Hale Hale

We've got another anti-golf ball technology, pro-communist sympathizer in the game as John Huggan outs Hale Irwin who was playing the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond.

Take the dogleg right 7th hole. After Irwin slid his drive perfectly round the corner, just as the course designer intended - the Englishman simply blasted his tee-shot over the high tree on the right and into the distant fairway. While impressive, it was also a depressing sight, one that was not lost on Irwin either.

"There's a limit to what an older player can do, or what their minds will let them do," he explains. "When you nurture your game by manipulating the ball around the course - fading and drawing shots, hitting the ball high and low - you can't suddenly switch to hitting the same shot over and over.

"It's a whole different mentality and one I have tried to avoid. It just isn't my game and it's so hard to with today's equipment anyway.

"That shot I hit on the first hole is a perfect example. Twenty years ago that ball would have been in the loch way left of the green. It would have curved that much. But now what feels like a snap-hook only turns a few yards in the air."

Still, he is not above sticking up for his own generation and the way they used to play. Like so many, Irwin is not a fan of the direction modern technology has taken golf.

"I've been impressed with the play I have seen here this week," he conceded. "Every time I go play with the 'kids' the calibre of play never ceases to impress me. But they aren't any better than the great players of the past; it is just that they get so much benefit from modern equipment. Today's clubs and balls allow a very different type of play.

"Take today, Paul and I weren't really playing the same game. Like so many, he hits it high and launches it out there. They don't have to worry too much about the wind and just go for it. That's not depressing as much as it is just different. But I do feel that the game is suffering just a bit.

"The players of the past - the Nicklauses and the Watsons - manoeuvred the ball. They hit it high and they hit it low, shaping their shots to the conditions. But today's player just hits the one shot. If there's a debate between a 7-iron or an 8-iron they choose the 9-iron! They just go ahead and kill it. I don't say that disrespectfully, but it is not the game I know or the game I play."