ONE of the great things about covering events in the Middle East is that a four-hour time difference in our favour allows the golfing press corps to get out on the course to watch a lot more golf than we do when heading in the opposite direction.
It allows you to chat at relative leisure to people rather than rushing around like Tasmanian devils and, boy, did I have an interesting blether with Claude Harmon, one of the game’s top coaches, out on the Majlis Course at the Emirates Golf Club during the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
We’d met a few years ago when Harmon, Butch’s son, was based for a spell at Kings Acre, where his arrival prompted the headline ‘From Las Vegas to Lasswade’ in one golf magazine.
On this occasion, he was out watching his current star pupil, Ernie Els, playing in the same group as Stephen Gallacher and told me a story, even by Scottish standards, that was hard to believe. “In all the time I was at Kings Acre, I was never once approached by anyone from the Scottish Golf Union for any views,” he said, quickly adding that he wasn’t expecting to be asked to take over as national coach or anything like that but felt he could have provided some useful input.
A member of arguably the most famous coaching dynasty in golf was in our midst yet we missed a golden opportunity to tap into his knowledge. No wonder Harmon was shaking his head in disbelief as he told that tale.