A family affair, champagne celebrations and some very, very long drives feature in golf talking points this week:
Much excitement is being generated by the news that Tiger Woods and his 11-year-old son Charlie will team up for the first time on a golf course at the PNC Championship over the weekend of 19-20 December in Orlando, Florida.
And judging by footage on social media, young Charlie is a chip off the old block when it comes to swinging a club with an action eerily reminiscent of his 15-time major-winning father.
But though the all-conquering Woods senior and son have been installed among the favourites for the event, where 20 major-winners partner a family member, they face some stiff competition.
Also teeing up will be world number three Justin Thomas and his father Mike, who is a golf teaching professional in the family’s home state of Kentucky.
Matt Kuchar and his 13-year son Cameron and Tom Lehman and 25-year-old Tom Junior are expected also to be among the challengers.
But don’t rule out the defending champions, 63-year-old Bernhard Langer and son Jason, 20, who plays on the University of Pennsylvania team.
Bernhard is in tip-top form having just become the oldest player to make the cut at the Masters, where he finished tied 29th at three-under par, and Jason will be raring for some action after his collegiate season was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Having shaken off the tag of being the best player never to win a women’s major when she broke through at the PGA Championship last month, South Korea’s Kim Sei-young wasted no time in adding a 12th LPGA Tour title on her next tournament outing last weekend.
The 27-year-old Kim’s remarkable consistency – she also has 51 top-10 finishes since making her LPGA debut in 2015, and has not finished lower than tied 18th this year – means she is now within a whisker of becoming world number one for the first time.
Kim is now the third most prolific South Korean LPGA player of all time, trailing only Park In-bee who has 20 wins and Pak Se-ri (25) whose PGA Championship victory in 1998 inspired an explosion of female Korean golfing talent.
So Kim could be forgiven for wanting to celebrate a little, after victory at the Pelican Championship in Florida on Sunday, though a drenching in champagne left her a little tipsy, she giggled afterwards.
“My friends put it on my head, and then my T-shirt and everything. I feel like I take a shower in the champagne,” Kim laughed.
“Then I drink a little bit and feel, you know, a little drunk.”
Everyone has been fixated by Bryson DeChambeau’s quest for speed and power this year but a young South African has smacked a drive that echoed around the world.
Wilco Nienaber’s 439-yard rocket off the tee at the 597-yard par-five fourth hole in the opening round of the European Tour’s Joburg Open – albeit heavily altitude-assisted – launched the 20-year-old into global golfing headlines.
But South Africa’s Nienaber, the longest hitter on the European Tour with a driving average of 336.81 yards, found on the 72nd hole that length isn’t everything.
One shot adrift of eventual winner Joachim B Hansen, an adrenalin-fuelled Nienaber managed to find a fairway bunker almost 300 yards from the tee with an iron at the uphill 507-yard par four closing hole.
It enabled Denmark’s Hansen to claim his maiden European Tour title by two strokes – a bitter end for big-hitter Nienaber, whose downfall came from a shot that flew too far.
Top 10s, week beginning 23 November 2020:
1. Dustin Johnson (USA) 12.91
2. Jon Rahm (ESP) 10.36
3. Justin Thomas (USA) 9.55
4. Rory McIlroy (NIR) 7.55
5. Collin Morikawa (USA) 7.33
6. Bryson DeChambeau (USA) 7.32 (+1)
7. Webb Simpson (USA) 7.24 (-1)
8. Xander Schauffele (USA) 7.20
9. Patrick Cantlay (USA) 6.42
10. Tyrrell Hatton (ENG) 6.21
116. Robert Streb (USA) 1.39 (+264)
152. Joachim B. Hansen (DEN) 1.11 (+78)
209. Wilco Nienaber (RSA) 0.85 (+86)
1. Ko Jin-young (KOR) 7.79
2. Kim Sei-young (KOR) 7.38
3. Nelly Korda (USA) 6.59
4. Danielle Kang (USA) 6.40
5. Park In-bee (KOR) 6.18
6. Brooke Henderson (CAN) 5.81 (+1)
7. Nasa Hataoka (JPN) 5.71 (-1)
8. Minjee Lee (AUS) 5.25
9. Park Sung-hyun (KOR) 4.99
10. Kim Hyo-joo Kim (KOR) 4.90
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