THERE will be many of us who embrace technology with all the ham-fisted ineptitude of a fumbling, muttering old colonel trying to unravel the stubborn, sticky wrapping of a barley sugar.

As we try to cocoon ourselves away from general view for the good of the nation’s health, the mind-boggling array of gee-whiz gadgets and gizmos available these days is helping us all stay connected. That’s if you can work the ruddy things, of course.

The other night, for instance, this correspondent was involved in a bold, multiperson family video call which, for certain members of the group, was a seismic event on a par with the moon landings.

The plea to “just click on the camera icon and you’ll see our faces,” was greeted with the same kind of trembling, brow-mopping hesitancy you’d get when someone is attempting to defuse a bomb and are sweating over which wire to cut as the clock ticks down to zero.

Eventually, the successful accomplishment of said connection generated so much relieved, startled jubilation it should have been accompanied by the gasping commentary that Walter Cronkite delivered when Neil Armstrong stepped off the Apollo 11.

Back on planet earth, meanwhile, there doesn’t seem to be much light at the end of the tunnel in terms of golf events being held in the coming months. With countless enthusiasts still finding it hard to accept an April without the azalea-infused majesty of The Masters, the notion that the entire 2020 calendar will be wiped out by the ruthless march of the coronavirus got me thinking – not very deeply – but thinking nevertheless. What golfing things would I NOT miss? Well, here are just three …


The National:

The traditional, eve of Masters short-hole challenge is now 60 years old. The great Sam Snead was the inaugural winner in 1960 and the event would become an enjoyable, intriguing spectacle of craft and keen competition.

“What I remember most is how hard everyone played,” recalled the 1968 Masters champion Bob Goalby in an interview with the Augusta Chronicle a few years ago. “We wanted that silver trophy. We wanted to win the thing.”

Nowadays, of course, the Par-3 tussle has become a celebrity-infused nursery where hits and giggles are interspersed with fawning footage of a golfer’s cute toddler trying to hole out from six inches. And it takes ages to complete, too.

Nowhere on planet golf does sugary coatings, syrupy schmaltz and saccharine reverence quite like Augusta National and the Par-3 contest now provokes more gushing “awws” than a picture of a fluffy kitten gently pawing the nose of a baby seal.

Kids here, wives there, famous friends everywhere? It’s a cheesy, grinning hodgepodge of white caddie outfits and even whiter tooth enamel. And it’s one golfing rite of spring this scribe will not be pining for.


The National:

When the tee-times for the final round of last season’s Scottish Open at The Renaissance were published, the wailing from the golf writers in the media centre was as noisy as a factory of angle grinders.

It was hardly surprising. The leading duo didn’t drive away at the first until 15:58, after all. But that’s what a lucrative television deal with a US broadcaster does.

What our American friends made of a showdown between Bernd Wiesberger and Benjamin Hebert is anybody’s guess but there were was a sizeable stream of paying spectators on-site departing early as a prolonged play-off didn’t conclude until after 9pm. And who could blame them?

Trudging around until yon time on a Sunday night – particularly on a hectic sporting day when an epic Wimbledon men’s final and a frenzied cricket World Cup final were on the box – was the reserve of the die-hards.

Golf fans are a fairly stoic and devoted bunch who have a considerable role to play in showcasing the Scottish Open but you often feel that the loyalty of the footsoldiers is taken for granted in an age when TV rules the roost.


The National:

Who knows where we’ll be in terms of the coronavirus come late September when the Ryder Cup is set to be played. There has been a suggestion that it could even be played behind closed doors but if any golf event needed the engagement of the fevered masses it’s the Ryder Cup.

Everything is all a bit up in the air, rather like the constant, wearying conjecture which accompanies the build up to a captain’s wild card picks. In this online age, it’s even worse.

“Well, if you ask me I certainly wouldn’t have picked him”, “you’re right, he’s taking a big risk including him”, “but I think he’s made a sensible decision picking him”, “don’t be daft, he should have picked him instead”, “oh sod off, what do you know anyway …”

When it comes to the crunch, skippers have a habit of sticking to the tried and trusted campaigners anyway which, in many ways, bolsters the notion that the Ryder Cup remains something of a cosy old boys network. Not quite wild cards, more a case of mild cards.