Hello everybody.  Happy New Year.  Now’s the time when people make predictions about what’s going to happen in the next 12 months but I’ve never been any good at that – Predictive Patricia I am not, let alone Mystic Madill.  I’m not the 7th daughter of a 7th daughter or 7th son and have always struggled with planning ahead – no good at chess and the despair of my bridge partners, always taken by surprise by tax deadlines and insurance renewals.  Oops, tomorrow?  No?  Midnight tonight?  Are you sure?  You get the picture.

I have friends who are always looking ahead, checking the weather for tomorrow, next week, next month but I usually just get up in the morning, poke my nose out the door and estimate how many layers are required.  These days I’ve been getting well wrapped up in numerous layers, thermals, silk long johns, merino wool vests, woolly jumpers, whatever it takes.  Then I look out the window and inevitably I see, out walking his dog, some bloke in shorts!!  He might be wearing a jacket, even a hat and gloves but he’s still in his blooming shorts.  Brrrr.   Grrrr.

Had to have a picture of a man in shorts, so who better than Europe’s No 1 Lee Westwood, 2020’s European Tour and AGW Golfer of the Year, practising for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship [Getty Images]

A friend who’s a fan of Wim Hof, the guy who goes up Everest in his shorts and flip-flops, has been trying to persuade me of the health benefits of cold showers – though she’s refused so far to install an ice bath in her garden (the pizza oven is still a work in progress) – and I’m resisting, at least while the heating and hot water are still working.  I’m still recovering from winters as a student in Edinburgh, in a lovely flat with not much heating and a bathroom so cold it was a wonder we ever washed at all.

Despite being a bit of a splurger with an eye for quality, I also have a thrifty, Scottish streak (a grandmother from Lossiemouth) and a surprising number of my purchases, often expensive, have stood the test of time and passed the cost-per-wear test with distinction – one of the few times when minus equals top marks.  I’ve forgotten how long ago it was that I bought my fisherman’s jersey, hand-knitted by Marion Brocklehurst and I remember havering for ages before taking the plunge and handing over a substantial sum of money.  Bear in mind that this was many years ago and I was about to spend nearly as much as I was earning for the week – it was a tournament at Ganton, perhaps an England women’s amateur championship or even the British won by Lillian Behan, a golfing meteorite from The Curragh.  She’s for ever on a club honours board that could hardly be more distinguished, featuring the great and the good of golf, boasting names like Joyce Wethered, Gerald Micklem, Max Faulkner, Frances Stephens, Michael Bonallack, Peter McEvoy, Nick Faldo and Jose Maria Olazabal, the Wolstenholmes Guy and Gary, Liz Chadwick, Bernard Gallacher, Joanne Morley, the list goes on and on.

My jersey sat unused through many long mild, wet winters and was often in the pile for the charity shop but I loved it too much to abandon it and this year it’s come into its own, keeping me warm and bringing back memories.  Thank you Marion.

I believe Marion died a good while ago but her magnificent handiwork lives on.

I don’t know if Mike Whan does any knitting in his spare time – or even if he has any spare time – but if the outgoing LPGA commissioner’s body of work is as enduring as Marion’s, he’ll be a legend, enshrined in the Hall of Fame.  He’s announced that he’ll be stepping down later this year, having been in post for 11 years, much longer than any of his predecessors.  The thing was that, as Beth Ann Nichols, Golfweek’s outstanding correspondent, explained:  “He fell in love.  And he didn’t just fall in love with the tour and its people.  He fell in love with the mission.  And he got angry, too.

“The fast-talking middle-aged man with three boys, who’d never thought about or worried about the discrepancies that exist between the genders, had his eyes opened in a massive way when he took on the role of commissioner.  And he could’ve just used his dynamic personality and creativity to get the LPGA back on its feet again and then walked away.

“But he didn’t.  He couldn’t……..’It got in me,’ he said, ‘and I felt like I couldn’t leave.'”

Whan has done an amazing job as commissioner and is a difficult act to follow but we’ll know he’s been truly brilliant if the organisation takes this departure in its stride and proves that the foundations are solid.  One of the best, most impressive and in many ways most important things is how he’s ensured that the LPGA and women’s golf are right in the middle of all discussions about the game and its development.  He’s restored credibility and that’s invaluable.

Mike Whan became a champion of women’s golf everywhere and took steps to revive the LET, much to the delight of Marta Figueras-Dotti [Tris Jones, I think]

Talking of moving on, Mary McKenna isn’t much of a golfer these days but she doesn’t have to be, having done pretty much everything that any woman could do in the game.  Her new area of expertise is photography and not being a person to do things by halves, she’s excelling at it.  Her birds are nothing short of sensational and here’s one of the latest.  I’ll be posting some of my favourites throughout the year.

Heron on the qui vive [Mary McKenna]