Golf is an odd sport if you don’t play and even odder if you do.
I came from a sporting family, my dad was a talented footballer, he had a trial for Aston Villa back in 1956 and was good at anything that involved a ball and running.
I was never any good at sport when at school, mainly because I had no competitive desire and so when I started to play golf at the age of fifteen I was amazed to find out I was pretty good and so began my obsession with golf.
To play golf you need a fair amount of controlled physical power and the rest is about playing the course which requires some head skills. I was attracted by the mental challenge that golf presented, a controlled physical burst of energy coupled with course management skills.
I was blessed with a good physic, I was six feet four inches, stick thin with big lungs. If only someone had told me I could run they would never have caught me, sadly no-one pointed out my enormous competitive advantage and so I went largely unnoticed in sport.
All sports have stars that stand out from the rest, in the 1980’s there was no one more charismatic than Seve Ballesteros. When I got to see him play at the Belfry two weeks before the British Open he was out of sorts and playing badly. I still followed him round for 18 holes and had goose bumps watching him play every shot.
Seve’s Open championship victory in 1984 will always be one of sport’s greatest moments. True champions don’t just win, they win in style and that’s exactly what he did at St Andrews when he holed the winning put on the 18 hole.
Seve wasn’t playing in the last group on the final day, he was one hole ahead of defending champion Tom Watson who was going for three wins in a row. The roar which went up when Seve’s ball curled into the cup must have got to Watson who was battling up against the wall on the 17th Road hole.
Its 30 years since that dramatic win and it always reminds me of being a dreamy teenager whenever I watch it.
Seve Ballesteros was a class act and my sporting hero.