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Readers Letters - May 2011

Born again golf addict!

Having taken an extended break from the game due to working life and family commitments I decided to rekindle my love affair with golf. I always kept in touch with the game, watching on TV and reading the papers, and I think it was Tom Watson’s heroic effort at Turnberry in 2009 that inspired me to get out and play properly again.

Watson proved that while form is temporary, class is permanent – and age irrelevant should the body and mind be fit to play.

Though I no longer play off 14, as I once did, my brother (12 hcp) invited me to join him in a regular fourball and I haven't looked back. I’m now a regular at the driving range and I’ve taken quite a few golf lessons in a bid to improve my technique. For me, that is the exciting part – working out the little things that make a big difference to your performance on the course.

I also spend many an hour on my cross trainer, as I am convinced that the fitter and more flexible I can become the better will be my golf. Having read about the benefits in your excellent magazine I am going to consider being custom-fit for a set of clubs and I am also looking into the possibility of membership at my local club, East Horton Golf Centre, as I feel there is a warmth factor that I feel only a membership to a golf club can provide. In short, I feel that playing golf competitively again has given me a new lease of life and I would urge anyone reading this magazine who has been thinking of doing the same to get out there and do it – golf is a game for life and indeed enriches it.

Vincent Wright, Northam, Hants

He really was there

In 1977 my (then) father-in-law, a member of the green-keeping staff at Turnberry, managed to get hold of four tickets to the final round of the Open (for the princely sum of £4!). Although I had no interest in golf one of my friends was keen and so I went along. Even though I had no idea what was happening I found myself following Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus, and even as a total nongolfer I could feel the electricity in the air – something very special was happening that day.

Well, sixteen years ago I took up this magical, addictive and thoroughly infuriating game (and I’m delighted to say I have achieved a handicap of 9) and if ever the subject of the ‘Duel in the Sun’ comes up I take great pleasure in telling whoever cares to listen to me that I was actually there on that historic occasion.

Flicking through a copy of your magnificent 100th issue in the clubhouse at the weekend, there at No. 16 in your list is a photograph of Watson and Nicklaus at Turnberry in ’77, and just to the right of Jack is a spectator with a red cap, light blue jumper over his shoulders and a check shirt – and unless I am severely mistaken, it’s me! I wonder if you would be kind enough to let me know who the photographer is so that I might make contact to request a copy of the picture.

Tony Glazer, Stover Golf Club, Newton Abbot

The ultimate concession?

One of the things I love about Golf International is that you often have the knack of articulating what I am thinking. I guess that is why you are writing the magazine and why I am reading it!

A case in point is no.71 in your ‘100 Finest Things’ (issue #100). You rightly state that “Tiger may be the better ball striker…but only in his dreams will he ever be the golfer Jack Nicklaus was. The Golden Bear not only played like a great champion, he behaved like one”. Undoubtedly the big question for golf is will Woods start to win again? But an even bigger question – one I’ve been mulling over – is do we want him to? Would a resurgent Woods be good for golf?

Every sport has its figurehead. Think boxing and it’s Ali, think tennis and it’s Federer. The most successful competitor becomes the embodiment of the sport – and you can bet that those two sports are happy to have these revered icons.

For golf it is Jack Nicklaus, and not only for the 18 majors. Think of Nicklaus and you think of sportsmanship. There’s the pictures of him and Watson walking off after the ‘Duel in the Sun’ where you can’t tell who has won and who has lost. And above even that there is the concession to Tony Jacklin in the ‘69 Ryder Cup. But what if you were to ask the general public what defines Woods? Regretfully we all know the answer and it’s not something that is good for the game’s image.

However, here’s an idea way out of left field: suppose Woods secures his four more majors to equal Jack’s 18 and then promptly retires. What a concession that would be. What a display of humility. What an act of penance! Public opinion may be swayed. Tiger, and thus golf, would be remembered for something else – something a whole lot more positive.

A S Gill, North Cheam, Surrey

PS. It is telling that Jack makes your list three times to Tiger’s one – and that is without the glaring omission of his 1986 Masters triumph! Editor’s note: Jack’s ‘86 win should have been on the list, but it was felt that Kevin McGimpsey had covered that sensational moment in golf’s history with his account on page 114 within that issue.

It’s all in the name

I write to share with you something that has been bothering me for quite some time and which has been brought more into focus with the elevation of Martin Kaymer to the World Number One Spot.

Golf commentators generally do a great job (leaving aside a certain egotistical English contributor), but if Tiger Woods’ name was Martin Kaymer you can bet no-one would be pronouncing his name wrongly. Carl Petterson is another name in point. His name is Scandinavian and is spelt with two ‘t’s, yet commentators – especially in the US – insist on pronouncing his name as though it was the American or English spelling with one ‘t’. On being presented with a particularly difficult name, I seem to remember the respected broadcaster Peter Alliss once saying that ‘there are 14 ways you could pronounce that’. But of course there is only one way to properly pronounce a name and that is how the person themselves pronounce it.

Sports people may not actually raise an objection to being mispronounced (they get well paid come what may!), but as a matter of courtesy and given that it can only be a matter of a little research surely we can do better.

Even with my own limited skills in German (GCE from what seems light years ago) I know that Kaymer’s name should be pronounced ‘Kay’ as in ‘Hay’ and not as in ‘High’. My daughter, who spent two years in Vienna before gaining a First Class Honours Degree in German, confirmed this, and to clinch it I remember Martin's illustrious fellow German Bernhard Langer during a TV interview pronouncing his name as it should be pronounced.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets frustrated. I am retired, but have a working knowledge of several European languages (plus a smattering of Russian and Chinese) and could make myself available for a spot of research!

Best wishes, James Lees

Let’s start a new 100...

How do you possibly improve the best golf magazine ever? Golf International is not like other mags that you flick through in 5 minutes, it’s a pick-upand- read for a few weeks. How I wish doctors surgeries and dentists could have a few copies!

But having just enjoyed your 100th issue, I have to pick you up on a glaring omission: in your Finest Things it was nice to see Caddyshack in there and a reference to Tin Cup, but where’s Happy Gilmore and The Legend of Bagger Vance as all-time golfing films to watch?

Oh, and a final suggestion: your mag has some fantastic tips and photos but how about using an idea from ages past – the old flicker system. How about placing images from a swing sequence on the corners of the page so that when you flick the pages you get a view of what it looks like?

Tim Kent, Yorkshire

Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine


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