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Henry Longhurst

They say "practice makes perfect". Of course, it doesn't. For the vast majority of golfers it merely consolidates imperfection.

There, but for the grace of God...
(Watching Doug Sanders miss a short putt to win the 1970 Open Championship)

Golfing excellence goes hand in hand with alcohol, as many an Open and Amateur champion has shown.

The most exquisitely satisfying act in the world of golf is that of throwing a club. The full backswing, the delayed wrist action, the flowing follow through, followed by that unique whirring sound, reminiscent only of a passing flock of starlings, are without parallel in sport.

Splosh! One of the finest sights in the world: the other man's ball dropping in the water - preferably so that he can see it but cannot quite reach it and has therefore to leave it there, thus rendering himself so mad that he loses the next hole as well.

Whatever anyone may care to say about golf, at least one thing is mercifully certain, namely it is a voluntary affair.

I have always believed there are far too many rules in golf. For me, if you cannot write them all on the back of a matchbox then something is wrong.

Golf, perhaps through its very slowness, can reach the most extraordinary heights of tenseness and drama.

Not until death has holed him out does the golfer abandon his search after the perfect game.

"Never had a lesson in my life" is a phrase uttered with smug satisfaction by a good many people. The correct reply is, of course, "That's why you are no better than you are."

But the bitter, inescapable truth remains. Once you've had 'em, you've got 'em.
(On the putting yips)

If you call on God to improve the results of a shot while it is still in motion, you are using `an outside agency' and subject to appropriate penalties under the rules of golf.

The answer to Hogan is, I fancy, that if Hogan means to win, you lose.

Sic transit Gloria.
(Referring to the defeat of Gloria Minoprio, the first lady to wear trousers for golf, in the 1933 English Women's Championship)

A forward press on the green... is one infallible characteristic of the very bad putter.

Playing golf is like learning a foreign language.

Golf is the Esperanto of sport. All over the world golfers talk the same language - much of it nonsense and much unprintable - endure the same frustrations, discover the same infallible secrets of putting, share the same illusory joys.

There is not the slightest doubt in my own mind that golf as played in the United States is the slowest in the world.

Fashions come and go in golf clubs as they do in clothes and often what is hailed as the latest thing is only a revival of what was all the rage 50 years ago. (In 1962)

No, it is match play, man against man, that is the true essence of golf. Beside it, stroke play, as a famous champion of earlier days contemptuously put it, is "no better than rifle shooting".

Every ball maker all over the world, according at any rate to the advertisments, makes a ball which goes farther than everybody else's.
(In 1966)

You mustn't blow your nose when your partner is addressing the ball.

His golf was fallible and impertinent, which endeared him to the common man.
(On Walter Hagen)

Walter Hagen goes down in history as the greatest exponent of the dramatic art of turning three shots into two.

I am sure there is no body of professional games players who so cheerfully know so little of the rules of their game as do professional golfers.
(In 1959)

It is doubtful that there was a man present at Birkdale [1961 British Open] who wanted Palmer to lose. It's impossible to overpraise the tact and charm with which this American has conducted himself on his two visits to Britain. He has no fancy airs or graces; he wears no fancy clothes; he makes no fancy speeches. He simply says and does exactly the right thing at the right time, and that is enough.

He's all hands and wrists, like a man dusting furniture.
(Of 1963 US Open winner Julius Boros)



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