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Readers Letters - March/April 2010

McEvoy is truly hands-on

Your Q&A feature with Peter McEvoy was naturally very interesting. McEvoy is a man who isn't afraid of airing his opinions, and with his depth of knowledge of the game those opinions are certainly worth reading. I'm also pleased to see the popularity of PowerPlay Golf growing. I'm not necessarily convinced that in its current format it will be golf's version of Twenty:20, but at least someone is actually producing a faster and more television- friendly golfing event. For all the talk and all the acknowledged need of an alternative to four days of 72 hole strokeplay, I don't think I've seen anything else actually put forward.

However, the thing I really want to ask is what grip McEvoy recommended for Neha Dhupia? (Or should that be grips?) The photo clearly shows she has three hands on the trophy – I wonder if this is then an advantage when playing golf? Or perhaps there is a fourth hand we cannot see in the photo and thus she is able to utilise the Vardon, Interlocking and Baseball grips all at the same time?
Yours faithfully, M Williams, Thornton Heath

Royal Portrush – correction

Thank you for providing all golf nuts with a thoroughly enjoyable magazine which once again has been full of very good articles and other important news relating to our great game. I particularly enjoyed the article on golf in Northern Ireland as I had the pleasure of living and working there in the late 1980s during my time as head greenkeeper at Royal Portrush. The two courses there are simply fantastic and as natural an example of links golf as you will ever find. But I do have to point our a small error: the wonderful picture on page 128 of the 4th hole at Portrush is, in fact, a par four and not a par three as stated. As a matter of interest, this demanding hole is named after the great Irish player Fred Daly, and it's a strong four that demands two well-struck shots to reach a green carefully placed and protected by dunes.

I am at the present time course manager at the Frilford Heath Golf Club, Oxfordshire where we have three first class heathland courses – and I would welcome you and your editorial colleagues to come and take a look. I have no doubt that they would make a nice feature in your superb magazine.

Once again thank you for producing such a top quality magazine.
Sid Arrowsmith - via email

Editor's note: We stand corrected! And thanks for the invite – I played in an English Amateur at Frilford Heath years ago, so high time to make a return.

A Friday to forget

Firstly, congratulations on your Dec/Jan issue – a great edition of Gi. (As a golf nut I also purchase other golf magazines but yours is the only one which actually provides me with a good read, and not a 30-minute flick through.)

I wanted to share with you, however, what happened to my 68-page instruction supplement and hope it strikes a chord and raises a smile with fellow golf addicts. It started on Thursday with a few holes on my own accompanied later by a comment that it was perhaps the best golf I had played, especially off the tee. I was so looking forward to the Friday ‘fiddle' and perhaps a win but you guessed it I couldn't hit a thing – oh the frustrations of handicap golf! Given the temperature was also a chilly 3 degrees I returned home thinking a long hot bath would be great and decided to have a soak and read my newly-arrived instruction booklet.

You've guessed it – at the point of trying to create Jonathan Yarwood's tip on the line of the right thumb on the grip I dropped the supplement in the water and no matter how quickly it was fished out I'm afraid Jonathan won't be providing any more instruction. I thought this just sums up our wonderful game where no two days are the same but where we just can't wait to get out there again to put things right.
Steve West, via email

Where's Tiger's respect for his fans – the golfing public?

I'm a golfer in my late forties. I grew up in a relatively stable family environment and my golfing heroes include Palmer, Player, Nicklaus and Watson. I couldn't tell you anything much about their family lives – they pretty much kept those details to themselves. All I have ever been interested in is their golfing prowess.

Now here we are in 2010 and the world's No. 1 golfer finds his world rocked by the personal ‘transgressions' which he outlined publicly in his presidential address-like apology. Like other golf fans I've followed Tiger's career, from the small boy on the Bob Hope Show to the most famously wealthy golfer of any generation. I've wondered at the Nike corporate family man, a mixed race genius married to a Swedish former swimwear model – a billion dollars in the bank, houses, cars yachts...not to mention 14 major championship. Inexorably heading towards immortality – perhaps even over-hauling Jack Nicklaus's record of 18 professional majors. STOP!

A late night car crash, broken windows, broken teeth – how us guys laughed at the golf club on Sunday morning. And some of us have been there, trust me. I've never seen either of my two wives with golf club in hand in the early hours without good reason!

Not in our wildest dreams did we ever imagine this to be a chapter in the life of Tiger Woods. The public exposure of one so famous – the shattering of an image. As for Woods himself, what has he said to the golfing public who (once) held him in such esteem and through whose support he lives a life of such privilege? Nothing, not a word. Sure, we've had the corporate apology, a farce of a press conference. No questions were asked, he simply reads a statement and then disappears through the curtains into Tiger-world. Hiding behind this nonsense of ‘sex addiction', he's off for more therapy.

How convenient that none of his behaviour was actually his fault! (Wish I'd used that line once or twice myself). As for the transcript of the statement, well, I just don't buy it. And nor do the vast majority of my friends and fellow golfers. Tiger, you need to address the golfing world, not the corporate world. Your fans, ordinary club golfers, not suited sponsors and business partners desperate to have you back endorsing their products.We, the golfing public are smart, savvy.We deserve a bit more respect. You've been caught out, and you don't like it. But we're not dealing with anything new – people in all walks of life are confronted with temptation. You either resist or enjoy them at your peril. Either way, we all go back to work eventually.

The lasting legacy of all this, I fear, is that when you do – and whatever you do go on to achieve – you have forfeited the right to be regarded alongside the true legends of the game. Titles are one thing, but respect has to be earned.
Colin George, via email Tehidy Park Golf Club, Camborne

What happened to the Mid-Amateur?

Peter McEvoy's comments made for a fascinating article in your Jan/Feb issue, and his points were particularly well made on GB&I's leading amateurs turning professional without enough ability to succeed. He acknowledges that a “career amateur” with a job cannot compete with the full-time amateur.

With days required off work for most tournaments this is inevitable. However he fails to mention that the R&A, who he has served with distinction in many roles, have abandoned the one competition designed for the genuine amateur – namely the Mid-Amateur Championship. The USGA think highly of their equivalent and all the national golf unions have their version so perhaps Peter should encourage his “employers” to think again. The return of this Championship with perhaps the tacit understanding that the winner would receive favourable consideration for that year's Walker Cup/St Andrews trophy team would be a good move.

This would give the genuine amateur at least the feeling that he had not been forgotten by golf's ruling body.
Peter Shurrock, Lytham, Lancs

There but for the grace of God...

I've had a kind of love / hate thing going watching Tiger Woods through his career. I've marvelled at his sheer brilliance out on the course but it has made me feel really inadequate as a golfer. And then there's that great physique and the fact that with appearance fees, prize money and his sponsorships he earns more at some events than I will in a lifetime. And he married one of the most beautiful women on the planet. How could I not feel inferior?

So at last he finally mucks up and what happens? I feel sorry for the guy! My one chance to be superior and I blow it. Am I being especially kind? No, it's just that I realise that while I may have stayed true to my marriage vows is that only because (and I mean no disrespect to the ladies in the typing pool or to Mary who pulls the pints at my local) I haven't had quite the temptations that he has?!
A Sherrington, via email

Does Monty have it in him?

With the matches now just a few months away, anticipation at the prospect of the Ryder Cup is gathering momentum. And with Corey Pavin's announcement of four lieutenants in Wales, it will be interesting to see who Colin Montgomerie selects as his vice captain(s).

Given that Colin had previously backed two-time major champion Sandy Lyle as captain, I was as surprised as anyone when he was handed the job. I'm sure Monty will prove an inspired choice, but I can't help but feel a sense of injustice that Sandy seems to have been overlooked for the role he so badly craves.

Sandy is the only one of Europe's recent major winners not to have been offered the prized role of captain, and with Jose Maria Olazabal widely tipped to be in the frame for the 2012 match at Medinah his time is running out. The well-publicised spat between Lyle and Monty that erupted during the Open at Turnberry during last year's Open clearly demonstrated Lyle's bitterness and frustration at being overlooked for the role. But let it not be forgotten Lyle has enjoyed widespread support among his peers over that incident.

I only hope Monty and Lyle can resolve their differences amicably. With Monty yet to name his assistants at Celtic Manor, it would be an unexpected and yet warm gesture for Monty to offer a role to Sandy. It would certainly boost the Scot's credibility, and gain him further support in the process of trying to regain the Ryder Cup for Europe.
Harry Basi, via email

Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine


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