TECHNOLOGY often makes me nervous. Then again, my doddering incompetence probably makes the technology that I own nervous too.

There are times, for instance, when I’m convinced that my laptop actually has a rivulet of agitated sweat running down its screen when I open it up to begin composing the Tuesday column.

On many occasions, the well of inspiration is so arid, my fingers spend ages hovering indecisively over the keys with the same kind of timorous, hesitant footering and faffing you’d perform if someone had asked you to gently tickle the snout of a sleeping alligator with a feather.

The weekly farce doesn’t get any easier. But there’s always something to get the cogs and pistons of the aforementioned laptop spluttering along.

The showpiece occasions in team golf are coming thick and fast. And we’re not just talking about this Sunday’s Boundary Bell at Cathkin Braes. The Solheim Cup between the USA and Europe in Toledo gets underway on Saturday, the third of four cherished transatlantic tussles in the golfing year.

Already, the US have flung something of a starspangled spanner in the works by winning both the Walker Cup and the Curtis Cup on the amateur front.

It’s now the turn of the professionals to go head-to-head with Catriona Matthew’s Europeans aiming to keep their hands on the Solheim Cup before the men attempt to make sure the Ryder Cup stays on this side of the pond at the end of the month.

The memories of the 2019 Solheim Cup at Gleneagles, when Europe won with the final putt on the final green of the final singles match, will linger long in the memory. Matthew looked the calmest person in Perthshire as she watched her wild card pick, Suzann Pettersen, mull over that all-ornothing eight-footer amid scenes of breathless, nail-nibbling tension.

It was magnificent, jaw-dropping theatre and just about led to gas and air being administered to the hyperventilating golf writers in the media centre.

Matthew will now look to mastermind something that Europe have managed just once before in the 31-year history of the Solheim Cup; win on US soil and retain the trophy.

The 52-year-old, who is such a treasure she should be protected by the National Trust for Scotland, was part of that historic winning side in Colorado back in 2013 and pitched in with the half-point that took the rampant Europeans into an unbeatable position.

Emulating that 18-10 romp will take some doing this weekend. The US team features eight players in the world’s top 30 but, as we all know, matchplay golf often looks at rankings, gives a dismissive snort and tosses them out of the clubhouse window.

Matthew has four rookies in her side but let’s not get all concerned about that either. Europe had six in the 2013 team in Denver and roared to victory. Whoever uttered the phrase, “you’ll never win ‘owt with rookies”, that week was last seen heading mournfully into a life of solitude in the High Plains. In Leona Maguire and Matilda Castren – they are the first ever Solheim Cup players from Ireland and Finland respectively – Matthew has two exceptional talents in her midst.

The Scot will have been buoyed too by Anna Nordqvist’s resurgence and the Swedish Solheim Cup stalwart’s victory in the AIG Women’s Open the other week – four of Matthew’s team finished in the top seven at Carnoustie – was another timely lift to the morale. “It was a dream leaderboard for me,” Matthew said in the aftermath of the final major of the year.

With travel restrictions still in place amid this ongoing pandemic, the Europeans will have very little support in the galleries. They are expecting big crowds at the Inverness Golf Club but, by and large, the chants, the hoots and the hollers of encouragement will all be directed at the team in the stars and stripes.

That will be a shame as an element of rivalry between the fans adds to the occasion and the spectacle. Raw emotion, on both sides of the ropes, is actively encouraged in these type of showdowns.

In the highly charged, tribal arena of the team format, players, perhaps reserved for much of the touring year, suddenly find themselves bursting out of the strait jacket. Golf, as a whole, does too.

If Matthew’s Europeans can keep the partisan masses quiet in Toledo this weekend, then the silence could be golden as far as the visitors are concerned.


WE’VE not heard much from Tiger Woods as he continues his rehabilitation from that frightful car accident six months ago.

There’s no getting away from him, though. The other day – August 29 to be precise – marked the 25th anniversary of Woods turning professional and embarking on a career that changed golf.

His first event in the pro ranks was the Greater Milwaukee Open in 1996. His first shot in the paid game was a wallop of 336-yards off the tee. “Pretty good, isn’t he?” his playing partner, John Elliott, said to the gallery in a report on the occasion by Golf Digest magazine.

It was a sign of things to come as golf swiftly fell under the tyranny of Tiger and a world marvelled at his remarkable feats of dominance.