ONE does enjoy the culture an’ that. A trip to Auld Reekie to revel in the sights, sounds and smells of the Edinburgh Festival always stirs the senses.

Of course, the problem with making the pilgrimage east is the palaver returning west as you have to absorb the altogether different sights, sounds and smells of the late train back to Glasgow which doesn’t so much stir those senses but violently assaults them.

Trying to shepherd a heaving mob of revellers through the barriers and on to a carriage, for instance, remains an exercise in jowl-shuddering flapping that is broadly equivalent to the logistical hassles that Noah confronted as a variety of beasts shuffled their way up the Ark’s gangway.

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After 40 days of two by twos doing this and that, the aroma on his floating zoo was probably still more pleasant than the reek of the 22.52 service to Garscadden, mind you.

On Sunday, it was the sweet smell of success that came wafting in for Julian Suri as the American underlined his considerable talents and potential with a maiden victory on the European Tour in the Made in Denmark Championship. Those who keep an eagle eye on the various golfing scenes have been talking about this 26-year-old for a while now.

He was already one to watch when he pitched up on Scottish soil for the Challenge Tour event in Aviemore back in June before widening his appeal a couple of days later when he topped the Open qualifier at Gailes Links to tee-up a debut appearance in golf’s most decorated major at Royal Birkdale.

At the start of the 2017 campaign on the second-tier circuit in March, Suri was ranked 1142nd on the world rankings. Now, amid the kind of thunderous rise that would usually be managed by those folk in neatly pressed shirts in the mission control centre at Cape Canaveral, the upwardly mobile New Yorker is 109th.

He had virtually sealed his place on next year’s main European circuit through his Challenge Tour ranking but this victory, in just his seventh start among the elite, has given him a two-year exemption. It’s been quite a hurtle up the order.

When the domestic golf writers here first got a glimpse of Suri earlier in the season, there was that sense you were seeing something special. In this fickle pursuit, you can never say with any great authority who is going to make it, but Suri certainly marketed himself well and he continues to back up his confident declarations. “I want to be top of the world rankings,” he told us at Aviemore back in June with a bold statement of intent.

Like Brooks Koepka before him, Suri’s impact on the European scene has been as explosive as an argument in a munitions factory. The Challenge Tour, it would appear, has unearthed yet another gem on its production line.

While Suri swept in and made an immediate impression on a tough developmental circuit that instils a hard, competitive edge and a winning mentality, others take that bit longer to find their feet.

It’s been well-documented in recent years how Scottish golfers struggle with the amateur-to-professional transition. Instead of hitting the ground running, they often embark on a slow, topsy-turvy traipse that would make the progress of the pilgrims look like the 100 yard dash. As the Challenge Tour season moves into its crunch period, Blairgowrie’s Bradley Neil is making quiet, effective advances. The 21-year-old is seventh on the rankings and well inside a top-15 place required to gain promotion to the top table in 2018.

Neil, pictured left, is in his third season on the Challenge Tour. He has upped the ante this term with a brace of runners-up finishes which have got him moving in the right direction after some teething troubles which saw him make just four cuts in his first 24 tour events.

Suri’s Challenge Tour apprenticeship was brief, but spawned the ultimate rewards. Neil’s time at the coalface has been more laboured. Slowly but surely, though, he is, well, rising to the challenge . . .


Scottish golf has lost two highly respected stalwarts over the past week in the shape of Peter Lloyd and Barrie Douglas.

Peter, the amiable former secretary of the Scottish PGA with the robust, friendly hand shake that could’ve crumpled the sheet metal in the Gartcosh steelworks where he used to work, was a man of great diligence and his passion for the Professional Golfers’ Association was absolute.

Barrie, meanwhile, was a cheery, well-kent and hugely popular figure in the amateur scene.  Both men invested much in the pursuit they loved and they will be sadly missed by those in the game that they served so well.