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Nick Rodger: Rory roars as we say farewell to a grandee of the golf writing old guard

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Anyway, this week I’m cutting to the chase, even though I’ve just waffled on for 100-odd words before informing you that I’m cutting to the chase. First and foremost, I’d like to pay tribute to a dear colleague, Colin Farquharson, who passed away recently at the age of 86.

Colin, a well-kent, hugely respected and valued figure in the golf writing business for many years, was a man of quite tireless industry.

When your correspondent started off in this lark, working alongside Colin at the David Begg Sports Agency almost 25 years ago, he told me that, ‘there’s a story in every score’. And, by the powers, did he try to find it as I looked on in gasping reverence while he careered around in a tremendous haste of productivity.

In addition to the story, the Aberdonian would also file every single one of those scores to the various newspapers that we serviced. It was a mighty task that would’ve made War and Peace look like some news in brief in the sports digest.  But it was an endeavour that was embraced with an unwavering energy and enthusiasm that were hallmarks of a long, fulfilling career.

This week, another men’s major takes centre stage with the US PGA Championship but Colin would probably have had more interest in the cut-and-thrust of the upcoming Invergordon Open Ladies Senior Greensomes.

When it came to the women’s game, after all, he was a total authority. It didn’t matter if it was the Solheim Cup or the Riccarton Rosebowl, Colin’s passion was absolute, and every event at every level was covered with boundless zeal.

The successes, meanwhile, of his daughter Elaine, a fine amateur campaigner who played for and later captained the GB&I Curtis Cup team, provided numerous moments to cherish and had Colin beaming with a smile that glistened like the buildings of his beloved Granite City in the midday sun.

In a changing media landscape, Colin, with a pioneering spirit, was never one to stand still. Many of you reading this may have scrolled through his Scottish Golf View website, a comprehensive and valued resource, which would shine a light on just about every golf event known, and even unknown, to mankind.

A great supporter of the home-grown players, and especially those from his native northeast, Colin would stick a kilt on affairs from every nook and crannie of the golfing world and could track down Scots competing in various outposts and on myriad satellite tours or collegiate circuits.

Where else but Scottish Golf View could you find out that such and such or so and so had finished tied 32nd at a Tight Lies Tour event in Lubbock, Texas?

In many ways, this online labour of love underlined Colin’s steadfast devotion to his craft. He was a great friend of golf. And to those of us in it.

One thing I certainly never read on Colin’s old site was, ‘transaction subcommittee’, a phrase that’s so dry and uninspiring even my laptop let out a yawn as I typed it. You probably did too. But this is golf in 2024. Unfortunately.

As the second men’s major of the year hurtles towards us, that transaction thingamabob – the laptop has joined you in yawning again – has been mentioned alongside other boring, yet hugely important things like policy boards and governance in the ongoing negotiations involving the PGA Tour, the DP World Tour and the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF).

We’re not the only ones getting exhausted with this protracted process, which has been going on now for almost a year.

The other day, the top brass of the Royal Bank of Canada, which has pumped millions into the PGA Tour, stated that they wouldn’t be signing any long-term deals due to the general uncertainty. “It’s required a lot of patience from sponsors and fans,” the bank’s executive vice president. Too true.

Last week, news came out that Rory McIlroy’s interest in rejoining the PGA Tour’s policy board had been knocked back. Instead, he ended up as a non-voting member on the transaction subcommittee that will negotiate directly with the PIF. Again, feel free to yawn.

McIlroy’s final act of the week was far more stirring, though. His thrilling victory in the Wells Fargo Championship at his happy hunting ground of Quail Hollow was a timely tonic ahead of the US PGA Championship at the Valhalla venue where he won his last major a decade ago.

McIlroy was certainly a man on a mission and almost played with a sense of grievance as he delivered something of a Harvey Smith salute to those who had rebuffed his offer to rejoin the board.

McIlroy insisted after his  snub that there were “no hard feelings”. Instead, he’s savouring the winning feeling again. The rest have been warned.

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