Our press officer at the Travis Perkins plc Senior Masters brings you all the action from behind the scenes at Woburn Golf Club…
A night to remember
The annual Senior Tour awards dinner was held on Thursday night in the absolutely magnificent Woburn Abbey. A finer setting for the occasion would be hard to find, and fittingly the evening was a resounding success. Peter Fowler collected the John Jacobs Trophy for winning the Order of Merit last year, and Gary Wolstenholme was presented with his Rookie of the Year Award for a hugely impressive 2011 season. Nick Job was presented with the Lawrence Batley Trophy for the leading player in 2011 over the age of 60, and Fowler doubled his haul when he was announced the Rolex 2011 Player of the Year, as voted by his fellow Senior Tour Members. The highlight was saved until last, when Englishman Mark James was given Honorary Life Membership of The European Tour by Chief Executive George O'Grady, in recognition of his superb career on The European Tour and the Senior Tour. A fine evening was enjoyed by all! Read more about the awards ceremony here and about Mark James' award here .
A Hull lot of talent
Woburn is the home club of Charley Hull, the 16 year old taking the golfing world by storm, and on Thursday she was out on the practice putting green honing her rather impressive putting skills. Charley recently played in the victorious GB&I Curtis Cup team, and earlier this year she finished 38th in the season's first major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship in the United States. She is also the sixth best amateur in the world. It was undecided whether she was taking tips from the Senior Tour pros or whether they were getting some advice from her...
A company called Footlabs are making their golf tournament debut here at Woburn this week, offering free consultation to players, staff and the public on their feet health. It is a fantastic service and feet health is an underrated aspect of sport and physical activity. When you think how many miles a golfer will walk in a round (about five – more if you’re zig-zagging across fairways and looking for balls all over the place!) it is essential that your feet are in the correct form, otherwise any number of injuries to feet, calves, knees, thighs and hips can result. Footlabs use slow-motion cameras and very impressive pressure sensors to analyse how you walk barefeet on a treadmill, and then from the results they advise on a wide range of insoles and orthotics to help potential issues. If you’re at Woburn this week, be sure to check out their stall opposite the practice putting green; if you’re not, have a look at www.footlabs.co.uk
Happy hunting ground for James
The pre-tournament focus may be on the likes of Roger Chapman and Barry Lane – and rightly so, given their superb form this season – but one player flying under the radar is Mark James. The Englishman has an enviable record at Woburn, winning the 1990 Dunhill British Masters on The European Tour and claiming his first Senior Tour title here in the 2005 European Senior Masters. He was also tenth in this event last year, tied 14th in 2008 and tied 13th in 2006. The Duke’s Course is obviously suited to James, who played in seven Ryder Cups and Captaind the 1999 European Team, and he could well have another good week.
Gatting swaps bats for clubs
Mike Gatting was the star name in Thursday’s pro-am, and no doubt the former England cricket captain was quizzed on his thoughts about Andrew Strauss’ recent resignation by his group, which included Australian Peter Fowler, the 2011 Senior Tour Order of Merit winner. If that didn’t provide enough conversation, Gatting and Fowler would surely have had plenty to discuss going over past Ashes series…
Summer seemed a distant memory on Wednesday afternoon, when the first of two pro-ams had to be reduced to nine holes because of torrential rain. Conditions were not much better for Thursday’s pro-am and full waterproofs were the order of the day, but thankfully the forecast is much better for the first round on Friday and excellent for the weekend. Fair weather golf is what it is all about!