Good grief, as Charlie Brown might say, there’s another week gone already.  Just how did that happen?  No golf for me this past week, for a variety of reasons but football was back on the agenda, although my friends thought I was daft (some of them weren’t that polite) to go to a game that kicked off at 2000 hours and was on the telly, terrestrial no less.  What’s more it meant that I was in transit while Ireland were playing (mangling) Wales in Dublin and Scotland were shocking England at Murrayfield.  What was I thinking?  I suppose some people just can’t be relied on to plan ahead.

Charlie Brown and Snoopy ponder one of life’s golfing dilemmas

Spurs were at home to Brighton in the 4th round of the FA Cup and not only do I have to pay extra, over and above the season ticket, I have to change seats so the away supporters (they have an extra allowance for cup games) can have my usual pew.  The good thing is that I can try out different views and in many ways this was the best one yet.  It was a cracking game and we won, so that helped make up for the fact that I got home just before 0300 hours.  Then I watched a bit of the Olympic curling and the recording of Ireland’s marvellous win.  Tragic really but who needs to get up early!

View from my FA Cup seat, we supporters come from all over, though Dad, born in Sligo, opted for Sunderland…

Those of you who follow football will be glad to know that I didn’t go down to the Southampton match on Wednesday evening and watched the highlights on Match of the Day.  It seemed to be a cracking game for the neutral and for fans of the Saints but we Spurs bods were gutted because we lost 3-2, outplayed probably but suckered too.  We have a lot to learn.

I don’t often remember dreams but the other morning I woke up feeling weighed down and confused.  I was at some sort of golf tournament, in Dubai or Saudi or somewhere sandy, I had a suitcase of some sort and was trying to find my way to a bus or a car, where Dai was waiting, in searing heat, agitated (more likely furious) because there was no sign of me.  There were lots of twists and turns, no clear way to where the transport was and I went through a door, more a hole in the wall really and found myself interrupting Iain Carter, BBC radio’s golf correspondent, in the middle of an interview.  There was a dog there too, some sort of small bulldog and it tried to bite me, so I was trying to remember what I’d learned from the dog walkers and calm him down when I woke up!

Dogs and owners ready for action.  Not a bulldog in sight.

I’ve only been to Dubai the once and have yet to visit Saudi and don’t quite know what to make of all the shenanigans surrounding the proposed league/tour backed by Saudi megabucks and fronted by Greg Norman, who was an advocate of a proper world tour many years ago.  Norman, an Aussie, is never going to back down from a fight and the PGA Tour and the newly named DP World Tour (previously the European Tour) seem to be taking a hard, defensive line against the threat to their longtime dominance of the professional game. To the neutral, untutored eye, it’s all macho confrontation at the moment.  Whoever “wins”, will it be golf?

As several people have pointed out, golf could splinter like boxing and then where would we be?  Well, most of us would still be playing, hacking away happily as usual, without a clue what professional is doing what where.  How will the world rankings be worked out?  Basing things on earnings would become more skewed than ever.  How will the majors make up their fields?  How will they maintain their allure if players decide the game is all about money and sod the glory?  Professionals play the game for a living, to provide for themselves and their family, so do they care if anybody knows their name as long as they’re being paid a fortune?

As someone much wiser than I pointed out:  take one brick out of the wall and unintended consequences abound.  Also, why should anything be set in stone?  It’s an old Chinese curse apparently but we seem to be living in interesting times.

Two bits of good news though:  Stacy Lewis has been appointed US Solheim Cup captain for the match in Spain next year and it’ll be great fun seeing her and Suzann Pettersen in opposition; and Dave Cannon, photographer supreme, has been named as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award in Photojournalism by the PGA of America.  Many congrats to both.

Stacy Lewis (left) in consultation with captain Juli Inkster at Gleneagles in 2019, just before Europe turned the match on its head.


Dave Cannon with the tools of his trade [not sure who took the pic but it’s courtesy of the PGA of America press release]

Finally, to explain the wee picture, aka the featured pic, at the top of the piece (glitches permitting of course).  Last week I asked what the growths on the tree were, knowing, I admit, thanks to a friend who’d hit the internet, more or less what they were.

An American friend, based in Texas, described them as “clumps of crud” (thanks for the title Bob) and suggested they looked like dormant bees’ nests.  The common name seems to be witches broom (spelling and apostrophes your choice) and its more proper name is gall and here I quote my trusty Chambers:  “an abnormal growth on a plant caused by a parasite such as an insect or fungus, or by bacteria”.

Anyway, thank you all for enlightening me but the prize goes to a Mr Elliott who assures me that trees don’t have image rights.  How does he know?  He checked with one of their branch offices…..