On the way from St Andrews to Gleneagles I asked our driver to take us to Tannadice Road Dundee which houses not one but two football stadia 200 yards apart – these being the homes, respectively, of Dundee (Dens Park) and Dundee United (Tannadice).
Dundee Utd under Jim McLean in the 1980s had a formidable side (Richard Gough, Maurice Malpas, Hamish MavAlpine, Davie “Toe Poke” Narey* [see note below]) who lost – in suspicious circumstances – 3-1 in the semi-finals of European Cup competition in 1984 to Roma.
I’m told the two sides don’t always get on so much so that Dundee Utd sometimes – for the derby matches – change at their stadium and walk the two hundred yards to Dens Park.
The extraordinary heat and the Seniors Open taking place at Gleneagles reminds me of Ken Venturi’s victory in the 1964 US Open at Congressional Country Club.
Venturi was in the shadow of Arnie Palmer and ‘Champagne’ Tony Lema.
The temperature reached 100 degrees and Venturi, the tourney leader, was allowed to play the final round only with the accompaniment of a doctor prescribing salt tablets.
In his brilliant book Following Through Herbert Warren Wind compares Venturi (coming down the 18th in his sun hat) to Charlie Chaplin.
He removes it “a little sun would not hurt now”.
To those who love golf – nay sport – would understand that special moment, when you know you’re there, as Venturi played a perfect approach to the green to claim his first Major and his place in the sun.
Jimmy Hill once described Narey’s goal in the 1978 World Cup in Argentina as a ‘toe poke’.
The Scots never forgave him and he did not sell one copy of his autobiography north of the border. There is still a Dundee United supporters website called Davie Narey’s Toe Poke.