The Hacker: After watching Cardiff, David is happy to play the long game

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The Independent Online

Evidence that golf can do more for your longevity than any experiments in embryonic science was provided last weekend by my friend David Morgan, who became something of a celebrity because at the age of 97 he saw Cardiff City beat Barnsley at Wembley, where he had watched them beat Arsenal in 1927.

But it is not in his capacity as the world's most patient football fan that I draw him to your attention. In the days preceding the FA Cup semi-final, David was pursued by many television and radio programmes wanting an interview.

One of them, Radio Five Live, telephoned his home to be told: "Sorry, he's out playing golf." Their startled reaction wasthat these were not thewhereabouts you would expect of a 97-year-old, but it was a response to gladden the heart of hackers everywhere.

If you asked most men what would please them most if they reach their nineties, they would probably choose to be chased by a jealous husband.

Golfers, however, would be delighted to be still enjoying life on the fairways as David is. He needs the assistance of a buggy these days and he complains at not being able to hit the ball further than 150 yards, but he is as straight as an arrow and has a shrewd short game.

Until last year he used to play with another nonagenarian, Edgar. One day, when their combined age was 187, they walked into the professional's shop and ordered new clubs.

Unfortunately, Edgar died last year, but David still turns out. He was indignant, as were many of us, at an allegation made a few months ago that older golfers were like "leeches", clogging up courses and putting younger players off joining clubs.

David, who started playing golf soon after celebrating Cardiff City winning the FA Cup 81 years ago, says he is held up far more often than he holds others up, but it is an impudence even to think of him as anything other than an inspiring example of the benefits of the game.

I'm not sure if he is the oldest regular player in these isles. There is a man of a similar age, Dick Normand, who plays off 21 at Muirfield – no place for weaklings – and has registered a hole in one at all four of Muirfield's par-three holes.

The achievement of the 92-year-old Leo Fiyalko in scoring a hole in one at his course in Florida recently is all the more praiseworthy since he is blind. And I hear tell of Jacob "Daddy" Logan in Baltimore, who is 87, plays 27 holes a day and is willing to take on all-comers.

Part of David's success, he says, is not taking out too many clubs. "Six are enough – three woods, a six-iron, sand wedge and a putter."

There can't be another game that produces so many ageless characters. I had a drink with David on Tuesday and he was very excited at being invited to watch Cardiff City's FA Cup final meeting with Portsmouth next month.

I just hope that his new-found fame is not going to be too much of a distraction. I asked him if he was going to play as usual on Wednesday.

"I can't," he said. "'Football Focus' are coming down to interview me."

p.corrigan@independent.co.uk

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