It’s all go for January after the R&A and USGA published their finalised Rules of Golf. So what’s coming in? Steve Carroll outlines the changes.
The Round Up
It started hot and ended hot in both South Africa and Australia last week as both Charl Schwartzel and Adam Scott played the role of ‘favourite’ to perfection.
Schwartzel, twice a winner at Leopard Creek GC, treated the track like a cat does string as he cruised to a four-shot victory for his third Alfred Dunhill Championship crown. Last year he won by 12 shots and this time he went 62 holes without dropping a shot, underlining how much he enjoys playing this course.
“I had that hiccup in the first round through 17 and the first hole, and after that pretty much flawless with no bogeys from there on in,” he told the European Tour.
“Most of the time if you play 60 holes or whatever it may be without bogey then hopefully you’ll win,” he offered as an inspiring tip for all amateurs.
A more useful and achievable tip might be to start backing the lad to win here next year. Or even to win over the next two weeks as Charl “has got two tournaments left and last week I played just as well as this week.”
Meanwhile, down under, Adam Scott laid out his claim to a historic Australian triple crown by shooting a first round record of 62. It could have easily been 52. He looked almost mystical as he flicked the ball around. He was in total control of his game. Or so it appeared.
"The swing wanders on a couple of shots and it did it again today. It's not quite in the slot, although I hit a lot of great shots. It's not as free flowing as the first couple of weeks. The swing is a bit of hard work for me at the moment,” he said afterwards.
The only man to gain from Scott’s capitulation was struggling Rory McIlroy, who managed to somehow dump his demons in the locker room and puncture Scott’s dream of an Aussie treble with a sensational final round of 66. He had started the round four shots behind, and then pulled the plug on the home crowd’s party plans with a 10-foot birdie at the last hole.
“It was hard not to feel some sort of guilt the way I won it,” he diplomatically grinned afterwards. “I feel a bit sorry that I was the one that ruined the triple crown for him.”
"More satisfying than that is being able to take one of the best players in the world down the stretch and come out on top.
"I've worked hard, I've put the hours in and I've practiced hard and finally it's turned around for me."
So there you have it. Don’t mess with Charl Schwartzel in his back yard and Rory is back to winning ways. It’s been a great season. Let’s hope it flows over into 2014 as well.