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  • Alistair Tait

500 Not Out

I felt a bit like Steve McQueen as I wrote my 500th consecutive blog yesterday – yes, 500, I’m expecting a congratulatory letter from the Queen sometime this week. Something in me wanted to utter McQueen’s last line in Papillion:

“I’m still here you bastards!”

Did I think I’d reach 500 straight days when I began this blog? Honestly? I have no idea. When my 25-year plus career with one publication ended with the heartless words “Let’s just cut to the chase: we’re not going to renew your contract” I took a week to reflect and then decided I was going to create my own website and write whatever I wanted, without fear or favour, instead of some editor who knows nothing about this game telling me to write a 150-word drivel post just to get something online because every other site had it online.

Has it been easy? Easier than I thought. True, there are days when I feel a bit like W.B Yeats in the Circus Animals Desertion when he writes:

“What can I but enumerate old themes?”

There have been mornings when I’ve stared at my blank computer screen, my tabula rasa, and thought what on earth do I write about today? I love these days the most. Many times it’s a simple task to pick a topic because there’s so much going on in this game of golf. It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon, but too much of that goes on already. After all, you don’t have to look too hard to read about two American players who clearly don’t like each other.

However, the great thing about this game of golf is there is so much to write about, old themes as well as new ones. And it’s amazing how many responses I get when I write about old themes.

Highlights from the last 500 days? Some stories stand out worth naming. My blog No strategic alliance joy for the 68 received a lot of hits. I had a lot of messages from European Tour employees, current and past, for remembering those who had helped build the European Tour up into the world-wide circuit it is today but who were ushered out of European Tour headquarters despite the tour’s “robust financial health.” How 68 people could have been laid off despite the tour having a “very strong balance sheet, strongest ever” still hasn’t been explained to me, or the 68.

Speaking of the European Tour, my blog in memory of Kate Wright also garnered a lot of attention. I just wish I didn’t have to write it. To think one of life’s true gems was taken away from us at the age of 36 is hard to believe.

My blog on Bob MacIntyre’s 192-mile round trip journey to honour Jock McVicar was also well received. That’s perhaps not surprising: it was a selfless act of class worth highlighting.

Izzy’s proved a popular persona in my blogs, too. Amazing how many mentions my best friend receives in missives. No wonder she’s asking for more appearance fees to turn up at Woburn Golf Club these days.

My rules columns have gone down well, which just goes to show there are those who want to learn about the codes that govern our game. I wish more tour pros felt the same.

Lowlights? I’m afraid I get the least response when I write about women’s golf. That’s a shame since it’s a side of the game which deserves far more attention than it gets considering it’s all but been ignored for so many years, especially the Ladies European Tour. Fear not, I won’t be deterred: I’m going to write about the women’s game when it warrants it.

Of course not everyone agrees with what I write, and have taken the trouble to let me know. Thankfully, the majority of those who’ve disagreed with me on various topics have done so in a constructive way. I welcome criticism, as long as it’s constructive. Goodness knows, I’m not right all the time. Who is?

Will I reach 1,000 consecutive blogs, or even 600? Who knows? All I know is that I’m going to keep writing as long as I love this game. And given it’s the best sport ever invented, then who knows when the day will come when I can’t be bothered to open my laptop.

Thanks for being on the journey with me. Hope we have a long road ahead of us.

#JustSaying: “Those masterful images because complete/Grew in pure mind, but out of what began?” W.B. Yeats, The Circus Animals’ Desertion


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