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Let's hope dignity prevails this week as the golf season builds a head of steam

Whoever first mumbled the phrase "a watched pot never boils" clearly didn't invest in any decent kitchen appliances.

Italy's Matteo Manassero celebrates victory at last year's BMW PGA Championship after a play-off. Picture: Getty Images
Italy's Matteo Manassero celebrates victory at last year's BMW PGA Championship after a play-off. Picture: Getty Images

Even medieval nincompoops, who would entertain themselves for days by gazing in wonder at a turnip, could have told you that merely glowering at a pan of cold water was a spectacularly ineffective way of attempting to generate the necessary heat.

Funnily enough, though, increasingly hattered golf writers still insist upon using this futile technique on a daily basis in the vain hope that simply scowling at a blank word document, while hunched despairingly over the laptop, will be enough to conjure an inspired outpouring of fevered typing.

Unlike that aforementioned cooking vessel, things are beginning to bubble and boil on the golfing front as we hurtle towards the peak season. Events are coming thick and fast, the Ryder Cup points grow ever more valuable and the hefty prize money on offer resembles a Sultan's savings account.

This week, in the leafy Surrey stockbroker belt, the European Tour's flagship, the BMW PGA Championship, will set sail at Wentworth. Getting here, of course, has been a turbulent voyage.

The death of Iain McGregor, the Zimbabwean caddie, during the Madeira Islands Open and the subsequent decision to play the tournament to a finish in the sombre aftermath has, in many quarters, cast the European Tour in a dreadful light. But it is time to move on.

The meeting between George O'Grady, the tour's chief executive, and the European Tour Caddies Association during the Spanish Open at the weekend, was, by all accounts, a frank, open, emotional but much-needed discussion and one that appears to have gone a long way to soothing some of the deep, divisive wounds.

A year ago, affairs on the course during the BMW PGA Championship were effectively relegated to the sport in brief as Sergio Garcia's "fried chicken" jibe at Tiger Woods was followed by O'Grady's clumsy use of the term "coloured" during his efforts to defuse the situation. The reaction was hysterical and O'Grady, in the more rampaging outlets, was branded a racist oaf who should be tossed into the sea.

Amid the tempest, Colin Montgomerie mounted an outspoken defence of the tour hierarchy but his words highlighted the vagaries of these so-called media storms. "Christ, we're all frightened to say anything," said Monty at the time. "We're scared to open our mouths in case we say something that isn't kosher in 2013. George says coloured, somebody else says black but who is to say who is right and wrong?"

On another day, Montgomerie, like O'Grady, could easily have been branded some kind of out-of-touch racist but, by that stage, it appeared that the particular storm had blown itself out and the fist-shaking crusaders had filled their boots.

Perhaps the actual golf can take centre stage this week. Yes, there may be still one or two ghoulish profiteers looking to hound O'Grady on the tragic events of Madeira at Wentworth but let us hope for a quiet, dignified few days where the memory of McGregor is respected - there will be an official tribute on Thursday - and the game comes together and moves forward.

It would be nice if the talking points were provided by the golf and the galaxy of stars competing on the West course.

AND ANOTHER THING

Like him or loathe him, there's no doubt that Donald Trump has something very special up in Aberdeen. On a braw day on the north-east coast last week, this correspondent, and my respected counterpart on that organ of Auld Reekie, the Scotsman, hurtled round the links at Balmedie in a sprightly three hours. Admittedly, we were battering away off the forward tees but it made for a round of pure enjoyment. And is that not the whole point of this game anyway?

One of the comments often tossed about is that Trump's course - and other championship layouts - brings club golfers to their knees and can be about as much fun to play as a guitar with barbed-wire strings. That's only if you forget to leave your golfing ego and delusions of grandeur at the starter's box, of course.

Having swung away at 3.15pm, we were waved through a fourball that had started at 1.30 pm, as we walked off the 13th green. They were giving it their all from the black tees that stretched the course to an eye-watering 7428 yards. Now, these lads may have been competent golfers but, like a python trying to swallow an elephant, there are many cases of amateurs biting off far more than they can chew.

The end result of all this over-ambitious swiping tends to be relentless thrashing, growing anguish and constant plootering, and a game that should, simply, be fun, becomes everything but as the slog goes on and on. Teeing it forward, and playing a course that is more suited to your actual abilities, certainly provides an obvious, rewarding experience. It's common sense really, but then again, golf can make you do daft things.

"Unfortunately, golfers are masochists." Who uttered those words? Just a certain Jack Nicklaus.

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