Ho Ho Ho

I remember when I was younger and I would watch Tiger Woods produce memorable moments, or watch a top sportsman pick up SPOTY award, I even remember a time when the X Factor would’ve given me a buzz. Back then it was more Pop Idol I guess and the excitement of having either Will Young or Gareth Gates be crowned our national hero. I’m not sure what’s happened. As we age do we just naturally become more tired and cynical? Why do I not care about who wins SPOTY this evening? How come I don’t feel anything more than pleased for someone when they have their career defining moment? Where’s the thrill gone?

Three weeks ago I met up with the Sunday Times journalist David Walsh. He wanted to meet me and have a chat, and I believe he wants to write a piece on me at some point. We had some interesting conversations and spoke for a good few hours. To my embarrasment, I wasn’t truly aware of just how prominent he’s been and continues to be in the world of investigative journalism. So for him to want to meet me, after losing my card and appearing to most of the outside world as just another golfer, surprised me. Until he mentioned my blog. His article will, I think, revolve largely around my blog, the things I write about and how this makes me different. This doesn’t bother me by the way, I’m pleased people are interested in what I write. But it’s clear to me that it’s difference people are now interested in.

David hasn’t been the only writer in touch. I’ve spoken with Alistair Tait at GolfWeek, Mark Townsend at National Club Golfer, and have even spoken with a Golf Club Wanker. My blog has been the common theme in all of these interviews. This isn’t meant to sound arrogant, but I can see how some people would be more interested in reading about my struggles on the course and my introspective blog, than hearing from Rory McIlroy talk about how he hits it so far. Few can relate to Rory in that way, whereas many can relate to me at the moment. But we as a society, are searching to find new, more interesting stories. The monotony of even great golf, or great football, will not fill our desires to be inspired or remain interested. It has to be something more. I think this is why I’m not interested in SPOTY, or Hideki Matsuyama at the moment, or Strictly Come Dancing. I’ve seen it all before. It’s grey and old now, impressive yes, but exciting no.

This leaves us in quite a perilous position because the purity of something now has to be sprinkled or covered with glamour or controversy. Uncreative this may sound, but I can’t see where we go from here with our stories. We must either ask so much more of subjects in terms of digging into their own personal reserves and expressing and exposing their innermost fears and desires, or we simply lie and embellish to make the story.

Alistair Tait brought up an interesting question when he asked me why I don’t love the game the way I used to. I said to him there’s two ways you can fall out of love with this game. You can either do what I’ve done and experience some technical issues which become mental anxieties, and under high intensity stress and pressure you collapse. Or you become a superstar and experience the pitfalls and pressures that coincide with that. I wouldn’t want to be Rory McIlroy, but I also wouldn’t want to be Eddie Pepperell again. Or Jin Jeong. Or Alvaro Quiros.

None of us started playing golf with even a shred of an idea of how it may turn out and what our futures might look like. If we did, we only envisaged us holing the putt to win The Open at St Andrews. We never pictured us double bogeying the last to miss a cut. We never imagined how it would make us feel to have to sign autographs for hours after a bad day. And none of us could appreciate what we felt back then; that the urge to want to play 36 holes a day because we were addicted, would gradually lift like a thick fog. On the flip side, I bet Rory never imagined he’d become so wealthy. Beef never supposed he’d be the face of a burger franchise in America. Adam Scott probably did know he’d become the face of Burberry. But somewhere in all of this madness lies the unsavoury truth that what we remember of our childhoods and the role golf played in it, has changed way beyond recognition into something so crazy, and so unimaginable.

I sort of want to vote for Danny Willett tonight. Not because I really like the guy, but because of how hard it’s looked for him to have to deal with becoming a Masters champion. People the other day were saying how average he had been since winning it… I was thinking, well, he did finish second on the Race to Dubai, have a baby, have to deal with being from Yorkshire… Not easy that stuff. But the chances are I won’t vote. I probably won’t even watch. There was more young people watching Planet Earth than the X Factor. I have one to catch up on. And maybe, just maybe, this is a sign that people are tuning back into more earthly, unprocessed things rather than the exhausted, consumeristic coverage that has numbed so many minds.

And I’ve just missed the bloody Sunday Supplement.

Have a merry christmas everyone.

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26 Responses to Ho Ho Ho

  1. Graham Yates says:

    Happy Christmas to you Eddy, we followed you round Leopard Greek a few weeks ago, hope to see you back in South Africa soon.

  2. David Willis says:

    Hi Eddie, I wrote to my friend Tim Hallissey the sports editor of the Times newspaper about you because I think that you have interesting things to say and you write very well. You don’t have to search for interesting things to say you just have to write and it’s interesting. That’s a rare talent. Bob Dylan sang recently that “there’s less and less to say” but in your case- he’s wrong. I hope you make it to Abu Dhabi. I’ll be looking out for you.

  3. Steve k says:

    As always a very good read Eddie. Have a lovely Christmas and best wishes for the new year.

  4. I was short listed for an award this year. By any measure of fairness and logic I should have won it, but I didn’t. It went to someone who has only just begun to pay her dues, whereas I’ve racked up 25 years’ worth.

    I knew that it would happen because I’m a cynic who knows a crowd of cliquish southern twats when I see one, yet I was shocked by my own reaction. I didn’t smile and I wasn’t gracious. I growled and made my feelings very clear to those behind the fiasco.

    Recognition by those who think they’re your peers is nice but it won’t be carved on your tombstone. Being snubbed by them is not nice. It’s an enraging experience that leaves one bitter and resentful even if one doesn’t share those feelings with the people who implanted them.

    What I think I’m saying here, Eddie, is that you’re right not to vote for Danny Willett or anyone else in the excruciating, fawning, aggrandising, politically correct extravaganza that SPOTY has become, not just because he isn’t going to win but mainly because by doing so you’d be playing a part in the rejection of everyone else in the list of nominees, each one of whom has put heart and soul into their endeavours and who has just as much right as Andy Murray to hold up that stupid fucking trophy.

    Keep telling it like it is. May 2017 be your year of fairways and greens; everything else will follow.

  5. Glenn Oja says:

    Eddie, well said. Two phenomena have created the state that you elaborate on. First, a shortened news cycle where the media scrambles to heighten everything to an insane level of coverage. And second, the iconification of sports people. Golf, and sports in general, is meant to enjoy and entertain. I have marveled at what pro golfers have done over the last 42 years, yet I get just as much enjoyment when I stiff a 6 iron to two feet. In that sense, I, and many others are just like you and other pros…we are all humans! You have a level head about you and as a near 60 year old, I appreciate your thoughts and viewpoints. Keep it up.

  6. Thanks for a lovely read,and I wish you a Happy Christmas

  7. Les Bayliss says:

    Hi, great read , best of luck for 2017, merry Christmas 👍🙂

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  8. Fran Kriegenhofer says:

    Thanks for your perspectives, Eddie. Love to read them. Very real. Happy Christmas to you and yours!

  9. Prodivotwatcher says:

    Yes Edward we do get cynical as we get on in life.

    But you’re about 12, so it’s not cynicism imparting itself on you its the Daily Mail and Facebook and Twitter and Show(pony) Business all leading to the now epidemic that is celebrity and or interest in them.

    Take yourself off to Kerala, or Da Nang, or Pho Quoc, or Inishboffin, or on your travels go stay with some locals, they might surprise thy young self. Failing that go sit in a field. Pretty sure the cows also couldn’t give a fuck who wins SPOTY (though Gary Larson might have a thing or two to say about that)…

    I’m voting for David Walsh.

    See you down the road

  10. Peter Crabtree says:

    Well put .. you write like I did about squash a decade ago. I was voted reporter of the year in a field of a dozen .. which made me feel good for a minute or two. People like me want to know what ordinary sporting stars (yep that includes you) are all about. We see enough of Rory tiger and the like. We are interested in how you deal with the challenges that golf and life present. More blogging please and have a great Christmas ☺

  11. LoadsofBirdies&Pars says:

    Happy Christmas Eddie – you are a golfing beacon of light. Best wishes for 2017 and I really ,mean that.

  12. Peterwilks says:

    Have a great xmas Eddie, enjoy your golf in the future and play well for all us average players and keep up the great blog

  13. William Cune Jnr says:

    Edward,

    As the year end grows forever closer, it is important to reflect on the tribulations that have made up the Journey of 2016.

    The maturation of a warrior is expressed best through the eyes of the ubiquitous scholarly talent- Emperor Qianlong Tseung Li. Originating as a young fawn in China’s imperialist era, Qianlong championed the theory that man must stay ‘agile, alert and expressive’ to stave off the inevitable worshipping of Demi-Gods. It would appear that Qianlong accurately predicted the decay of society, and institutions which celebrate the heroics of homo-sapiens; such as SPOTY, only further entrench his Demi-God thesis.

    Qianlong’s parting literary gift was the now infamous proverb, “The man who has a hand in his pocket feels cocky all day.” A timeless quote which seems all the more fitting given the neanderthal habits of the modern day Alpha male.

    The next time you drink the water Edward, remember the spring from which the water is derived. You are sure to go back for another sip.

    Seasonal Regards,

    William Cune Jnr

    Harvard Journals 2009

  14. The erudite nature of all the previous comments speaks volumes. I don’t know how many “followers” (what the hell does that signify?) you have, but the evidence suggests that they have a great deal more between the ears than the average celebratory/spotify watcher.
    Anno domini means that I arrived at your cynicism level many years ago. It will keep you wonderfully level headed in the years to come and I hope this alone will give you the assurance that you will be back on tour err long, going from strength to strength.
    It definitely won’t stop you thinking or saying; these questions are inane, or what the fuck does spotify et al signify when kids are still being slaughtered in Aleppo and more and more people are depending on food banks in our own back yard, etc etc.
    Bloody cancer has stopped me playing for 18 months and I need the Edwards of this world to keep me smiling and enjoying the game from the side lines. You are writing for the right people, Eddie, – many thanks.
    Happy Christmas and a successful 2017

    Mike Phillips

  15. Richard Grime says:

    Great writing Eddie. You are a fine golfer with massive potoential. Yes you have had a difficult year and a pro golfer has an extremely difficult time of it. The average person has no idea of the pressure at an elite level in any sport, but with golf having so much time between shots, it amplifies as the round ebbs and flows and the cut line becomes ever more vivid in your mind. One poor shot at the wrong time and it’s a missed cut and a couple of grand “down the swanny )
    But….but, for a reader of your blog we can emphasise more clearly with those struggling to keep their card, or several rungs down the ladder, those just trying to compete on the Europro or Alps tour. Just one good week! Hope springs eternal. Anyway a ramble but you write well. I think that you are good enough to win once a year, like Poulter. However keep up with the blog win or lose!
    There is a book in you!

  16. Martin Selby says:

    Hi Eddie. Thanks so much for your blogs. I love them.
    The ability to be humble is so refreshing.
    I really hope you have a successful 2017, and your drives find the fairways and your irons find the greens.

    Happy Christmas

  17. Jim Duggan, Dublin says:

    Thank you Eddie for speaking your mind with us hackers over the past year. I can see why David Walsh would be interested in your story because you tell it as it is as he does. It’s been a rare pleasure to read your blogs and most club golfers can empathise with you even if we have little idea of how tough it is on tour. Have a great Christmas and may the little ball run kindly for you in 2017.

  18. David Flynn says:

    Another good rant Eddie.its good to get your perspective on life and golf.keep it going as it might encourage me to follow other bloggers. Have a great Christmas break and will look forward to seeing you on sky sports next year 🎄🏌⛳️

  19. Nick Poole says:

    Happy Christmas Eddie , for what it’s worth I think you’re a bloody legend ,let’s all hope 2017 is a great year for you .

  20. Dave Dooley says:

    Great post Eddie – have a very Merry Christmas!

  21. Sylvie says:

    Have a great Xmas Eddie and enjoy the moment, hope 2017 brings just being happy on the course, because then comes success, at least for yourself, but whatever happens just don’t stop writing, I must be about three times your age but reading you is all I love about golf…. and life ! Wish you all the best, sincerely

  22. Peter Zeevy says:

    Excellent read as always. Refreshing, honest, from the heart. Have all that you wish for.

  23. Richard Payne says:

    Hi Eddie,I started following you when my cousin Mervyn, who plays at your club highlighted your rise through the golfing ranks. I like your style on and off the course, if you continue to have an even handed view on both the highs & the lows along your golfing journey you will be OK.

  24. Fox says:

    As always Eddie – thought provoking. Have a great Christmas and a happy and successful 2017.

  25. Perter Benton says:

    Hit a few balls into the lakes ay Drayton that should get your MOJO back Merry Christmas Sometimes going back to the begining helps

  26. John Yates.aka Yago says:

    As always Eduardo a good read.
    I am sure the next year will take you where you want to be on the course.
    A happy Christmas and a healthy and prosperous new year to you and all your nearest and dearest.
    I look forward to watching you on the tour throughout the year.
    Yago

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