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Golf Australia Express : GA Express 293 Peter Thomson tribute
A WISE MAN ONCE WROTE ... T HE loss of five-time Open champion Peter Thomson last week brought to mind an age-old saying in this business. “The smaller the ball the better the writing” has long been considered a truism in sports coverage and Thomson, while best remembered for his achievements as a player, might be the poster child for this particular adage. For more than 30 years Thomson penned his thoughts in The Age newspaper, a period covering his playing career and beyond, and while he will always be remembered as ‘Five Times’ it is perhaps his written words that will ultimately be his greatest legacy. The book A Life In Golf, published several years ago and featuring a collection of his writings and thoughts, is compulsory reading for anybody with an interest in the game and follows a long line of must read tomes published over time. (Dr Alister Mackenzie’s Spirit of St Andrews is another, as is Geoff Shackelford’s The Future of Golf in America.) Books, and writing, are to be treasured because they make us think and Thomson’s work is uniquely compelling. Unlike TV and radio, both excellent mediums in their own right, books (and magazines and newspapers to a lesser extent) are permanent. A thinker like Thomson has the chance to flesh out ideas and thoughts – unchallenged – in a written article which, in a world seemingly dominated by social media and its associated knee jerk reactions (I think the young people call them ‘hot takes’), is something to be encouraged. While he wrote much less in recent years, Thomson’s words are everlasting and within them we can find much wisdom. At various times he touches on every golf topic imaginable, from how to play the game to where the game is played to who is playing the game and how the game should be administered. Good writing about the game is, of course, not the exclusive domain of Peter Thomson and his ilk and nor are books the only place to find compelling work. In fact as fellow Golf Australia columnist Mike Clayton (who also happens to be one of the best pen-men in the business) points out, golfers have never had access to so much outstanding content. Just within the pages of Golf Australia, readers are treated monthly to the thoughts of Clayton, Geoff Ogilvy and Scotland’s John Huggan, one of the five best chroniclers in the business. And there is no shortage of thoughtful and incisive commentary on the World Wide Web either (Shackelford’s website is a must read as are the blogs of Golf Channel commentator Phil Blackmar and European Tour player Eddie Pepperell). For many professional players golf’s only role in life is to generate money. But for the rare few, like Thomson, Ogilvy, Clayton et al, the game is far more important, interesting and engaging than just a way to collect trophies and cheques. And thank goodness for every one of them and their willingness to take the time to share their thoughts with the rest of us. VIEW THE ROD MORRI is an award-winning writer and podcast presenter. He hosts The iseekgolf.com Podcast weekly. CLICK here to listen. To Peter Thomson the game was far more than just winning trophies and collecting prizemoney.
GA Express 292 US Open wrap
GA Express 294