Rather like searing heartburn and groaning abdominal bloat, this column’s annual awards ceremony, which recognises some of the quirks, curiosities and peculiarities from the golfing year, has become a wearisome and unfortunate tradition of the festive period.

Now in its 12th year of stubborn resistance, it has continued to defy logic as well as the sports editor’s howling insistence that it’s utterly needless. So, can we have another shrug of sighing indifference please for the 2022 winners….


An amble around the trophy cabinets and display units of clubhouses throughout the globe provides a glorious opportunity to wallow in the shimmering, triumphant opulence of the spoils of golfing war. As you shuffle about in whispering reverence, you can absorb the historical majesty of Claret Jugs, shields, tankards, orbs, sceptres, gauntlets, salvers and rosebowls.

Nowadays, of course, prize-giving ceremonies are peppered with the kind of garish, gaudy absurdities that would make the eye-watering, palatial kitsch of Liberace look about as outlandish as a pumice stone. In 2022, there were numerous runners and riders in the race for the plook on the plinth award. The oversized gold hand that Xander Schaufelle won at the JP McManus Invitational, for instance, resembled a ghoulish abomination hauling itself out of a grave.

Pride of place, however, is the eerie face mask presented to Jodi Ewart Shadoff (pictured) at the Mediheal Championship. To be honest, it looks like something the make-up department cobbled together for Bond girl Jill Masterson’s unfortunate fate in that iconic scene from Goldfinger. Upon receiving the trophy, Shadoff may have been shaken, not stirred. And maybe a bit startled too.


Apart from the lack of a free lunch, nothing gets the golf writers into an appalling fankle like a wordy, elongated tournament title that has to be shoehorned into the carefully crafted copy to keep sponsors, promoters, presenting partners, backers and benefactors happy.

Away from the simple elegance of, say, The Open, which glides off the tongue like a well-sooked Soor Ploom, the golfing schedules in the modern era are riddled with grossly long-winded monstrosities that can be as awkward as trying to pronounce that train station in Wales. You know, that one that goes, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.

Anyway, in our intrepid rummage through the far-flung nooks and extensive crannies of the global game, the Professional Golf Tour of India continues to provide fertile ground. This year’s winner, then, is The TATA Steel PGTI Players’ Championship 2022 presented by American Express and hosted by the Government of Haryana and the Panchkula Golf Club. Stick that in yer paper…


The mixed zone interview area at a golf tournament can be the site of many scholarly, chin-stroking, convivial conversations that used to be the reserve of an ancient Greek symposium. “What kind of ****in’ question is that?” is the regular retort this correspondent attracts in these erudite exchanges. The response I get to my toga slipping generates an equally withering assessment.

Back in the 2002 Open at Muirfield, after a gruesome 84 played out in rain-lashed, gale-force conditions, a dishevelled Colin Montgomerie, his raging face contorted like one of the gargoyles on Notre Dame cathedral, was asked, “was the wind a factor, Colin?” We’re not sure if the journalist survived Monty’s subsequent wrath.

In 2022, meanwhile, the mixed zone at the St Andrews Open served up a marvellously ludicrous conversation between a US reporter and Ian Poulter about the defections to LIV Golf and the general tumult in the global game caused by the Saudi-backed rebel circuit.

“Ian, going back a few years before social media, do you think Old Tom Morris would be turning in his grave at what’s happened in professional golf?” asked the reporter. “I can barely remember before social media let alone going back 120 years,” replied Poulter. “But do you think he’s turning in his grave?,” barked the increasingly excited reporter who was clearly determined to have auld Tom birling in his casket. “I have no idea,” gasped a bamboozled Poulter.

Those of us silently peering on, with mouths agape like a pod of whales homing in on a shoal of krill, half expected Poulter’s unfulfilled interrogator to march to the St Andrews cemetery with shovel in hand. Old Tom, face down, would presumably have given him the preposterous story he was desperately chasing.


Golf has always been a funny old game. Some days, for instance, you’ll start a round with a nine, a six, a 10 and a seven. And on other days, you just can’t get a decent score going at all. In the world of tournament sponsorship, meanwhile, those meddling golfing gods do like the occasional chuckle.

Swedish simulator company The Indoor Golf Group became headline sponsor of an event on the Challenge Tour this year. And guess what happened? Yes, that’s right. The Indoor Golf Group Challenge was reduced to 54-holes due to rain. The inevitable mockery on social media should’ve arrived with a warning from the Met Office.

Happy new year when it comes, everybody.