Saturday, March 30, 2013


Golf writers north of the border and beyond have lost a great friend and colleague in Jack Robertson, who recently passed away at the age of 78 after a lengthy spell of ill health.
Jack was a gentleman journalist, a thorough professional who never shirked an issue, but who was never abusive in print on a personal level, as sometimes is the case these days.
He was the golf and rugby correspondent for the Evening Times in Glasgow for many years, joining the AGW in 1964, the year “Champagne” Tony Lema won the Open at St Andrews.
Those of us who worked alongside Jack thoroughly enjoyed his company.  He had a dry sense of humour, and, sometimes on the surface at least, he could be quite acerbic.  But he never meant it, his face breaking into a broad smile within seconds of delivering a withering comment.
In the old days I was fortunate enough to travel quite a lot with Jack, mostly to faraway places for the likes of the Northern Open, and the Scottish Professional and Amateur Championships.
We took turns at using our car, and Jack, who had an old Mazda at the time, was very unfortunate in that almost every time he went on the road he had a puncture.
We became so proficient at changing wheels that on one occasion on the way to Dornoch, we were heartily applauded by a gang of roadmen.  Had we continued this routine for much longer we might have been recruited by Stirling Moss.
Although retiring in the mid-1990s, Jack did not shut himself off.  He continued to run the Evening Times Foursomes – now sadly gone – and met up regularly with his old mates at the Evening Times for lunch, liquid or otherwise.
He was also enthusiastic about the occasional “Old Farts” lunches we have in Glasgow and Edinburgh, where he was often at his acerbic best, cutting down to size the likes of Raymond Jacobs, Ian Wood, Renton Laidlaw, Ian Paul and myself.
His life was shattered, however, in 2003 when his wife, Mary, died after a long illness, during which he cared for her at their home in Stepps, just outside Glasgow.
It was a terrible blow to him, but he was supported wonderfully by his two sons, Euan and David, as he and Mary had supported them in their childhood.
Although, I don’t think quite getting over it, Jack never showed it when with friends and always claimed that he was “fine” when asked how he was.
In his day Jack was more than a decent golfer.  A single-figure handicap member at Lenzie, he once won two championships inside a matter of days, first the AGW Championship, and then, of all things, the Kilkeel Open in Northern Ireland.
The reason he won the Kilkeel Open was that in a desperate effort to have a game of golf on the Saturday while over for a tournament, he drove to Kilkeel and was told that his only chance of 18 holes was to enter the championship. 
He did, and he won, returning, slightly embarrassed, to our hotel that evening with Dixon Blackstock in a lather as he needed money to pay for the night’s celebrations. We all made a contribution, which Jack rapidly repaid as he was always first at the bar.
Thereafter he was known to those of us in the know as “Grand Slam Jack”
Most of his friends and former newspaper colleagues attended the Funeral Ceremony at Daldowie Crematorium in Uddingston, together with representatives from various golf unions and organisations.
It was a fine send-off for a friend none of us will ever forget.  It was bitterly cold, but during the ceremony the sun made a fleeting appearance.  It was as if Jack had ordered it. '
Jock MacVicar



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