The Hacker: Memo to PM: you don't break 100 by crawling to major winners. I know, I've tried

I didn't realise I had anything in common with the Prime Minister, differing as we do in schooling, background, wealth, age, looks, hair and stuff like that, but he confessed last week that he has a desire to break 100 on the golf course.

Admittedly, the secret passions of politicians are usually a bit racier, but hackers throughout the country will be thrilled that the highest in the land is chasing the same holy grail as us.

We are accustomed to US Presidents being keen on golf, and Barack Obama is maintaining that tradition, but British PMs have a very poor record of showing an interest in the Royal & Ancient game, or in most sporting pursuits come to that.

However, David Cameron has sent a handwritten letter to Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell, our first winner in the US Open for 40 years, to congratulate him and added: "Here's your next challenge – help me break a hundred."

I don't know what stage the PM has reached in his efforts to score below the magic ton but I must warn him that you don't break 100 by crawling around major winners. I know, because I've tried it.

For 10 years, I've been beating my brains out trying to bring home a medal score that doesn't contain three figures. Along the way I've sought advice from the world's finest but the game always finds a way to thwart my efforts.

When it comes to getting below that magic number, each failure seems to push it further away. You can play fine in friendly matches but the sight of a scorecard and a pencil has a paralysing effect on the central nervous system.

Friends tell me that writing about my failures in this column over the years has helped to increase the pressure. If I had kept quiet about it instead of blabbing I would have probably sneaked below 100 ages ago. Now it has become a psychological barrier I'll never break.

But I am determined to succeed and I sense that I am close to the breakthrough. Since I had the cataract in my right eye seen to a month ago my sight has improved tremendously. Unfortunately, the operation meant I missed the June medal but I have been playing better golf since and seeing the ball does make a difference.

I'm due to have the left eye done on Tuesday which means I won't be able to assist my colleagues at The Open but I hope to be able to play in the July medal on Saturday.

That'll be a stiff test of nerve and character but at least I'll be going into it with my eyes wide open to the perils that lie between a golfer and a respectable score.

Leaving the practice range last week I met a very disconsolate young man in the car park. Franco, who helps his father, Tony, run a very busy restaurant 70 yards from my front door, has been playing for about two years and had just come off the course after shooting 128.

I managed to soothe him with stories of my own short-comings and when I told him that the Prime Minister was among those countless golfers striving for improvement, it cheered him up no end. Then I had an uncomfortable thought. What if the PM and Franco get into the 90s before me? That's what I mean about putting pressure on myself.

p.corrigan@independent.co.uk

Tip of the week

No 57: avoiding the skied tee shot

If you find yourself hitting drives too high, take a look at the top edge of your driver and see if there are any scratch marks. If so, this doesn't necessarily mean you are teeing too high, you may be striking down too steeply on the ball, creating very high launch angles.

To stop this happening set up as normal with the ball positioned inside your left heel. Position a tee in the ground about two feet to the right of your right toe-cap (for right-handed golfers). As you take the club away, try to brush the tee on the ground.

This will encourage a low, inside-sweeping backswing, and help to stop you attacking the ball too steeply. If you keep the swing smooth, you will find you strike the ball much closer to the middle of the club face, resulting in more penetrating drives.

Simon Iliffe, Head Professional, Bramley GC, Surrey www.theshortgame.co.uk

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Baroness Lane-Fox warned that large companies such as have become so powerful that governments and regulators are left behind
techTech giants have left governments and regulators behind
News
Keith Fraser says we should give Isis sympathises free flights to join Isis (AFP)
news
Life and Style
'Prison Architect' players decide the fate of inmates
tech
Life and Style
A picture taken on February 11, 2014 at people walking at sunrise on the Trocadero Esplanade, also known as the Parvis des droits de l'homme (Parvis of Human Rights), in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
News
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
music
Sport
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor