Sherry aims for double over rival

Tim Glover looks ahead to the blue riband event of men's amateur golf
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When Gordon Sherry and Tiger Woods turn professional they can expect to make the sort of money that would turn even the heads of captains of industry. For the time being, though, the two outstanding amateurs are preparing to play here for a side bet that wouldn't buy them a candy floss.

They last met in the Open Championship at St Andrews in July, when both made the halfway cut and Sherry went on to finish above Woods. They staked one pound on the outcome. Sherry described it as a "quid" which probably confused the black American.

They renew their rivalry over the weekend in the Walker Cup match between Great Britain and Ireland and the United States at Royal Porthcawl and the first thing Woods said to Sherry when they bumped into each other was: "How much do I owe you?" And they say that Scotsmen are careful with their money.

"He still hasn't paid," Sherry complained. "I'll probably make it double or quits." The match begins with foursomes tomorrow morning followed by singles, with the format repeated on Sunday. The dream draw, or quid pro quo, would pitch Sherry, the Amateur champion, against Woods, the US Amateur champion.

However, Sherry was eager yesterday to promote the team ethic of the Walker Cup. "This is not about Tiger Woods versus Gordon Sherry," Sherry said. "The pinnacle of amateur golf is to play in the Walker Cup. One man doesn't make a team. If I play him fine, if I don't I don't. We've got nothing to prove individually. That would be ridiculous. I'd be quite happy to play Tiger four times and lose as long as GB and Ireland won. At the end of the day nobody would remember individual results. All they would remember is who won the Walker Cup at Porthcawl.''

Sherry, 21 and 6ft 8in, has had a towering year, not least in amateur golf. He made a huge impression in the Scottish Open at Carnoustie, finishing joint fourth (had he been a pro he would have won pounds 30,000) and again the following week in the Open at St Andrews, where he played with Greg Norman and Tom Watson in the first two rounds.

Winning the Amateur Championship at Hoylake also gained him admission to the Masters at Augusta next April, after which he will turn professional. He finishes at Stirling University, where he has been studying biochemistry and education, in May. Not surprisingly, several agents have been keen to capture his signature including the Edinburgh-based Carnegie International.

Sherry said that after the Open Championship he was "mentally and physically shattered". He took a break from the game, missing the Scottish Amateur Championship, but last month he played in Canada and on his return, after two hours sleep, went straight to a pro-celebrity tournament at Ferndown.

You know the sort of thing. Peter Alliss, Bruce Forsyth, Jimmy Tarbuck and somebody who used to appear in Crossroads play with punters who stump up the money for the honour of rubbing shoulders with the great. Some of them were lucky enough to play alongside Sherry. "I was the celebrity, believe it or not," Sherry said. Without so much as a practise swing he went round in 64, establishing a new record for the Hampshire course.

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