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Yesterday the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (Cern) switched on their Large Hadron Collider. Two beams of protons were successfully fired down a 27km long tunnel on the French/Swiss border in the first stages of the largest physics experiment of all time.
The objective is, eventually, to fire protons into one another at the speed of light causing new sub-atomic particles to be formed in an attempt to re-create the conditions just after the Big Bang.
When I first heard this, I was a little worried. I don’t know much about physics but I do know that the Big Bang must have been pretty big. To create a universe from scratch must require a fairly significant amount of energy. The idea of trying to do this in a little metal tube on our little planet just seemed a touch risky.
I then heard Professor Stephen Hawking on the radio stating everything was going to be just fine and I felt a lot less anxious. But then I thought, "how do I know that was really Stephen Hawking?" He’s pretty easy to impersonate.
Anyway the machine was switched on and we’re all still here, although they haven’t really got going yet. It might not be until they start belting particles into one another at ludicrous speeds that a new universe is created, maybe a parallel universe will be created where we all exist but things are slightly different:
- Golf is called by the Dutch word Kloppen (meaning to hit or strike) because the Dutch actually did invent the game.
- Tiger Woods is stacking shelves in K-Mart and playing to a handicap of 17, Michelle Wie heads the men’s Official World Golf Ranking.
- I am the greatest chipper in the world able to get up and down from any situation within 50 yards of the green.
- John Daly is a fitness guru advocating a diet of wheatgrass and pulses.
- Colin Montgomerie is a 12-time Major champion with an appalling Ryder Cup record.
- Kloppen is one of the world’s principal religions. Old Tom Morris is worshipped as the Messiah (something to do with the beard I think.)
Sorry, let's return to reality. Yesterday may have been a red-letter day in the history of science but it was also a pretty significant one in the history of northeast golf - It was the first Alliance meeting of the 08/09 season. Distressingly, however, I was not in attendance at Braemar as I had accepted my first modelling contract. I know… I can’t believe I’ve never been snapped up by an agency either.
Anyway, Jezz Ellwood and I are the new faces (backs, hands, arms and feet might be more appropriate actually) of the Golf Monthly Rules section. We spent the day at St Andrews Bay re-enacting a series of tricky rules scenarios and being photographed by David Cruickshanks. The R&A’s Grant Moir was on hand to direct proceedings.
Something I noticed was just how much bending down there is in golf - Bending down to put your tee in, bending down to identify your ball, mark your ball, pick your ball from the hole, to remove loose impediments or sand from the line of your putt… the list goes on. I spent the whole day crouching and, in the evening, had quite a sore back. I reckon it’s not the swinging or carrying of clubs that puts strain on a golfer’s back - it’s all that bending down.
Right, I’m going straight out to buy a ball scoop and one of those suckers that goes on the end of your putter.
Fergus is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and it was concentrated by his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin (also of Golf Monthly)... Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?
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