SHUFFLING through Central Station yesterday morning, with all the bounding, thrusting dynamism of the Polynesian hermit crab embarking on the molting process, I made a promise to myself to dispense with the meandering, long-winded introductions to these Tuesday twitterings and get straight to the point.

Let’s face it, the weekly wafflings tend to go on longer than the announcement for the Glasgow to Penzance cross country train; you know that one that calls at Motherwell, Haymarket, Edinburgh, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Morpeth, Newcastle, Durham, Darlington, York, Leeds, Wakefield Westgate, Sheffield, Chesterfield, Derby, Tamworth, Birmingham New Street, Cheltenham Spa, Bristol Parkway, Bristol Temple Meads, Taunton, Tiverton, Exeter St Davids, Newton Abbot, Totnes, Plymouth, Liskeard, Bodmin Parkway, Par, St Austell, Truro, Redruth, Camborne, St Erth and Penzance.

What was I saying about meandering introductions again? Oh sod it …

YOUNG GUNS SHINE BUT LANGER GOES ON AND ON

HeraldScotland:

You can’t hang about in this game. A quick perusal of recent winners on the various golfing tours can make you feel older than Methuselah’s nibbie. A couple of 21-year-olds, Sami Valimaki and Im Sungjae, won the Oman Open and Honda Classic respectively while 18-year-old Julia Engstrom captured the New South Wales Open on the Ladies European Tour. The previous week, the Ladies Australian Classic was won by the 19-year-old amateur, Stephanie Kyriacou.

It’s the kind of youth movement that should come with its own rallying cry from Greta Thunberg. You often hear folk spouting the observation, ‘ah, it’s a young person’s game nowadays’ but then Young Tom Morris won four Opens by the age of 21 and the last of those came in 1872.

Bernhard Langer, meanwhile, was 17 when he won the German National Open back in the 1970s. Here in 2020, the indefatigable auld yin is savouring his 41st win in the over-50s ranks at the age of 62. It’s a remarkable plunder and one that is just four shy of the Champions Tour record held by Hale Irwin.

Langer’s competitive longevity once again underlines the fact that the passing years are no barrier to success. In an age, however, when bodies are often pushed to the physical boundaries amid increased athleticism and the quest for more power, how many of the current young ‘uns will still be marching on at Langer’s vintage? Only time will tell.

RUGBY TV DEAL STIRS OLD GOLF DEBATE

HeraldScotland:

The R&A’s annual ‘media round table’ is an Arthurian-style assembly of the great and the good from the golf writing fraternity during which all pretence of knight-like chivalry goes flying out the window when the complimentary finger buffet gets served up. As always, the gathering was an open forum in which all manner of topics were discussed even if Martin Slumbers, the R&A’s chief executive, answered some of them with the kind of straight bat you’d get in an early innings at Taunton.

The old chestnut about The Open being behind a pay-wall on Sky television cropped up and, just a few days later, news emerged that the Six Nations rugby could be disappearing from terrestrial platforms. Like the outcry that greeted golf’s departure to Sky in 2016, similar concerns about the effects on inspiration and participation, among other issues, have already been raised in worried rugby circles.

At the 2017 Open, Slumbers stated that, “I don’t buy the argument around participation and reach,” when asked about the impact in the UK of golf going to Sky before adding that, “it is clearly good to have more reach, but The Open is a global product, it’s not just a UK product. We touched 600 million households last year around the world.”

It was something of a contradiction because reach is either important or it’s not. Last week, meanwhile, Slumbers urged troubled golf clubs to, well, reach out to new markets. As we all know that’s easier said than done and, in many ways, golf’s chronic lack of exposure does not help that cause.

There are a variety of sports that get visibility and presence on terrestrial television that triggers a clear benefit in terms of public consciousness. Golf, sadly, muddles on in the margins. When it comes to The Open on the tele, many on these shores have a dewy-eyed yearning for that long, uninterrupted, come-all-ye coverage of yore. Watching through rose-tinted spectacles? Well, it’s better than not watching at all.

AZINGER STIRS POT WITH RABBLE ROUSING

HeraldScotland:

 

Paul Azinger’s cheap, insular belittling of the achievements of Tommy Fleetwood and Lee Westwood during his Honda Classic punditry has gone down like an entire lead balloon rally on this side of the pond. In a Ryder Cup year, the phoney war has started it seems.

Azinger’s comments lacked class. But then, what was it Seve once said? “The American team is made up of 11 gentlemen and Paul Azinger.”