My heart is bursting!  “What with?” you may ask.  The answer is with pride.  PRIDE.  Nothing more, nothing less.  My home town, my home course, Portstewart Golf Club, where I’ve been a member all my life, is the venue for this week’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by The Rory Foundation.  The place I’ve played thousands and thousands of rounds with friends and family, the place I’ve hit millions of practice shots, the place I’ve dreamed my dreams, is front and centre stage of European golf for a week.  I so wish Mum and Dad were here to see it.

The week started on Tuesday with an invitation from the matchless Barry Funston, the big shaker and mover of The Rory Foundation to an evening with Rory, James Nesbitt and Pep Guardiola.  Heaven!  Forgive my exuberance, but when you’ve had a lovely, golf-imbued life as I have…and then met oodles of these players….and then they come to your own stomping ground!  Well!  You can just imagine!

The incomparable Michael Moss, the recently retired secretary manager of the club, but the current, very busy, tournament guru, is working every hour imaginable with panache, humour and efficiency.  His successor as secy/manager is Judy Hutton and she has certainly hit the ground running, supported by the collective golfing community along this north coast.  It’s a true community effort. But perhaps the true, largely unsung, hero is Bernard Findlay, the man entrusted with preparing the links for the world’s great players. He and his team have truly delivered, so limitless congratulations to them all.

Patricia and I have been lucky enough to travel the world with this sport and this week it’s like having all your best mates from the players, caddies, media and managerial side all gathered together alongside your other mates and family who couldn’t break 100 if you gave them lessons from now to Domesday.  That takes a bit of getting your head around!  But it’s delicious!  Forgive me for the paucity of words this week, but as they say say, a picture says a thousand words, so here are a few of my favourites from the first two days.

Who would have believed it?  The stuff of dreams!


Welcoming Miguel Angel Jimenez to MY putting green!


With Alastair Scott, official starter for the European Tour.

Sorting out the world’s problems with Jack Buchanan (left), president of Surrey golf and our pal Peter Alliss.

Local member, and cousin, Patrick Breadon, with 2010 US Open champ, Graeme McDowell.

Patricia and Beef.

With one of my favourites, Mark Fulcher, gold medal winning caddy to Justin Rose.

Starry, starry-eyed Patricia with her long-time hero Pat Jennings, who made his debut in goal for Northern Ireland in 1964 alongside a guy called George Best.

The beautiful Portstewart lay out.

How will we ever return to normal?