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  • Alistair Tait

Thanks for the memories Jock

Jock MacVicar never married. There was no room in his life for a wife. He was wedded to the game of golf.

Angus Jock MacVicar passed away yesterday at Glasgow’s Royal Infirmary hospital. He was 83. I hope I still have his love for this stick and ball game if I ever reach that age.

Many reading this might not have heard of Jock MacVicar. Anyone who plays golf in Scotland knew him and knew him well. Jock, who was president of the Association of Golf Writers, spent decades covering Scottish golf. He was still covering Scottish golfers on the European Tour via zoom calls. As AGW chairman Martin dempster said in announcing Jock’s death, he was planning on writing about this week’s Masters.

“Jock was still working for his beloved Scottish Daily Express and this news has left myself and his other Scottish colleagues deeply saddened, as will be the case with so many others in the game”

You only had to read the tributes on twitter to know the esteem with which Jock was held.

Many of us who have covered the game for a wee while dislike the term “influencer.” Most of us have no qualms about anyone new coming into the game or media centres. I certainly don’t. Golf is big enough to accept anyone who expresses an interest and a love for it. The more the merrier, I say. But the word “influencer” seems to bestow an almost instant importance on said recipient, as if they are somehow more important than others in the press tent.

Well, Jock MacVicar was an influencer long before the term was invented. He joined the AGW in 1965, and for over 50 years passionately chronicled Scottish golf. All of Scottish golf. Not just the professional game. Not just the men’s game. Jock was just as happy writing about amateurs as he was penning columns on professionals, as passionate about telling people about the exploits of Scottish women as men.

Along with European Tour events, I had the privilege of covering numerous Amateur Championships and Lytham Trophies with Jock, back in the day when most newspapers actually cared about amateur golf. Myself, Jock, Dave Birtill and Nick Rodger covered the tournament annually. We spent many happy meals together with former Titleist employee Jonathan Loosemore, talking golf and sharing laughs.

It’s a comfort to know Nick and former Open Championship press officer Stewart McDougall, two of his closest friends, were with Jock when he died.

We called Jock "The Doyen.” There wasn’t much about Scottish golf Jock didn’t know. He was on a first name basis with all of Scotland’s golf stars, from Sam Torrance to Colin Montgomerie to Paul Lawrie to Catriona Matthew and even newbie Bob MacIntyre. Ditto for those who ran the game in the Home of Golf. He will be remembered fondly by everyone.

Jock never displayed an ounce of arrogance, never took himself too seriously. Indeed, he didn’t mind a wee bit of self-deprecation from time to time.

I’ll remember the laughs. His pronunciation of aspaRAYgus in a Spanish restaurant cracked up the entire table. Once during lunch while covering the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship he asked a colleague what he was eating. Chicken pie was the answer, to which Jock replied: “Is it vegetarian?”

Once at an Amateur Championship he looked at his watch and said: “Four o’clock, and not a dish washed.” A wee bit of writer’s block methinks, but Jock still produced a story worth reading for the next day’s newspaper. Jock did that well throughout his life.

Percy Huggins once said this about former Golf Illustrated editor Tom Scott. “He was non-stop in his devotion to the game.” The sentence also applies to Jock McVicar.

Wish there were more words still to flow from his Jock’s laptop. All of Scottish golf does.

Thanks for the memories Jock. R.I.P. The Doyen.

#JustSaying: “Some days I stare at the typewriter all morning and decide that there’s nothing that possibly can be said about golf. I’ll have to spend the rest of my days growing vegetables.” Peter Dobereiner

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