Event is just Champion – at least for majority

THOSE of us a little longer in the tooth than others can remember the days of the wildly popular ITV football panels of the 1970s featuring experts such as Brian Clough, Jack Charlton, Malcolm Allison and Bob Moncur.

THOSE of us a little longer in the tooth than others can remember the days of the wildly popular ITV football panels of the 1970s featuring experts such as Brian Clough, Jack Charlton, Malcolm Allison and Bob Moncur.

Sometimes they argued violently on screen, although that did not stop Clough, when he was the Brighton manager, unsuccessfully trying to perusade Moncur to move from Newcastle United to his club instead of Sunderland.

Their knockabout punditry – and the expert probing of ex-players union leader Jimmy Hill on BBC’s Match of the Day – was a world away from the comparatively bland offerings these days.

As it used to be with football so it is now with The Journal Champion of Champions golf tournament, given a remarkable difference of opinion this week.

The Journal is proud of everything Close House donated in organising and hosting a terrific tournament on Sunday.

Everything involved has been well documented on these pages and the players’ scores have been recorded, including the nil returns.

An NR is unusual and it means a player has stopped keeping his score, usually because he is a vast distance from a top five position.

Most NRs normally play out a Champions round for fun, perhaps missing an occasional shot if it helps the pace of play.

Two of the Champions NRs on Sunday have taken to their PCs to email fluctuating views of Sunday’s proceedings. We cannot afford to give the space to everything Chris Hart, from the Whitburn club, has to say but you will get the gist from the following extracts:

“it was a superb day and experience, however the pace of play on the day was ridiculous.

“Four hours and 55 minutes for a three-ball around any golf course is very, very slow.

“My group never played one shot after another without a wait, it was painful at times but we struggled on.

“I want to point a few things out about the stupid comments of the course manager, Brian Clark, who said the course had never played easier.

“Yet, out of 86 very capable golfers, only eight broke 75 and only 33 broke 80. If that’s easy I am playing the wrong game.

“I find his comments degrading and not very well thought out. What the course manager said was backed up by the golf operations manager, Jonny Greenwood.”

(Greenwood revealed the tees were moved to make the course “more enjoyable to play” for the majority of the field).

Hart commented: “Four very high level amateurs in two years have shot level par or better on his “easy” golf course – Phil Ridden, Sandy Twynholm, Ricky Lee and Alex Dixon.

“Let’s face it, they are playing or have played golf on a far higher level than the rest of us club champion mere mortals.”

Yet Pete Holehouse, from the Birtley club, said: “I want to thank Close House and all the people involved for a great day.

“It was a great event and ran like clockwork even though Katherine Jenkins was singing at Close House on the same day.

“I had a great time, met some great guys and some very patient marshals with a good sense of humour. The course was fantastic and all credit to the green staff for getting the course in such great condition.

“We finished our round, had a couple of pints of the finest, soaked up the ambience then headed off home.

“I shall wear the Close House cap I was given at the Champions with as much pride as Lee Westwood will wear the Close House logo on his cap in the Ryder Cup.”

 

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