Our team at Blackstone Golf Club brings you another slice of the action from behind the scenes at the Ballantine’s Championship.
Miguel takes the mic
Miguel Angel Jiménez is renowned as one of The European Tour’s Big Characters, and his popularity has certainly reached Asia. The Spaniard has been in fine form so far this week, keeping the locals entertained. From pulling funny faces for the cameras in his press conferences, to showing off his rather exquisite cocktail making skills, there is never a dull moment with Miguel around. The 18-time Tour winner faced the media again on Friday following his second round 68. As he walked into the media centre his name was announced a couple of times to rouse the journalists from their seats and into the press conference room. Miguel kindly offered as little assistance himself, announcing: “It is me! I am here.” He then had a bit of fun with one of the media centre staff members at the conclusion of the press conference, when she was trying to test whether one of the microphones was working. Said staff member, thinking she had switched it off, was using the’ tap on the mic’ method to test that no sound was being emitted. However, what she didn’t realise was that Miguel was watching her and tapping on another mic every time she did. Cue a rather confused lady, much to Miguel’s amusement.
Hello, my name is Marcus…
Answer of the week so far has to go to Australian Marcus Fraser, the 2010 Ballantine’s Championship winner, who was asked why he always seems to do so well in this event. “It's obviously just the alcohol, I can't really survive without it,” he joked.
A nice up and down
Blackstone Golf Club has proved a rather challenging track so far this week. Thursday’s first round, when the wind was blowing, certainly caused a few headaches for some of the players, Frenchman Victor Dubuisson aside. Part of the test is the various changes in elevation around the course, which not only puts pressure on the players’ accuracy but also their fitness. The climb from the first to the second hole in particular is a profound one and although buggies are in operation, Anthony Wall, buoyed by first day enthusiasm, rather unwisely opted not to use one during the Pro-Am.
“I ran it on Wednesday, and I've been recovering ever since,” he said. “I think there should be buggies on every hole, but that's just me!”
Spare a thought for some of the dignitaries from Ballantine’s here this week who, true to their Scottish roots, have been seen sporting tartan kilts around Blackstone Golf Club. It certainly fits with the aesthetic of the tournament when they were decked out on the first tee to greet the players on Thursday mornings. However, rather them than me when it was a chilly 3°C for the early starters, especially if they fully adhered with tradition! Let’s hope they had a wee nip of the sponsor’s product in their sporrans.