I know as well as anyone that golf is a journey. It’s quite possibly what I love most about the sport: the game is a steady process of ups and downs over the years – sometimes you get better, sometimes you get worse – but the overall arc – you hope – is one of improvement.
So, if you’re prepared to put the time and the hard work in, golf is hugely rewarding. Thanks to the handicap system there are few other games that give you such accurate, immediate feedback on just how well you’re progressing. This experience of slow and steady improvement is certainly reflected in what I’ve seen in my own game over the years, as I’ve played on many different courses around the world. And it was on one of my favourite courses – which I play regularly here in Hong Kong – that we’ve just seen another fantastic example of what a journey a career in golf really can be.
Close to home
Living and working in Hong Kong, I’m pretty familiar with the Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling. It’s been the setting for the Hong Kong Open (part of the European Tour) since 1959, and, as with the US Open in Augusta, it is one of the very few tournaments that has been hosted by only one club for such a long time. It’s a great course, and so I was delighted to see that this year’s event really served up a fantastic story for golf fans.
Hard work pays off
In the final round, Australian professional Wade Ormsby won the tournament to claim his first European Tour win – after an incredible 264 attempts. It’s a fantastic achievement for a golfer who is now, by his own admission, in the later stages of his career. A real example to every player to understand the importance of persistence and hard work. “It means a lot to me,” he told the PGA European Tour website. “I’ve played a lot of golf in Europe – everywhere – with a few bumps along the way, but it’s pretty cool to get a win this late in your career.”
A close finish
It was a fantastic end result for Ormsby – his first European Tour win and only his second win as a professional – but it hadn’t all gone his way. He’d had to fight off an earlier challenge by India’s SSP Chawrasia, who had led Ormsby by four shots before triple bogeying at the ninth to fall away from the leading group.
It went right down to the wire too – Wade’s win came after his rival Rafael Cabrera-Bello birdied the 17th to pull level going into the 18th, and then needed just a par on the final hole to force the tournament into a play off with Ormsby. In the end, however, Cabrera-Bello missed his chance when he put his second shot into the bunker, and Ormsby, who had bogeyed the 18th, could finally breath a sigh of relief and celebrate. Ormsby finished with a final round of 68 to end 11 under par, a shot ahead of Cabrera-Bello, Alexander Bjork, Julian Suri and Paul Peterson.
Getting better with age
While it was a difficult day in the end for Rafael Cabrera-Bello, this year’s Hong Kong Open was the scene of a remarkable performance by another Spaniard – Miguel Ángel Jiménez, who came home with an impressive round of 63. Jiménez – who is now 53 – has had his own taste of success here at the Hong Kong Open, becoming the oldest ever European Tour winner back in 2014. Once again, the performance by Jiménez was testament to the rewards that golf can continue to give you, no matter how far into your career you are.
All in all, this year’s Hong Kong Open was a tournament that has shone a light on the Hong Kong Golf Club – it’s always a friendly, open event to attend, in a stunning setting, but I’m also delighted that the golf itself delivered such an exciting finale. The club was founded way back in 1889, and it seems to me, that like Wade Ormsby and Miguel Ángel Jiménez, some things just are getting better with age.
– Robert Weider
For more great insight and analysis, head back to my homepage now.