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Garcia turns Green, finally

Sergio Garcia wins Green Jacket… finally.

Nothing comes easy for a man with a monkey on his back and, to be honest, Sergio Garcia had one the size of King Kong on there… until now.

On the 60th birthday of his late fellow countryman and iconic legend, Seve Ballesterous, Sergio Garcia finally got to put to rest the “BPNTHWAM” (Best Player Never To Have Won A Major) label; kick the monkey to the curb and don a Green jacket as the 2017 Masters champion.

I, for one, am thrilled that he was able to do it.

When Sergio came to Việt Nam for the 1st Ho Tram Open Asian Tour tournament, he had the suite next to mine at The Grand Hotel and we got to share a few laughs over the course of the week. I found him to be quite opposite of what some people said. In short, Sergio was a great guy and clinching the Ho Tram Open in a 4-man playoff with a bomb putt on The Bluff’s notorious 18th hole was a storybook ending to the event.

I know that green and that particular putting line quite well. It was easily the hardest putt to make on the course, but Sergio drained it and, perhaps, helped him regain some confidence because over the next year, he started racking up some impressive performances.

Still, the monkey wasn’t going to get off his back without a fight and, as usual, it looked like the monkey ws getting ready to swing into action once again when he left his birdie putt on Augusta’s 18th hole out to the right, putting him into a playoff with Ryder Cup teammate, Justin Rose.

But, this was a new Sergio, and maybe with Seve and Arnold Palmer looking down, he found the strength to kick the monkey into the trees and drained his putt on the 1st play-off hole for finally do what we all knew he could do someday and I predict a few more majors will come his way now.

Congrats Sergio… look forward to seeing you when you return to Việt Nam!

Speaking of The Bluffs, 18th Annual Norfolk Invitational was held there last weekend and, as usual, was a rousing success. The combined staffs of Norfolk Group, The Bluffs and The Grand hotel went to great lengths to ensure everything was perfect, and it was.

The Bluffs suffered through a very bad rainy season, but their superintendent, Ali MacFayden, got the greens into fantastic shape and rolling in the 10.5 range, which is quicker than most clubs in Việt Nam, but still short of the usual Bluff’s speed of 12. Step by step is the key to recovery.

I judge a green on how they perform from inside 10-feet and, to my own amazement, I didn’t miss a putt from that distance all day. This is what happens when greens are “rolling true”. Just click, roll, boom into the cup. Heaven.

We had a large contingent of players from Australia who flew up for the event, and some Singaporeans to round out the field of locals. They were impressed.

As usual, The Bluffs and The Grand took good care of me, for that I am thankful because I really needed to decompress after the last 45 days without time off.

Big thanks to Sonia, Ali, Chef François and all their staff for helping to make the event a success.

By the way, if you haven’t been to The Bluffs/Grand in a while, they have added something for everyone, including a waterslide at the pool, a kiddie game room upstairs, more shopping and a lovely fountain in the lobby.

Check it out!

On the first nine holes of the Norfolk Invitational, I was cruising along nicely at one-over par coming to the 18th tee when my phone started going nuts. It seems a visiting Korean player intentionally bashed one of my caddies at Trang An Golf & CC over the head with a 5-iron.

I will not mention his name here, but trust me when I tell you he’s banned for life from my club and the other clubs in Việt Nam are getting the details.

Be advised, striking a club employee in Việt Nam for ANY reason will NOT be tolerated. VNS

By Robert Bicknell

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