A few of them may have gotten somewhat strained over the past six months or so and in some cases they can now be irredeemable but is there really a sport that comes close to golf in terms of the genuine friendships it creates and the wide friendships too ?
I think it’s due to the turmoil in the game at the moment, but I certainly found myself analyzing things more in the events than ever before and that was certainly the case during a day watching the DP World Championships last week in Dubai.
For example, I was impressed to see Rory McIlroy paired with Adrian Otaigwe, the first LIV Golf player to win a DP World Tour and part of a pending lawsuit against the circuit, on the Grounds course at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
Will there be any sign of tension between the pair, especially since McIlroy has been so vocal about Greg Norman and his Saudi Arabia-backed rebel circle? The answer was a definite ‘no’ because whatever was said as they walked off the first tee led to an exchange of warm smiles and also a little side hug.
When Utaigwe then bowled his second shot for an opening eagle, McIlroy shared his joy, as was the reverse when the Northern Irishman almost made an albatross 2 after a stunning close in the 18th just hours later.
For me, there is nothing better than watching a perfectly executed golf shot in the flesh, and the reward is both the pleasure it creates, not only for the player but also for others, both on and off the ropes.
As I witnessed again on this very occasion, this case certainly provided one of the most enjoyable moments ever on the golf course due to the fact that it was shared with the family members of the player in question.
Richie Ramsay has made no secret of how her daughter Olivia has changed her life since arriving in the world six and a half years ago, and after hearing so much about her, I had the pleasure of meeting the young lady for the first time as she followed Abi on the back nine with her beautiful and charming mother, Angela.
Crowded with his second shot after finding a lie hugged in the left side, I asked Olivia if she felt her dad was going to hit the green with another hit. When she nodded, Ramsey didn’t let her down and actually exceeded that expectation with her 189-yard endurance.
He enjoyed it a lot, as did Angela and also Olivia, who took off like Usain Bolt when her mom said she should stand back to congratulate him before heading over to sign his card.
Earlier that day, it was great catching up with David Law’s lovable and amiable wife, Natasha, as Aberdonian made his debut in the DP World season finale, and it’s no coincidence that there has been a lot of his best golf over the past couple of years. Of the seasons were produced when she was at the events with their two young children.
If Lou or Ramsey had played football or rugby professionally I might not have met their wives or other family members and the same is true of the likes of Paul Lowry and Stephen Gallacher 30 or so years ago and now with Bob McIntyre, Ewen Ferguson, Grant Forrest, Conor Syme and many more others.
I will never forget the day Gallacher took his first win on the DP World Tour when he beat Graeme McDowell in a playoff at the 2004 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship because even though I was working on the occasion it was an absolute pleasure to be out there On the old trail to find out what it means, not only for himself but for his father Jim and grandfather Barney too.
There was another special day at Royal Dornoch in 2012 when Forest won the Scottish Amateur Championship because having gotten to know his father, Graeme, before he lost a battle with cancer, I knew just how proud he was and rightly so, because, of course, it was possible To see him win the DP World Tour.
A great example of how the game can make friends is the fact that Dean Robertson and Raymond Russell’s parents have become really close since the pair met in the final of the Scottish Amateur Championship at Royal Dornoch just under 30 years ago. In fact, it was great to see them at the AIG Women’s Open earlier this year in Muirfield, as they followed Louise Duncan, who had Robertson, her caddy mentor, every step of the way.
As was the case with her at the event, I also felt reassured last week that Scottish golfers would no longer feel jaded by my presence or my teammates, having shared this belief with the late Jock MacVicar and also Steve Scott and Nick Rodger on our travels. the years. Forrest, for example, had been flying in the final round of the Scottish Stroke-Play Championships in Golan for a year until we appeared on the scene and the wheels went off.
This has happened many times with other players, but not anymore, with all five Scots coming out of last week’s event inside the top 50 of the DP World Tour rankings at the end of the campaign and four of them – Ferguson, MacIntyre, Ramsay and Syme – also earning places in the Championship Next year’s Open at Hoylake, and I’ll continue to feel comfortable being on the courses supporting our boys and enjoying those valuable family friendships.