The Dunhill is over again. The valiant attempt to bring pros and amateurs together playing in a top level tournament. But does this format work? In theory yes, but in practice I would say a resounding no.
I didn’t go down to watch this year apart from a mere five minutes when I stopped by the 18th to see if the pros were driving the last green with the strong backwind. And indeed they were, which is fairly impressive. However that was all that was impressive about the two pros, Haydn Porteous and Jacques Kruyswijk. For as I watched them stride onto the left of the 18th green I noticed that one of the pro’s amateur partner was trying to hit his second shot from just before the road. But the two pros were just not in the least bit interested. They weren’t looking. And that is shocking, no matter what stakes these guys are playing for.
However, I was not in the least bit surprised by what I saw, as I’d had my own first hand experience of this sort of behaviour as I’d caddied for David Walsh a few years ago, when he was paired with the up and coming Matt Wallace. What an eye opener that was. Mr Wallace swore under his breath at the other amateur on the fifth green of the Old after he thought he’d spoken too loudly while he was playing a shot. I say swore under his breath, he actually cursed the wee chap fairly loud and clear. Mr Wallace was also pretty ignorant in his behaviour towards his caddie at one point and indeed, when David missed a very short putt, I think in the third round at Kingsbarns on about the 12th after Matt had dropped five shots in three holes and fell off the leaderboard, he openly sighed and walked off the green making his view very clear about David’s short miss. Yuk! Friendly enjoyable golf? No.
But I suppose it’s a tough old world out there and to be honest I’m rather glad I’m not too heavily involved with it at that level. I actually heard that a caddie I know declined to take part this year as he found the whole thing too stressful. I get that. I would actually cringe at the thought of having to play in it as an amateur. No thanks.
My article on the Dunhill that year, in which I wrote about my experience with David was published by Hong Kong Golf Monthly. I was actually quite pleased with it in all honesty. I sent it to David as well as I would have loved to get some feedback from The Sunday Times Chief Sportswriter, the four-time Irish Sportswriter of the Year and the three-time UK Sportswriter of the Year.
However he didn’t respond.
Which is a shame because like that Dunhill amateur last week doing his best to pitch it alongside the major guns in the game, it would have been nice to have had my shot acknowledged too.