You may not be aware of this but I have a well-earned reputation as a gutsy competitor. Although there may be a few technical flaws in my grip, stance and posture, when it comes to sheer determination, there are very few who can live with me.

However willpower, I?ve discovered, can only take you so far. And one of the areas that it has taken me just about as far as it can is the short game. Up until now it?s mostly been my burning desire to get the ball in the hole (or somewhere on or about the green at least) which has enabled me to overcome huge deficiencies in the talent department.

?Up and Down in Four? is the working title of my autobiography, which I am seriously contemplating starting very soon now that the long-awaited major triumph is beginning to look increasingly unlikely. You see, winning The Open, or even the USPGA Championship, would have provided what we media folk like to call a ?hook? upon which to hang my life story. Finishing runner-up, as I did, in my club?s March Mid-Week Stableford, really isn?t going to raise my international profile sufficiently to have them queuing around the block at WH Smith?s.

Anyway, I digress. And the reason I digress is that I really don?t like chipping, talking about my chipping or writing about chipping. But I feel I now know you well enough to confess that it is an aspect of the game that still remains a complete mystery to me. What pains me more even than my inability to knock the ball out of the gentle rough and onto the green is that others, with far less in the way of natural ability and with handicaps hovering around the mean summer temperature in Arizona, step up to the ball and stroke it nonchalantly to within two feet of the pin without even thinking! And there?s me with my weight on my left side, my hands relaxed and forward without the foggiest idea if I?m even going to make contact let alone knock it stiff.

Desperate situations require desperate remedies and I have therefore purchased a ?chipper?. Now I know Tiger doesn?t carry one and I know that my friends and family will all laugh hysterically when I take it out of my bag and shape to use it but I don?t care because nothing can possibly be more embarrassing than foozling the ball no more that about 18 inches along the ground.

My new secret weapon will be unveiled to the public for the first time this week and I promise to let you know whether or not it?s the answer to a duff chipper?s prayers. If it spares my blushes, it?ll be the best £25 I?ve ever spent.