B straight from the LPGA event to Wentworth, said
that he had been amazed at the degree to which
people got the wrong end of the stick.
“Everyone,” said Parkin, “has been writing the
story of how good it was that a referee had finally
done something about slow play when the truth
of the matter was that it wasn’t good at all. They
penalised the wrong player.
“Munoz was playing poorly and slowly over the
first nine. When it came to the 12th, I said on TV
that the wind was suddenly getting up and, sure
enough, Pressel decided on a change of club.
Almost for a first time, she was slow and, though
she won the hole, it was taken away from her.
“The referee said he hated doing what he had
to do but the thing is that he didn’t have to do it
at all. In such circumstances, he is meant to use
all the information on offer to see whether there
were mitigating circumstances.”
As it is, he has as many as four different
makes of clubs in his bag and has no plans to
make any alterations or, indeed, to wear a hat.
“Fifty thousand dollars is a lot of money but not in
comparison with what you can win.”
There was a shot-gun start and, when Els
walked to his first hole, the 16th, there was his old
friend Sam Torrance with caddie-bib at the ready.
“What the hell are you doing?” queried a
Torrance, who had not played with the South
African for several years, said on Saturday that it
was £ 3,000 well spent. “Apart from being a good
laugh, I had this brilliant close-up of how well a
player in his league strikes the ball. I was left with
the feeling that I wasn’t fit to clean his shoes.”
4 0 YEAR OLD ESIGN
There is a touch of Walter Hagen about the
engaging Robert Rock. Where other players are
tucked up in bed at a reasonable hour, he is prob-
ably lingering over a bottle of wine at the end of a
“I just do as I’ve always done,” laughed Rock.
“The reason people think of me as rather more of
a party animal than I actually am is probably be-
cause a lot of them aren’t doing anything at all.”
It is many since that occasion when, after a
weekend of partying with friends, Rock teed up on
the Monday morning and had a putt on the ninth
to be out in 27. He missed it and was back in 33
“as a hangover kicked in.”
Rock is a little out of the ordinary on another
front, too. He will tell you that he could be making
an extra $50,000 a year were he to sign a club con-
tract and wear the hat that usually goes with it.
While the players were competing for a little
matter of € 4. 5 million, the game’s volunteers were
attending a prize-giving conducted by HSBC Golf
Roots in combination with the Golf Foundation.
Colin Montgomerie was delivering the tro-
phies and was as taken as everyone else with
the story of how the septuagenarian Ina Murphy,
the recipient of the Sir Henry Cotton award, first
started getting children into golf.
“I knocked on doors,” she said, of her early
recruitment methods. The children learned in her
back-garden, with one who has gone on to greater
things recently recalling how the hardest task Ina
used to set was for her charges to hit the balls
over the washing line.
5 4 TOUR WINS
*Tour stats taken from pgatour.com
Sue Page, the marketing officer for Callaway,
organised a competition for the professionals to
see who could re-grip a club the quickest.
Niclas Fasth took 35 seconds, while there was
no more competitive moment than when Thomas
Bjorn, who took 50, stayed back in the hope of
watching Monty take more. To the Dane’s delight,
the Scot, whose performance was peppered with
exasperated expletives, took 59.
It was the best kept of secrets. At a golf day
designed to raise money for Motor Neurone Dis-
ease’s Broad Appeal, someone paid £ 3,000 for the
chance to caddie for Els in last week’s pro-am.
Peter McEvoy, once the world No. 1 amateur
and former Walker Cup captain, could not have
approved more heartily of the half-way leader, the
27-year-old James Morrison.
Morrison, who was in an England Youths’
cricket side alongside such current England play-
ers as Alastair Cook and Tim Bresnam, did not
start golf until 16. At which point he went from a
first handicap of 18 to scratch in 10 months.
“He’s a bit unusual,” said McEvoy. “Nowadays,
you probably need to be playing golf and golf
alone at 16, but I’m all for players not special-
ising too much earlier than that. It doesn’t do
them any harm to learn the responsibilities
which go with team sports.”
McEvoy says he has a mental file of “horror” sto-
ries concerning youngsters who specialise too soon
and will tell you that nothing worries him more than
when a father calls his son “Tiger” or “Ernie.” l
INTEGRATED FIT SYSTEM | IFS