Did you know that rapid-fire, rat-a-tat-tat internet search engine Google turned 20 last week? Of course you did. You probably just typed it into Google. Look, there’s your answer in 0.58 seconds. Twenty years. Next question.

Before the entire world used the phrase “ach, just Google it”, finding things out required a degree of research as you waded through books in a library, gazed at a clump of microfiche or used a trowel to dig things up. And because you’d performed such in-depth exploration, the stuff you were researching would become seared in your memory bank.

Nowadays, though, you can just forget everything and Google will remember it for you instead as your increasingly indolent brain becomes so lazy, it resembles a dozing donkey with flies buzzing round it. With this in mind, let’s Google that weekly plea, “any ideas for a bloomin’ column?”


When Google launched in 1998, Colin Montgomerie was in his pomp and had just won the sixth of his seven European Tour order of merit titles on the trot. There were 10 Scots in the top 100 of the rankings that year too.

Here in 2018, those rankings look as doleful as a Monty glower. Take Russell Knox out of the equation – he’s not a regular Euro Tour campaigner – and only Stephen Gallacher, at No.76 on the Race to Dubai, is in that leading 100 with just two regular events of the season to go. Scott Jamieson and David Drysdale are on the borderline of the card-retaining places while mainstays like Richie Ramsay and Marc Warren, with six tour wins between them, have plenty of work to do to haul themselves into the safety zone.

There could be a real wipe out if fortunes don’t improve. The Scots desperately need something to happen over the next fortnight. But it’s not really been happening for them all season.


The incident that led to a female spectator possibly losing her sight in one eye after being struck by a ball at the Ryder Cup was a grisly, tragic affair. A few days later, pictures were splattered across the media platforms of another woman nursing a gouge on her forehead after being clattered at the Dunhill Links.

Pretty soon there were radio phone-ins and shrieking comment on the subject of golf safety, an inevitable consequence of these jittery, panic-stricken times in which we may as well cower into the foetal position and quake ourselves into hysterical despair.

There is always some form of peril with spectator sports. This scribe’s first experience of an ice hockey match, for instance, saw me ducking for cover from a flying puck. Get one of those in your face and you’ll end up with teeth like a vandalised cemetery.

Yes, there can be acts of negligence from organisers but there are also random incidents of sheer unluckiness. The woman injured at the Ryder Cup was, sadly, at the extreme end of grim misfortune. The majority chortle off with the odd sair bit and a signed glove.

An element of risk is par for the course when watching and playing golf. Apart from casing the ball in bubble-wrap, completely safety-proofing a hard, hurtling, airborne projectile is impossible.


The prickly issue of raising the annual fee club members pay to Scottish Golf was resolved last week. Well, for the time being.

The proposal to hike the subscriptions from £11.25 to £14.50 was passed and while a majority of just over 60 per cent of the vote was in favour of the rise, there remain voices of discontent.

Rumours that disgruntled no-voting representatives are wanting clubs to break away from the governing body have been swirling around in the days since the results were made public. Theresa May should thank her lucky stars she has only Brexit to deal with, not golfing governance.

Scottish Golf will move forward in the new year with backing behind them. Moving forward as one, though, is a different matter.