Stories of interest you might have missed…
Jordan Spieth’s eight-stroke victory in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions is a rather large impediment to Rory McIlroy’s goal of regaining No. 1 in the World Ranking, Derek Lawrenson writes in the Daily Mail. “It will have certainly caught the attention of McIlroy, as he prepares to enter a golfing version of boot camp in Dubai this week, ahead of a first appearance of the season alongside Spieth in Abu Dhabi. The Northern Irishman’s first goal is to reclaim the world No 1 spot before the Masters in April and clearly, he is going to have his work cut out. There is now clear daylight between him and Spieth and he will need to win at least twice, and probably three times in as many months, to return to the summit.”
“When Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood were making grand plans for 2016, it can surely be assumed that the Eurasia Cup didn’t feature highly in their thoughts,” Ewan Murray of the Guardian writes. “And yet, the pair’s involvement in Kuala Lumpur this week is just one fascinating strand of an event which has been afforded high significance by Darren Clarke. Clarke, you sense, has had a burning desire to become immersed in a captain’s role. The notion that he will lack the attention to detail of Paul McGinley is flawed; the Northern Irishman is a perfectionist, in the past actually to the detriment of his own game. Clarke is taking the Eurasia Cup as a key step on the Ryder Cup pathway, of that there is no doubt.”
A professional golfer from Saudi Arabia? Khaled Attieh, 21, is attempting to become the first. “For more than a decade, Khaled Attieh has been painstakingly refining his game. A swing, putting technique, even his personal fitness is carefully scrutinised as he embarks on what he describes as his golfing dream. ‘I'm, hopefully, trying to be the first professional to try and boost the game back home and try to get the young kids to join more and play more golf. That would be amazing. It's been a dream since I've been a young kid, and it's been a long journey,’” Luke Waters reports for the Australian television entity SBS. Attieh is playing in the Australian Master of the Amateurs Championships.