Jude Collins

Monday, 18 July 2011

Nice one, Darren - but dear God, spare us the fantasies

Oh God, here we go again. I’m pleased that Darren Clarke as a fellow-Tyrone-man, a fellow-Ulsterman and a fellow-Irishman has scooped the British Open golf title. It’s a game too riddled with silly jargon  - birdies and eagles and bogeys  - to be of much interest to me, but if someone’s going to win, it’s nice to have a compatriot do the business. And yes, he has had some hard times, although the media pressed that button so often it was embarrassing. 

And what do I mean by that ‘Oh God’ bit at the top there? It’s the tourism thing.  I heard Arlene Foster on radio this morning,  talking about how much the Clarke-McIlroy-McDowell wins would mean for tourism. A month or two ago we had government officials in the south talking about how much the visit of QE2 would mean for tourism. Where do these guys get their ideas?  I watched Muhammed Ali over the years of his fame with near-adoration and not once did I ever say to myself “I must visit where he comes from”.  I’ve watched QE2 visit umpteen countries over the years and not once have I ever felt even a tiny itch to get on a plane and go to the same place.

“Ah but this is golf!” you say. Yes I know it’s golf. And I know people truly admire the skills of Clarke and Co. But are golfers under the impression that they’ll become better if they play where Clarke or McIlroy or McDowell started out? In fact the three Irish players – four, if you go back to Padraig Harrington – as professionals spend very little time playing golf in Ireland. They’re all over the world – Dubai, Arizona, Britain – far more often than they’re at home. So except they’re very thick,  there can be few golfers who think playing on the same course as Clarke or whoever means they’ll be better. 

So give us a break, would you? If you think QE2’s visit was a great idea (which I don't),  try to come up with a better reason for it than some half-assed fantasy about tourism. Likewise, rejoice in Clarke’s win – he seems a nice big lump of a fellah  - and the other three, and we should be proud of them all. But drop the crock of crap about it bringing a bonanza of tourists to Ireland. It won’t.  


  1. Jude, part of the appeal of Golf is that you can play on the very same courses as the professionals.

    I promise you, if Barcelona allowed tourists to play on the pitch at the Nou Camp, they would see a sharp spike in football tourists flocking to play there.

    I agree it won't be a 'bonanza' of tourism following the recent successes but there's no doubt it helps with raising the profile of NI and, in particular, the promotion of Golf Tourism. I don't mean to be rude but if you claim not to care much for the game, is it not a bit rich to presume you understand the motivations of golf tourists?

  2. Thanks for thoughts, Ed. You may be right. Or wrong. I'm not sure how you can promise me that tourists allowed to play on the Nou Camp pitch would bring tourists flocking. I was at the Nou Camp last summer ( no, I didn't go because of Barcelona FC, I was on hols in Perpignan) and the whole drive with visitors was to get their photograph taken with the Champions League Cup, not to get their boots on and have a kick-around.

    Golf tourism - indeed I don't pretend to know the particular mental condition enjoyed by golfers. But it might be possible they share some characteristics with normal human beings? Or even other sports followers? I'd be very glad to see tourist money coming into Ireland (not so sure about some tourists or even the notion of tourism) but I think people here get a rush of blood to the head when some media event occurs - dollar signs appearing in their eyeballs like in the old cartoons. A bit...coarse, no?

  3. Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this
    article plus the rest of the website is also really good.
    Also see my web page :: Wedding Photographer in Yorkshire