I don’t have many claims to fame but I know some people who do. I’ve met Davis Love III, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame earlier this week, a few times; I’ve played golf with Lorena Ochoa, another inductee; and have known Ian Woosnam and Meg Mallon, also inducted, for a long time.
I cheered when they were honoured for their achievements because they’ve been brilliant over the years but I’m not sure I’m a fan of halls of fame. I suppose they’re a good excuse for a party but it’s like knighthoods and that sort of thing: do people who’ve been great at their jobs and won lots of titles and quite a bit of money really need the extra adulation? Perhaps it’s just a human thing and it’s good to be remembered once your glory days are past. People have short memories – and youngsters have no idea – so something has to be done.
Woosie was a wee farm boy born in Shropshire, who learned his golf at Llanymynech (15 holes in Wales and three in England) and ended up playing for Wales, becoming No 1 in the world and winning the Masters at Augusta. He also won the Ryder Cup as a player and a captain and he and David (Lulu) Llewellyn won the World Cup for Wales. Not bad for someone who announced that he was turning professional just after losing his final county match for Shropshire, against Staffordshire, at Oswestry.
That proved to be the moment of fame for Andrew Dathan, now a stalwart of Whittington Heath. “I won 4 and 3,” he said, “and my teammates asked Woosie why the hell he thought he could make it as a pro if he couldn’t even beat me! I think he had the last laugh.”
Today, Dathan is down in Cornwall at Trevose to cheer on Staffordshire in the men’s county finals against Hampshire, Northumberland and Somerset. He was on the last Staffordshire side to win the title, way back in 1975 and this year’s side includes Whittington’s Ryan Brooks, along with Tom Hewitt, Lewis Pearce, Ollie Read, Jake Walley and England internationals Jack Gaunt and Gian-Marco Petrozzi. Good luck to them all.
Who knows if any of them will start their own march to fame with a famous victory this weekend but over in America, in the Presidents Cup, it looked as though Nick Price’s International team was heading for another one-sided defeat by the United States, so another of my claims to fame may remain intact: I’ve seen the Internationals win this match!
It’s happened only the once, in 1998, at Royal Melbourne, just before Christmas, when the Americans gave the impression they’d rather be anywhere but Australia and were well and truly hammered. There’s been a draw since, at Fancourt in South Africa but as a general rule this contest has proved to be the epitome of a ho-hum non-event. If the international players, who are some of the best in the world, keep failing to turn up with anything approaching their best stuff, it’s time to stop the pretence that it’s worth putting on and wipe it from the calendar. The Americans no longer need a morale booster in between Ryder Cups….
Last but by no means least, congratulations to Ruth Ferguson, the pride of Harlech, indefatigable, incorrigible and infamous, who has celebrated her 100th birthday with a do at Portmeirion.