Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Andrew Coltart says PGA must change its ways

Andrew Coltart is urging the PGA to change the system that is failing to produce Scottish tournament winners.
Coltart, a Ryder Cup player and former member of the European Tour's tournament committee, made his plea because, once again, Scotland does not have a player in the top 100 in the world rankings.
He said: "We keep blaming Scotland for not producing winning golfers so something in the system has to change. Let's look at it and work it out.
"The PGA boast that Paul Lawrie came through their system and went on to win the Open. It was a fantastic achievement but he is the only one.
"The return could be a bit higher than that. If we genuinely want winning Scottish golfers, then something has to give, and I'd like to help out. I phoned the PGA chief executive Sandy Jones recently to ask him if there is any way we could get together - the PGA, the SGU, the lot."
Coltart's declaration comes only a few weeks after the new Scottish PGA's strategic head of golf development, Colin Pearson, conceded that tradition in Scottish golf can have a stifling effect on progress.
Pearson doesn't promise quick fixes but Coltart is adamant there has to be a change in attitude and a throwing away of the old, restrictive PGA practices.
He is appalled that two Scottish golfers, David Orr and Mark Kerr, were banned from competing in PGA events for more than six months because they did not follow the association's training programme properly.
He also shook his head sadly when he heard of the new Sprint to St Andrews - a £35,000 series of five one-day events for Scottish professionals and amateurs.
Coltart is more than suspicious that it has been hurriedly cobbled together to spike the Xltec Tour recently launched by Alan Tait.
Coltyart said: "It is a bit strange that after Alan has done something, the PGA starts to do something. Why has this not been done before by the PGA? And why are they not working together instead of against one another. I gather Alan said he would be happy if the PGA were to take over his scheme.
"Anyway, one-rounders are no good for preparing people for the Tour. We need more 72-hole events.
Edinburgh-based Coltart's view that the PGA and, to an extent the European Tour, are not doing enough for young talent, is shared by many.
World Cup pair David Drysdale and Alastair Forsyth would be in that category.
"Some years ago David was trying to get into a Scottish PGA event but was told by the then secretary there was nothing they dould do for him," said Coltart.
"Later, after finishing fourth in a European Tour event, David was told: 'Yes, well, we can fit you in after all.'
"It would have been his eighth tournament in a row so David said he couldn't play. He was fined."
Coltart, who turns 40 today, also cites the time Forsyth went to Gleneagles before a Johnnie alker Championship with three low-handicap golfers and was told he couldn't play off the back tees.
It is this restrictive, tradition-bound attitude that Coltart detests. But he is not soured enough to refuse to help, if invited.
He added:L "If the PGA are trying to put peple on the (European) Tour, maybe need to start talking to pepople who have been iin that environment."
+The above article appears in full in the Scottish Daily Express newspaper today.



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