What has gone wrong at the Home of Golf?

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Post by McLaren on Thu 07 Jan 2016, 8:22 pm

I hate to repost a Daily mail article but as we have a few Scottish posters and other interested parties thought this might be an interesting debate for the forum.

Calum Crowe (Daily Mail) wrote:With no young Scots on any major tour, the country that invented the game is in crisis


  • Scotland has no player in his 20s playing on the European or PGA Tours


  • Scott Jamieson is the youngest at 32, pointing towards a generation gap


  • By contrast, English golf is flourishing with 13 in the world's top 100


  • Callum Macaulay was a promising talent, but his struggles are a warning


  • The Walker Cup team, containing three Scots, offers a glimmer of hope


A quick glance at Callum Macaulay's personal website offers a powerful testament to the fact that a career within professional sport is a life within a life; a harsh environment where the normal chronology of events is powerless to resist the ruthless nature of elite competition.
In the space of a few short weeks in the summer of 2008, Macaulay had won the Scottish Amateur title at Carnoustie and played a starring role in the Scotland team that romped to a nine-shot victory in the Amateur World Championships at Royal Adelaide in Australia, before successfully gaining his card for the European Tour at the very first time of asking.
The victory in Australia, in particular, was made all the more impressive by the fact that Scotland had beaten into second place an American team containing the notable talents of Rickie Fowler and Billy Horschel. He had the golfing world at his mercy. Or so it seemed.

The following few years would see the careers of Fowler and Horschel soar to irresistible heights, with Ryder Cup brilliance and the $10million FedEx Cup standing as redoubtable proof of their ability.
The career of Macaulay, however, took an entirely different trajectory.
On his website, he wrote a blog which detailed the week-by-week progress of a young man passionately chasing his dream of a life on the European Tour. But a spate of patchy results makes it clear that all did not go to plan. Then, in January 2013, it all caught up with him.
'Well, I have completed possibly one of the most difficult trips in my golfing career,' Macaulay wrote at the time. 'I spent a whole month in South Africa and, unfortunately, I missed all four cuts.
'I am carrying a little baggage in my head at the moment,' he continued. 'As you can imagine, golf is a tough enough sport as it is, but with the added stress of feeling like you are playing for your mortgage, it's even tougher.'

That blog post still stands as the most recent entry on Macaulay's website. Not a peep since then. Something cracked, as he admits himself, and he fell out of love with the game.
'I just had to get away from it all, absolutely everything,' he now tells Sportsmail. 'The pressure of it all just wears you down.
'Constantly worrying about results, missing cuts and p***ing away money left, right and centre travelling around on flights and staying in hotels.
'No matter how good you think you are, or what funding or coaching you've had, nothing can prepare you for trekking out to the likes of Russia all by yourself, playing terribly and spending a fortune into the bargain.
'That's what counts the most — how you respond to your setbacks. For the past year, I've been driving a taxi just as a way of supporting my wife and son, but I've got my card sorted to get back on to the Europro Tour for 2016 and I'm thoroughly looking forward to it.'
The current reality for Scottish golf is that Macaulay's story could quite easily apply to an entire generation of players. For the second consecutive season, none of our players progressed from European Tour Final Qualifying School in November, which again leaves Scott Jamieson as the youngest Scot on Tour at 32 years old.
We have nobody — not one solitary player — in his 20s currently on Tour. Contrast that to our neighbours in England, who can boast 13 players in the top 100 of the world. Yes, they are a bigger country, but the fact that six of those 13 players are in their 20s points to something more than just sheer weight of numbers.
By any estimations, there is a monumental generation gap in our game, magnified further by the fact that we are supposed to be the Home of Golf. Yet Macaulay believes it is precisely that kind of attitude which may be hindering young Scottish players.

'Some people seem to think that we have a God-given right to produce the best players in Scotland just because we invented the game, but it doesn't work like that,' he said.
'I remember what one of my old mates at college in America told me. He said: 'You guys in Scotland might have invented the game — but the rest of the world perfected it'.
'He was only joking and trying to wind me up, but I suppose there is actually an element of truth in it.
'OK, we invented the game and we've got the best links courses in the world, but your head is in the sand if you think that gives us the right to be the best at it. Just because you have milk bottles at your door doesn't mean you have a cow in the kitchen.
'The reality is that the rest of the world has caught up with us — and overtaken us in a lot of cases. Every country around the world can now boast a couple of world-class players. We need to wake up to that and up our game, rather than moan about it.'
As of 2010, an initiative from sportscotland and Scottish Golf (formerly the SGU) saw more than £1million put forward over five years to help fund and nurture the talents of our elite amateurs.
Five years later, though, where are the results? Michael Stewart won the Scottish Amateur in 2010 and then had an outstanding triumph in the South African equivalent in 2011. Yet he now finds himself scrapping around the Europro and Challenge Tours.
Similarly, Bradley Neil won the British Amateur title at just 18 years of age in the summer of 2014, yet now finds himself in a similar scenario to Stewart, struggling to find his feet in the professional ranks.
Clearly, producing talent at amateur level is not the problem. The season past in 2015 proved that. Scotland won the European Amateur Team Championships, won the Boys Home Internationals — along with boasting a record total of eight players inside the top 100 of the World Amateur Rankings.
It is what they do when they leave the unpaid ranks where things seem to be going awry, that crucial period of transition where so many seem to be falling by the wayside.
Speaking in November, Scottish Golf's performance manager Steve Paulding said: 'I think the players need to gain experience on the Challenge Tour first before making the step up to the European Tour. The gap is bigger than some people realise.
'We are working hard to instil an improved attitude, work ethic and performance level into our amateur players to ensure they realise what is required, backed up by evidence of the numbers they need to achieve, to give themselves the best chance of success.'
Paulding might have stopped short of explicitly saying that some Scottish players have an attitude problem, but his comments of trying to 'improve' it tell you all you need to know. Macaulay, though, did not mince his words on the subject.

'There's absolutely nothing more the governing body can do to help these guys bridge the gap to the professional ranks,' he said. 'The funding they put in place is first-class and they take the guys away every winter now for training in places like Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
'The problem is that a lot of younger guys these days have a know-it-all attitude and are in far too big of a rush to turn professional. There have been a lot of naïve young golfers in Scotland over the past few years and they've been clueless about the standard required.
'There are a lot of guys now who haven't achieved anything at amateur level, but then decide to turn pro. You have to wonder what makes them think they can compete at an elite level without having proved themselves as amateurs first.
'You only have to look at the attitude of some of the guys over the past few years who have left the amateurs to turn pro. Compare their attitude to their actual results. Being brought down a peg or two and given a reality check would have done them the world of good.
'I can relate to it in a sense because, although I certainly wouldn't say I was arrogant, I definitely didn't listen to all the advice that was given to me.
'I had a sit-down with the best Scottish golfer of all time back when I was just breaking through. Colin Montgomerie told me not to change anything about myself: not my swing, my coach, my preparation — nothing. Just trust what had made me successful.
'I listened to that for a while but, after a few months, I started making wee changes here and there and then, before I knew it, I was totally changing my swing, trying new clubs, changing my practice routine and it all just became a huge mess. That's where I went wrong.
'But I've learned from my mistakes and I'm in a far better place mentally to make a good go of things this year. I'm settled with my family now and can't wait to get back out there.'
With three Scots in the victorious Walker Cup team of 2015 — Jack McDonald, Ewen Ferguson and Grant Forrest — it is to be hoped that a new wave of talent is now emerging to right the wrongs of a previous generation.
In terms of how they go about doing it, though, they could do a lot worse than listen to the advice of Macaulay.

Calum Crowe wrote:
SCOTTISH STRUGGLES NO SURPRISE TO FORSYTH

Scottish golfers rarely need any encouragement to view the glass as being half-empty. As the country which invented possibly the most infuriating sport known to all of mankind, a mood of unrestrained dourness is generally par for the course in clubhouses across the country.
Some voices, though, hold far more sway than others. When it happens to be a two-time European Tour winner and one of the most successful players this country has produced over recent times voicing his concern, we would be well advised to take note.
For the second consecutive season, no Scottish player was able to progress from European Tour Final Qualifying School, which will again leave Scott Jamieson as the youngest card-holder from these shores at 32 years old.
With not one Tour member in his 20s, it is a fairly desperate situation and one which Alastair Forsyth warns is only going to become progressively more difficult to rectify.
‘It’s disappointing, obviously, but I honestly don’t see it as a huge surprise,’ said the 39-year-old. ‘The worrying thing is that it’s actually only going to get harder and harder, year after year.
‘The standard of the game is so good nowadays that every country seems to be producing a world-class player. The talent pool across the world now is so wide and so deep.
‘It’s not true to say we don’t produce good golfers in Scotland anymore. We do still produce good players, but the level of competition has increased astronomically.
‘Back when I turned pro in 1999, there was only one Englishman in the top 100, which was Lee Westwood. Now there’s probably a dozen and you could say the same about a lot of countries.
‘The whole dynamic has changed. If you go back in history, the likes of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros — they were all way ahead of their rivals, but I’m not sure it’s like that anymore.
‘Yeah, you have the likes of Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth who can be phenomenally good on their day — but you could name another 20 guys who can be just as good if they are on form.
‘The number of really elite-level players has increased. Our players are just as good as they ever were — but the rest of the world has caught up with us and we need to address it.
‘We’re also a small country with terrible weather from October right through till March. That puts us behind the eight-ball right away.’
Looking at the season just past in 2015, it would be difficult to argue with Forsyth’s view that Scotland does still produce amateur players of world-class ability.
The team of Ewen Ferguson, Grant Forrest, Greig Marchbank, Jack McDonald, Connor Syme and Graeme Robertson were crowned European champions back in July.
Ferguson, Forrest and McDonald then went on to star in the Walker Cup as Team Europe thumped their American counterparts 16.5 – 9.5 at Royal Lytham in September.
Go back a few years further to the Scottish World Championship-winning team of Callum Macaulay, Gavin Dear and Wallace Booth in 2008, who won the Eisenhower Trophy with a magnificent performance to beat an American team which Rickie Fowler and Billy Horschel were a part of.
Michael Stewart won both the Scottish and South African Amateur titles inside the space of 12 months in 2010 and 2011. Stewart then partnered fellow Scot James Byrne to another Walker Cup success over the USA in 2011, yet both players are still to make any serious impact in the professional ranks.
Forsyth believes, however, it is what many of these players do in their first season after they leave the amateur ranks that is causing so many to fall by the wayside.
‘I think your first season after you turn pro is genuinely the most important of your career,’ he said. ‘That’s where things are breaking down at the moment and where so many of our guys are falling away.
‘I think back to when I got my card back in 1999. I got on a flight to South Africa and I don’t mind admitting it — I was absolutely clueless about what I was doing.
‘I had no idea where I was going, where I would stay, how to make my way to the course, who my caddy was — absolutely nothing.
‘But I was lucky because I got in with a really good crowd of Scottish guys who were already on Tour. The likes of Paul Lawrie, Dean Robertson, Gary Orr, Stevie Gallacher — those guys helped me so much and I’ve a hell of a lot to thank them for.
‘We would get together regularly and just mess about as young guys do. I don’t think young guys nowadays work like that. They all seem to cut themselves off with their physios, psychologists, coaches and whatever else.
‘The system that Scottish Golf offers them certainly isn’t the problem — far from it.
‘We had three Scottish lads in the Walker Cup team this year, which I don’t ever remember happening before. So here’s hoping that the current crop can really make their mark once they start mixing it as pros.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/golf/article-3388982/What-gone-wrong-Home-Golf-no-young-Scots-major-tour-country-invented-game-crisis.html
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Post by Davie on Thu 07 Jan 2016, 8:25 pm

McLaren wrote:I hate to repost a Daily mail article but ...

You could have left it right there and saved a gazillion electrons

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Post by McLaren on Thu 07 Jan 2016, 8:27 pm

If the group would like me to delete it just let me know.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 07 Jan 2016, 8:33 pm

Doesn't matter where it came from, that's a great couple of pieces. Thanks Mac.

What do you see as the anser? Or better still, what is the problem??

Splitting hairs a little to ignore Russell Knox; I suspect that many young golfers coming out on Tour aspiring to be superstars would do well to follow Knox's career and why he has been successful.
Small, unheralded college. No fanfare. Went thru the mini-tours, then had plenty of Nationwide and PGA Tour setbacks before he developed the consistency for which he's now being rewarded.
Not much bling about your Russell, even now.

Otherwise, I imagine it's all cyclical, a bit of a fluke. Wonder how Paul Lawrie's lads will end up doing?

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Post by super_realist on Thu 07 Jan 2016, 8:53 pm

Mac, I know a couple of Pro's who have either been in, or looked in from the outside on the SGU and part of the problem with Scottish Golf is that much of the time they are cosseted and barely have to work for their sponsorship.
Many half baked golfers make it on to the programme, think they've made it, don't even have to try that hard to stay on it and get to travel to SA, Middle East for winters, with travel included for top Amateur events etc.
Then the SGU complain that the players don't have the hunger for it and that they don't practice hard enough.
I've also heard complaints of the SGU golfers being made to play to a certain style

I've also heard direct quotes from someone in European Tour Qualifying who actually wanted to stay on the Challenge Tour so he wouldn't be leaving his mates behind.

Then you have the likes of Bradley Neil, who's been lambasted by both Butch Harmon and Montgomerie for the attitude he takes with him.

As a point though, Scotland in the last 20 years as barely produced a truly top class sportsperson in any sport. Once you take out Andy Murray and Chris Hoy, it doesn't leave much. Maybe Scotland, like Ireland, are just a rubbish country sporting wise.

Kwini, as for Lawrie's lads. They aren't even close to Challenge Tour Standard so it's pretty sure they won't be doing anything of any note.

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Post by George1507 on Thu 07 Jan 2016, 9:41 pm

I think it's just cyclical. There'll be some kid sweeping out a garage right now in Scotland who will be the next greatest thing.

Young pros are impressionable and immature people. I'm part of a group sponsoring a young English pro who will be on the European tour next season. He reckons all of his peers -without exception- don't practice enough, get everything too easily. I don't believe him.

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Post by super_realist on Thu 07 Jan 2016, 9:56 pm

Why don't you believe him George?

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Post by George1507 on Thu 07 Jan 2016, 10:17 pm

Because the guys who coach these young players - pro and amateur - say they do work hard enough.

If a young guy doesn't make it, it could be because he just isn't good enough. The talent, confidence, aptitude and courage it takes to be really top class aren't found in more than a handful of people. Unfortunately now there is next to no golf on terrestrial tv, it's quite possible that some of the next handful could never pick up a golf club. Maybe they'll try to be squash players or tennis players instead. They'll still have the confidence and courage just maybe not the talent at a different game.

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Post by super_realist on Thu 07 Jan 2016, 10:22 pm

Interesting, as it seems to be the opposite in Scotland, lots of coaches saying the contrary.

I wouldn't think that no golf on terrestial TV would make much difference. Satellite TV ownership is pretty rife these days, especially in the places that can least afford it, judging by the number of dishes on houses.

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Post by McLaren on Fri 08 Jan 2016, 12:04 am

kwini


I am not convinced there is actually a problem, I would like to see a list of Scottish golfers who have played on the European tour or the PGAT and the years they were active. I suspect Scotland has had more than its fair share of top pro's over the last 30 years. It is a bit odd that no Scotsman in his 20's plays on a major tour but again I would like to see more data.

England has about 10 times the population and they only have about four or five 20 somethings in the top 100.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 08 Jan 2016, 12:10 am

How good is Scott Jamieson?
Saw him play a few holes at Oak Hill, lovely swing, but what's he got (or ever going to have) between the lug'oles?

Hope the Scots turn things round in a hurry.

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Post by Bob_the_Job on Fri 08 Jan 2016, 9:27 am

Scotland like Ireland has statistics going against it - you can't ignore the fact that if you've more people, you have more people playing a given sport and thus a higher chance of the ones who have a talent for it playing that particular sport.

Super says "As a point though, Scotland in the last 20 years as barely produced a truly top class sportsperson in any sport. Once you take out Andy Murray and Chris Hoy, it doesn't leave much. Maybe Scotland, like Ireland, are just a rubbish country sporting wise."

But why take them out - is that not symptomatic of a small country's sporting output - a few shining stars with the talent, ambition and tenacity in a couple of sports, and then a belt of mediocre in all the rest? Small countries can either focus in on a small niche of sport and dominate - take New Zealand in rugby union for example, or try to support lots of sports and have occasional "punching above your weight" stars - McIlroy? Who knows how many of the people playing professional football in Scotland would have been top notch golf professionals if "their spot" in football had already been filled from a larger population?
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Post by super_realist on Fri 08 Jan 2016, 9:43 am

Bob_the_Job wrote:Scotland like Ireland has statistics going against it - you can't ignore the fact that if you've more people, you have more people playing a given sport and thus a higher chance of the ones who have a talent for it playing that particular sport.

Super says "As a point though, Scotland in the last 20 years as barely produced a truly top class sportsperson in any sport. Once you take out Andy Murray and Chris Hoy, it doesn't leave much. Maybe Scotland, like Ireland, are just a rubbish country sporting wise."

But why take them out - is that not symptomatic of a small country's sporting output - a few shining stars with the talent, ambition and tenacity in a couple of sports, and then a belt of mediocre in all the rest?  Small countries can either focus in on a small niche of sport and dominate - take New Zealand in rugby union for example, or try to support lots of sports and have occasional "punching above your weight" stars - McIlroy?  Who knows how many of the people playing professional football in Scotland would have been top notch golf professionals if "their spot" in football had already been filled from a larger population?

When you look at fairly comparable countries like The Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Sweden etc then we fare very poorly.

England is the same with football, it invented the game but doesn't exactly produce top notch players

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Post by Roller_Coaster on Fri 08 Jan 2016, 1:55 pm

Cheers Mac - I'd not seen those. Interesting.

For any of the relatively small nations with a short season it will be pretty tough to start with. Given the professionalism these days at the very top it's difficult to see many making it through without the off season warm weather programmes (which cost - particularly if they are undertaken for the majority of the duration of the home "off" season - which I think they'd need to be) or utilising the collegiate system in the US (which I guess has a partial risk of them not really coming back much if they are successful).

Tough times, but not unexpected. The world is awash with examples of things "we" created but have since been matched or improved by other nations with bigger/better resources. Football, car manufacture, electronics, poking noses into other countries affairs...

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Post by super_realist on Fri 08 Jan 2016, 5:07 pm

That's the whole point though Roller. The Scottish golfers have it on a plate. They want for nothing, yet still aren't coming through.

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Post by Davie on Fri 08 Jan 2016, 8:48 pm

I really don't understand the premise of this article - when were Scotland EVER a force in golf? Of course they are the home of golf, but as far as I remember they have never been a real force.

In more recent memory, Sandy Lyle, Monty, Paul Lawrie, have flown the flag. To a lesser extent there has been the Gallaghers, Coulthards, etc. I'm sure I've forgotten a couple but you get my point. I don't see 2016 being any different

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Post by Be_the_ball on Fri 08 Jan 2016, 10:24 pm

Personally I think success breeds success, all it will take for Scotland to start producing again is for a break through player to emerge. That will further inspire a younger generation. As someone already said it tends to be cyclical.

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Post by George1507 on Fri 08 Jan 2016, 11:19 pm

Davie wrote:I really don't understand the premise of this article - when were Scotland EVER a force in golf? Of course they are the home of golf, but as far as I remember they have never been a real force.

In more recent memory, Sandy Lyle, Monty, Paul Lawrie, have flown the flag. To a lesser extent there has been the Gallaghers, Coulthards, etc. I'm sure I've forgotten a couple but you get my point. I don't see 2016 being any different

Scotland has ALWAYS been a force in golf.

Open wins - 28 Americans have won 43 Open Championships. 22 Scots have won 41 Open Championships. 13 Englishmen have won 22 Opens.

You could be forgiven for thinking Scotland was 10 times the size of England.

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Post by BlueCoverman on Sat 09 Jan 2016, 12:14 am

Be interesting to see those stats in recent memory though, say the last 50 years?

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Post by George1507 on Sat 09 Jan 2016, 8:37 am

Last 50 years?

2 Scots have won two Opens.
2 Englishmen have won 3 Opens.
15 Americans have won 27 Opens.

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Post by super_realist on Sat 09 Jan 2016, 8:41 am

George1507 wrote:Last 50 years?

2 Scots have won two Opens.
2 Englishmen have won 3 4 Opens.
15 Americans have won 27 Opens.

Davie wrote:I really don't understand the premise of this article - when were Scotland EVER a force in golf? Of course they are the home of golf, but as far as I remember they have never been a real force.

In more recent memory, Sandy Lyle, Monty, Paul Lawrie, have flown the flag. To a lesser extent there has been the Gallaghers, Coulthards, etc. I'm sure I've forgotten a couple but you get my point. I don't see 2016 being any different

Coulthard? The racing driver? or Coltart?

Unusual for me to defend Scotland but they have had some very good players over the years. Torrance, Brand Jnr,  Berhard Gallacher, Barnes, Brown, Ramsey, Laird, Knox, Forsyth, Drummond, Robertson, Jamieson, Warren etc.

No one expects them to be a world force, why would they?, but it isn't a stretch to think that a country with the facilities of Scotland should have at least ONE player under 30 on a world tour when countries that a very much more 'golf poor' have several.

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Post by George1507 on Sat 09 Jan 2016, 9:34 am

Sorry, forgot Faldo won three times.

In the OWGR there are -

40 Americans
13 English
2 Scots

as at the end of 2015.

In 2014 there were 38 Americans, 8 English and 4 Scots.

So England had a good year, and Scotland didn't. Maybe this year it will just reverse. It's just cyclical.

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Post by GPB on Sun 10 Jan 2016, 4:37 pm

FWIW: Here are the Scots in the OWGR top 1000

30RussellKnox
71MarcWarren
108RichieRamsay
132StephenGallacher
243MartinLaird
268AndrewMcArthur
303PaulLawrie
335DavidDrysdale
377JamieMcLeary
412ScottJamieson
457CraigLee
455ScottHenry
541ChrisDoak
669GeorgeMurray
693PeterWhiteford
729DavidLaw
862JackDoherty
873SimonYates
997JimmyGunn

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Post by super_realist on Sun 10 Jan 2016, 4:59 pm

What happened to Laird? He's dropped like a stone.

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Post by McLaren on Sun 10 Jan 2016, 5:37 pm

The middle east swing is coming up, isn't that where Gallacher picks up most of his seasons points?
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Post by super_realist on Sun 10 Jan 2016, 5:42 pm

A ginge in the desert Mac? Are you sure?

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Post by hend085 on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 11:27 am

he defended in dubai before i think

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Post by pedro on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 1:52 pm

he shoots low to hurry out of the sun

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Post by puligny on Mon 18 Jan 2016, 9:41 am

Connor Syme (Scot) won Aussie Amateur last week.

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Post by George1507 on Mon 18 Jan 2016, 11:55 am

I wonder if he's related to Deacon Syme.

If so, he'll be great in bunkers.

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