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Himself

The first time I ever went to a golf tournament with my dad, I was sixteen years old. It was  the Carling Caledonian Championship and it was won by Christy O’Connor Sr, who took away a massive £1000 cheque. It was played at Longniddry and the on-course facilities were primitive. For example the toilet facilities were oil drums in a tent. Ladies? No idea.

Fifty-seven years on and I’m sitting in Gullane, a few miles farther along what these days they call the Golf Coast. My village is rather over-golfed at the moment. Earlier this month we hosted the men’s Scottish Open, and the great circus that goes with it; currently the ladies are on the second round of their event. (There is an assumption that when the golf tour visits, it pours loads of cash into the local economy. That’s not what I hear, but I do plan to invest in the traffic cone industry.)

Two weeks ago, while doing a shift as a volunteer marshal, I had an encounter with a Tour player. I don’t intend to revisit that, other than to remark that my complaint to the Tournament Director remains unacknowledged. The incident is history but the underlying principle is not. It was in focus again yesterday when I watched the Porsche Open on Sky and saw the current Masters champion throw his toys out of the pram because he claimed to have heard someone rattling coins in his pocket as he was preparing to play.  (If he’d been playing well enough at the time I doubt that he’d have heard a gunshot.)

Such guys need to look at themselves, not at those around them. I doubt that there is another group of sportsmen who are more pampered than golfers. It’s ironic that the Tour’s support systems seem to be designed to ensure that they have to walk as little  as possible off the course. At Gullane they are delivered to the first tee and collected from the eighteenth green by buggies, driven by volunteers. The crowds who follow them are controlled by more volunteers, briefed from the Tour handbook. Their exploits are recorded and transmitted by a dedicated television unit, which broadcasts to the global audience that their many corporate sponsors require to justify their investments.

All of this support ensures that the top players on the tour are hugely rewarded. The lad who won the Scottish Open trousered just over a million dollars. And that takes me back to Longniddry. Brandon Stone is at the beginning of his career. If he works really hard and maximises his talent he might turn out to be nearly as good as Christy O’Connor Sr. But don’t bet on it.

 

 

 

 

Categories: Sport

Tiger

Just like the old times but it can’t last.

Categories: Sport

Coming up Roses

Anyone who thinks of cricket as a dull game should watch last night’s Lancs vs Yorks T20 game on catch-up. Last ball finish, three results possible, crowd going crazy.

As a spectator sport, football is becoming second rate.

Categories: Sport

Poulter

July 15, 2018 6 comments

Seems that Mr Poulter has disputed my account of our exchange yesterday. Now I’m having email abuse from pond life and bottom feeders. I don’t need that.

The only way I can get rid of it is by deleting the original post. In retrospect I should probably have kept the dispute private, but it’s out of the box now, and I must rely on the Tour to make a judgement.

Mr Poulter has gone public to his two million Twitter followers with his version of events. All I can say is that I stand by mine and at no time did I ever utter the words ‘OK thanks.’ What I did say was ‘Vive Les Belges.’ Now I wish I’d said ‘Come on you Spurs,’ as that really would have pushed his buttons.

I still hope to hear from him, but I don’t expect to. That won’t bother me, not a bit.

Categories: General, Sport

‘Australia, who elected to bowl…’

Categories: Sport

H

Been saying it for decades to the few who would listen. An amazing number of tight games are decided very late on by a header at the back post.

My English wife and I had the pleasure of watching the game tonight with Eddie and June, who are as Scottish as me but who have lived most of their days in Engerland, all four of us cheering at the end. Yes, me too, but it won’t become a habit.

Categories: Sport

Fanning the flames

June 15, 2018 7 comments

I wish I could summon up more interest in the World Cup. It’s tough being Scottish.

But my problems aren’t only with the inadequacy of a national side that couldn’t kick doors at Hallowe’en. It’s the narrowness of our vision as expressed by our written media that I find just as depressing. They focus on two clubs and little else is caught in their peripheral vision.

For example, this morning in the Herald, my newspaper of choice since The Quisling was banned from all my devices, there is a bylined piece in which the writer bemoans the ‘abject failures’ of Rangers in ‘slumping’ to third place in the Premiership or whatever the hell they call it. There are nine teams in that league who were envious of Rangers’ achievement. Chris Jack’s words are as dismissive to them as they are offensive to Aberdeen given the implication that their second place was achieved more by default than quality.

We are so narrow in our thinking that our national game has disappeared up its own fundament and unless our media refocuses and sees beyond the blue and the green, it won’t re-emerge.

This too: for generations we in Scotland have fought a losing battle against sectarianism. The attitudes expressed in this morning’s article throw more petrol on its flames.

Categories: Sport

King

Every so often there’s one that makes me say ‘Yes!’, and I’m not talking about Dame Emma. Long overdue.

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-44397682

Categories: General, Sport

Asking for it

I’ve just seen a LIDL ad where kids ask Raheem Sterling and Gary Cahill, ‘Why are England’s goal celebrations so rubbish?’

Obvious answer: ‘Because they don’t get to do them very often.’

Categories: General, Sport

Spurious

As I understand it this relates to the so-called governing body trousering so-called sanctioning fees for the right to contest one of their gaudy belts.

www.skysports.com/share/11397028

Categories: Sport

And this just in …

Categories: Sport

Ramos x 2

Categories: Sport

Yes it is

Categories: Sport

Riesgo

May 23, 2018 1 comment

If I ran a multi-million pound business that traded exclusively in England, and sought to maintain the goodwill of the customer base and the media, would I appoint a chief operating officer whose command of the language was limited at best? No, I don’t think I would.

www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/44221364

Categories: Sport

Insanity

Categories: Sport

Narcissus

Being a Man U fan has been tough since Fergie left, but may his retirement be long and happy.

When Mourinho arrived he promised joy, but he always does. It hasn’t happened: two years in and he hasn’t a clue what his best team is. Okay, he’s won some silver but he’s been embarrassed by Guardiola. Being second in the league doesn’t cut it when United is also the second best team in Manchester. Lately he’s shown an aptitude for demotivating and ruining very good young players. To cap it all, two games left in the season and it’s clear that he still doesn’t have a clue about what his best team is.

The one thing he does know is that the face he sees in the mirror every day makes him very happy.

Categories: Sport

Legendary

March 15, 2018 3 comments

Yesterday I attended the first of what we all intend to be a series of lunchtime gatherings. Eight survivors of the Thursday Legends (check-out the Skinner title of that name) got together in the Nether Abbey, North Berwick, for the senior citizen menu, a few beers and a general update. Great time, great times, and we are agreed that our successors aren’t a patch on us.

Categories: General, Sport

Abuse of privilege

I don’t know what happened with the Sky cycle squad, nor do I care too much. But I do care that any body or anybody can be pilloried by a group of MPs without any obvious form of legal redress. Commons committees are meant to scrutinise Government, not to throw rocks at national heroes from a position of safety.

Categories: Politics, Sport

There’s not a team like the Progres Niederkorn . . .

I had no idea that Luxembourg football had advanced so far.

Categories: Sport

Alves: Barca still in my blood

Read this and share, please. Inspirational.

http://www.skysports.com/share/10900477

Categories: Sport