Smyth's Lahinch no-show a real rarity
Des Smyth can only recall being forced to withdraw once during his 45-year professional career, but he had to disappoint three Irish scribes at Lahinch yesterday when he withdrew from the pro-am tournament at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open with an Achilles tendon injury.
The last occasion he could remember was in the mid-1980s when he suffered a back spasm at home as he was preparing to go to the Hong Kong Open.
The story illustrates the extraordinary ability of top golfers to forget the bad stuff and recall only the positive.
Who could forget the lifesaving heart operation Smyth had in Texas in 2005, forcing him to withdraw from the SBS Championship in San Antonio.
Then 53, surgeons discovered a serious defect in Smyth's coronary artery after he made a spur-of-the-moment decision to go for a check-up.
"I feel I am the luckiest man alive," said Smyth, who had two stents inserted before quickly returning to action in the following week's Charles Schwab Cup, the grand finale to the Champions Tour season.