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Andy Walker

Have you a sporting hero?

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Like many men I tend to spend quite a bit of time at parties talking about sport, and most especially golf.

My own 2 sporting heroes are Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin. Nicklaus because he was quite simply the best there has ever been, and also because of his tremendous sportsmanship (see 1969 Ryder Cup), and Jacklin because by winning 2 majors at a time when no European golfer ever did this he laid the foundations of what has now become in Europe the dominant world force in golf.

My sporting anti-hero is a golfer called David Robertson who though fantastically talented and with a great amateur career chose to cheat outrageously when trying to qualify as a professional in the early 80's. He was caught moving the ball yards nearer the hole before putting and banned for life :rolleyes:

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Like many men I tend to spend quite a bit of time at parties talking about sport, and most especially golf.

My own 2 sporting heroes are Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin. Nicklaus because he was quite simply the best there has ever been, and also because of his tremendous sportsmanship (see 1969 Ryder Cup), and Jacklin because by winning 2 majors at a time when no European golfer ever did this he laid the foundations of what has now become in Europe the dominant world force in golf.

My sporting anti-hero is a golfer called David Robertson who though fantastically talented and with a great amateur career chose to cheat outrageously when trying to qualify as a professional in the early 80's. He was caught moving the ball yards nearer the hole before putting  and banned for life :rolleyes:

Andy,

I have seen Jack Nicklaus hit the ball on golf courses that he has designed, and wow, that guy had the control.

Three years ago I was catering an event in north Atlanta, the PGA Sugarloaf Tournament. I had been there four or five days serving lunch buffets to the golf crowd, and the last day was rained out.

They cut me loose and I went out to the stands to watch the tied leaders shoot a special sudden death playoff on the final morning. Everyone else was utterly rained out, but since the purse had to go to one or the other, the two leaders had to play a single hole of par-three golf to decide the champion's purse. NBC had a few guys out in the rain and we watched Phil Mickelson and Gary Nicklaus (jack's son) shoot the single hole for about $600,000, because whoever lost the hole would get less than half the champion's purse. So Mickelson hits it up onto the green on the par three, Gary Nicklaus hits the lip and falls back into the sand trap.

Pretty much a million dollar hole, out in the rain with the pros, NBC and the caterer.

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My choice would be Walter Tull. The son of joiner, was born in Folkestone in April 1888. Walter's father, the son of a slave, had arrived from Barbados in 1876 and had married a girl from Folkestone. Over the next few years the couple had six children. In 1895, when Walter was seven, his mother died. Walter's father remarried but died two years later. The stepmother was unable to cope with all six children and Walter and his brother Edward were sent to a Methodist run orphanage in Bethnal Green, London.

After finishing his schooling Tull served an apprenticeship as a printer. Walter was a keen footballer and played for a local team in Clapton. In 1908 Walter's talents were discovered by a scout from Tottenham Hotspur and the club decided to sign this promising young footballer. Walter was only the second black man to play professional football in Britain. The first was Arthur Walton, the Preston North End goalkeeper. Walter played for Tottenham until 1910 when he was transferred for a large fee to Northampton Town.

Walter Tull played 110 times for Northampton Town's first-team. Playing at wing-half, Walter became the club's most popular player. Other clubs wanted to sign Walter and in 1914 Glasgow Rangers began negotiations with Northampton Town. However, before he could play for them war was declared.

On the outbreak of the First World War Tull immediately abandoned his career and offered his services to the British Army. Walter, like many professional players, joined the 1st Football Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment. The Army soon recognised Tull's leadership qualities and he was quickly promoted to the rank of sergeant. In July 1916, Tull took part in the major Somme offensive. Tull survived this experience but in December 1916 he developed trench fever and was sent home to England to recover.

Tull had impressed his senior officers and recommended that he should be considered for further promotion. When he recovered from his illness, instead of being sent back to France, he went to the officer training school at Gailes in Scotland. Despite military regulations forbidding "any negro or person of colour" being an officer, Tull received his commission in May, 1917.

Lieutenant Walter Tull was sent to the Italian front. This was an historic occasion because Tull was the first ever black officer in the British Army. He led his men at the Battle of Piave and was mentioned in dispatches for his "gallantry and coolness" under fire.

Tull stayed in Italy until 1918 when he was transferred to France to take part in the attempt to break through the German lines on the Western Front. On 25th March, 1918, 2nd Lieutenant Tull was ordered to lead his men on an attack on the German trenches at Favreuil. Soon after entering No Mans Land Tull was hit by a German bullet. Tull was such a popular officer that several of his men made valiant efforts under heavy fire from German machine-guns to bring him back to the British trenches. These efforts were in vain as Tull had died soon after being hit.

You could have a good history lesson on Tull. For photographs of Tull see:

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/FWWtull.htm

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Andy,

I have seen Jack Nicklaus hit the ball on golf courses that he has designed, and wow, that guy had the control.

Three years ago I was catering an event in north Atlanta, the PGA Sugarloaf Tournament.  I had been there four or five days serving lunch buffets to the golf crowd, and the last day was rained out.

They cut me loose and I went out to the stands to watch the tied leaders shoot a special sudden death playoff on the final morning. Everyone else was utterly rained out, but since the purse had to go to one or the other, the two leaders had to play a single hole of par-three golf to decide the champion's purse. NBC had a few guys out in the rain and we watched Phil Mickelson and Gary Nicklaus (jack's son) shoot the single hole for about $600,000, because whoever lost the hole would get less than half the champion's purse. So Mickelson hits it up onto the green on the par three, Gary Nicklaus hits the lip and falls back into the sand trap.

Pretty much a million dollar hole, out in the rain with the pros, NBC and the caterer.

Both these events, but especially the opportunity to watch Jack Nicklaus make me very jealous!

The nearest I've come to watching genuis on a golf course (apart from Simkin of course), was Severiano Ballesteros. I was watching him at a European Tour event at Royal Liverpool sometime in the early 1980's. On one hole he found himself plugged in the face of an awfully deep typical links greenside bunker. There was no shot on other than declaring an unplayable lie and taking a penalty.

He paced around for ages until picking his Ping Putter out of his bag, literally turning it toe in and belted the toe of the putter under the ball. The ball obedient plopped out almost vertically and gently rolled to within an inch of the pin. I couldn't believe my eyes. :clapping

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Greetings All: ;)

My favorite all time sportsman is Jim Thorpe who could do just about everything so well that IMO he wrote the book on what was humanly possible.

Happy Yule to All: :tomatoes

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Wow - this is a hard one!!

For me it's a real dilema:

I admire someone like Lance Armstrong who has overcome cancer to return and become the best again - but then cycling is full of drugs use. I would have said Georgie Best - but his problems are well noted ... suppose I would then have to go with someone from the pre-professionalism era, like Bobby Moore or Gordon Banks or Don Bradman or Roger Bannister

Karl

:D

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Andy,

I have seen Jack Nicklaus hit the ball on golf courses that he has designed, and wow, that guy had the control.

Three years ago I was catering an event in north Atlanta, the PGA Sugarloaf Tournament.  I had been there four or five days serving lunch buffets to the golf crowd, and the last day was rained out.

They cut me loose and I went out to the stands to watch the tied leaders shoot a special sudden death playoff on the final morning. Everyone else was utterly rained out, but since the purse had to go to one or the other, the two leaders had to play a single hole of par-three golf to decide the champion's purse. NBC had a few guys out in the rain and we watched Phil Mickelson and Gary Nicklaus (jack's son) shoot the single hole for about $600,000, because whoever lost the hole would get less than half the champion's purse. So Mickelson hits it up onto the green on the par three, Gary Nicklaus hits the lip and falls back into the sand trap.

Pretty much a million dollar hole, out in the rain with the pros, NBC and the caterer.

Both these events, but especially the opportunity to watch Jack Nicklaus make me very jealous!

The nearest I've come to watching genuis on a golf course (apart from Simkin of course), was Severiano Ballesteros. I was watching him at a European Tour event at Royal Liverpool sometime in the early 1980's. On one hole he found himself plugged in the face of an awfully deep typical links greenside bunker. There was no shot on other than declaring an unplayable lie and taking a penalty.

He paced around for ages until picking his Ping Putter out of his bag, literally turning it toe in and belted the toe of the putter under the ball. The ball obedient plopped out almost vertically and gently rolled to within an inch of the pin. I couldn't believe my eyes. :blink:

Ha Ha Ha, Very Cool...I saw Pete Rose hit the first pitch of a World Series Game over the fence for a Home Run . . . also I watched a snake in a stream catch a fish and fight it and eat it . . . I have seen great owls the size of children turn up in the night in a flash of thunder . . . that's real sport, the wildlife

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Depends on the sport. For Baseball I would have to go with DonMattingly, first baseman for the New York Yankees during the '80's and into the early '90's. For Soccer, it is more difficult their are so many players whose skills I admire, Zindane, Beckham, Christiano Ronaldo. I could go on and on. Being a Man United fan and loving the tenacity that Alan Smith approaches his job with he would have to be a favorite of mine.

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Americans will always have their penchant for baseball (my favorite teams was the Oakland A's of 1972-4), not to mention our football. The most excited I have been about a sports event were the three boxing matches between Mohammad Ali and Joe Frazer.

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Albert Pujols, World Champion St. Louis Cardinals. Already at the (dominican) age of 26, he is one of the top five hitters of all time. So whats next? He's turned himself into a gold glove first baseman.

Edited by Nathaniel Heidenheimer

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Johnny Bench...In my opinion the glue of the "Big Red Machine".

I met him at a charity golf tournament here locally several years back. Very polite and well spoken and he could hit a golf ball a mile!!!!

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Pele - he was magic to watch.

Ditto Cassius Clay - Cassius X - Mohammed Ali, not just for his skill and spirit but also for his stand on Civil Rights and the Vietnam war.

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Former world heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson is my sporting idol.

His career was made into a film called 'The Great White Hope' but it barely did him justice, IMO.

His adventures in Europe and South America during his flight from American 'justice' from 1913 till his return to the US in 1920 were amazing. For example, I'm confident he remains the only heavyweight champ to have been a successful bullfighter.

I believe he is also Muhammed Ali's sporting idol.

Edited by Mark Stapleton

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Featherweight, Young Griffo. No one could touch him - despite the fact he nearly always fought drunk or hungover. Used to stand on a hankercheif and bet any takers in whatever bar he was in that they couldn't hit him. None ever did. Regarded as one of the all-time greats by many boxing historians.

"Starred" in the first ever motion picture that had paying customers.

Why the hell no one has ever made a film of his life is beyond me.

The Time obit

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/...,731305,00.html

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My sporting hero would have to be Zinedine Zidane for getting himself sent off and making the WC final so enjoyable for Italy! :D

No, seriously,would have to be football players, it being the only sport I really follow. Paolo Maldini, one of the best defenders in the world imo, would be one, and former goalie for the Italian national team. Walter Zenga would be another.

Edited by Francesca Akhtar

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