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The golf philosopher


They're not talking about the next shot. They're consoling each other.

After watching the heroes of golf silently take it on the chin at the British Open, Simon Carr explains what it's like for the ordinary fellow -

We mounted the first tee and squinted out over the countryside. Over the hills we had low, purple clouds driving down at us from the north. A nasty wind was ripping the top off the Oxfordshire cornfields, squalling at 30 knots. Stinging rain was hitting us at an angle of 40 degrees. "Look at that!" my companion said, surveying the desolate fairways, "We've got the course to ourselves!" We did have that, we were alone out there. "We're like millionaires!"

There is something in the sport of golf that brings out the best in men. It's probably the humiliation. This is constant and permanent. Unlike tennis players or footballers, we never get above ourselves. We don't exult in victory because we know disaster is always at our shoulder.

. . .We don't so much play each other, you see, we play the course. But the course wins. It's the only game where we all lose. When we play well, we only beat our previous best. Then our handicap goes up and we lose the next time. . .

I had never thought about the fellow feeling that might be inspired by adversity on the links. Carr describes it, with deprecating wit.

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