The Open Championship was last held in Northern Ireland in 1951 and the champion earned 300£ (or roughly $11,000 today). Max Faulkner surely cherished clutching the Claret Jug as he stood on the 18th green at Royal Portrush and the winner’s check was a welcome sight as well. However, when compared to the $1.8 million Jordan Spieth collected for winning last summer at Royal Birkdale, the paltry pay Faulkner received reflects the immense growth professional golf has enjoyed during the last 66 years.
Arguably the world’s most in-form golfer has gone from strength to strength lately despite a gruesome schedule which has seen him clock up over 32,000 air miles in the past seven weeks. Following up from his glorious 2010 season in which he won the US Open, was the hero at the Ryder Cup, rose to 5 in the world rankings, defeated Tiger at his own tournament (despite a 4 shot deficit going into the final round) and was awarded an MBE in the New Year honours, McDowell flew from his Northern Ireland home straight after Christmas for the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii (that’s one heck of a journey) only to miss out on a play off by just one shot, shooting a final round joint course record of 62 in the process.
After 48 events on the long European Tour season, it has come down to a 2-horse race for the crown of European number 1. It is quite fitting that the 2 guys in the race are both European current major champions, both of whom won their maiden majors this season, and are also both members of the victorious European Ryder Cup Team at Celtic Manor in October. They are also both ranked in the top 10 of the world rankings.
Fortunately I receive a steady stream of positive messages from returning clients to our destinations and this morning I received the following email from a multiple repeat client from Milwaukee;