Pom Points His Putter Point-Blank Sounding An Ultimatum

They call it the ‘Golf Writers Mock’!

It is when you leave the sanctuary of the media center and walk out onto the golf course and choose to follow a particular group or golfer.

Nothing really wrong with that as long as the player you are following doesn’t start dropping shots.

I was reporting on the 1991 Volvo German Open at the Hubblelrath GC in Dusseldorf.  It was late August and the German Open was the last qualifying event for the European Ryder Cup team selection though at that stage of my golf reporting career I was yet to get into the deep end of reporting on the biennial event.

Aussie Peter ‘Pom’ O’Malley

I was more focused on the Australians and New Zealanders competing on the Tour. One of those was Peter O’Malley as I was filing regular copy to the Western Advocate newspaper, and the local newspaper in O’Malley’s beloved home city of Bathurst and about a two-hour drive west of Sydney.

It was the second round and with the players early into the rounds, so I headed out onto the course to locate ‘Pom’, as he was more affectionately known, and follow him for a few holes up to the ninth and then return to the media center.

My first mistake was to wear a red shirt that very much stood out among just a handful of spectators following Pom’s group though I had learned not to make your presence in such a small following and that meant hugging trees and standing in groups so that you would not stand out.

However, on this Friday morning, Pom was bleeding bogeys and then he came to Hubblelrath’s uphill par-3 seventh hole with water for the most part down the left side.

Well, Pom put not one but two golf balls into the water and walked off hemorrhaging in taking a quadruple-bogey ‘7’.

Another mistake, I was at the back of the green and close to where the players made their way to the eighth tee and as ‘Pom’ walked past me, he was still carrying his putter.  He then drew the club at point-blank range at my face saying:  “Don’t you ever follow me around again”.

I stood there dumbfounded thinking to myself: ‘What the bloody hell did I do?”

Though I knew though there was no future following Pom as he dropped further shots on route to a 76 and miss the cut by five shots.

It was yet another example of the ‘golf writers mock’.

As mentioned, the 1991 German Open was the final qualifying event for the Kiawah Island Ryder Cup andwith Zimbawean Mark McNulty defeating England’s Paul Broadhurst in a play-off to successfully defend his title and win the event for a fourth time.

McNulty came into the media center for the customary ‘winner’s press conference’ and after a few comments he remarked something along the lines of:  “Enough from me.  I know you’re all waiting to hear from the Ryder Cup captain”.

Yes, they were with the German Open signage changed behind the behind the desk where McNulty has sat to now be promoting the Ryder Cup, and taking place in a month’s time and despite still four events on the European Tour schedule ahead what would be known as ‘The War on the Shore’.

Nine players from the European Tour money list had qualified automatically for Gallacher’s team and he needed to choose three more post the German event. Gallacher had announced before the final event that he would choose Nick Faldo as one of his picks. He also announced that he would select José María Olazábal, who was then in the 9th and final automatic spot, even if he dropped out of the top nine. At the time Olazábal and Faldo were second and third in the world rankings. Olazábal had just won The International on the PGA Tour.

In what was a totally bizarre decision, Ireland’s Eamonn Darcy, in 7th place in the points list, chose to miss the German Open. However, with David Gilford earning £4,320 in prize money, Sam Torrance tying for 3rd place, and Broadhurst losing a playoff, Darcy dropped to 10th place in the final list, and £58.26 behind Gilford. Olazábal dropped to 11th place in the points list but had been assured of selection anyway.

Gallacher chose Mark James as his third choice in preference to Darcy. Darcy had played in four Ryder Cups and the last being on the winning 1989 European Team.  He didn’t play again in a Ryder Cup.

Pom or Peter O’Malley went to the following week’s European Open at Walton Heath and finished just outside the top-20.

I remained in the media center that week only emerging at the end of each round including congratulating Mike Harwood, who after the disappointment of finishing runner-up in The Open a few months earlier, won the European Open and the fifth of his five Tour wins by two shots from Sandy Lyle and with Seve Ballesteros sharing third.

A year later, Harwood shot a then Australasian Tour low of 61 during the 1992 Australian PGA Championship at the Concord Club in Sydney.  I still have the ball signed by Harwood he used that day.

Now there’s another tale.



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