By James Wells
This week’s European Tour event at the Avantha Masters in New Delhi, India did not boast a deep field of the top players in the world. It did, however,give the opportunity of a lifetime to many young players who are looking to make their mark on the European Tour season. This tournament also brought out, because of its location, many players from the Asian Tour as well, who were crowd favorites amongst many of the supporters.
It was a young man, Jbe Kruger who overcame the rest of the field to claim his first European title. Kruger, a 25 year old from South Africa who resides in Bloemfontein, had his best finish of the year before the Avantha Masters at the Joburg Open in South Africa where he finished ninth. He would have to overcome a late debacle on the 17th and 18th holes. Kruger stood on the 17th tee with a three shot lead over Spaniard Jorge Campillo and German Marcel Siem, but went long with his approach and was unable to get up and down to save his par. So he went to No. 18 with only a two shot lead and some concern displayed by the commentators as to whether or not he would be able to keep his nerve at the last. His drive ended up striking a camera out of an onlookers hand, which may very well have saved him from having to take an unplayable. His second shot ended up in the trees, but it was to be one of his finest shots of the tournament for his third, where he showed nerves of an experienced champion and put his shot 10 feet for birdie. He would go on to miss the 10 footer, but would make his par and that would be good enough for a two stroke victory.
Kruger made the putts when it counted, but he was not without competition on the final day from Campillo, as well as Campillo’s fellow countrymen, Jose Manuel Lara, who was red hot with his putter as well, seeming not to miss a step as he matched Kruger putt for putt. However it was not to be for Lara as he found water on the last, which would completely take him out of contention and have him finish respectably tied for fourth with Australian Marcus Frasar who also posted a solid 11-under total. The 31-year-old Siem, who was fourth in Dubai last week, came into Delhi with his confidence very high and he posted strong scores throughout the week with his final-round 70 that could have seen him really put the pressure on Kruger if it wasn’t for a double bogey that put his hopes of a championship out of reach.
This tournament was not without controversy however, for the young Scot Peter Whitehead who was only one back overnight. Onlookers noticed that Whitehead’s ball moved fractionally at address when he was in the fairway on No.18. Since he had already signed his card and had not enforced the penalty on himself, John Paramor, the Chief European Tour referee had no choice but to disqualify Whitehead. It was most unfortunate as he was chasing his first European title and had played strong throughout the week.
To wrap up the week, it was the highlight of his young career for the South African who, like many of his fellow countrymen have been playing lights out golf and winning around the world. I doubt that this will be the last title in this young man’s career as he really showed great skill plotting his way around the course, never seeming to struggle or lose his nerve as he played. It was that red hot putter of his that seemed to put him over the top as he seemed to make the pressure putts time and time again. We must tip our caps for Jbe Kruger this week and look forward to the WGC Accenture Match Play next week that will feature the top 64 players in the world, with the exclusion of Phil Mickelson and Paul Casey.
Slainte lads and see you next week.
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WOTW: Viktor Hovland’s Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver in Khaki Green
Viktor Hovland successfully defended his Hero World Challenge title this weekend. Hovland fired a final round 69, giving him a 2 stroke win over Scottie Scheffler. After the round, Victor received his trophy from Tiger Woods and on his wrist was a green Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver.
Name: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver
Date: 2021 – Present
Case: Stainless Steel
Bezel: Stainless Steel
Dial: Khaki Green “Méga Tapisserie”
Movement: Calibre 4308, 32 Jewels
Power Reserve: 60 Hours
Glass: Saphire Crystal
Waterproof: 300 Meters
Bracelet: Khaki Green Rubber Strap
Price: $29,000 (~$35,000)
Audemars Piguet has been making the Royal Oak Offshore line of watches since 1992 as the larger and more capable version of the iconic Royal Oak. The larger cases, bezels, and straps give the Offshore a stronger look and stand out more on the wrist. The Offshore Diver line was introduced in 2010 and was the first Audemars Piguet watch to be ISO certified.
The case on the Offshore Diver is 42mm and made from a solid block of stainless steel but it does sit tall on the wrist at around 14mm thick. The caseback on the new Offshore Diver features a large display window, made from sapphire crystal, that allows you to view the mechanical movement inside. The caseback is held in place by 8 screws and is sealed to give the Diver a 300 meter water resistance rating. On the right side of the case is the tradition screw-down crown, finished in black ceramic and ping gold, that is used to set the time and day on the watch. The second crown sits at 10 o’clock and it is used to to set the inner rotating bezel. This bezel is around the dial and can be used for timing during dives. On top of the case is the legendary octagon Royal Oak bezel that sits on a large rubber gasket and is held in place by 8 hex screws. Under the sapphire crystal is a Khaki Green dial the the Royal Oak Offshore’s Méga Tapisserie texture. Méga Tapisserie is a sequence of raised squares with a matte finish. The hour markers and hands are made from pink gold and filled with larger amounts of luminescent material for easy reading underwater. A date is located at 3 o’clock and has a magnifying cyclops lens integrated into the glass.
Inside the stainless steel armor is a self-winding mechanical movement that was designed and built in-house by Audemars Piguet in 2021. The Calibre 4308 is an upgraded movement with a date that moves to the next day instantly a new setting mechanism for added durability. The 4308 contains 234 individual parts, offers the wearer 60 hours of power reserve and features an oscillating rotor made from solid 22k pink gold. That rotor is then given a dark grey finish and perfectly hand polished.
Holding this dive watch on Viktor’s wrist is a Khaki Green rubber strap with a stainless steel pin buckle. You are able to quickly change out the strap with quick release buttons on the lugs and pin buckle. Each strap then has steel latches built into them to snap into the lugs and pin buckle. Audemars Piguet makes plenty of $600+ rubber and leather options to dress up, or down, your Offshore Diver.
These Royal Oak Offshore Divers are gaining popularity and at one time pretty easy to get your hands on. This isn’t the case currently and if you can get one at your local Audemars Piguet dealer for the $29,000 retail price, consider yourself lucky. On the secondary market you can expect to add around a $6,000 premium to that retail price.
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