Ivan Morris: Ryder Cup Vice-Captain is 'best jolly' you could hope for

Ivan Morris: Ryder Cup Vice-Captain is 'best jolly' you could hope for

He said it! Speaking to Ray D'Arcy on RTE Radio Padraig Harrington admitted that being a Ryder Cup Vice-Captain is the 'best jolly' that any golf nut could ever wish for with an insider's view of everything, free food and no pressure!

If the team loses, it is entirely the captain's fault. The teams are so evenly matched that one captain's decision can swing the momentum for or against and create the final result.

Paul Dunne put on the sort of performance in the second round of the KLM Dutch Open that augurs well for his immediate and long-term future. Well outside the cut line after Round 1, Dunne went on a birdie rampage to guarantee him picking up a decent cheque that will move him that bit closer to retaining his playing privileges for 2017.

Dunne's first year in the pro ranks is in stark contrast to what the other members of the 'Fab 5' that played in the Walker Cup Match at Royal Lytham in 2015 have achieved since. It's a worrying trend and a stark reminder how difficult it is to make a living as a pro golfer.

It was a tough, first two days weather-wise but the scores by the Irish in the Volopa Irish Challenge hosted by Mount Wolseley Hotel, Spa made for difficult reading. The Irish scores were abysmal.

The GUI Golfer Factory continues to 'over-produce' mediocre and thoroughly misguided aspirants unable to make a living as professional golfers. Worldwide, if 500-pros make comfortable livings from playing the game, it's as many. And yet, thousands upon thousands of wannabees think they are good enough to join them?

The answer is open golf. Allow amateurs to play in lesser pro events and allow pros to play in amateur events for money. Very soon, a goodly proportion will see the light.

Why is it always 'golf's fault' for every business failure concerned with the game? Have not over-ambition, over-investment, over-borrowing, poor marketing, bad planning and shareholder greed anything to do with it?

In Ireland, it's very simple. We have too many courses and not enough golfers. The rate of golfers decreasing is faster than the rates of courses closing too.

The rumour mill is agog that Tiger is negotiating to purchase TaylorMade. I'll believe that when I see it.

Once again, the AIG/GUI Cups and Shield finals at Carton House provided the most exciting and tense week of the golfing year. Thursday is always the best day because the Barton Shield and Junior Cup are the two, most competitive and hardest competitions to win in Irish golf.

This year, Warrenpoint took home the Barton and Castle won the junior cup after thrilling matches with Galway and Lurgan, respectively.

There was a brilliant performance by Ireland's women in the World Team Amateur Championship in Mexico after 144-holes beaten by only one shot for silver - the gold winners, Korea, out of sight.

If all scores counted Ireland WOULD have been second. Leona Maguire and Olivia Mehaffey seem to have what it takes to make it as pros. I'd prefer if they finished college - lady pro careers tend to be short. Women were deprived of education for so long, it seems wrong not to take full advantage.

Shane Lowry's Poor Scheduling Cost Him Dearly in 2016. It would have been a completely different story if he had won the US Open. After completing the delayed third round on the final day, he had every chance. Shane made a complete Horlicks of his 2016 season. Seldom have I seen a golfer mismanage his schedule so badly.

Why did he play in the USA and take so many breaks from the game during a Ryder Cup year if selection was his No. 1 priority? You can't take 5-weeks off in mid-season and hope to be competitive.

His biggest mistake was choosing the WGC in Firestone over the bonus points that were on offer in the French Open. A win in France would have put him straight onto the team. He went to Denmark on a fool's errand. A win would not have been enough to secure his place and he forfeited his chance of playing for $10-million in the FedEx Cup in the USA. Talk about falling between two stools?

With hindsight (and as things turned out) his decision not to go to The Olympics was another poor one. You don't get too many Zikas flying about on a windy day in the middle of winter, even in Brazil. Shane would have loved to be an Olympian. He may never have that chance again.

He may not have the chance to be a Ryder Cup player either, unless he buckles down and displays a more concentrated focus on better-defined targets in the future. That would be a crying shame considering Lowry's God-given talent for playing golf. What a complete shambles!

Words of the Wise

There's been a simple suggestion lurking around for years - limit the length of golf tees. If tee pegs were only 1-inch in length it would not make it that much harder for the average golfer to whack his usual 225-yard drive but it would make it 'impossible' for Rory & Co to hit the ball 350-yards.

Tour pros would be 'reduced' to 280-yards. That's plenty and it might 'save' the game without having to do much with the ball?