I NOTICED that the Royal Mint had unveiled a new recycling centre where they will recover gold from the circuit boards of old laptops and other gadgets and gizmos.

Lifting the lid on my own decrepit laptop the other day, a process which is akin to prising open a fusty, creaking casket with a jemmy, I wondered what precious metals could lurk within its antiquated tangle of clanking pistons, frayed pulleys and steampunk dials.

“Fool’s gold?,” suggested the sports editor with a withering snort as he watched me poke and prod at the keys with about as much elegance as Frankenstein’s monster trying to thread a needle.

At least Bearsden’s Ewen Ferguson struck gold at the weekend. His maiden win on the DP World Tour at the Qatar Masters was worth almost £260,000 as he became the latest Scottish 20-something to triumph on the main circuit.

It wasn’t that long ago that us crotchety old lot who cover this game were mumbling and muttering about Scotland not having a tour player under the age of 30 and lamenting a lost generation. Over the past 18 months, however, we’ve had four new champions under the age of 30. What a time of milk and honey eh?

You’ve got to take your hat off to Ferguson. Just a few weeks ago, the DP World Tour rookie surrendered a four-shot advantage on the final day of the Kenya Open as the fickle, unforgiving nature of this game dealt him the kind of startling smack in the face that Will Smith dished out to Chris Rock at the Oscars.

Savage moments like that can linger and prey on a tortured mind. He held his hands up and said the pressure got to him that day, which was an admirable and honest admission from a young man not short of Glaswegian gallus.

His response to that crushing set back has been terrific. The phrase “it’s all part of the learning process” can be something of a cliché when it comes to disappointment in sport but Ferguson clearly learned something and delivered with great aplomb. After three second place finishes on the Challenge Tour last season, and that sobering Kenyan calamity, the 25-year-old finally got himself over the winning line.

Amid the intense cut-and-thrust in Qatar on Sunday, Ferguson harnessed the pressure, embraced the challenge and pulled off the telling blows that separate the winners from the rest. A chip-in eagle on 16 and a nerveless birdie putt on the last was the stuff of a real champion as Ferguson joined young compatriots, Robert MacIntyre, Grant Forrest and Calum Hill on the tour’s recent roll of honour.

They say that success breeds success and the current crop, who all turned pro at a similar time, have inspired each other with a strong sense of competitive camaraderie, mutual encouragement and healthy peer pressure.

Those of us who documented Ferguson’s wins in the amateur scene always harboured hopes that he could do something as a professional. Then again, we’ve harboured hopes for countless emerging talents before and they’ve disappeared off the face of the earth amid the unsparing rigours of the professional game.

Boasting a mightily impressive amateur cv – Scottish and British Boys’ champion and a Walker Cup player – as well as the kind of confident strut that John Travolta would adopt in Saturday Night Fever, Ferguson, like many before him, ticked all the right boxes ahead of a leap into the paid ranks. 

But pro golf, with its complex, varied demands, is much more than a box-ticking exercise. The game is awash with players whose potential, for a whole host of reasons, has been unfulfilled.

Ferguson, though, has shown that he is the real deal.


If you watched any of the WGC Matchplay Championship at the weekend, then you probably caught a glimpse of the prolonged palaver that goes into a Keegan Bradley putt. 

Bradley is an advocate of the AimPoint technique, which involves a player using his feet to estimate the amount of slope on the green then using pointed fingers to determine an aim point amid much rocking, pivoting and posturing. 

The whole rigmarole made Bradley look like an awkward groom-to-be going through the steps and routines for the first dance at his impending wedding. And it took forever. On one putt, nothing happened for so long I actually got up and thumped the side of the TV to see if that would get things moving.

I’m not sure what was a more sigh-inducing spectacle. Bradley’s exhausting putting performance or Kevin Kisner’s endless expectorating as he spat his way down fairways and off greens like some tobacco-chewing gunslinger preparing for a shoot-out at Tombstone.


Best of luck to Scottish duo Louise Duncan and Hannah Darling who are competing in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship this week.

The tournament is staged at two venues, with only the top 30 after 36-holes at the Champions Retreat course actually getting to play the closing round at storied Augusta National.

In that sense, one round at the Masters venue for a lucky few still smacks of tokenism. Surely there’s a way to play a 54-hole women’s showpiece at Augusta? But is there a will?