IT is impossible to be in different places at the one time.

Unless you are, say, the ubiquitous Clare Balding who has an uncanny knack of being just about everywhere these days. I'm convinced I peered into the mirror the other morning and there was Balding, hosting my own reflection. On a super Sunday of golf at the weekend, you could have blinked yourself dizzy trying to keep an eye on proceedings in various corners of the golfing landscape. So what did we see?


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There hadn't been a separation quite like it since Ernest Rutherford set about splitting the atom. Rory McIlroy's break-up from his tennis-playing fiancée, Caroline Wozniacki, in the build up to the BMW PGA Championship caused a quite astonishing stooshie. The young Northern Irishman may no longer be engaged but he's certainly not disengaged. His victory at Wentworth was a tale of the unexpected and another remarkable chapter in a remarkable career.

In recent years, many have questioned his competitive character. When the going got tough, McIlroy just wouldn't get going. A legend has grown that the 25-year-old is a fair-weather golfer; a legend that he has contributed to in word and deed on occasions. Covering his final seven holes in four-under during Friday's second round in thoroughly miserable conditions, however, demonstrated to all and sundry that he has the spirit to go with his boundless talent. Closing out victory with a nerveless, rousing display on Sunday confirmed it.

Wentworth was never one of his happy hunting grounds. "Strained" was the word he used to describe his relationship with it prior to the European Tour's showpiece. Given this apparent aversion to the West Course, and the muddled state of his mind, McIlroy triumphantly showed that he can now conquer against all the odds.

It seemed to be a weekend for proving folk wrong. In his observations on potential Ryder Cup rookies, Tony Jacklin, the former European skipper, had suggested that Stephen Gallacher was "tender-minded" and perhaps not made of the right stuff for the heat of the transatlantic tussle. A closing 66, after a third-round 75, was a timely response from the Scot.

"I did say he may not be steely enough but he certainly came out and showed me what he was capable of," said Jacklin. "I meant it in a kind way, there was no malice, but sometimes it's these little jibes that get guys going."

With a vast number of qualifying points up for grabs over the next two months, Jacklin may just have done Gallacher an unlikely favour.


You'd have to possess a heart encased in granite not to feel a tingling of delight for good old Colin Montgomerie.

After 71 fruitless stabs at major glory on the regular circuit stretching back to 1990, Monty finally struck gold among the golden oldies at the weekend when he captured the Senior PGA Championship. Even those fickle golfing gods seemed to show some compassion and said 'ach, let him have it', when his wayward approach to the 18th clattered off the grandstand and bounced back on to the green.

In his pomp, of course, Montgomerie had more close shaves than Sweeney Todd. There were the agonising US Open losses to Ernie Els in 1994 and 1997 and the US PGA defeat of 1995 when Steve Elkington trundled in a raking 35-footer to win the play-off. Then there was the fateful switch of clubs on the final hole of the 2006 US Open which led to a cock-up of quite calamitous proportions as he lost out by a stroke.

It was all right on Sunday night, though. "No more about my tragedies in America," chuckled a joyous Monty with the kind of gleaming beam not seen since those toothy Bee Gees first emerged from a scale and polish.

This win, achieved, poignantly, on the same date as his late mother's birthday, was a throwback to those triumphant golfing times of yore. He hit 12 of 13 fairways and found 17 of 18 greens in regulation on the final day as he rolled back the years with trademark timing and precision. Thankfully, those other Monty trademarks - the slumped shoulders and the infuriated glower that could melt a tank - were nowhere to be seen. He was in carnival mood.

Having dedicated his energies to a campaign on the highly lucrative Champions Tour, Montgomerie's sporting life has been galvanised at the age of 50. With a first career win on American soil, and the major monkey off his back in a fashion, the former Ryder Cup talisman is now a force to be reckoned with once again. He'll be loving the attention.


You can't afford to stand still in this game. When you have an 11-year-old by the name of Lucy Li qualifying for the US Women's Open, even those players in their 20s must feel about as old as Methuselah's housemaid. Goodness knows, then, what 44-year-old Catriona Matthew thinks.

The evergreen Matthew once again demonstrated her competitive longevity and abundant qualities as she went toe-toe with 20-somethings Jessica Korda, Michelle Wie and Anna Nordqvist, as well as 18-year-old Charley Hull, to share third place in the LPGA Classic. With an insatiable hunger for success, Matthew continues to set the standards for those coming through in the Scottish scene, but they are formidable shoes that will take some filling.

Kylie Walker made a significant stride in the right direction with a maiden victory on the Ladies European Tour in Amsterdam. Now the challenge is to build on that success. It's not easy, of course. Carly Booth won twice on the tour in 2012 but, amid the heightened expectations, she has gone backwards in the seasons that have followed. Booth made only three cuts in 17 LET events in 2013 and has made just one from seven this year. Success doesn't always breed success, while being labelled 'the next Catriona Matthew' can be a hefty burden to bear.

Walker, a 27-year-old from Glasgow, has certainly served a decent apprenticeship and is now in her fifth season on the European circuit. She has done enough in those years to cement her place at the top table but Sunday's triumph has moved her out of the rank-and-file and into the rarefied air of a tour champion.

How she deals with that will make for interesting viewing as the campaign unfolds.