Welcome to the golfing year 2013; if you are reading this, then my column has survived another year of barbs and bouquets —and for all those who took time to issue this column with praises and/or vitriol, I thank you.
The first quarter of 2013 on the Kenya golfing calendar has two big events; the first is the Kenya Open golf championship which will be hosted at the Karen Country Club on the Valentine weekend; the field of golf professionals will once more include 100 professionals from the European Challenge Tour, 20-plus locally based pros and up to six elite amateur golfers.
The golfers will have to contend with a longer par-three at the fifth hole, which has been fitted with new tee boxes. Other than that, the golf course has not changed much in the last five years. The second event is a non-golfing event that will involve most golfers—the General Elections.
This event will, unfortunately occupy our thinking for the next few weeks.
Across the globe, the world’s top tours are underway with much exciting golf in the next few months.
In South Africa, the Sunshine Tour kicks off the year with a couple of Q-school events, the Volvo Golf Champions and the Telkom PGA Pro-Am.
The Johannesburg Open will take place from the February 7-10th at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club where defending champion, and veteran of the Kenya Open, Branden Grace will be hoping to defend his title.
The East London Golf Club will host the Africa Open, February 14-17 where Louis Oosthuizen will also be hoping to defend his title.
The timing of the Africa Open coincides with the Kenya Open dates and that means the cream of South Africa’s professionals will be absent here.
The prize kitty for both these events is euros 1.3million and one million euros respectively.
Across the Atlantic, the PGA Tour has kicked off, but the heat will reach melting point in April during the Masters at Augusta National (prize kitty, $8 million), The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in May (prize kitty, $9.5million), the US Open at Merion GC in June (prize kitty, $8million) and the Open Championship in Muirfield (prize kitty $8million).
Mr. Richard Kemoli, MBE, will be happy to note that I did not refer to the “Open Championship” as the “British Open.” The big question for 2013 will be, how will the great, but quickly fading Tiger Woods perform?
The European Tour tees off in style with the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship in Abu Dhabi, UAE from January 17-20. According to the European Tour, four of the top-10 golfers of the world have confirmed participation; they include Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Justin Rose and Jason Dufner.
From Abu Dhabi, the Tour will then move to Doha, Qatar and finish with Middle East tour with the Omega Dubai Desert Classic (January 31—February 03).
First time readers
For those reading this column for the first time, or those new to golf, I wish you a happy and crazy new golfing year—welcome to the world of golf.
To give you a taste of golf jargon, allow me to quote from the PGA Tour where Dustin Johnson won the opening event of the Tour, the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
Johnson was using the recently launched TaylorMade RI driver, TaylorMade’s most adjustable driver ever “tuned to 10 degrees of loft, a neutral Face Angle and an 8-gramme shot shape weight in the toe and a two-gramme in the heel!”
How is that for jargon? Johnson was also using TaylorMade’s new RocketBladez Tour irons “the first distance-oriented iron to be played on Tour.
The irons feature a “Speed Pocket” to promote faster ball speed and a higher launch angle for longer, high-flying, quick-stopping shots!” (www.pgatour.com).
Have a good year, free from shanks and yips!!