Our team on the ground at the ISPS Handa Wales Open bring you all the action from behind the scenes at The Celtic Manor Resort…
Litton reaches half century
This week we celebrated the 50th birthday of Mark Litton, a former European Tour player and a rules official this week at the ISPS Handa Wales Open. Mark made 82 appearances on The European Tour back in his heyday, his best finish coming at the 1995 Italian Open, where he was third. These days he is a popular member of the Tour's rules team, but is hoping to make a rare competitive appearance this year, as he can play on the Senior Tour now he has reached his half century. We look forward to seeing Mark back on the fairways very soon...
Monty driven mad
It was remarkable enough that Colin Montgomerie made a 900-mile round trip home to Scotland from Wentworth on Sunday night in order to collect a putter he needed for the following day's US Open qualifier at Walton Heath, but to then do the journey again two days later is surely madness. For no other reason than he wanted to have dinner with his family, the Scot jumped in the car on Tuesday afternoon, enjoyed an evening meal in Perthshire, then started the engine again to drive through the night and make it back to Wales for his morning tee time in the Wednesday Pro-Am. Apparently he likes the solitude of driving at night, but he must have enormous powers for staying awake that long.
Twenty Ten in 2012
The last time your two correspondents this week were here at The Celtic Manor Resort was in October 2010, when a certain Ryder Cup victory party was raising the roof of the now-famous golfing venue. The course is looking a little different this week from the muddy mess it became after the torrential weather during The Ryder Cup; in fact it is looking absolutely fantastic and the players have already been praising its marvellous condition. Fortunately, the forecast for this week is excellent – if a tad cooler than last week’s high temperatures – so it promises to be a superb event with, no doubt, some thrilling golf in store.
Health MOTs all round
In addition to a fantastic hotel, a wonderful golf course and excellent hospitality this week, the players and their families also have a health screening service available, provided by Screen 4 Life and Tour Fit For Golf. The former offers comprehensive screening for skin cancer, and Tour Fit For Golf, an Official Supplier of The European Tour, gives a full MOT of the body, testing glucose levels, resting heart rate, blood pressure and cholesterol. The European Tour media team were also able to take advantage of this check-up, and fortunately the news was nearly all positive, so we should at least see the week out in Wales. The Tour Fit For Golf website is an excellent resource for golfers of all abilities, so check out www.tourfitforgolf.com for a wealth of useful information.
The tournament’s gala dinner took place in The Celtic Manor Resort on Tuesday evening, and what a grand occasion it was. Guests were given a great insight into the work of new title sponsors ISPS and the man behind the organisation, Dr Haruhisa Handa, a philanthropist who has done an incredible amount of charity work in his native Japan and around the world. The menu reflected the new relationship of the tournament, fusing Welsh and Japanese cuisines which made for an interesting meal. When have you ever seen ham hock, a scotch egg and sushi on the same plate before? Well, it worked. The evening was compered by Welsh television presented Gethin Jones, and there was wonderful entertainment from two hugely talented opera singers, Gwawr Edwards and Bryn Terfel.