Saturday, October 22 2016


Teed Off (Dec 06, 2015)

Update: December, 06/2015 - 00:22

with Robert Bicknell

For once in many years, I am not "teed off" about anything.

I would not go so far as to say I am "happy", because that would be too much of a shock to my system, but for the moment, I am content. Hmm, it's an interesting feeling.

However, I am pretty sure this condition is only a momentary lapse and I will go back to being my old crabby self sooner or later, but for the moment I will try to enjoy it.

Hmm, enjoyment, another alien concept. Interesting.

The reason I am momentarily content is because I am at the US$1.5 million dollar Asian Tour Ho Tram Open with Darren Clarke, Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Geoff Ogilvy, Robert Rock, Michael Tran and, of course, Tim (Blonde Dragon) Low from Fox Sports Asia and actually enjoying myself.

It's probably because I am not playing, which is a relief to my poor feet and ego, but at the same time it's a strange feeling to be outside the ropes. Oh well, such is life.

I need to day that The Bluffs really pulled out all the stops for this event. Not only did they bring in some ofn the top European Tour players, but also Brian McFadden (formerly of Westlife) and laid on a plethora of activities to keep everyone happy.

I had the opportunity to chat with Darren Clarke quite a few times and found him to be pretty down to earth and quite a character. Its easy to see why he would be a great Ryder Cup captain. He's knowledgeable, inspires confidence and is generally a pretty cool guy. Hey, anyone who can wear fully mirrored sunglasses and get away with it must be cool.

I can actually see him doing commentary when his playing days wind down. He'd be insightful and downright funny. OK, a Tim Low he ain't, but still…

Sergio fielded by obligatory junior golf question during the media interview (from me naturally) and hopefully many of the club owners in Vietnam will take his words to heart. Without the kids, there is no future for golf.

Robert Rock is, as always, a load of fun to be with. As host of the event (Rock is The Bluff's ambassador to the European Tour), he's taking great pride in this event, as is Ben Styles and all the staff.

To show you how seriously some are taking the event, Timmy "Blonde Dragon" Low, a former Asian Tour player who temporarily traded in his 5-iron for a microphone, Hugo Boss wardrobe, hair gel and the limelight, kept his driver in the bag for the practice rounds. This is smart because Tim is ridiculously long off the tee and when the wind is blowing here at The Bluffs, you really don't want to go offline. In a nutshell, he wants to play "Tour golf" which is mostly mental and not recreational golf which is "swing hard, take chances and drink a lot of beer".

As of this writing, we're in the middle of the first round and the Clubhouse leaders went very low (think Charlie Wi's 62) but the wind has been moderate and not howling as it can do here. However, as they say, a golf tournament isn't won on the first day, but it can be lost on the first day.

The next few days will be interesting as the players become more familiar with the nuances of The Bluffs and are able to plan their shots a little differently. Sergio, for example finished the first day at 5-under par, which is amazing considering his media schedule and very little time to get used to the course.

The crowds are a bit light, but that's to be expected as it's still the weekday (as of this writing), but should increase dramatically on the weekend.

OK, you might be wondering why I am being so reasonable and, borderline "nice" for a change and I need to attribute this to a "Cobra bite" the other night in the bar after the Gala dinner. I won't go into details, but suffice it to say that, applied correctly, can have a positive effect on a person's mental status, although I wouldn't recommend it to other people.

Thanks Greg. — VNS

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