There are often things written in newspapers or penned in magazines or scribbled on the door of the public toilets that make you sit up and take notice.

One such opening paragraph I casually caught recently concerned some scientific shenanigans and boldly declared “a drug that reverses ageing and could help astronauts travel to Mars may be on the market in three years”.

It was quite a startling, eye-opening revelation, particularly for those of us in this country who are more used to taking something that actually accelerates the ageing process and hinders our intrepid ventures to far-flung places. That’s right, it’s called the Scottish rail network.

I was reminded of this at the weekend when stuck on a train between Auld Reekie and Glasgow as a combination of the Fringe Festival frenzy and a rambunctious rugby rigmarole led to a veritable Noah’s Ark of increasingly wizened commuters who ended up with contorted fizzogs of exasperation that were so glum, they could’ve sucked on a lemon and the lemon would’ve pulled a face.

By the time we got from one end to the other, my own weary, spent features had developed so many anguish-laden lines, there was just about a major signalling fault on my furrowed brow.


At least Carly Booth got herself back on track at the weekend. Now, there’s a hopelessly contrived introduction to this week’s offering, you just about need a bus replacement service to make the connection between the opening meander and the actual subject matter of this column.

Booth had been hinting during the past few weeks that her game was close to clicking and it did over three days in the Czech Ladies Open as the Perthshire golfer won her first Ladies European Tour title since 2012.

The gleaming, joyous smile on the Scot’s face when she was handed the trophy was so bright, the presentation party actually got sun stroke.

It was a shame, of course, that Booth’s flurry arrived too late to make any impact on her Solheim Cup ambitions, with the European team for Gleneagles already finalised, but that will not have lessened the sense of satisfaction at bridging a seven-year title gap.

READ MORE: Carly Booth ends seven year wait for tour title

Winning, at any level of golf, does not come easily. When they do come along, you have to cherish them.

On the same day as Rory McIlroy pocketed a $15m bonanza for his Tour Championship win in Atlanta, Booth won about £17,500 for her efforts at a Czech event that was a dual-ranking contest on the main tour and the second-tier Access Series.

The 27-year-old has season earnings of about £73,000 and sits in seventh place on the Ladies European Tour’s order of merit. Seventh place on the men’s European Tour, meanwhile, is currently standing at a haul of £1.7m.

On the LPGA Tour at the weekend, Ko jin-young won upwards of $337,000 at the Canadian Women’s Open. The women’s circuit on this side of the Atlantic, which is trying to recover from the ravages of mismanagement, sponsor evacuation and a lack of exposure, can only look on with envy and concern in this game of haves and have-nots.


The Czech event was the first “regular” event on the Ladies European Tour since June as the circuit moved into a run of two majors in the row, followed by the lucrative Ladies Scottish Open which was co-sanctioned with the LPGA Tour. In the height of the season, many rank-and-file Ladies European Tour members were sitting twiddling their thumbs for almost two months.

Booth – who qualified for the Women’s British Open and was given an invitation to the Scottish where she eared her biggest cheque of the year (£28,292) for sharing ninth -- is still a highly marketable commodity and she has a number of supportive sponsors. That’s just as well. But plenty of her peers are not as fortunate.

When you’re travelling to Australia, New Zealand, the Far East and the Middle East on the Ladies European Tour, those season earnings can disappear quicker than you can say “is there anything cheaper than economy class?” if you don’t have much financial backing.

READ MORE: McIlroy and Koepka revel in mutual appreciation

For the past couple of years, many Ladies European Tour players have been essentially faced with less opportunities to make money while the travelling costs of actually getting to events in the hope of making some money have gone up.

The business plan and balance sheet must look as perilous as the one devised by the inventor of the inflatable dartboard.

What was it Lee Trevino used to say again? “Pressure is when you play for five dollars a hole with only two in your pocket.” At times that could be a marketing line for the Ladies European Tour.

It wasn’t that long ago Booth, in a frank interview with some of the golf writers, confessed she had hit rock bottom after the breakdown of a relationship.

Behind all the social media smiles that masked the personal tumult, Booth was just a young girl trying to cope with the hassles and heartaches that are par for the course in everyday life. Sportswomen and men are not immune to those trials and tribulations.

As she said at the recent Ladies Scottish Open: “If you’re not in a happy place off the course, how do you expect to be in a happy place on it?”

For those eking out something of a hand-to-mouth existence on the Ladies European Tour, there hasn’t been much to smile about in recent years as development, opportunity and progression has been stifled.

A rejuvenated Booth, meanwhile, has reasons to be cheerful. And the smiles were genuine this time.