Hello and welcome to the first in what will be a regular series of online columns. Indeed, one of m’learned friends tells me that these are known in modern parlance as blogs. Occasionally, I suppose I will know them as slogs.
Be that as it may, I write this one in high good humour having spent a week filled with jollity, major trophies and the occasional glass of champagne at Wentworth. You may have noticed the BMW PGA Championship and the reason you may have noticed it was because it was brilliant from start to finish.
Also brilliant was the West Course itself. Back-lit by the sun on the final day the old course offered a magnificent stage for Europe’s – and therefore the world’s – best players upon which to strut their stuff. Luke Donald’s eventual play-off win over Lee Westwood was captivating.
What wasn’t so captivating was the criticism of the course offered by Ian Poulter and Paul Casey. Subbed down, their bleatings suggested that Ernie Els’ thoughtful refurb had made it too tough. Ah, bless.
How much better it would be if Harry Colt’s masterpiece was as the maestro originally planned 90 years ago when a decent drive was around 200 yards and putters needed to resemble mallets to cope with greens so slow there was time for an argument after hitting the ball and before it arrived at the hole.
Now look, Poulter and Casey are integral to the current, stirring revival of English golf and while I applaud their efforts and occasionally enjoy listening to their haphazard views on the game, I do think each needs to start actually thinking a tad more intelligently (or at least think) before they moan.
Consider this chaps…(1) The PGA Championship is the Tour’s flagship event; (2) the whole point of the West Course is that it is supposed to be a stern test; Els’ redesign is imperfect (what’s perfect?) but is infinitely superior to what we had before.
It can be no flukish coincidence that the whole rumble eventually came down to the world numbers one and two golfers slugging it out for the big prize. By then, of course, Messrs Poulter and Casey were back home and probably moaning to someone about the state of their parched lawns. Is it me?