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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Don't Forget the Early Golf

And by "early" I mean starting TODAY. In one of those unusual situations that we see occasionally in golf, the European Tour's Nordea Masters actually starts on a Wednesday rather than the typical Thursday.

The reason? It's simple. Nordea hopes to attract players who might be in the U.S. Open, so they're starting early to give them an extra travel day between tournaments. A smart move on their part, if you ask me.

It convinced Lee Westwood to play the Nordea. In the past couple of years Westwood has played the St. Jude in order to be closer to the Open site. But according to an article at (not
The 39-year-old world No. 3 will be making his 57th attempt to win a major at the Olympic Club and is still searching for the secret to success in terms of how best to prepare.
"I haven't found the right way yet, so I might as well keep trying different ones," said Westwood, who at Wentworth two weeks ago confessed to feeling tired after three stints in America and trips to Asia and the Middle East already this year.
"It's difficult to prepare for a West Coast major because nowhere is near," he explained Tuesday. "If you play Memphis it's still a four to five-hour flight to California, so it's a tussle whether you play in all that heat or you go to Sweden, where there will be steady conditions and it finishes on Saturday."
It's an interesting thought. You could probably make an argument that the Nordea Masters is less likely to run over than the St. Jude -- the front that brought all that rain to Memphis on Monday could still affect things -- so Lee might actually be able to get to California more quickly from Sweden.

Sergio is also playing the Nordea before heading to the Olympic Club. I'm not sure how many other Open entrants will be in the field, as I haven't seen a complete entry list for the major yet, but I'd be surprised if Lee and Sergio were the only ones.

The Nordea Masters gives us yet another extra day of golf this week. GC has live coverage running from 9am ET (that's right after Morning Drive) until noon. Sergio tees off at 1:30 am ET so he won't be in Wednesday's coverage, but Westwood tees off at 6:30am ET so we should get to see most of his final 9.


  1. Looking at the entry list for the Nordea, there are a few players who are going to the US Open, but I wouldn't have thought anyone other than those you highlight could pick and choose whether to enter the Nordea or the St Jude.

    Besides Westwood and Sergio, I can only see Cabrera-Bello, Fernandez-Castano, Peter Hanson, Jacquelin, Noren and Baldwin (I may have missed some). Obviously players like McIlroy and McDowell can play in the St Jude, but I suspect for most of the Europeans who play mostly on the European Tour its a choice between the Nordea and a week off for practice. Most seem to have gone for the week off!

  2. I agree with you... but that's the point. ET events pay huge appearance fees just to try and attract players like Westwood and Sergio. A single big name can really make a difference in their world ranking points and ability to draw a crowd.

    I imagine shifting the tournament by one day is a fairly cheap way to make your tournament more attractive to those big names. After all, the big names will play the majors. The fact that most of the other players take the week off just makes attracting the big names more important.

    1. Getting Lee and Sergio is undoubtedly a big coup for the organisers, and without moving the tournament a day forward I doubt whether they'd be playing, whatever the appearance money on offer!

      There's only so much they can do however, and its a bit of a shame for the tournament that the field is lacking some of the bigger names on tour despite moving the tournament. You can't blame the players, however, for wanting to get the extra preparation in the US. Difficult situation for all concerned, but well done to the Swedes for coming up with an innovative solution.

    2. Actually, Tripp Isenhour said on Golf Central that he thinks it may give Lee an advantage over the other guys at the major. (And the logic would apply to Sergio as well, I suppose.) He said the weather in Sweden is more likely to be like the weather at Olympic, and that should help him get used to conditions more quickly. Add the extra day to beat the jet lag, and this could set up well for the ET players.