Tuesday, October 26

Guest Column: Throwing Away Tournaments to Avoid Making the Winner's Speech

 By Keith McLaren

Keith McLaren is a 59-year-old fanatical golfer living in St Andrews. He writes about golf at The Kilted Caddie.

I OFTEN SAIL DOWN THE ROAD to Edinburgh to catch up with the merry butchers at Wm Christie in Bruntsfield.

Keith McLaren
Not only do I get golf tips from Angus and hear his new jokes, but I tap into the Edinburgh grapevine and give them the gossip from across the water. A vital exchange.

Now Angus is the real golfer but Bob was a caddie on the European Tour, when aged fourteen he chucked his academic studies at James Gillespie High School. (I say academic studies in the broadest sense possible.) Bob headed for the school of life, carrying the bag of his infamous uncle, David Robertson from Dunbar, who later became renowned for getting banned from the tour for cheating.

Nevertheless, the guy could hit a golf ball and made some success in his short-lived professional life.

However, Bob told me the other day that he actually threw away two tournaments which he was winning, the Northern Open and the Coca Cola at North Berwick. And all because he was terrified of making the winners speech!

He seemingly got to the sixteenth ahead in the last round in both and said to Bob, "I’m going to throw it. I just can’t do the speech." Bob remonstrated with him and said, "Just say thank you."

But he couldn't get over that fear. Kind of stage fright in the extreme. But rather defeating the purpose of playing professional golf, right?

* * *

On a more positive note I've been accepted back into Mortonhall as a country member which I'm delighted about.

I started playing golf there aged ten and have so many fond memories of the place. On a recent visit it was great to see my Dad's pals still going strong.

What a happy place it is for me. And indeed what a great and beautiful golf course it is too, settled next to the Braid Hills, afire with yellow furze all summer long.

Siegfried Sasoon used to escape there while convalescing during the war and there is indeed a hole, the fourth called "Poet's Walk." It is all a bit of a dream of a course to be honest, and I'm very glad to be back to it.

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