it is.

Pundits also say that Jordan Spieth has virtually no chance of winning the Open Championship, but I think it would be a mistake to count him out. The kid has a lot of game, but more importantly, he has momentum on his side. Also, he's too young to be scared. At that age, you think you're bulletproof and can leap tall buildings.

Yes, I tried that as a kid as well. Not a tall building, but it was off a roof with a large pool umbrella. Somehow it worked.

I am a little disappointed in Rory McIlroy's performance this year. I thought, like many others, he'd tear up the Tour but so far he seems to have withdrawn into himself. Hopefully he'll find the key again.

There are a lot of great courses here in Viet Nam, so get out there and play! — VNS

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