Our man on the ground at the Blackstone Golf Club takes you behind the scenes of the Ballantine’s Championship….
Fraser makes his mark with the Championship blend….
Surely one of the coolest benefits in sport is the honour that befalls the winner of the Ballantine’s Championship of making of the next year’s Championship Blend, one of the rarest whiskies in the world. This year it was the turn of Marcus Fraser to be flown to Ballantine’s distillery in Glenburgie, Scotland to join Ballantine’s Master Blender, Sandy Hyslop, in creating a unique blend, of which only ten bottles have been produced. Under Sandy’s watchful eye, Marcus selected his favourite tasting 38 year old whiskies to create this year’s blend. Marcus gets to keep one and one will be presented to this week’s winner, meaning there are only eight up for grabs anywhere on the planet. So when does one crack open such a priceless bottle? “I think I’ll keep it for my son Archie’s 18th birthday. We have a few years to wait considering he’s only two but it will be very cool to have such a special bottle to open on his 18th.” Beautiful sentiments, let’s hope Archie doesn’t add a dash of coke to proceedings when the lid comes off…..
Pain in the neck for Mr Fraser…..
It’s just as well Marcus didn’t have his priceless bottle of Ballantine’s to hand when he was suffering the agonising pain of a prolapsed disk in his neck in January. The Aussie had to be operated on as a matter of urgency as he was at risk of never playing golf again (full story here) such was the severity of his injury. A Slice of the Action asked him to describe the pain he was suffering at its worst – “Try and imagine someone stabbing you in the neck and twisting the knife while you are holding onto to an electrified fence and you are getting close.” Ouch. Not even the Ballantine’s could dull that pain……
No Poulter-geists in Korea…..
A Slice of the Action caught up with the Twitter King Mr Ian Poulter on Wednesday to get some clarification on his tweet of last week that his rented house in Charleston for the PGA Tour event he was playing in was haunted. That’s right folks, haunted. We’re talking ghosts and ghouls, spirits and all. The man himself was clearly freaked out as goose-bumps started popping up all over his arms and neck as he described his week with what seemed a very unwanted house guest. “At first we thought it was a bit of a wind up. Early in the week, we had me, my agent, and another guy from his office, my physio and my caddie. Then later in the week, Kate and the kids came up and my physio's wife and kids. It was an old house in what is meant to be one of the most haunted places in America. There was a big back door that had two deadbolt locks on it and every night we double locked it only to find it wide open every morning. As I said, we thought it was a wind up at first but then it started freaking us out and I am sure that none of the real people in that house was opening the door. The only night it didn’t happen was when we started making a joke of the ghost on Saturday, by opening the door and making a bit of a noise about it. Sure enough, the door was not open on Sunday morning.” Does Poults now believe in the afterlife? “I'm telling you that door was open. Now, I didn't open it and nor did anyone else. So you tell me what opened that door? I can only tell you some spirit in some way, shape or form. The other thing I can safely say is that I won’t be staying there again!” Anyone got the number for the Ghostbusters?
We are pretty sure there are no ghosts with us at the Ballantine’s Championship, but there have been some pretty chilling screams coming from the Karaoke bar at the official hotel this week. Ballantine’s are truly wonderful hosts, but the more generous they are with the distribution of their wonderful product, the more haunting the karaoke seems to become……
Birthday bonanza for Tour staff….
The European Tour staff who made the short hop from Europe to Korea for this week’s event are enjoying a double birthday celebration as our resident meteorologist Mike McClellan, AKA Mike ‘McCLOUD’ (for obvious reasons), and refereeing legend Pascal Vincent, AKA ‘ALBERT!’ (for reasons that we can’t possibly divulge on these pages), celebrated their respective 50th and 60th birthdays in Korea this week. It’s one of the hardships of Tour life that you tend to miss a lot of birthdays; weddings etc when you are on the road so it’s just as well The European Tour staff treat each other like a real family. You know, constant bickering, bitching and moaning at one another until we all realise that we truly love each other despite the fact that we spend about 20 hours a day together when we are on the road. Hopefully we can make it 24 hours in each other’s company due to exuberant double birthday celebrations on Saturday night!