Often, the real story lies away from the headlines

Around this time last year, a piece which would have been considered unusual to emanate from these quarters was produced. It pertained to the then impending sale of a piece of property with which there was an especial family connection.

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Now read on…

In the midst of the column, reference was made – not for the first time admittedly – to the fact that from my late grandfather Patsy Geoghegan a love of all things farming and GAA seemed to have been inherited. Though it must be said that similar traits were present in my father’s family as well. His late brother Jimmy was treasurer of the local GAA club for 33 years while another brother, Billy, was known to us as ‘The Farmer’ – enough said.

Anyway, it recently dawned on me that the old traditions – and a few new ones – have stuck on through the generations. There’d be phone calls between myself and my uncle Joe at least twice a week. Primarily, talk would be agricultural in nature, particularly since I became more actively involved in farming myself. However, horse racing and golf and darts get a good airing too.

Now, the family link with golf is quite a strong one. Not only due to former Walker Cup player the late Tom Craddock being part of our extended family, but, in more recent years as my uncle and aunt Austin and Ger Geoghegan have been heavily involved with Co Meath Golf Club in Trim. That bug has taken hold with the next generation too as both my nephews, Conor Farrell and Ian Byrne, are already showing prowess at going tee-to-green.

There was a time when punting was solely confined to horses. Over time, though, speculation has been engaged in for a few GAA matches as well as darts and golf. And it’s not unusual for portions of certain conversations to be taken up debating wagering options within whatever golfing event happens to be on in a given week.

Well, twice in the not so distant past, yours truly was left counting the cost of not having the cajones to go with the gut instinct. The first of which left the greatest pang. Simply as, Henrik Stenson’s form over an elongated period of time easily signposted him as one of the most likely contenders going into the Open Championship.

Yet, there were off-putting factors. Not least owing to the fact that the Swede had assumed the ominous tag of Major bridesmaid. Form and momentum are great boons though. And Stenson’s somewhat belated coronation had an even more endearing back story. Which again gave weight to the theory that, often, the real story lies away from the headlines.

Henrik Stenson

Golf is one of the sports which often – and maybe with some justification – gets lampooned owing to amounts of money swirling about therein. It’s that very fact, indeed, which may trigger a degree of cynicism regarding the financial difficulties which engulfed the talented Scandinavian.

However, the thing is, the negativity never materialised. Which, in an ever increasing world of sporting fickleness, says all that needs to be about the individual involved. So, missing out on what were surprisingly generous odds before commencement of the battle for the Claret Jug was quite the sickening feeling!

Even monetary misfiring couldn’t constrain captivations concerning what was an absorbing duel with two wonderful gunslingers at Royal Troon. While it’d be openly admittedly that I – like numerous others probably – had initial golfing flickers ignited by observance of Tiger Woods at his brilliant best, greatest enchantment has always surrounded Phil Mickelson. Clearly, one wasn’t alone in those sentiments as Noel Meade once trained a horse named in honour of ‘Lefty’!

As with other fabled sporting face-offs such as the Thrilla In Manilla and the Rumble In The Jungle, the Duel In The Sun between Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus also took place before the occupant of this seat graced the earth. There’s been – understandably – much re-hashing of talk of same following the passing of Ali earlier this year.

Some of the coverage of the man from Santa Fe and Stenson referred to it as the duel in the wind, such were the aptly trying conditions during the titanic tribulations of links fare. And disappointment at seeing the multiple Major winner come up short were soothed somewhat, not only because it was against a first time top gong winner, but, even more so, who it happened to be.

Missing out on the windfall in that instance could be dealt with, but missing out on Jimmy Walker’s breakthrough success at the US PGA was a real kick in the guts. Simply as, during the weekly golf/punting phone call, his is the name which most often crops up. But however, while in some ways – and places – most headlines have been generated by those who aren’t playing, there’s still been some great entertainment and it’d be no surprise if Ballyboden’s finest caused a few headlines in the weeks ahead!

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