Hurling abuse when theres no team in sight

Id like to put an obituary in this weeks paper for my husband, she said.Fine so, said the girl behind the counter What wording would you like us to put in?Mike Murphy died, the woman said.Surprised at the widows direct and cold approach, the girl told her that an obituary must have at least seven words.“

I never truly believed that there was such a thing as a golf widow until the day that a poor woman came in the door to The Kerryman to put an obituary for her husband in the paper.

“I’d like to put an obituary in this week’s paper for my husband,” she said.

“Fine so,” said the girl behind the counter “What wording would you like us to put in?”

“Mike Murphy died,” the woman said.

Surprised at the widow’s direct and cold approach, the girl told her that an obituary must have at least seven words.

“Right so,” said the woman. “Mike Murphy died. Golf clubs for sale.”

Golf: It’s the best of games and the worst of games. More than any other sport, you’ve got to have played it to understand how it gets such a grip — how it can fundamentally alter your view of life and destroy perfectly sound relationships.

I am lucky enough to have played once with Jose Maria Olazabal. That came second to meeting Tiger Woods about four years ago. He’s an astonishing athlete but undoubtedly the most boring man I’ve ever met in all my life.



As a topic of conversation, golf must easily rank in the top three when it comes to the subjects most spoken about in

bars. Golf and soccer

and sex.

Funny, isn’t it, how any of those codes have little or nothing in common. Soccer players are mind-numbingly talentless and overpaid, not like golfers. And at least golfers

don’t spit

and feel themselves every few minutes.

Most men wouldn’t admit that if it came to a choice between golf and sex, they’d choose golf. At least if you’re having trouble with golf, you can pay a professional to give some advice and help on technique.

And at least your wife won’t keeping asking you questions about other partners you’ve golfed with. It’s perfectly acceptable to golf with a total stranger and when you see a good lady golfer, you don’t have to feel guilty about imagining the two of you golfing together. And one of the best things about golf is that you won’t go blind if you do it by yourself.

In Cork at the weekend, it wasn’t the jazz festival or the golf on the big-screen television that was bothering Timmy Joe. At five foot nathing, Timmy Joe is a dyed-in-the-wool St Finbarrs man all of his life. With a peaked cap and his ‘Barrs v-neck jumper that wasn’t washed since last year’s county hurling final, Timmy Joe sat on a high stool beside me Saturday night, the two of us glued to Sky Sports and live PGA golf coverage.



— You’re a hurling man all your life Timmy Joe. You must like the bit a golf too?



— Langers boy, every wan of ‘em. Golfers are only langers. They’re only golfing cos they can’t hurl. Anyone that golfs in Cork is

only a failed hurler

and a langer, boy.

— Look at that Timmy Joe. Look up at the big screen there and tell me that Tiger isn’t a genius. Into the wind, under pressure, millions watching and Tiger drives the ball 320 yards down the middle of the fairway. How ‘bout that Timmy Joe?

— No wonder he would the langer and nobody on him



When the golf had finished, the darts from Dublin came on, and Timmy Joe had even less time for darts player. Even Phil The Power Taylor was a langer. Well into the night, Timmy Joe and myself talked about sport and performance and achievement. Before long, I came to the conclusion that all of the codes Timmy Joe detested had one thing in common: all of them were individual sports.



Individualism is alien to Timmy Joe. All of Timmy Joe’s life has been about other people and community. St Finbarrs to him was a family, more than a club. The men that he won county championships with were brothers, not teammates.

All of the ‘Barrs glory was as a result of a collective and united effort. No one great performance was ever better than the team or the club.

The Tiger Woods and the Phil Taylors of this world are such a different beast. Individual sportspeople have nowhere to hide, nobody else to blame but themselves.

On a day when things weren’t going right for Timmy Joe on the pitch, he had 14 others to blame or to help him shoulder the loss. Golfers and darts throwers and boxers and sprinters have to carry it all themselves. Then again, in times of glory, the victory is all theirs and theirs alone.



— I’ve a girl below in Kerry Timmy Joe and I’d love her to take up the golf some day. Her name is Sharon and she works behind the bar

— Can she hurl?

— No she can’t Timmy Joe. She probably could if she tried. The golf would suit both of us down to the ground. ‘Twould keep us together well into our old age. If she only saw me this morning when I played Fota Timmy Joe. I hit two great balls on the eighteenth



— You should stop standing on the rake, ya langer ya

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