THE AFTERNOON FOUR-BALL pairing of Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer in the 1971 Ryder Cup at Old Warson Golf Club, St. Louis.  After completing the first nine holes in 30 strokes the they found themselves down to Peter Townsend and Harry Bannerman.

Six birdies in the first seven holes should have meant at least a four-hole lead to Britain but Nicklaus chipped from the rough to within a few inches on the fourteenth to level the match, then drained a sixteen-footer on the last for his birdie.  Peter and Harry went round in 65,  but the Dream Team answered with a 64 to win 1-up.

THE DUBAI DUTY FREE N. Irish Open on 24th September will be hosted by Galgorm Castle Golf Club, a Championship course which nestles in mature parkland in Ballymena, County Antrim.   The purse will be €1.25m, well down on last year’s  €7m so it won’t be a Rolex Series event (Jon Rahm will definitely complain about his paltry share if he wins again this year.)

The Jacobean Galgorm castle was built in 1618 by Sir Faithful Fortescue, who swindled the owner out of the land.   In the Civil War at the height of the battle of Edgehill this charming chap decided to change sides from the Parliamentarians to the Cavaliers, but forgot to tell his men to remove their orange sashes so seventeen of them were slain by his new side.

The next owner of the  castle, Dr. Alexander Colville, was reputed to be  an alchemist who sold his soul to the devil for gold.  His footsteps are heard patrolling the battlements and a light flickers around the park as he searches for his treasure, lost for 300 years.

Nothing like a few juicy tales to get the visitors in.  Unfortunately, there  won’t be any spectators this year thanks to Covid.  Players who miss the cut can always amuse themselves on the Himalayan Pitch and Putt.  Or they might fancy the Woodland Fairy Trail. (Got to be Inclusive!)

THIS MARCH all golf clubs in the UK were closed, and after a soggy winter the timing couldn’t have been worse.  But now, with restrictions eased and courses reopened, they are  cautiously optimistic.

With other leisure activities still limited some clubs are signing up more than 100 new members a week, and for the first time in about 25 years demand could outstrip supply.  More than 2.3 million tee times were booked in England the first week courses reopened.

Epping Golf course owner Neil Sjoberg says: “I remember in the 1970s when Chingford Golf Club recorded 86,000 rounds of golf in one year.   At Hainault Golf Club – the ‘busiest course in Europe’ – players had to sleep in their cars to claim the first slots at dawn.  I can see it happening again!”   There’s a silver lining to every cloud.

RORY McILROY is soon to be a proud father.  There’ll be  no chance of his oversleeping and missing his tee time from now on then.

WHEN RORY SLICED THE BALL on the par three 3rd  at Harding Park  one of the on-course reporters helping in the search accidentally trod on it.  Rory was advised where he could drop his ball but he thought the lie was too good, and placed it deeper into the rough.   “Golf is a game of integrity, and I never try to get away with anything out there.” he said.  “As golfers that’s just what we believe.”

Well, some do.  Unfortunately, not all, and two of the most respected rules officials on the European Tour will be sadly missed when John Paramor and Andy McFee retire In October.

In today’s “win at all costs” world Patrick Reed and Bryson DeChambeau will probably rejoice when these two incorruptibles are no longer on the course, and rulings like Tiger’s ‘loose impediment’ at the 1999 Phoenix Open will be more frequent.  Remembering  the ‘burrowing rodent’ decision at the 1994 Volvo Masters I have a pretty good idea  what Seve would write on John’s ‘Happy Retirement” card.

Until next time – Happy Golfing.

Contact Mick for regripping and repairs. 638 859 475.