Open Championship Blog

26th Sep 2017

For those of you who have visited our meet the team page, you may have seen a recurring interest  in golf amongst the advisers at PMN. We all play the game in a very amateur fashion so it was very reassuring to see the former number 1 golfer in the world, Jordan Spieth, hit a tee shot approximately 100 yards right of the 13th fairway at the recent Open Championship.

What happened next provides a valuable investment lesson, bear with us! To provide some context, Jordan Spieth started the final round 3 shots ahead of the field. By the 3rd tee, this lead had evaporated. His playing partner and co-leader found the middle of the fairway from the tee to apply the pressure.

Unfortunately for Spieth, the rain caused his club to slip in his hands resulting in the aforementioned 100 yard miss. With his head in his hands, the title looked to be slipping out of Spieth’s grasp.

After some time, his ball was eventually found, half way up the second highest sand dune on the golf course in an unplayable lie. After carefully considering the rules, in conjunction with two officials and his caddie, Spieth realised that he could drop his ball on the nearby driving range with just a one stroke penalty, thereby providing a flat, clean lie to take his next shot.

The precise series of rulings that enabled the drop are far too complicated (and boring) for this bulletin, but  a very good review can be found at :

http://uk.businessinsider.com/jordan-spieth-open-championship-driving-range-shot-rules-2017-7

Suffice to say, three particular rules were required and the crucial element is that they were applied in the correct order.

The process of considering his options took almost 30 minutes, but the result was that Spieth made a bogey and dropped just one shot behind the leader.

Following this near disaster, Spieth was then 1 inch away from a hole in one on the 14th hole and he played the remaining 5 holes in 5 under par to win the tournament by 3 shots .

So what investment lessons can we draw? Sooner or later, bad things will happen. Tee shots will disappear 100 yards right, investments will fall by 25%. But when they do:

1)       Take your time. Do not immediately rush to sell investments, think through your options.

2)       Consult those who advise you (us!). Talk through your options and make sure you understand them.

3)       Understand the rules. The rules of golf are complicated but they don’t get anyway near the investment and tax laws of this country.

4)       Be creative in your thinking. A 25% fall in value may be an opportunity to rebalance without the constraints of Capital Gains Tax, or it may provide an opportunity to pass assets to the next generation with less of an impact on your Inheritance Tax position.

5)       Learn from experience. Jordan Spieth blew a similar lead at the US Masters in 2016. This time, he limited the damage and stayed in the competition.

6)       Keep going! This is perhaps the most important lesson. Spieth was able to retain his focus, get back on track and win the tournament. The best solution to a fall in investment markets is to wait for the subsequent recovery.

 

So when the next fall in equity markets occur, we should all remember the Champion Golfer of 2017, Jordan Spieth!

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