Home > Uncategorized > Come on we Scots . . . and Jenson . . . and Beth.

Come on we Scots . . . and Jenson . . . and Beth.

October 19, 2009

Amid all the furore over Jenson Button it’s important that another sporting achievement of Sunday October 18 is given due recognition. Today, who’s Scotland’s top male pro golfer, according to the official world rankings. Monty? Not any more? Paul Lawrie? Still making money but no longer a short odds bet. Alasdair Forsyth? Still not quite there. No, step forward Martin Laird.

Who’s he, you ask? Let me tell you. He’s a Glasgow guy who went to college in the US and stayed on there, qualifying for the PGA golf tour by the long distance route, through the secondary Nationwide Tour. In his rookie year he barely retained his card, and this year’s been tough too, but his form has improved steadily, until finally, yesterday, he took a huge step forward in his career by winning the Justin Timberlake Open, after a three-man play-off in Las Vegas, the first Scot  to take an event on the modern PGA tour since the great Sandy Lyle. (Yes, I know; technically, Paul Lawrie is a PGA tour winner, but he did it at Carnoustie.)

I hate to suggest that the British media has an inbuilt bias towards English sportspeople, but I’ve just done a check of UK on-line newspaper site, and I find that twelve hours after Martin’s victory, only the Herald, his home-town journal, has caught up with the fact. It doesn’t rate a mention in the Times, Torygraph or Guardian. If it had been England’s Ian Poulter, they would have been all over it, but as it happens, he’s never won in America.

So, on behalf of all Scots, well done our guy. I look forward to seeing you in next year’s Ryder Cup.

Now I’ve got that off my chest, congratulations to Jenson Button, his boss Ross Brawn, and the entire racing team on a remarkable achievement. I’ve got as much admiration for him as I have for Lewis Hamilton, another guy with an inspirational father to nurture his awesome God-given talent. I read somewhere that Sir Frank Williams once described Jenson as ‘a gentleman racer’. If that was a compliment, I’m pretty sure that it was meant to be back-handed, but I’d prefer to take it at face value. Jenson strikes me as a driver in the finest traditions of Jim Clark, Graham Hill, his son Damon, and the survivor of the founding era, Sir Stirling Moss. I’d rather watch him than a handful of Schumis.

And I mustn’t forget. All praise to Beth Tweddle, who fell off, got up, dusted herself off, and won.

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