IN the wake of all the moony golfers being portrayed in Netflix’s Full Swing, the best social media interaction this week must come from one of the journeymen golfers portrayed, Joel Dahmen (“somebody has to be the 70th best golfer in the world, why not me?”). Responding to this tweet: “F1 Driver, and the hottest Italian guy you’ve ever seen:’ I don’t think about crashing at all. Just doesn’t cross my mind’. Golfer who looks like he has foetal alcohol syndrome: ‘It’s life or death out there. Every day I live in fear that the game will eat me alive’,” the ever game Dahmen replied: “Is this directed at me?” Fast cars will always be more glamorous than fast putts and it is unlikely that Full Swing will garner a worldwide following akin to the hugely successful streamer that inspired it, Drive to Survive.
Golf is at least more competitive than F1, with it looking like Max Verstappen will continue to dominate this season as the action gets underway in Bahrain, the tiny gulf island which held the first Middle Eastern Grand Prix back in 2004, even though it is barely large enough to fit a racing track within its coastline.
There is of course a need for speed when it comes to driving among top golf pros too, evidenced by the bet lost by Shane Lowry when Padraig Harrington smashed one on the range this week (in another short video released on social media) and the ball reached a speed of 192mph (us amateurs are lucky to get it touching 120mph; F1 cars hit about 220mph in comparison).
Not that you need to generate such velocity off the tee. Along with being a pioneer for black golfers on the PGA Tour, Calvin Peete was the most accurate golfer in history.
As Golf Digest reminded us this week, for 10 consecutive years on tour he hit fairways more often than anyone else, nearly reaching 85% one season. And this was with a wooden driver rather than the metal behemoths with large sweet spots that golfers are armed with today, and also with cruder ball designs.
Peete, who died in 2015, only took golf up at 23 and put his accuracy down to not being able to straighten his left arm after falling out of a tree as a child. His family (he was one of 18 kids) couldn’t afford a doctor so it never healed properly. His approach play with irons was nearly as accurate as he led the way for greens in regulation five times in the 1980s too. The most amazing stat? During 1,200 rounds of golf as a PGA professional, he hit only one ball out of bounds. Remember fellow hackers, it’s often better to be a Peete than a Padraig.
EVAN Ferguson scored the winner for Brighton in the FA Cup midweek and his boss Roberto De Zerbi said of the young Meath man, not that he likes to score or loves to score, but that he “lives to score”.
Ireland football fans have been waiting to hear something like this about a striker for a long timeand many will have wondered would we ever again find someone with a nose for the net.
Robbie Keane was often maligned by supporters but 68 international goals will always answer critics (yes, mostly penalties, tap-ins against minnows and also in 148 games), but if Ferguson hits half that total we could be in for a good few years.
The Tallaght man is still hitting the target too, as shown in a social media post this week that shows him kicking a basketball around 30 yards and looping it straight through a backyard hoop.
Rumours it is somehow staged almost certainly over-rate Keane’s acting ability.
Anyway, Brighton are now just 6/1 to lift the FA Cup and Ferguson is 66/1 to be named PFA Young Player of the Year.
A STRIKER who may not be adding to his tally this season is Brentford’s Ivan Toney, who we mentioned before Christmas would probably be facing a lengthy ban on the foot of betting allegations.
He is the third-highest scorer in the Premier League this season with 14, four behind Harry Kane and 14 behind Erling Haaland and the Londoners will hope losing him won’t derail their good form (they are currently in ninth) this season.
Thomas Frank’s side at least look guaranteed to stay in the Premier League even without Toney as they have accumulated 35 points thus far. Toney has pled guilty to multiple charges of breaching FA gambling rules by betting on football games and is expected to start a ban before the end of the season.
In 2017, midfielder Joey Barton was banned for 18 months after admitting placing 1,260 bets between 2006 and 2013, although the suspension was reduced to five months following an appeal and he retired
STICKING to the subject of strikers, the heaviest scorer at a single World Cup passed away on Wednesday. Just Fontaine bagged 13 goals during France’s run to the semi-finals at the 1958 World Cup, before running into Brazil and Pele and being beaten at the penultimate stage.
Fontaine netted an equaliser in that game and it remained 1-1 until the 36th minute, when the French captain had his leg broken in a tackle and as there were no subs allowed then, Robert Jonquet spent the rest of the game limping up and down the wing as Brazil and Pele powered on against 10 fit men to win 5-2.
In a far from competitive third-place play-off against West Germany Fontaine hit four in a 6-3 win, thus eking out a few handy goals to blast past the 11-goal record of Sandor Kocsis set four years earlier when leading the Mighty Magyars of Hungary in attack.
There was no Golden Boot handed out in those days. Fontaine’s prize for the achievement that seems unlikely to be bettered (unless Haaland makes it to a World Cup with a crack Norwegian outfit)?
A local newspaper presented him with an air rifle.
THERE were some rumblings that Newcastle might be in the title race as recently as January but an away trip to play Man City in the early kick-off tomorrow could see a continuation in their poor run of late. They remain tough to break down so we’ll opt for 8/1 for City to win 1-0.