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Abu Dhabi Golf; Coaching Session; Golf Photography; Two Young Pros

Aired February 2, 2012 - 05:30   ET


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Kristie Lu Stout. This is CNN, the world's news leader. And here are the top stories.

Rescuers are hunting for survivors after a ferry carrying about 350 people sank off Papua New Guinea. Several ships and helicopters are on the scene and so far officials say 238 people have been rescued. Australian authorities helped Papua New Guinea with the recovery effort after the ship ran into difficulties early on Thursday morning.

A inquiry is being launched into a football riot in Egypt that killed 79 people and injured more than 1,000 on Wednesday. Clashes began after a match in the northeastern city of Port Said. Ambulance service spokesman said rival fans attacked each other with rocks and chairs. Forty-seven people have been arrested.

The U.S. and NATO plan to end their combat role in Afghanistan by 2013. Here's Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced on Wednesday. Panetta stressed that the rule of foreign military would not transition to more of a training and advisory function. The updated timeline for withdrawal is one year before the 2014 deadline set earlier by the Obama administration.

And you're watching CNN, the world's news leader. And LIVING GOLF starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: LIVING GOLF, in time with Rolex.

SHANE O'DONOGHUE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Dubai developed golf before all others in the Middle East. But a mere 19 minutes down the road, Abu Dhabi's golfing scene has finally come of age.

Many of the best players from all around the globe, four of the last five major champions, the world's number one and the star attraction Tiger Woods, all here in Abu Dhabi for the start of the Desert Swing.

So, is this the year that Abu Dhabi becomes the golfing capital of the Middle East? Welcome to LIVING GOLF.


O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): On this month's show, a new season, a new start for the biggest name in golf. A clinic with Lee Westwood and friends.

LEE WESTWOOD, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: So it's very important to get the right setup and get the right aim.

O'DONOGHUE: And the rough and the smooth as two young pros try to make it on the European tour.

O'DONOGHUE (on camera): This year, Abu Dhabi celebrates its most impressive field since the start of this championship back in 2006. And there is perhaps no greater symbol of this than a certain Tiger Woods, who, for the first time ever, begins his season here. Perhaps his comeback year, right here in Abu Dhabi.

TIGER WOODS, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: I've always wanted to come here to Abu Dhabi. I've never made the trip here. So, as people know, I've made a trip to Dubai a bunch of times. So this was a first.

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): More from Tiger in a few minutes. His debut here. But for other top class players in the field, Abu Dhabi's been a firm fixture for quite some time.

RORY MCILROY, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: You know, I've started the season in Abu Dhabi for the last five years and, you know, it's a place I love coming back to.

MARTIN KAYMER, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: I always come here without playing any tournaments for that five, six weeks. So I am very motivated to play golf again.

LEE WESTWOOD, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: Well, it's a great place to start a season. You know, I think Abu Dhabi and HSBC has quickly sort of made this a very big tournament.

JOHN HUGGAN, EUROPEAN CORRESPONDENT, GOLF WORLD: It's the first significant event of 2012. It's the first time we've seen the big boys going at it head to head.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE, EUROPEAN RYDER CUP CAPTAIN 2010: This is the first one. It's the best one. We have the best field for this year. The top four in the world, plus Tiger. This event can only grow into being one of the world's great events. Never mind the Middle East's greatest event.

O'DONOGHUE: So, is Abu Dhabi looking to steal Dubai's crown as the main event in the desert swing?

H.E. MUBARAK HAMAD AL MUHAIRI, DIRECTOR GENERAL, ABU DHABI TOURISM AUTHORITY: This sport definitely played a big role in promoting Dubai. They've had -- they started the golf or the desert swing, if we can call it now, the desert swing. And we benefit from that experience. Definitely with this government, it's a big statement. Every year we've been raising the stake of this tournament and we cannot go back. It will continue, you know, (INAUDIBLE).

O'DONOGHUE: So, what does it take to secure such a cast of players, and in particular the biggest draw in golf?

ALASTAIR TAIT, SENIOR WRITER, GOLF WEEK: I've heard $1.5 million up to $3 million. It could be $5 million. Who knows. I mean it's always gone on. It goes back to Johnny Miller and Lee Trevino and Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer playing the Lancome French Open, whatever. Same deal.

MUHAIRI: Tiger was always under our radar. And I -- we found, you know, the opportunity. And when he was open to discuss coming again to the Middle East, we worked on it. And the deal was for one year, definitely. This is not a secret. It's been announced before. But we are looking at the future also with him.

O'DONOGHUE (on camera): And there is speciation, and there is always speculation, but that he received somewhere in the region of $2.5 million to appear here. That's since been brought down to $1.5 million.

MUHAIRI: It's all speculation, but definitely it's between the two figures you just said.

O'DONOGHUE: But it's not just the treasures of the tournaments that are enticing the best players to the capital. In a short space of time, Abu Dhabi has become something of a sporting meca.

You wouldn't really expect to walk off a grand prix circuit, cross a road, and find yourself here on a beautiful links course that would look right at home on a stretch of Scottish coastline. But then there's probably nowhere else quite like Abu Dhabi's Yas Island.

GRAEME MCDOWELL, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: It's kind of a bit of an oasis in the desert, if you like. I mean they've put a really great golf course together over there at Yas Links and, you know, it really feels authentic.

O'DONOGHUE: Steven, great to see you.

STEVE MORGAN, HEAD PRO, YAS LINKS GOLF COURSE: Coming from Scotland, the aesthetics of the golf course are actually beautiful. You see you've got the rolling hills, you've got the long grass. And -- but what we're most excited about is that the golf course plays like a links Scots (ph).

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): We visited Yas Links a few months before it opened in 2010. In just two years, it's become the number one ranked course in the Middle East. And there are rumors it may become the next home of the Abu Dhabi championship.

With a world class tournament and three outstanding golf courses, Abu Dhabi is clearly on a roll. Although not quite everything has gone to plan. To date, there's been no sign of a spectacular title course on Saadiyat Island. Commissioned at the same time as the Yas Links. But Sheik Mubarak insists it will be built and it won't be the end of development.

MUHAIRI: We are looking now in the future when really to kick off the start of that golf course. As I said earlier, we'll keep improving, you know, the infrastructure of tourism and of golfing in Abu Dhabi. And that's another championship course. I think Abu Dhabi, in the next five years and 10 years, will reach its maturity as a destination. We are still in the beginning of that care (ph).

O'DONOGHUE: Whatever the future holds for Golf in Abu Dhabi, the fact remains that this year all eyes were on Tiger Woods. We spoke to him about his game and the season ahead.

WOODS: My practice session has been very good at home. I've been practicing with Sean and we've done some good things. And all we're doing is trying to build on what we did towards the end of last year. We haven't changed on working on anything different. It's the same things. Just trying to get more efficient on doing them.

O'DONOGHUE (on camera): Obviously you're back in full health. The majors are up and coming. How good do you feel about 2012?

WOODS: I'm excited. I'm very excited. You know, last year was a tough year. Unfortunately I wasn't -- I missed some of the majors last year. I missed basically the whole major championship season really. The two and then the last one I wasn't in play very well. And -- so it was nice to end the year the way I did and then to, you know, head into this year healthy and ready to go. So looking to hopefully get my game ready for Augusta. And I know it's a few months away, so just trying to get ready for that.

O'DONOGHUE: Now you are rated among spokmakers (ph) to be 7-5. So just a little bit above even to win a major this year. Would you bet on yourself?

WOODS: I always bet on myself.


O'DONOGHUE: Still to come, from Q School to the open championships, two young golfers trying to make their mark.

Life through a lens. A master class with the world's best golf photographer.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the shot I was looking for.


O'DONOGHUE: And Lee Westwood and friends show us how it's done.


O'DONOGHUE: Welcome back to LIVING GOLF.

Now it's not every day that you get an opportunity to have a private coaching session with one of the best players in the world. So we jumped at the chance to join Lee Westwood and some of his sporting pals for an early morning session here on the range.


LEE WESTWOOD, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: Welcome to the clinic. So I'll just start off with a five iron here. Did you see that, Michael.



WESTWOOD: Going that low on it and it goes right there (ph).

VAUGHAN: I've got that one covered.

WESTWOOD: To move the ball around, left to right, right to left, high and low, I just alter the ball position and my aim. To hit a draw (ph), I aim the club face where I want the ball to the finish and my body where I want it to start. And same with a fade (ph), but left, obviously. To hit it high, put the ball slightly forward in my stance and take it lower, put it slightly back in my stance and then make the same swing. So you're trying to hit a slight draw (ph). So I'd aim slightly right with my feet, slightly left with the club face. And a slight draw (ph). And to hit a fade, I'll aim slightly left, hang the club face slightly open and a slight fade.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at our (INAUDIBLE) as compared to Lee's.

WESTWOOD: We will have to put some cones and tape around these divots just in case somebody falls down and --

O'DONOGHUE: Lee, you are very deliberate when it comes to the stand (ph) open, especially over the driver.



WESTWOOD: Deliberate as in slow or --

O'DONOGHUE: Well, no, I wouldn't say slow, but I think you seem like you have this checklist in your mind and you will not pull the trigger until you're absolutely ready.

WESTWOOD: Yes, I sort of think of it as one of my faults. I stand over the ball stationary for a long time. I like -- you know, when I'm at home and I'm practicing, I try and keep moving as much as possible. I want the club to be the first thing to do away. So I find it easier just to keep very still and make sure the club is the first thing to move, rather than me trigger it with a body movement.

When I do step into the ball, rather than looking at something, say, 300 yards away, the triangle, I'll look at something there like that that's lined up with the ball and the target and line the club face to that and then stand square to that and the club face like that.

And when I'm playing in pro-ams (ph) and with amateurs, that's one of the main faults I see that they make. You know, I'll see an amateur and he'll be aiming like this and it will be going over there and I'll say, where you going?

That's not a good start if you're not aiming in the right direction, is it. If you're old enough one hell of a compensation (ph) to try and get that ball in line. And if you make a fault here, it's probably going to make a couple of faults somewhere in the swing.

You look good, Dominick (ph). You shoes look new.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fresh out of the wrapper.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) a little over a draw.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that's a little draw, right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Strong wind, though, isn't it?

WESTWOOD: It is strong, yes. Unfortunately, it's strong off the left and not the right.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where'd that come from? (INAUDIBLE).

WESTWOOD: You ought to be a good player with purple (INAUDIBLE).



O'DONOGHUE: Thank you, Lee (ph).


O'DONOGHUE: Some great tips there from Lee Westwood.

Now, it's not just tour players who make a career out of golf. There are those who have made it their profession capturing every follow-through, every graceful finish, every fits pump, every look of despair. And as with the players, only a handful manage to reach and stay at the top. And I'm about to have a master class from one of the best photographers in the business.


O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): Dave Cannon started shooting golf more than 30 years ago. He's photographed every top player of the modern era.

DAVID CANNON, SENIOR STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER, GETTY IMAGES: Over my career of 30 years, there's been three golfers that, you know, every single day I know I could go out and get a great picture. (INAUDIBLE), who could be scowling, smiling, anything you like. Made an amazing picture. Tiger Woods is a little bit different because he's so intense. And the other golfer who, you know, inspired me all the time was Greg Norman. Another great subject.

And in Augusta it's extremely difficult because thank God I'm tall. You're not let inside the ropes there. I was literally on my tip-toes hand-holding one of those big lenses. Just managed to find a gap through the crowd.

O'DONOGHUE: Well, it's actually the skill involved, which I'm quite curious about, because tomorrow I think early in the morning you're going to take me out and we're going to shoot --

CANNON: Have a little play, yes. Half off 6. Don't be late, because I'm an early bird.


A lot of balls on the range. Thursday morning. The tournament's getting underway. Master craftsmen at work already following one of the greatest legends of the game.

How's it going, Dave?

CANNON: It's good. Just literally, as the sun is coming through the trees. This is magic now because literally the sun is rising. The early bird catches the worm.

O'DONOGHUE: Now you're going to give me a few tips.

CANNON: Yes. I'll show you that quickly.

O'DONOGHUE: Wow, that's the kind of photo now that --


O'DONOGHUE: Could be on papers all around the world tomorrow.

CANNON: It could be on websites within an hour effectively (ph). If I was going back into the press room now, it could literally be out there in 90 seconds we could have it going around the world.

O'DONOGHUE: Do you want me to lighten your load a little.

CANNON: Yes, let's try this. There you go.

O'DONOGHUE: I might as well look like I know what I'm doing.


O'DONOGHUE: I clearly do not.


All right, let's go.

Just as we were walking down there, we're suddenly -- I saw this ball in the bunker. Even that's not something (INAUDIBLE) we're trying to follow. Any picture, the sun might catch through the sands, that might make for a pretty picture. Lovely.

And right here, Shane, is where I might let you have a little play.

O'DONOGHUE: You sure you really want to do that?

CANNON: Yes, yes, as long as you don't click before they hit the ball. See if you can just shoot one shot. Oh, one frame, I'm afraid.

O'DONOGHUE: Wow. How many frames is that.

CANNON: At least four. I just want to show you how sensitive it is.

O'DONOGHUE: It's very sensitive.


And just follow that group. Just press the button there. Go to your right a little.

O'DONOGHUE: Yes, there they are. Yes.

CANNON: And the worst thing you can do is actually cut a player off on the golf course. A shutter going off. The worst thing that ever happened to me was at the open last year. It was in Georgia. I had a camera that it got wet during the weather. And these electric things. And I'm with Rory on the 18th tee and we're just all focused and then suddenly this started going off on its own, this camera, and it's just as he's (INAUDIBLE). And I put the camera straight down and it's going off on its own. So luckily Rory's a friend. He saw a very funny side of it. I certainly didn't.

Here we go with Tiger. And look at the crowds. It's very hard to explain the commercial value, and certainly to me personally, when Tigers out there.


CANNON: It makes a big difference.

We're going to go ahead, get into position early. It's just like the only place to get a clean top shot for me, if I can get you to get my best branded (ph) shot for me.

O'DONOGHUE: All right. I will try.

I'm not sure who's paying, but this kind of money shot, here goes. Come on, guys. They're talking. They're talking. I love it.

CANNON: You're getting excited now.

O'DONOGHUE: I like this. Yes. (INAUDIBLE) for Luke (ph). Way too late.

CANNON: The back of his head.

Sadly, I'm getting older, but the work's getting harder. In the early days, when it was film, we'd just shoot for the best light. I can even remember at majors going to play golf in the middle of the day. Not a chance nowadays. It's all built (ph) up with the digital cameras.

And, look, you're a little bit short. So try that rock.

O'DONOGHUE: Oh, this (INAUDIBLE) to be a disaster. I'm not getting any --

CANNON: You have a place to see?

O'DONOGHUE: I'm not getting any focus, no.

CANNON: Step over here.

I'm looking and it's looking pretty good to me. There's Luke, top of the back (INAUDIBLE). And (INAUDIBLE) down here on the right. This shadow. That's a good shadow. Very nice (ph).

O'DONOGHUE: So, Dave, I have to ask you for the verdict.

CANNON: OK. So here we go. This is what I asked you to get.

O'DONOGHUE: Yes, I like that.

CANNON: Yes. Brilliant. Nice light. Nice big frame.

And then, uh-oh, there's an ugly one.


CANNON: You probably find the (ph) also have (INAUDIBLE) going right between the two bodies. And then you get a good one. You followed them well.

And there's Rory. And just as a little surprise for you --


CANNON: I've got for you the exact same image.

O'DONOGHUE: Can I keep that?

CANNON: You can keep that. Of course you can.

O'DONOGHUE: And this will be a special memento of a great day.

CANNON: Yes, that was a great frame (ph).

O'DONOGHUE: But it was a real special (ph) privilege. Thanks.

CANNON: Yes, a lot of fun.


O'DONOGHUE: Still to come on LIVING GOLF, life as a young professional.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It hasn't sunk in as such. All I know it's given me two years on the European tour.



O'DONOGHUE: Welcome back to LIVING GOLF.

Now, two young men turn pro within days of each other last September. Both hugely talented. Both have helped Great Britain and Ireland win the Walker Cup against the Americans just days earlier in their last action as amateurs. But since then, things have turned out quite differently for the two of them.


O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): Tom Lewis, from the same golf club as Nick Faldo, named after Tom Watson. He lived up to both connections last July when he shot the lowest ever round by an amateur in the open, playing alongside his dad's golfing idol.

TOM LEWIS, BRITISH BOYS AMATEUR CHAMPION, 2009: I was happy just to tee off with Tom Watson and Henry (INAUDIBLE). You know, I shoot 65 on the first day was excellent, but there was a long way to go.

O'DONOGHUE: James Byrne, product of (INAUDIBLE) and Arizona State University. British Amateur finalist in 2010. Both made the Walker Cup team last year, defeated the Americans, and immediately turned pro with the same management company. The immediate aim, to win 250,000 euros in the handful of starts remaining that year to give them their tour card for 2012.

GUY KINNINGS, IMG'S DIRECTOR OF GOLF, EAME: it's an incredibly hard thing to do. No one should go into it expecting that Tom or James or anyone else will do it.

LEWIS: You know, it's possible if I play well. If I don't, then it's not going to be possible. I'm not Tiger Woods and I'm not Rory McIlroy but I feel one day I can be.

KINNINGS: Whatever the route is to getting playing rights, we'll find a way. It may be, you know, route one, perfect. Go make your money on those seven starts (ph). If not, prepare and be ready for tour school, as well as it can be. Maybe opportunities around the world. I mean a lot of guys have gone and played, you know, through many tours in the states, out in Asia.

O'DONOGHUE: Days later, both made their pro debuts. Tom on the European tour in Austria, courtesy of a sponsor's invite, James with a challenge tour spot in Toulouse.

JAMES BYRNE, R-UP, BRITISH AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP 2010: (INAUDIBLE) shot 65 as my first round as a pro and, you know, there was about 60 guys under par. So it just shows you how deep the fields are and how good these guys are.

LEWIS: It felt the same. I knew that, you know, I was the same golfer. I had the same golf swing. It was just another tournament. But obviously we're better players and on TV and it meant a little bit more.

O'DONOGHUE: Both had good finishes, but modest winnings. Same again the following week and the Dunhill Links, although there was a professional first for James.

BYRNE: Took the shot. And as soon as I did my caddie said, you know, that all over it. And I landed it about 15 feet short. And like I said, we could see running up to the pit (ph), but I just heard the massive roar for the green and I figured the ball went in the hole. So, you know, it's pretty cool celebrating a tee with Rafa (ph) and I looked over my shoulder and there's Pete Hanson on the 8th tee with his hands up in the air, sort of cheering for me. So it was -- no, it was really cool.

O'DONOGHUE: Then two weeks later in Portugal, on only his third professional start, a remarkable win for Tom. That's quicker than Tiger and Rory.

LEWIS: I think it was a shock to everyone. So, for me, obviously I haven't really -- it hasn't sunk in and such. All I know it's given me two years on the European tour.

O'DONOGHUE: Two years guaranteed playing right alongside the established stars of the game. Suddenly the Walker Cup teammates were in different worlds. For James, not enough winnings meant trying to get his playing card through the European Tour's Q School. Thousands scrapping for 30 places. He missed out.

BYRNE: Any tour school's tough because you know that you got 12 months to sort of thing about it and try again. So and, you know, probably just put a little bit too much pressure on myself.

O'DONOGHUE: Still, while Tom could relax on a beach in Marisis (ph) as the European Tour's Rookie of the Year, James was off to Malaysia, New Zealand and Australia, building up to his final shot at the top level golf. The Asian Tour's Qualifying School in Thailand.

BYRNE: And Tom's great. And it was a bit of a boost because, you know, I played a lot of amateur golf with him and, you know, I can't really say the standard was that much different. You know, he's obviously done great for starting out and it just gives you a little (INAUDIBLE) that I can do it as well.

O'DONOGHUE: After a grueling four rounds, he won through. So while Tom will be playing in Europe and the Middle East, for James it's Cambodia, the Philippians and India next on the schedule. Both Tom and James have made it. Both will be playing on (INAUDIBLE) level tours. It's just that, for Tom, that win in Portugal has made life, for now, that bit smoother and more well rewarded. But he's sure James, and his other amateur teammates, will get there in the end.

LEWIS: You know, we've all played Walker Cup in September and that was only four months ago and such and we were all in the same boat. We were all really good players. No one was better than the other person. I feel very lucky. And I went and won and then, obviously, I've got my tour card for two years. But the good thing about it is, because they're such good players, they'll get to where they want to get to no matter how long it takes them. They'll be fine in the long term. That's all that matters.


O'DONOGHUE: Two young men at the start of their professional careers. And we'll be following their progress throughout 2012.

Well, that's it for this edition of LIVING GOLF. On next month's show, we'll be in the United States with the world number one, Luke Donald, as he prepares for the first major of the year.

Don't forget, all our reports are online. And you can follow what we're up to on Twitter.

But for now, from Abu Dhabi, it's good-bye.