Stuffing a turkey is hardly one of life’s most dignified endeavours, is it? Funnily enough, that whole unwieldy, yuletide palaver reminded me of a letter I once received from a reader telling me where I could shove my column.

Now that said turkey has been devoured, and we’re all witlessly pawing at the television remote control and lolling and belching on the couch like a walrus hauling itself along the shingle, it’s a perfect time to a have a look back at one or two golfing moments from 2023.

Can you open another tin of Quality Street, please?


Amid the division, debate, rancour and recriminations of golf’s civil war, the Masters provided some comforting escapism from the general tumult.

This golfing rite of spring had it all. Even good auld Fred Couples made the cut at 63 as cooing observers overdosed on great dollops of syrupy schmaltz.

Phil Mickelson’s spellbinding 65 on the final day, meanwhile, was like a soothing wander down memory lane. His defection to the LIV series, and all the incendiary comments he made in the process, had torched his reputation as he backed away from the PGA Tour with all the grace of a man reversing a forklift truck into a pallet of Ming vases.

For a few giddy hours on Masters Sunday, though, all was forgiven. Well, not quite but you get the idea. In the end, Jon Rahm was a brilliant champion. A few months later, he too would jump on the LIV gravy train. What a year, eh?


The Ryder Cup in Rome ended with a thumping win for Luke Donald’s inspired European team. The boisterous scenes after the conclusion of play on Saturday night, meanwhile, resembled something you’d see in the queue at a kebab shop after the pub shuts.

The sight of Patrick Cantlay’s caddie, Joe LaCava, ranting and raving on the 18th green like some enraged drunk and goading a brassed off Rory McIlroy as he lined up a putt was something to behold.

Subsequent footage of an incensed McIlroy effing, blinding and finger-jabbing in the car park afterwards put the tin lid on a quite extraordinary day. “It added fuel to the fire,” hissed McIlroy ahead of the Sunday singles.

Those fired-up Europeans would go on to deliver a knock-out blow.


By all accounts, Rose Zhang was the best thing since somebody picked up a knife, sliced through a loaf of bread and made a few pieces for gob-smacked onlookers.

After a truly glittering amateur career, the 20-year-old made her move into the professional game amid a frenzy of hype and hysteria. Would the burden of expectation be too much? Don’t be daft.

Zhang won on her maiden voyage on the LPGA Tour and became the first player since Beverley Hanson in 1951 to win on her pro debut on the circuit. It was a thrilling achievement.


When the USA raced into a 4-0 lead after the opening foursomes session of the Solheim Cup, Europe had to mount the kind of mighty salvage operation that raised the High Seas Fleet at Scapa Flow.

Undaunted, Suzann Pettersen’s spirited side rolled up the sleeves and got cracking. Come the start of the Sunday singles it was evenly poised at 8-8 and a fascinating, fluctuating final day would unravel.

Aided by exhilarating performances from Caroline Hedwall and Carlota Ciganda, Europe battled to a 14-14 draw to retain the cup during an epic tussle that left the edges of seats totally worn out. Once again, the Solheim Cup had delivered.

In 2021 there were just two points in it. In 2019, it went to the final putt of the final match. There hasn’t been a close-run thing in the men’s Ryder Cup since 2012. You can’t say that about the Solheim Cup, though.

The women’s showpiece continues to provide wonderful theatre.


Just before the start of the RBC Canadian Open in June, Jay Monahan, the PGA Tour commissioner, dropped the kind of bombshell news that would’ve startled Oppenheimer.

After months of disruption, division, defections, distractions, moralising, fines, suspensions and petty squabbling in the men’s game, the high heid yins of the PGA Tour, the DP World Tour and the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) that bankrolls LIV announced an unlikely truce and unveiled plans for their now infamous framework agreement.

It was a jaw-dropping statement that was so out of the blue, even the blue itself was caught on the hop. The fall-out was considerable with players expressing dejection, frustration and betrayal at the clandestine nature of the deal.

Rory McIlroy, who claimed he had been made to feel like the “sacrificial lamb” in all of it, would eventually resign from the PGA Tour’s policy board. The armistice, in many ways, opened the door for Jon Rahm’s eye-popping move to LIV too. Instead of bringing more clarity and cohesion, chaos and confusion still reigns six months on.

The deadline for the details of that framework thingamajig to be finalised is this Sunday. Will there be something concrete delivered before the bells? Watch this space, folks.