'Wentworth is serious rival to Adare Manor' - Ivan Morris

Limerick Leader golf columnist Ivan Morris

MY joy on hearing that Padraig Harrington was appointed the ‘Hyper’ (ahem) Ryder Cup captain for the 2020 match at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin was swiftly tempered when Wentworth GC in Virginia Water, Surrey, England intimated it will be applying for the hosting rights for the 2026 event.

Wentworth will be a serious opponent for Limerick's Adare Manor, the long range, forerunner for the honour.

If Wentworth is successful it would mean Adare would have to wait until 2030. Who's to know what state the world, let alone the ‘Hyper Cup’ will be in by then?

To be fair, the English venue has a strong case. It hosted the first match between Great Britain and USA in 1926.

Wentworth also carries a potential knockout blow as it is the current location of the European Tour's headquarters. That first match (in 1926) was unofficial. There was no trophy.

The mail order seed merchant, Samuel Ryder, was in attendance and became so enchanted and enthused that he promised to donate 'something suitable', which he duly did in time for the return game at Worcester Country Club in Massachusetts the following year.

What I'd like to know is how Captain Padraig intends going about solving a problem like Rory McIlroy? But, should I really be so worried? I'm sure Padraig will manage Rory just fine and in his own way and only when he has to.

He'll let the hare sit (for now) I have every confidence that Padraig is the right man for the job because as well as being the ultimate team man, didn't he make the same career move of joining the PGA Tour himself?

If one can earn more money and ranking points in America, why wouldn't one play most of your golf over there?

The launch of 'Golf Ireland' as one governing body to administer the men's and women's amateur game here is an overdue development, but it doesn't mean the demise of the world's two, oldest, representative golf unions dating all the way back to 1891 and 1893, as is claimed.

The R&A and LGU are older even if they are transnational organisations and not exactly comparable. Both GUI and ILGU have been doing things their own way for well over a hundred years.

It remains to be seen if this coming together (after a long courtship and a somewhat troubled past) turns out to be a happy and fruitful marriage?

One ruling body has to be seen as a win for common sense. Friction (to some degree) is inevitable until people get used to the new order.

Some officials at provincial branch level will dislike losing their status but few tears will be shed about it by club golfers.

While the new governing body will have very little impact immediately, in due course fewer official blazers strutting about and more local volunteers will be appreciated.

I hope the new body will concentrate its combined energies on reversing the alarming reduction in golf club members in recent years by putting more emphasis on promoting the game at grassroots level instead of investing so much time and money in what some perceive as 'pampered, full-time, elite panelists' with eyes fixed on turning professional.

The GUI and ILGU were formed to foster amateur golf not to train wannabe professionals. There is irony in that the longer an aspiring pro stays under an amateur association's wing, the harder it is to make the transition.

Less than 1 per cent of those who try to make it in pro golf succeed but top amateurs are, in my opinion, shunned by the GUI (not so much the ILGU) if they are not full time golfers, which piles too much pressure on youngsters and in 99% of cases damages their golf.

I'm interested in seeing how the three-tier system, under which Golf Clubs operate currently, morphs into a more streamlined, single tier. Instead of a men's and women's club answering to an over-arching Board of Management, the aim is to have one Board with 30% men; 30% women and 40% of either.

Even though there are roughly twice as many male golfers as female ones, why not a 50/50 structure and get on with it? If it is supposed to be 'equality' then let it be exactly that! The ladies have always run their own golfing affairs in exemplary fashion.

And, what about the two Cork schoolgirls awarded prizes at the recent BT Young Scientist Exhibition for their Statistical Analysis of the Impact of Playing Golf on the Self-esteem and Wellbeing of Female Adolescents in the Social & Behavioural Sciences category?

Ava Hynes and Katie Savage are both keen golfers, who, as Munster champions, have their hearts set on winning the Irish Schools Golf Championship at Milltown in April.

Their study found female adolescent golfers had a higher average score on the Rosenberg Self-Esteem scale than non-golfers. Female adolescents who don’t play golf are 44% less likely to have normal/high self-esteem and 56% less likely to have average or above average well-being.

If a female adolescent doesn’t play any sport, she is 51% less likely to have normal/high self-esteem.

Words of the Wise

Everyone has talent to a lesser or greater degree but all of the talent in the world won't bring success if you don't exploit it properly.

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