Well, how’s your dry, dieting, disciplined January going? One of the worst things about this dark, trudging slog of a month is listening to the goading piety of those who have embarked on a prolonged period of self-improvement through a joyless process of purification that essentially sees them eating steam for four weeks.

They’ll bang on about why they’ve stopped doing this and how they’re benefitting from doing a lot more of that while wagging their finger in your face and tut-tutting that you, yes YOU, really should try to cut out a bit of this, reduce your levels of that and ca’ canny on gulps of the other.

Funnily enough, the sports editor even suggested I should give up the Tuesday column ...


The National:

Cease and desist? No, it’s not the New Year resolution crusaders taking you to court over your unwillingness to stop shovelling great fistfuls of butter down your thrapple but Patrick Reed trying to prevent a Golf Channel analyst repeating allegations that the former Masters champion is a cheat.

Brandel Chamblee has been an outspoken critic of Reed’s actions at the recent Hero World Challenge when close up video footage showed the Texan taking two practice swings behind his ball in a sandy waste area and thus improving his lie.

Reed was given a two-shot penalty but denied he was a cheat. Instructing his lawyers to send Chamblee a cease and desist letter in an attempt to silence public discourse about his conduct has added more fuel to the fire.

Since the incident, whichled to such a bombardment of withering social media fire, Twitter actually moved to a status of DEFCON 1, Reed’s continued hubris has done little to douse the controversy.

His tawdry shovelling gesture to the crowd during the Presidents Cup underlined this arrogance while heckles from the crowd of “cheater” during the Tournament of Champions hinted of worse to come from the galleries when the tour visits some of the circuit’s more raucous venues.

Reed, with a well-documented, topsy-turvy background, seems to revel in chaos and you wouldn’t put it past him to thrive this season amid the tumult.

Some have been moved to defend Reed – he says he didn’t intentionally do anything wrong so who has the mind-reading nous to say otherwise? – but his simple failure to adhere to golf’s basic rule – play it as it lies – still doesn’t deserve much sympathy.


The National:

I don’t know about you but every time I switch on the TV, read a paper or listen to a radio bulletin, the news is about 12 per cent worse than it was before.

By the time you read this column, for instance, the sea will probably be lapping at your front door. For golf, the worrying trends of climate change and coastal erosion have been long-standing concerns and, last week, The R&A offered a £90,000 research grant to the University of St Andrews to study the impacts.

Royal North Devon once lost 20 metres of dunes to the tides in three days, chunks of the links at Montrose have been falling into the North Sea while boffins reckon hallowed terrain like the Old Course and Royal Troon could be under water by the end of the century.

In the immediate term, the height of this country’s golfing season in June, July and August can often see many parkland courses under water and shut at a time when

they should be making hay. Summer monsoons are now becoming a regular occurrence and many golfers are increasingly left questioning the worth of a membership. It’s a vicious circle that’s only going to get worse.


The National:

Footage at the weekend of Tiger Woods standing at the range as his 10-year-old son, Charlie, eased into a swing that was smoother than a collection of Frank Sinatra CDs caused so much hysteria, even Meghan and Harry were knocked off the news for, oh, five seconds.

“It’s a major-winning swing,” cooed the masses with inevitable knee-jerk giddiness.

Old and Young Tom Morris set a fairly formidable pace when it came to faither and son golfers back in the day. Eight Open wins between them was a prolific haul, after all.

On the other side of the ball marker, Gary Nicklaus, son of the 18-time major winner Jack, spent years chipping away at the pro coalface in a career defined more by trips to the qualifying school than any notable successes.

In this fickle, hellishly complex game, family fame and fortune guarantees nowt. Good luck to the Tiger cub.


It’s quite the collection. Around 30,000 of the most important golf books ever written have been donated to The R&A by avid collector, Alastair Johnston.

The Rangers director lists his mammoth assemblage every year and his updated bibliography currently runs to 900 pages.

Just about as long as some of the preposterous statements that occasionally come out of Ibrox then?