Sandy wants to change golf convention
SANDY Twynholm, who won the Northumberland strokeplay championship for a record sixth time last year, yesterday called for the winner to be recognised as the county champion.
This year's tournament will go ahead at the Ponteland club this weekend without title holder Twynholm, who has family commitments.
The modest and quietly-spoken veteran from the Morpeth club is a hugely-respected figure in regional golf and the last man to advocate change for change's sake.
But he said: "I have heard of no other county in the North who recognise the winner of the matchplay tournament as the official county champion the way Northumberland do.
"I hope people know me better than to think I am saying this just because I have won the strokeplay tournament a few times. This is certainly not a question of ego.
"What is more to the point is the champion of each county takes part in the national championships at Woodhall Spa, so our matchplay champion is going there to play against the other strokeplay champions."
Twynholm, a former Scotland international, would be happy to see the subject discussed at the county's 2009 annual meeting.
"I see no reason why this should not go through the proper democratic process," he said. "I would very much hope somebody at some club somewhere in Northumberland would at least think it worth putting forward as a proposition to the annual meeting.
"That way, all the club representatives can give their views on the subject and it can be put to the vote and decided upon, hopefully in favour of changing it. In my opinion strokeplay is a purer form of golf than matchplay and I don't know of anybody who knows the reason why Northumberland are different. I would guess it would be a question of 'that's the way we have always done it' although the strokeplay championship came before the matchplay." A double county winner this season, Hexham's Sean Heads, is against changing the pecking order of the county titles.
The victor in the North & South Trophy - and in the county foursomes with club-mate Mark Coup - Heads said: "The county matchplay championship incorporates both values of the game.
"You have to go through a 36-hole strokeplay qualifier to get into the cut and thrust of matchplay and then win that.
"I believe that produces a true champion, you get the best of both worlds, and you need to be good at both forms of the sport. I would not like to see this changed."
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