Martin Dempster: Why Renton Laidlaw would be appalled by golf's current state
It’s a changing world, as I discovered sitting in the reception area on my first visit to this newspaper’s relatively new shared office premises in the heart of Edinburgh.
Already feeling somewhat stunned at the current state of the great city due to the bin collection strike, I wondered what the heck was going on as three people came out of the lifts in quick succession with dogs.
No, this wasn’t last Friday, which I discovered was International Dog Day, and, therefore, decided it merited asking the pleasant young woman manning the reception desk for an explanation.
“We are dog friendly,” she declared before going on to inform me that people working there can have a canine companion with them as long as it doesn’t bark and inconvenience other people.
Dogs in a workplace doesn’t float my boat, though I reckon it would definitely be appealing to a couple of my golf writing colleagues, Steve Scott and Alistair Tait.
Albeit outside on a golf course, Steve brought Ruby, his beloved Red Setter, along to a couple of events over the years, while Alistair was always accompanied by his equally-adored Izzy, a black Labrador, when teeing up himself at Woburn.
Anyway, back to that changing world, which I had already been thinking about quite a bit towards the end of a much-needed break from day-to-day golf as I took the chance to read Renton Laidlaw’s Memories Too Good To Forget.
From start to finish, I felt I had a smile on my face as Renton, who started out at the Edinburgh Evening News before becoming one of the most respected figures in both golf writing and broadcasting, shared stories from his career.
From the outset, it was clear that he worked his socks off and deserved every single exciting opportunity that contributed to him being the recipient of numerous awards.
What also shone through was that he loved golf with a passion and, quite frankly, I was left to conclude that Renton would be appalled to see the game being ripped apart, as continues to be the case right now.
Over the weekend, Lee Westwood and Eddie Pepperell became involved in a spat on social media over LIV Golf, with 18 players from the breakaway circuit set to tee up in next week’s DP World Tour Championship at Wentworth.
For me, it’s bad enough for two players to be having such a conversation in public, but it’s even worse when that opens the door for so many uneducated people to throw insults about.
I’ve never hidden the fact that I’m not a LIV Golf fan. I watched an hour or so of the circuit’s inaugural event at Centurion Club in June simply to see what it was all about but haven’t clapped eyes on it again because the concept, especially the team part, doesn’t interest me and, like our dearly departed Renton, I love golf.
That doesn’t mean to say that I’ve suddenly taken a dislike to people for making decisions they believe are right for them, even though the source of that money surely has to prove a tad discomforting.
However, give me that golf world that Renton found so enjoyable over the one that feels barking mad at the moment!
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