Ryder Cup : Should the Qualifying Requirements for Team Europe Change?

Ever since Europe lost to the US team in the first time since 2008 at Hazeltine, there have been lots of grumblings as to why? The US team played some phenomenal golf and were the rightful winners but the European team on paper were just as strong if not stronger. The European team consisted of the current Open champion, Olympic gold medalist, the Masters champion and the Fedex Cup Champion surely that’s an unbeatable team, unfortunately they were prove otherwise.

So what happened? Well recently a few players have said that Team Europe needs to re-evaluate how the qualifying system works. This is understandable as somebody might win a tournament early in the season way before the Ryder Cup but that doesn’t mean their current form is worthy. The other defence for the change is that two players within the top 20 in the world did not qualify. This is because in order to automatically qualify for those 9 magic spots, one you need to be a member of the European Tour and two you need to play in events on the European tour to gain enough points.

A lot of people argue that if Paul Casey and Russell Knox really wanted a spot on the team they would have made the sacrifice, but should a player really have to sacrifice tournaments and their career on the PGA Tour for a Ryder Cup place, for a place in a team that they rightfully should already be in?

Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood have both spoken out in favour of a change to the current format. They understand why the tour wants European tour players only but it is difficult when you are missing out on world class European players in America. The Ryder Cup is a world stage tournament so the best players from Europe and USA should be included.

In the end all European players are still from Europe no matter their personal choice on what tour they play on or the country they live in. What tour they play on does not suddenly change their nationality nor does it change their passion for the game and the passion they would show granted a spot representing their continent.

By Rachael McQueen, Community Engagement Executive at Shot Scope

Getting to know John Daly, better

John Daly gets his fair share of bad press. Most recently his drinking has come to the lime light again. Nobody is naïve to the fact Daly had a drinking problem. Unfortunately due to being the character he is on the course, his life off the course has always been heavily documented, his successes unfortunately being overshadowed by his downfalls.

Daly joined the PGA tour in 1991 and quickly became one of the most intriguing figures on tour. He was known for his explosive personality, his rough and tumble personal life, and of course how far he hit the golf ball. ESPN have made a short film about Daly’s life as part of their ‘30 for 30’ series. The short documentary is aptly titled ‘Hit it Hard’ and will debut on November 1st. ESPN have been releasing small tasters to wet our appetite for this most anticipated short film.

The most recent clip shows a candid Daly admitting he drank during a PGA tour event. As much as this comes as no surprise to most people, we are hoping this short film is more about his triumphs than the addictive battle he faced during his career. Of course this is something that made John Daly who he was but there is way more to the colourful trouser wearing, long hitter.

Unfortunately, the good stories about John don’t generate the same amount of interest because everybody wants the gory details of his alcohol abuse, gambling and broken marriages. Deep down, party boy Daly has a heart of gold. In 1991 Daly punched his ticket into the PGA championship due to nine players withdrawing from the event, giving him the opportunity of a lifetime.

Before his win at the PGA championship he had missed 11 cuts in 23 starts. He was a complete unknown when he tee’d it up in the first round but that was all about to change. Daly’s long hitting was second to none that week and he holed everything.  His week at Crooked Stick was a Cinderella story that everyone embraced and followed until the very end when he was the man holding the trophy.

Earlier that week a storm had wreaked havoc at Crooked Stick and had unfortunately taken the life of one of the volunteers, when he was struck by lightning. The volunteer left two young girls and a wife. When John was presented the Wannamaker trophy he said he was going to give $30,000 to a scholarship fund for the two young girls that had lost their father that week.

ESPN will not have struggled for material when creating this documentary. He was an instant sensation after his PGA championship win. Everybody bought into his humble beginnings in Arkansas and his fiery attitude on and off the course. He was followed for his extraordinary length off the tee and mostly known for his gambling and his 4 failed marriages.  John also went on to win a second major at The Open in 1995.

Just like every other golf fan we cannot wait to see this heavily anticipated ’30 for 30’ about the golfing hero, John Daly.

By Rachael McQueen, Community Engagement Executive at Shot Scope

Scottish Golf Performance Tracking System Used on European Tour at Dunhill Links

Shot Scope’s Performance Tracking System was used last week on the European Tour by professional golfer Jamie McLeary at one of the leading events in global golf, the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. This is the first time the system has been used by a professional golfer in competitive play. Shot Scope has been ruled as conforming to the Rules of Golf and is therefore suitable for use in all competitive tournaments. McLeary finished two under par at the championship, unfortunately narrowly missing the cut. He was delighted was the system: “It was a great thrill to debut Shot Scope’s technology on the European Tour. For a statistics fanatic like myself, I’ve always been interested in performance data and Shot Scope now allows me to capture this data in a manner that doesn’t distract me from my game.” Shot Scope had a significant presence at the event and garnered interest from amateurs and pros alike, including Simon Dyson, Nico Colsaerts, George Coetzee and Oliver Wilson, with many taking home a Shot Scope for their own use. Shot Scope is the first fully automated performance tracking system for golfers.

ABOUT SHOT SCOPE TECHNOLOGIES

Shot Scope Technologies (shotscope.com) is a Scottish company which has designed, manufactured and launched a wearable performance tracking system for both the amateur and professional golfer. It is comprised of a wristband and a set of 20 unique tags.

The intuitive system provides information that is beneficial to golfers of every level. The data translates into over 100 Tour-level statistics displayed in meaningful charts, graphs and tables. The golfer’s strengths and weaknesses are highlighted and the in-depth analysis is based on far more than just the final score.

Shot Scope automatically collects data in the background, allowing the golfer to play uninterrupted. The unique ClubSense technology utilises the tags to detect which club is in use, therefore no manual input is required. PinCollect has been developed and optimised for putting. Integrated GPS ensures accurate tracking that pinpoints the exact location of shots. On completion of a round, data can be quickly uploaded to a smartphone or computer via Bluetooth or USB, where it can be viewed instantly.

JAMIE MCLEARY

McLeary has had a solid year in 2016, with his first top-10 finish on the European Tour at the Tshwane Open in February. The Bonnyrigg-based golfer is delighted to be using the very latest golf technology on the course and says that the fact it comes from such a local company is “an added bonus.”

ALFRED DUNHILL LINKS CHAMPIONSHIP 2016

Held over four days on three of the finest Scottish links courses, the championship attracts top professionals and celebrity amateur golfers alike. The two-part annual championship sees the likes of Hugh Grant, Jamie Dornan and Ronan Keating partner with pro golfers to compete in the team format while an individual professional tournament runs parallel. With contestants competing for a £3 million prize fund. Englishman Tyrrell Hatton won the 2016 tournament with the tied lowest score in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship history of 23-under-par.

Scottish Golf Technology Company Launch Internationally

Shot Scope Technologies’ performance tracking system is now available to buy from shotscope.com. Highly anticipated release follows a sell-out pre-order in January 2016. On sale since mid-June, Shot Scope is already being used in 24 countries worldwide. Users are averaging 1,000 rounds per month with Shot Scope, playing around the world: from Australia to South Africa, Bermuda to Argentina, China to the UAE and many more. Shot Scope has received positive feedback for both its technology and customer service. It is the world’s first fully automated performance tracking wristband for golf. Shot Scope will be used on the European Tour for the first time at the Alfred Dunhill Links in St Andrews in October 2016.

ABOUT US

Shot Scope Technologies (shotscope.com) is a Scottish company which has designed, manufactured and launched a wearable performance tracking system for both the amateur and professional golfer. It is comprised of a wristband and a set of 20 unique tags.

The intuitive system provides a level of information that was previously only available to professionals. The data translates into over 100 Tour-level statistics: displayed in meaningful charts, graphs and tables to allow for real understanding of the information. The data highlights the golfer’s strengths and weaknesses and gives an in-depth analysis based on far more than just the final score.

Shot Scope automatically collects data in the background, allowing the golfer to play uninterrupted. The unique ClubSense technology utilises the tags to detect which club is in use, therefore no manual input is required. PinCollect has been developed and optimised for putting. Integrated GPS tracking ensures accurate tracking that pinpoints the exact location of shots. On completion of a round data can be quickly uploaded to a smartphone or computer, via Bluetooth or USB, where it can be viewed instantly. This is where the fun begins. Relive your round of golf and assess your performance like never before: view maps of your shots on each hole, analyse the clubs used and the distance of every shot hit, understand your tee shot performance including long drives, discover how close your approach shots were to the pin and review detailed short game analytics and putting performance insights.

Shot Scope has been ruled as conforming to the Rules of Golf and can therefore be used in competitive play. The system will be used by professional golfers at the Dunhill Links European Tour event in October. Combined with the long battery life and ability to store 100 rounds on the wristband, a golfer can track every shot, every round, every game for maximum insight. Providing a level of data analysis which was once only available to the elite, Shot Scope makes it available to golfers of all levels. Join the Performance Tracking Revolution today and watch your game improve.

QUOTES

David Hunter, CEO: “The team at Shot Scope have worked exceptionally hard over the past year to complete the development, identify manufacturing partners here in Scotland and launch the product. Shot Scope is now being used in more than 20 countries and I am incredibly excited about the future.”

Gavin Dear, CCO and former pro-golfer: “It has been absolutely fantastic to receive the quality feedback from our early users. Seeing rounds coming in from all over the world has really driven the Shot Scope team on. 2017 will be an exciting year and I would expect to see Shot Scope used on the major tours as we have a number of tour professionals actively testing the product right now.”

Ken Lewandowski, Chairman: “Shot Scope is an innovative solution that will revolutionise the game of golf. This is the first product on the market that allows golfers of all levels to automatically collect performance data. Everyone involved is excited about the future of Shot Scope.”

– END –

Team Shot Scope’s Olympic Picks

Men’s Competition

Gold – Sergio Garcia (Spain)

Sergio revels in representing his country. The fiery Spaniard has played some of his best golf during the Ryder Cup and credits it to the team Europe atmosphere. Even though the Olympics is not a team event, he will still be spurred on by wearing the Spanish flag on his shirt. The World no.11 has never won a major but has finished in the top five 12 times in the four majors showing he can perform when it matters most.

Silver – Justin Rose (Great Britain)

The 2013 US Open Champion has not been quiet about his excitement in representing team GB. Ever since the announcement of golfs return being to the Olympics he has had his eyes set on that Gold medal. Rose suffered with an injury earlier in the season but has showed resilience with a steady performance finishing T-22nd at The Open Championship and The PGA Championship.

Bronze – Emiliano Grillo (Argentina)

This young star has already won this season on the PGA Tour at The Fry’s Open. More Impressively the win came at his Rookie debut. His form has steadily continued throughout the 2015-2016 season, making the cut in all four majors. Even though the Argentina was only reunited with his clubs a couple of days before the tournaments starts, he was still able to play a practice round and he commented on the course’s likeness to his favourite course, Royal Melbourne.

Wildcard – Byeong Hun An (South Korea)

He Jokes that he wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the Olympics as it is how his parents met. They have both won Olympic medals for table tennis (Bronze and Silver) but Byeong hopes to go one better to ensure bragging rights. He is currently 35th in the world and knows how to win with a European Tour title already under his belt.

Women’s Competition

Gold – Lydia Ko (New Zealand)

The current World no.1 is the obvious favorite for the gold as she continues to dominate on the LPGA. The 19-year-old has won 4 times this season on the LPGA and has finished runner up 3 times. The youngster is definitely proving age is just a number and letting her talent do the talking.

Silver – Ariya Jutanugarn (Thailand)

After Ariya’s win at the RICOH Womens British Open she jumped from no.6 to no.2 in the world. That was her 4th LPGA tour win and was her first major victory. The 20-year-old says her improved performance is all down to a change in her pre shot routine, she now beams out a smile before every shot. Her last 3 starts on the LPGA were a tied 17th, tied 2nd and a win. Let’s hope she is smiling on the Podium at the end of next week.

Bronze – Catriona Matthew (Great Britain)

Catrina Matthew is coming into recent form just in time for the Olympics. During the RICOH Women’s British Open at Woburn she posted a 65 (7 under par) in the second round and finished the week T-5th. The recently announced Solheim Cup Vice Captain is not slowing down and is hoping to bring back an Olympic Medal to North Berwick, Scotland.

Wildcard – Charley Hull (Great Britain)

The English prodigy has had a steady season on the LPGA. Her best finish this season was at the ANA inspiration where she finished tied 2nd. Hull is currently the highest ranked Brit on the Rolex Rankings at 27th and with a great performance at the International crown she is definitely one to watch next week.

Fan Favorite Contested Again at Balustol

The PGA Championship Long Drive Contest returned again on Tuesday to start off the final Major of the season. This year it took place on the first hole of Balustol Golf Club, a 478-yard par 5, it has become a firm favourite with golf fans and pros alike.

The aim of the contest is to hit the furthest drive possible, with the ball still finishing on the fairway. With some of the longest hitters on tour this is easier said than done. It’s not only a test of distance but also of accuracy – it won’t count if doesn’t hit the fairway and with everyone only getting one shot there is no room for error. The winner of the competition receives a money clip and $25,000 to give to a charity of their choice. Runners up receive $10,000 and $5,000 respectively for their chosen charities.

This competition has been around for a long time, it was first held in 1952 at Big Spring Country Club in Louisville, Kentucky but was later stopped between 1965-1973 and then discontinued again in 1984 after the PGA Championship at Shoal Creek Country Club. It made its official return to the USPGA Championship week in 2014 at Valhalla Golf Club where Louis Oosthuizen was the winner with a 340-yard drive. Jason Day, current world number 1, came in second place after hitting it 2 yards short at 338 yards. The following year at Whistling Straits, Anirban Lahiri took the money clip home by hitting the fairway with a 327-yard drive.

One of the most memorable winners? Jack Nicklaus, who came out on top twice. Using a Persimmon driver Nicklaus ripped the ball 341 yards in 1963 to take the top spot but due to wetter conditions was only able to knock his driver 308 yards in 1964. His gold USPGA money clip which he won in 1963 is something he still uses today; sure he has plenty of use for it!

The competition took another unfortunate turn when, in 2014, Bubba Watson refused to take part in and hit 3 iron down the 10th at Valhalla. He could be heard using profanity to complain about the contest but he later apologized for his ‘selfish’ actions. The majority of the players have enjoyed the return of the Longest Drive Competition and enjoy the difficult challenge it poses. One of the most interesting shots from the contest was in 2015 when Martin Kaymer’s Happy Gilmore-style drive which was a winner with the fans but unfortunately failed to hit the fairway.

Since the reintroduction of the competition a club PGA professional has finished in the Top 5 every year. In 2014 Nashville’s Johan Kok finished 3rd and Matt Dobyns, a club professional from Lake Success N.Y, finished 3rd in 2015 and 5th this year a Balustol. Both of them qualified again to play in the PGA Championship this year thanks to solid finishes at the PGA professionals Championship in June at Turning Stone Resort, N.Y.

This year’s long drive championship was eventful. Rory McIlroy smashed a drive 345 yards early on and held the lead for the majority of the day. Six hours after Rory’s attempt, An Byeong Hun from South Korea stepped up to the tee. He ripped one 2 yards further than the world no. 4 clinching the title from Rory with a 347-yard drive.

By Rachael McQueen, Community Engagement Executive at Shot Scope

Team Shot Scope’s Picks for The Open

David Hunter – CEO & Founder, Handicap 6
Winner – Adam Scott
Scott already has one major under his belt. The currently ranked X player has performed well at The Open championship in recent years. His last 4 finishes are 2nd,T-3rd, T-5th and T-10th. He made the cut in 2004 when the Open was last at Troon, so he already knows the course, and knows what to expect from this championship golf course
Wildcard – Matthew Fitzpatrick
Fitzpatrick has won twice now on the European tour……. He is already showing massive amounts of experience and guts at the age of 22. In 2013 he was the lowest amateur in The Open and won the silver medal finishing T-44th at Muirfield. Even though this is his first Open championship as a professional I still think he is one to watch this week.

Gavin Dear – Chief Commercial, Handicap +2
Winner – Rickie Fowler
In 2014 Rickie finished in the top five in all four majors. He won The Scottish Open at Gullane last year showing he can play links golf and win. He has played in the Open 3 times and has made the cut 100% of the time, his best finish was last year at St. Andrews T-4.
Wildcard – Sergio Garcia
Sergio has had 9 top tens in the Open Championship which includes two 2nd places. He enjoys playing links golf and the pressure of the Open Championship. He finished tied 5th at the US Open so is showing good form going into this week.

Lewis Allison – Chief Technology Officer, Handicap 20
Winner – Jordan Speith
The world No. 3 finish Tied 3rd at the WGC Bridgestone. He is no.1 in birdie average on the PGA tour, making an average of 4.56 birdies per round. The Open is one of the two majors that has evaded him in his short but very successful professional career.
Wildcard – Luke Donald
Donald has had an inconsistent season but is slowly trying to turn it around. At the RBC Heritage event he had his best finish on the PGA Tour since 2014 (T-2nd) and at the WGC he was 5th in scrambling. At last years Open he finished tied 12th at St Andrews and hopefully this year he can turn his season around.

Jamie Binning – Commercial Assistant, Handicap 2
Winner – Jordan Speith
Speith has won the US Open and the Masters, he got close last year on winning his 3rd major but fell short at tied 5th. He has proved he can perform well on links golf and I think Troon suits his game well.
Wildcard – Colin Montgomerie
He is from Troon and grew up playing the golf course. He knows it better than anybody else in the field and hopefully local knowledge will help him prevail. His best finish in The Open was in 2005 finishing in 2nd place.

Rachael McQueen – Community Engagement Exec, Professional LETAS
Winner – Jordan Speith
In order to score well at Troon you need to have a good short game and Jordan Speith is renowned for his putting. He is currently ranked 3rd in the OWGR’s. He finished tied 4th in last years Open Championship at St Andrews and has his eyes set on winning the claret jug this year.
Wildcard – Russell Knox
He is from Scotland so knows how to play links golf and proved that with a top ten finish at Castle Stuart last week in the AAM Scottish Open. He is currently ranked 26th in the OWGR and the Scottish crowd will all be behind him.

How I Play Troon

Royal Troon is situated on the west coast of Scotland and is set to host the 145th Open Championship. This will be the ninth Open that has been held at Royal Troon Golf Club and this course is a world renowned favorite among golfers. So what’s it like to have this famous course on your doorstep and watch it be taken over by the golfing world as it gets ready to host the Open? With just weeks to go until the first competitor tees it up, it’s an experience I am lucky enough to be very familiar with.

Royal Troon is where I fell in love with golf. At the 2004 Open Championship I was drawn by the buzz it brought to my little hometown and have been addicted to the sport ever since. I was a member at The Ladies Golf Club of Troon for a number of years up until I turned professional in 2013. To me, Royal Troon will always be my home course and I am one of the most excited people about The Open Championship’s return.

Like everyone else I want Troon to really show its teeth and give the professionals a challenge. If it comes to Open week and there’s not a breath of wind, with blistering sunshine I will be disheartened. Of course that weather is great for the walking spectators but I am sure everybody else who has played Troon will agree, those perfect weather conditions are an absolute rarity.

Continue reading “How I Play Troon”

True Test at Troon

The Open, the oldest major in golf, is set to be held at Royal Troon this week. The championship length is 7,190 yards and is a par 71. The course is host to deceivingly tight fairways, wispy long grass, gorse and tricky pot hole bunkers.

Most people describe Royal Troon as a game of two halves. The front nine gives the impression it is wide open with its lack of trees or gorse but the fairways are lined with tall wispy rough and perfectly placed bunkers to collect any off line tee shot. The back nine on the other hand has more gorse lined fairways especially in the loop 9th, 10th 11th and 12th. There are less bunkers on the back nine 36 bunkers to be exact, versus the 60 bunkers that defend the front nine.

Royal Troon’s most famous hole is the par 3 Postage Stamp. It is the shortest hole in championship golf at a mere 123 yards, but don’t let its length fool you. The tee box is raised above the green making it very open to the elements. If the wind is coming straight off the Firth of Clyde the hole suddenly becomes longer. You have to carry your shot over a grassy gully onto a long but very narrow green. The green is surrounded by five bunkers, one that is rightfully named the Coffin bunker due to its deep but narrow characteristics. This short hole is not a guaranteed par and has seen a few high scores in its Open championship history. In 1997 a young 21-year-old Tiger Woods walked off the 8th green with a triple bogey six after finding a bunker with his tee shot.

Continue reading “True Test at Troon”

Battle at the Castle

The Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open is returning to Castle Stuart this week. This beautifully fierce course is located in the Scottish Highlands in Inverness and is ready to host some of the best players in the world. This iconic links course looks out onto the Moray Firth and was opened in 2009. Its style and distinguished features were an instant hit and hosted the first ever European tour event in the Scottish Highlands in 2011.

This year will be the 4th time Castle Stuart has hosted the Scottish Open. Due the Scottish Open being held predominately the week before The Open Championship it tends to host a very strong field. These players take advantage of unprecedented practice on a links course, ahead of the 3rd major of the year. Past winners at this venue are Luke Donald (2011), Jeev Milka Singh (2012) and Phil Michelson (2013). Unfortunately, due to a busy schedule the past champion Rickie Fowler will not be returning to Scotland to defend his title. Phil Michelson currently ranked 21st in the world has his eyes set on another win at Castle Stuart. He will be hoping for a less exciting win than 2013 where he uncharacteristically failed to get down in two from just off the green on the 18th, which then forced a play-off with South Africa’s Branden Grace. Both of them shot a total score of 17 under par but Phil came out as the winner defeating Branden on the first play-off hole. This was Michelson’s first individual victory in the U.K.

Continue reading “Battle at the Castle”