Nonchalantly scrolling and prodding away at the computer the other week, I read a piece online stating that 84 per cent of folk in the UK think that everyday gadgets have become too complicated.
One had to sympathise. I don’t know about you but when I look at my remote control for the television, for instance, there are buttons on it that have never, ever been pressed.
Presumably they serve some valuable purpose and no doubt enhance your viewing experience in some way or another but, due to my increasingly fumbling technological ineptitude, I’m simply unwilling to find out what they do.
I’m quite happy to stick to jabbing the on/off button, pawing at the channel up-down thingymejig and nudging the volume +/- whitdoyoucallit but ask me to thumb that little nubbin down in the corner which has an icon on it that resembles the elaborate symbol of some madcap satanic cult? No chance.
As far as this scribe is concerned, those little curiosities existing in the margins of the remote are merely menacing outliers that leaves your finger nervously trembling over them like someone who has forgotten the four-digit pin for the cash machine and knows the pressing of another wrong number will lead to their card being swallowed.
Just don’t do it. Don’t. Perhaps my sceptical incompetence is just an age thing? All of which brings us stumbling awkwardly into over-50s golf.
Last week’s Senior Open was memorable, not just for the biblical downpours that left Royal Lytham under so much water the leaderboard was measured against fathoms instead of par, but for the goodbye of Tom Watson and the victory of Bernhard Langer.
For all those golfers out there of a more redoubtable vintage – yes, perhaps even you sitting there reading this and questioning whether thrashing and swiping away at a little dimpled ba’ is really worth the remorseless anguish – they remain truly inspirational.
Everybody who holds golf dear has a special Watson memory, whether it’s the magical breakthrough at Carnoustie in 1975, the timeless Duel in the Sun of 1977 or the greatest story that was never told at Turnberry in 2009 when he nearly won the Claret Jug at 59.
Watson (main picture) opened with a 65 that week and was tied second. By Saturday night he led outright by a shot. “The first day you (the media) were all ‘yeah, let the old geezer have his day in the sun’ and now today you kind of perk up your ears and say, ‘this old geezer might have a chance to win’,” he said ahead of the final round.
He did have a chance, of course, but that putt on the last to win it was wearily fluffed and the rest is history. “This ain’t a funeral,” he said to the assembled media afterwards who all wore the kind of downbeat fizzogs you’d get with gargoyles on a gothic buttress.
Watson says goodbye as Langer goes on and on
The memories Watson has made will always evoke smiles not regrets, though. His farewells, meanwhile, have been fond but, my goodness, those golfing gods haven’t shown much sympathy when it comes to his swansongs have they?
Back in 2015, when he made his final appearance in The Open at St Andrews, a weather delay meant he came down the 18th on the Friday night in near darkness just before 10pm.
It was something of a mad dash to beat the fading light if not the course. The course would win easily as Watson posted an 80.
A decade earlier, on the same stretch of hallowed terrain, Watson had accompanied Jack Nicklaus over the Swilcan Brig’ for the last time in an Open as the Golden Bear enjoyed the sound and vision of a sun-soaked, jam-packed amphitheatre and just about had his curling birdie putt sooked into the 18th hole by the entire Kingdom of Fife.
Watson’s farewell in 2015 was more of a grind in the gloamin’ yet, in some ways, it added to the dewy-eyed significance of the moment.
On Sunday, the weather again conspired against him as the two-tee start on the final day of his final Senior Open meant he finished away out on the ninth hole. As Watson knows, though, golf doesn’t always go the way you want it to.
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As for 61-year-old Langer? Well, his longevity, aided by fitness, spirituality, healthy eating and an unquenchable drouth for competition, remains remarkable.
Yet the can of worms that was opened in the wake of the ban on the anchored method of putting, a style Langer adopted to overcome the heebie-jeebies and has since had to adapt, continues to lead to accusations that he is still anchoring.
For a man of great diligence and nobility, being branded, essentially, a cheat in recent years has been the ultimate indignity.
It’s a tricky one. Watching him execute a stroke on the green, with the handle of his long putter right next to his chest, just about requires you to take a CT scan to ascertain whether it is actually anchored or not.
But that is the ambiguity of the rule that was ushered in by the game’s custodians and one that seems to have produced more grey areas than that 50 Shades romp.
The shame for golf is that many of Langer’s detractors have opted to relinquish the game’s fundamental trust in the player. Langer is adamant he is doing nothing wrong. My word is my honour is not washing with everyone, however.
When Watson finished up on Sunday he exited the stage with warming, reflective words and hoped that he’d “given a little back in the sense that I’ve played the game the way it should be played”.
For Langer, meanwhile, there are those who sadly still need convincing that he is playing by the rules.