These are exciting times for all at International Sports Management and we hope you will join us regularly for some fun and entertainment, insight and instruction.
This year promises to be a very eventful and exciting time for all our clients, not least our cricketers who form the backbone of the
Our golfers can not have been given a bigger boost heading into the
It also promises to be a very interesting time for Darren Clarke as he seeks to improve on his world ranking of 26. The slip last year did not go down well with the powerful Ulsterman and I believe he will rectify the situation this season. He is in the right frame of mind to make a very quick start.
Darren returns from his winter break this week in South Africa where his sponsors Dimension Data, who recently extended their contract with him for a further three years, are hosting their Pro-Am at Sun City. After a short break, he will then head for America for a three-week stint culminating in the Accenture Matchplay, the WGC event he won three years ago when beating Tiger Woods in the final.
Then Darren will have two weeks in the Middle East, war permitting, before heading back to America for the Players Championship and The Masters. The Open will remain his principal target for the year, but I think Augusta may well see the best of the 34-year-old this year.
Lee Westwood is facing a different schedule this year because of his slide down the world rankings and he will be aiming to break back into the top 50 again. He has enlisted the services of top coach David Leadbetter to help him recover his form. The pair will work together extensively for eight days at the end of January.
I believe Leadbetter has improved as a coach as recent results confirm along with the fact that his players no longer all seem to swing the same.
His work with Justin Rose, Charles Howell and Aaron Baddeley has been particularly impressive. I am sure this valuable time on the practice range will help get the former European No.1 back on course.
After his great moment at the Ryder Cup, Paul McGinley also faces the challenge of working his way back in the worlds top 50 so that he can play in all the top tournaments. His season will start at the Johnnie Walker in Perth followed by the Malaysian Open.
For the likes of Andrew Coltart, David Howell, Ian Garbutt and Simon Dyson it will be a case of looking to improve on the performances of a season when only Dyson played up to his own expectations.
Howells year was severely restricted by a broken arm at a crucial time of the season, but he has already made huge strides to recover his form and I will be very surprised if he does not win at least one tournament in 2003.
A top 15 place in the Order of Merit is also well within his capabilities.
With one top 10 already under his belt this season, Coltart has announced his intention of improving on a disappointing 2002. Now that Florence has been added to the clan, I am sure he will move up quickly in the months ahead.
A top 30 place in the money list is well within Dysons capabilities. He is a streaky player who just needs longer good streaks.
I hope that once Garby returned from honeymoon that his wife sent him to the putting green to tidy up what is undoubtedly the one Achilles heel of his game. For somebody who finishes inside the top 10 of the greens in regulation category, his end product is really disappointing. If he overcomes his putting weaknesses he will become one of the steadiest and most consistent players on Tour.
Now that Foster has confirmed the promise of nine years ago when he was English Amateur champion, there is no reason why he should not go on and extend the roll of honour at Worksop Golf Club. I think the 40ft putt he holed on the second extra hole at Houghton last week will prove to be the most significant of his career.
Among those seeking to establish themselves will be Challenge Tour
graduates Lee James, Simon Wakefield and Gary Birch jnr while Sandeep Grewal and Louis Oosthuizen are hoping the Challenge Tour will be able to accommodate them enough to make an impression.
I believe we have a really good spread of players and I am sure we will eclipse the achievements of 2002 and hopefully return our first Major champion.