10 Mar 2024

Keeping an eye on Brooks and Niemann

It’s getting close to Masters time again and it’ll be interesting to see how the big names ramp up their form leading into the first major of the year. I’ve been working hard with Joaquin Niemann and he’s really impressed me, not just with his victories but the graft he puts in to improve his game. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in a Green Jacket at some point, and I obviously think Brooks Koepka will be adding the title to his Major haul but not this time round. 

I’ll be catching up with Brooks and few other players at Jupiter just before the LIV Golf event in Miami, so I’ll get a better impression of who is shaping up well for Augusta. At this stage we’ll only be doing a little bit of work and fine tuning. Most of the hard work has already been done at this point in the season, I just need to check in and make sure they are doing the right thing. I will watch them play and not just hit balls on the range, as mistakes are not just technical but sometimes players opt to play the wrong shot.

It ‘ll be interesting to see if Tiger tees it up at the Masters. I know it’s on his schedule, but the fact that he’s still able to walk is a miracle, let alone play a Major. Augusta is a very physically demanding course and watching it on television you will have no true concept of the elevation drop on the course. You also need to remember Tiger is nearly 50 and at the Genesis Invitational he was getting back spasms after the opening round.


Tiger Respect

I’ve known Tiger a long time and have a huge amount of respect for him. Not just for what he has achieved on the course, but his mind set is something you can not teach. So, when people ask me if Tiger should retire my answer is swift. If Tiger wants to play, he still believes he can win and that is all we need to know. You are a long time not playing and the game still needs Tiger.

My Tiger answer is normally backed up with the question of why I retired from playing. That’s even easier to answer. Money! I’d finished in the top 60 on the European Tour Order of Merit and lost money on the year. I even finished 33rd at The Open that year and lost money on the week.

A lot of Tour players these days do not realise that golf is a minority sport, and they are very lucky to be competing for as much money as they do. The vast sums are only available due to people right at the very top who have got huge amounts to invest in our sport. Prior to golf enthusiastic investors, players such as Seve, Faldo, Woosnam, Langer and Lyle brought money via sponsors into the game. Ironically all won the Masters!




Television has always been the financial golden ticket but as I keep on saying we are a minority sport and ever since it was removed from terrestrial television interest levels have been dropping. Kids these days at our range are more interested in their Top Tracer scores than professional golf. They’ll ask me for a swing tip but never who I think will win at the weekend. 

I remember being able to watch the Masters, The Open and the PGA Championship at Wentworth on the BBC for free. This gave the sport exposure to millions and was why many people decided to pick up a club. The thing that worries me is our range in the UK is busy but only a small percentage will go on to join a local golf club.

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