x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Sage of the fairway

If there is anyone who understands that golf is a gentleman's game, it is Watson. And in life, as in golf, staying on the straight and narrow is always sound advice.

One of golf's greatest players from the past few decades, Tom Watson, playing this weekend at the Dubai Desert Classic, has been speaking frankly about Tiger Woods's much-publicised problems. In Watson's opinion, the Tiger should come out of hiding, make a public appearance away from the golf course and "show a little humility and clean up his act". There are those who say that Watson should stick to talking about his own game. Watson played his earlier career in gentler times, when the press was less intrusive. Indeed, when asked what was the best thing about his career a few months ago, he reportedly replied: "The girls".

It is also unusual for a professional golfer to comment on such an issue. After all, golfers are supposed to call penalties on themselves. But Watson is a trusted figure. Last year he reacted to losing the British Open by one stroke, just weeks short of his 60th birthday, with consummate grace and sportsmanship. If there is anyone who understands that golf is a gentleman's game, it is Watson. And in life, as in golf, staying on the straight and narrow is always sound advice, even if it comes from someone who has spent some time trying to find his way out of the rough.