Q&A: Bow bells' bogey

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Q. Has a Londoner ever won a major golf championship?

M Byrnes, Surrey

STRICTLY speaking, the answer is "No", but two definitions need to be established - what do we mean by major championships, and how far out do we go before we're no longer in London.

The modern men's game recognises four majors - the Open, the Masters, the US Open and the USPGA. But when Bobby Jones achieved his Grand Slam in 1930, two of his four titles were the British and US Amateur Championships. In addition, both the LPGA and Senior PGA tours in America have four tournaments on their calendars which they also regard as majors.

Taking the most famous events and golfers first, we should consider Nick Faldo, winner of three Opens and three Masters. Nick unquestionably has a London accent, despite the transatlantic twang he has acquired in recent years. But unless the midwife who delivered him in the Hertfordshire town of Welwyn Garden City had the hearing of a sonic bat, then the chimes of Bow Bells would not have been within earshot.

Three other major winners fall into a similar category. Max Faulkner, the 1951 Open winner at Royal Portrush, made his entrance to this world in Bexhill, Kent, while Alf Padgham, who lifted the Old Claret Jug 15 years earlier at Hoylake, breathed his first in Caterham. Another champion from Surrey was the Dorking-born George Sargent, who won the US Open in 1909.

Applying the Bobby Jones criterion, the five times Amateur champion Michael Bonallack, from Chigwell, Essex, might be eligible along with Peter McEvoy, twice Amateur champion in the Seventies, and the late Joyce Wethered, four times British ladies champion in the 1920s, who were both born in London.

Another multiple "major" winner with a Cockney accent, like Faldo, is the former world No 1 Laura Davies. But, believe it or not, she was born in Coventry.

Answers please

Q. Last week, David Wells became only the 15th baseball player ever to pitch a "perfect game" - no runs, no hits, no errors, no walks. Has any bowler ever done the equivalent in cricket, i.e. bowled a full allocation of overs in a limited-overs match, without conceding a run or any extras.

W Joyce,


Q. Does pollution or "smog" help bowlers in cricket as cloud cover does?

Kevin Maguire,


Q. How come Mexico hosted the World Cup in 1970 and 1986

P Wild,


If you know the answers to any of these questions or have a sporting question of your own, write to Q&A, Sports Desk, Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square, London E14 5DL.

Fax: 0171-293 2894