What a wonderful return to form Danny Willett produced to win the BMW PGA Championship last month. To come out of the wilderness and win with such confidence was great to see. So many players who lose their form and fall way down the rankings don’t understand that they need to find their faults. It’s a case of working on the various aspects of their game and tracking down the missing link, then working on the right items of your game to put it right.
Danny’s final shoot-out with Jon Rahm over the closing holes was a great spectacle for the huge galleries on the West Course and what a terrific show Wentworth put on for the fans.
Another pleasing aspect of the tournament was the presence of three outstanding players from the PGA TOUR, Tony Finau, Patrick Reed and Billy Horschel. Reed and Horschel shared fourth place on 15-under which was well received by the galleries and both players spoke well about enjoying playing outside America to enjoy the different cultures other countries have to offer.
They understand that by travelling around the world to compete with different players is a great way to improve their game. By playing on different golf courses, with different layouts in different weather conditions, and learning to play different shots makes you a far better player.
I applaud the American stars who wish to become global golfers. It’s good for the game and it’s good for them as players. Nobody has travelled the world as much as I have throughout my career and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting new people and going to new places.
It’s sad to see so many world class players who are so insular, who don’t want to travel outside the comfort zone of their own country. I got a great thrill from globetrotting and I went everywhere I could. I’d love to see that happen much more.
I’m delighted that we will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of our Gary Player Country Club at Sun City with the Nedbank Golf Challenge as the penultimate Rolex Series event on the 2019 Race to Dubai. It’s great to see that Henrik Stenson and Tommy Fleetwood will be competing. I still can’t figure out how far Henrik hits that fairway wood off the tee.
Tommy, like Henrik, is a true athlete and has a great work ethic both in the gym and on the course. He’s a terrific player and he’s in his prime. It’s going to be a wonderful event. The Gary Player Country Club has a special place in my heart. When Sol Kerzner, the international hotel magnate, first visited the volcanic crater that is now Sun City, his vision was almost unbelievable. He really is a genius. We stood in the bush and imagined the future development of Sun City as a world-class resort with extraordinary entertainment, sport and golf courses.
We discussed a world-class tournament and Sol said – ‘give me the top four players in the world and I’ll give you the biggest prize money.’ I quickly signed up Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino and Jack Nicklaus. Very soon Frank Sinatra, Shirley Bassey, the World Heavyweight Boxing Champion and many more global celebrities joined the event’s entertainment list.
A week after the Nedbank Golf Challenge we welcome the Gary Player Invitational at the Lost City course. People forget just how good the course is and how differently it plays in comparison to the Gary Player Country Club. Our Player Foundation has raised more than $64 million and we’re aiming to raise that figure at Lost City.
Column courtesy Worldwide Golf