After nine planning applications and a
lengthy public enquiry, SOL Golf Course
Construction started work on Donald
Trump’s links in Aberdeen on July 1. “To-
day,” said Trump, “my team will finally get
to work and build the world’s greatest golf
course for Scotland and for the great game
of golf. We are building on the finest piece
of land I have ever seen and we will turn it
into a national jewel.”
Presumably, he has spent enough time
in the area to know that there will not be
too many days when his “jewel” glitters
under the Scottish sun.
The project was approved despite much
local opposition. As part of the deal, the
Trump organization was required to secure
a bond to ensure that the site would be
restored if the project was abandoned,
according to a report in The Press and Jour-
nal, a Scottish newspaper.
Ernie Els has made a last-minute decision to play in this week’s Barclays
Scottish Open at Loch Lomond. Having
missed the cut in Munich, this two-time
winner of the Scottish Open felt that he
needed some competitive play before
heading for St. Andrews. The field for Loch
Lomond takes in as many as four major
champions in Els, Phil Mickelson, Y.E.
Yang and Graeme McDowell.
British and Irish passports, Feherty has
since become an American citizen.
It shouldn’t matter whether a player
is Catholic or Protestant, from Northern
Ireland or the South, but sadly it does. So,
where does the U.S. Open champion stand
in all of this? “I’m Irish,” he answered
simply. Acutely aware of sensitivities on
home terrain, however, McDowell said last
weekend: “I read an article that the United
Kingdom were laying claim to me, but I try
not to get into that debate.
“My mum’s Catholic, my dad’s Protes-
tant, and I was brought up a Presbyterian.
I don’t care about politics. I just care about
the sport and the people who love it. Golf
is an all-Ireland sport and I was proud to
wear the Ireland blazer. If I sit on the fence,
it’s because otherwise I’m always going to
upset someone. There is no right or wrong
played a two-ball scramble and I played
two-ball worse-ball. And I got smoked.
I should have known better than to get
involved in hustle-golf.”
He went on: “The problem for me was
that the windy conditions made it a lot
harder to make birdies. So he just had to
make pars and wait for me to make a mis-
take. And eventually they caught up with
me and he beat me fairly easily.” In fact
Woods lost 5 and 4, after conceding only
the standard 14-stroke handicap allow-
ance to his opponent. And McManus is no
slouch, as he has proved in front-line pro-
am successes with Padraig Harrington.
Since its foundation as an all-Ireland
body in 1891, the GUI has been a wonderful
force for good on the island, with Northern
Protestants playing alongside Southern
Catholics on international teams. Yet
deep-seated divisions remain, as Graeme
McDowell recognized in the wake of his
U.S. Open triumph at Pebble Beach.
When I broached the subject of national
identity with David Feherty two years ago,
he replied: “I’m very proud to be Irish. And
it’s not a political thing; it’s an emotional
thing. I think most people search for an
identity. We have the choice. If you want to
be British in Northern Ireland, you can be.”
Interestingly, with access to both
The bond between Tiger Woods and the
Irish financier J.P. McManus is illustrated
by the player’s presence at a pro-am at
Adare Manor today and tomorrow, despite
the considerable turmoil in his private life.
In fact, the depth of the friendship was
confirmed several years ago by a rather
special match they played at Limerick Golf
Club, McManus’ home club.
While Cristie Kerr was winning the
LPGA Championship by way of generating excitement for the forthcoming Ricoh
Women’s British Open at Royal Birkdale,
Kelly Tidy was creating still more waves at
the home club. A Birkdale member since
2008, Tidy swung her way into the field
when she captured the British Women’s
Amateur championship two Saturdays ago.
“I am so looking forward to playing my
first major at my home club in front of
friends and family,” said the player. She
had planned to try her luck in qualifying
but is mighty relieved to have made it via
an alternative route. Tidy is not the only
Birkdale member in the field. Florentyna
Parker, a rookie professional, earned
her spot when she came out on top in the
recent Dutch Open. l