“Two, four, six, eight.  Who do we appreciate?”  Remember that school children’s rhyme from all those years ago, normally chanted on the side of a hockey or rugby pitch?  You would then belt out the name of your school as an answer.  Well, today I’m happy to shout out “Jodi Ewart Shadoff” lustily in response.

Ewart Shadoff (top), a 34-year old Englishwoman, who has plied her trade on the LPGA (Ladies’ Professional Golf Association) tour since 2011, recorded her first victory on said tour, the most demanding of all the women’s tours, last Sunday when she won the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship in California.  It was her 246th tournament on the American circuit, so hats off to her for persistence and twelve years of high-level professional play.

Jodi has had a sneakily impressive career starting with two English amateur titles in her late teens and numerous representative honours for her country.  She went to college in New Mexico and never really returned to live in her homeland after that.  She settled in the States and married her husband Adam Shadoff, a well-known sportscaster, in 2013.  She has three Solheim Cup teams and one Olympics on her resume but there was always that one glaring omission on her list of achievements:  she didn’t have an LPGA title to her name.

That has now been well and truly rectified and I hope the celebrations are still going on.   What is the point of all that sustained effort required to scale your personal Everest if you don’t pause to admire and glory in the view for at least a little while?

The moment dreams came true for Jodi (right). [LPGA.com]

I first came across Jodi as a youngster when she was just beginning to make her first England teams and I was coaching Wales.  You never really know who will “make it”, whatever that is.  The swing was sound, the physical skills were certainly there but, as I never tire of saying, it’s the stuff you can’t video that determines how successful or otherwise a player will be.  Her route to lifting that trophy last Sunday may have taken longer than she would have liked but she’s done it.  And I, for one, couldn’t be happier for her and her family.  Hopefully, the floodgates will now open.

Turning our eyes to this side of the Atlantic, the early days of this month saw the 36th playing of The Grand Match, a contest dreamed up by Peter Alliss and Bruce Critchley.  It comprises two teams of ten players – ten former Ryder Cup players versus ten former Walker Cup players and it has been played mostly (perhaps wholly) at wonderful Royal Cinque Ports golf club.

Glorious Royal Cinque Ports. [RCP facebook page.]

With Peter’s death at the end of 2021 it was felt that perhaps this might be the final match and Jackie, Peter’s widow, and the sponsors, Deloitte, wanted to do something special.  With that in mind they invited four women – two fomer Solheim Cup players and two Curtis Cup players – to take part in the pre-match proceedings.

Trish Johnson, an eight-time Solheim Cup player with 28 worldwide victories and Alison Nicholas, a six-time Solheim Cupper and two-time captain as well as two-time major champion (‘m counting her British title as a major, retrospectively, following the example of the men), made up half the complement of women.  The other half comprised Elaine Ratcliffe, a former English champion with two Curtis Cup appearances and two captaincies and Gillian Stewart, three-time Scottish champion, two-time Curtis Cup player and four-time winner on the Ladies European Tour.  Don’t take this the wrong way – but it was a real heavyweight selection!

Five very special women in golf. From left, Elaine Ratcliffe, Jackie Alliss, Trish Johnson, Alison Nicholas and Gillian Stewart. [www.burlisonphotography.com]

Proceeds from the day went to purchasing a wheelchair for a disabled child, a cause very dear to Peter’s heart and such was the success of the involvement of the women there is hope that Deloitte will continue their sponsorship, perhaps modifying The Grand Match to include former Solheim and Curtis Cuppers.

Now, that would be a tremendous legacy, so fingers crossed.  By the way, the Walker Cuppers defeated the Ryder Cuppers in a keenly contested match.

For those of you who are Alliss fans, please put the 3rd November in your diaries as that is the date that Peter’s latest book will be published.  He was working on it when he died.  It’s entitled  “Peter Alliss:  Reflections on a Life Well Lived” and is published by Lennard Publishing.  Perhaps a good idea for Christmas presents?

And finally, (as they used to say on news bulletins when they were finishing some weighty reporting with a little more lighthearted topic), for the first time in decades I’ve been on holiday with dogs.  Two of them, in fact – Findlay and Lyra.  Beautiful Cornwall has been enhanced by their presence and below is a picture of them both.  After all, it’s high time the sainted Alice, who features so often in Patricia’s blogs, had a little competition, so Patricia, you give me one working lab, I raise you two Gordon setters.

Findlay and Lyra.