Here we are again folks. Yet another Tuesday meander through the world of golf which is supposed to entertain the nation but instead inflicts itself on the populace with all the charm of a sudden outbreak of the winter vomiting bug on a Lochs & Glens Bus Tour that’s stuck in roadworks at the Slochd Summit.

Somebody once asked me to describe what form my weekly column takes and I replied by suggesting that it’s a carefully crafted, erudite page of “Collected Reflections and Articulate Ponderings”.

Of course, most people prefer to use the abbreviation, C.R.A.P. Well, that’s what the sports editor muttered anyway as he pored over the copy with the pained rictus of a man who had just tweaked his back while reaching down to pick up a summons from the bailiffs ...


Glasgow Times:

By any measure, 2019 has been a shimmering year for Rory McIlroy. And it’s not over yet.

Yes, the campaign has been devoid of a major title – again – but a haul of four significant wins, the latest coming in Sunday’s WGC HSBC Champions event, is the mark of a man at the very top of his game.

Of course, when McIlroy’s various quests to bridge his five-year major-winning gap end in groaning futility, the din of wailing and shrieking from fevered observers sounds as noisy as an angle grinder having an argument with a band saw.

McIlroy (pictured) has enjoyed the most consistent year of his career and he can still end it as the world No.1. Brooks Koepka may yet have a rival, after the cheeky, acerbic observation he made recently that Rory certainly wasn’t one of his.

“I’ve learned a lot in the last 10-11 years and feel I can make the next 10-11 years even better,” said McIlroy after his Players’ Championship win earlier this season.

McIlroy turned 30 this year and this so-called second phase of his career is being eagerly anticipated.

READ MORE: Colin Montgomerie wins on Champions Tour

He left his 20s in an exalted position occupied by the very best. Along with Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus, for example, he was one of just three players to win a quartet of majors and 15 PGA Tour titles before their 30th birthday.

McIlroy’s assault on the career grand slam in the Masters is almost becoming a continued millstone instead of a crusade on a milestone.

But time is on his side. Countless golfers flourish in their 30s and 40s. Nick Faldo won his first major – the 1987 Open – the day after he turned 30. He would go on to add another five in the next nine years.

On the other hand, however, the great Seve had four majors before he was 30 and added another at 31. There would be no more after that, though, and his career would never reach the swashbuckling heights again.

What the future holds for McIlroy is in the lap of the golfing gods. And, as we all know, those pesky blighters work in funny ways.

But 2019 continues to offer hints that maybe McIlroy’s best is yet to come?


Glasgow Times:

It’s 30 years now since the order of merit on the European Challenge Tour was introduced in 1989 and in that time only one Scot, Marc Warren in 2006, has topped the rankings.

Going into this week’s Grand Final on the second-tier circuit in Mallorca, Calum Hill is poised to emulate that feat and put a polished tin lid on his promotion to the European Tour.

In just over two years as a pro, the Kinross golfer has made the kind of giant leaps that Bob Beamon used to launch in the sand pit.

Two wins on the Challenge Tour this year have left him No.1 on the rankings and 110th on the world rankings. He’s made quite an impact.

Apart from the talent, the drive and a feisty competitive instinct, Hill seems to have that certain “something” that separates the winners from the rank and file.

The step up the main tour shouldn’t faze him.

READ MORE: Bradley Neil eyes European Tour return

Hill’s fellow Scot, Connor Syme, is also on course for promotion back to the main tour while Bearsden youngster Ewen Ferguson still has an outside chance of barging his way into a top-15 finish required to earn a full tour card.

A terrific haul of four Scots earned promotion last year from a cut-throat circuit that is hellishly competitive, unforgiving and a proven breeding ground.

In a global game of formidable strength in depth that can be deeper than a burial at sea, getting at least another two young Scots up from just a total of 15 successful graduates is no mean feat.


Glasgow Times:

At a sprightly 64 years of age, Greg Norman still possesses the kind of figure that would make Adonis look like Les Dawson after a week on an all-inclusive cruise.

The teeth, the tan, the rugged manly prowess? Norman’s still got it and, in a recent interview, he clearly wants to keep it for a while yet.

“I’ve been very open about the fact I want to be the longest-living Norman, and the Normans have some really good genes,” boasted the former Open champion of this family longevity.

“On my mother’s side, it’s 90s and 100s. My dad is 93 this year. I’d like to hit 108, 110.”

Funnily enough, hitting 108 or 110 is what this scribe aspires to in the bloomin’ medal.

In a wide-ranging interview, Norman suggested that hitting a “pure golf shot” was as good “as having an orgasm”.

I’m afraid I’ll have to take your word for it, Greg ...