All sports fans will mourn the loss of Norman Mair, who was one of the sharpest and funniest sports writers of them all, right up there in the pantheon with Darwin, Cardus, Arlott, and McIlvanney. I left Scotland 30 years ago but I can still recall some of Norman’s wonderful one-liners from your pages.
While covering a European Amateur Golf Championship – a dodgy affair which admitted all manner of duffers and rabbits – Norman memorably described one particularly humphy player “leering down the line of his putt like Quasimodo sizing up lunch”.
In the same report, he wrote that one competitor “had managed to board the par five in nine shots only to spoil it all by five-putting!” I recall a gang of us spluttering our way through an office tea break reading that report, and that was just one of many reports that delighted your readers over the years.
In an age when sports reporting tends to be preoccupied with fake Twitter controversies and bad-boy misdemeanours, the art of writers like Norman Mair may seem as dated as the mashie niblick.
But if there is a Celestial Captain up there in the 19th-hole saloon, he’ll be supervising the engraving of Norman’s name on the Claret Jug even now.
Golfers are rarely happy shooting 86 but in this case we’ll make an exception. Well played, Norman.
Dalkey, County Dublin