You may have noticed that poor old Greg Norman has been having a tough time of it with Covid-19. The Great White Shark, who still boasts the kind of shimmering teeth, tan and tone that would make Adonis look like Les Dawson after an all-inclusive cruise, is battling the virus with typical, jaw-jutting defiance. “Get this s*** behind us, never to experience it again,” he wrote on social media with a rallying cry that was eerily similar to the words the sports editor mutters when confronted with the Tuesday column.

A new year is nearly here and, having documented the giddy highs of the season last week, there’s still time for the annual glance at the quirkier side of golf in 2020.



Golf is awash with garish oddities, unsightly absurdities and preposterous peculiarities. And no, we’re not talking about Colin Montgomerie doing pilates. Well, not yet anyway.

Away from the venerable splendour of, say, the Claret Jug, prize giving ceremonies are littered with the kind of eccentric abnormalities you’d expect to find in Heath Robinson’s recycling bin. Whether it’s a bamboozling carving here or a mind-mangling sculpture there, the sight of a tournament sponsor’s chief executive gingerly handing over a gaudy monstrosity to a winning player is as awkward as seeing a doddering husband shopping in an Ann Summers boutique.

This year’s winner of the carbuncle award goes to the prize dished out at the Swiss Ladies Open (pictured). Amy Boulden earned her maiden tour win, a cheque for £30,000 … and a cow on a plinth. Pull the ‘udder one? We’re sure it will look lovely on the mantelpiece. Or the lower pastures.


For us mere mortals, a scorecard featuring the assorted figures you’d get on the numbers section of an episode of Countdown is part and parcel of our humble golfing existence. The phrase, ‘well, it was a solid round, sullied by a couple of pars’, tends to encapsulate the higgledy-piggledy nature of the game at the grim coalface. When Tiger Woods plootered his way to a grisly 10 on the par-3 12th at The Masters, millions could sympathise. “We’ve all been there,” sighed Woods after an excruciating episode. At one point of the prolonged palaver, Woods was forced to creak himself into an eye-watering stance in a bunker which looked a bit like an ageing John Wayne trying forlornly to mount a horse. That Woods went on to birdie five of his last six holes after that crushing calamity underlined the mighty resolve of a truly great champion. It was 10 out of 10 for professional pride and effort.


When the bold Colin Montgomerie revealed that he had started doing pilates back in 2019, the idea of the big Scot writhing on a mat and contorting himself into a pelvic curl generated a chorus of puerile chortles that was only topped when Jack Nicklaus took to Twitter a few weeks ago to inform the world that his granddaughter had married a fellow called Todger Strunck.

In 2020, the pilates were back as part of a strict regime of exercise and dieting and Colin went from the full Monty to slimline Monty before you could say ‘you can leave your hat on’. In total, Montgomerie lost 40lbs. Funnily enough, a golf writer once lost a similar amount due to the worry brought on by the prospect of asking Monty for a quick word after the volatile Scot had three-putted the last.


In these tut-tutting times, when pious, hand-wringing health gurus who exist on a diet of soil, seeds, twigs and steam are constantly barking that ‘you are what you eat’, it’s always comforting to see people enjoying the finer things in life. “It’s still about maintaining myself, some olive oil, espresso, a nice red wine, some cigars; I do what I like to do” said the sprightly Spanish veteran, Miguel Angel Jimenez, amid glugs of Rioja and plumes of reek. At 56, Jimenez broke Sam Torrance’s record for European Tour appearances when he racked up his 707th outing on the circuit in July. “I work on my elasticity,” he added of a well-documented warm-up routine of elaborate stretches and wincing strains that raises more eyebrows than Monty’s pilates. Well, maybe not that many …


We’ve all had to adapt to new ways of communicating this year. For some of you, for instance, the first time you successfully managed to make a family Zoom call is probably still being talked about in the same gushing tones of triumphant reverence that greeted the moon landings.

In this tsunami of gadgets and gizmos, which have certainly helped the golf writers cover events remotely this year, my cherished colleague and doyen, Jock MacVicar, continues to rise to the new-fangled challenges as he moves gently up his 80s. “I actually prefer Microsoft Teams to Zoom,” Jock recently declared with the assured, technological authority of Bill Gates. As a great champion of Colin Montgomerie, I’m backing Jock to embrace pilates in 2021.

Happy New Year when it comes, folks.