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Golf News - 2009 Ryder Cup
Tiger Woods supports Scottish bid, apparently
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'Five-Iron' Mike reigns in Spain

Extract, Graham Spiers, The Scotsman, 12 November 2000

The story of the week certainly belongs to a man whom I regard as a good friend as well as a most excellent cook - Mike ‘Five-Iron’ Aitken of The Scotsman.

For years Mike has been a terrific reporter of golf, regularly putting his rivals over his knees and issuing them with severe canings - I hope this image isn’t too eye-watering. He was at it again last week in Valderrama in Spain, getting the sort of story which in golf is the equivalent of receiving a quiet tip-off from the Queen or the Pope.

Mike got Tiger Woods to tell him it would be "terrific" if the hotly-contested 2009 venue for the Ryder Cup was given to Scotland. The Scotsman rightly splashed this as an exclusive - but it was the marvellous wording used by Mike to describe his encounter with Woods which caught the eye.

"Speaking to The Scotsman as he strolled to the practice range at the American Express Championship," wrote Mike a little out of puff, "he [Tiger] spoke of his fondness for the country which gave the game of golf to the world."

This is the sort of snatched, 10-second interview which harassed golf reporters have to secure in a world flowing with pressures and red wine.

This was the second time in two months that Mike has had the best story of the week. Back in October, I myself was deemed to be in some sort of contention for this with my Allan MacDonald resignation yarn. The only problem, that same week, was that Mike had stolen my thunder - he wrote that the Army were being called in to control the murderous Ryder Cup crowds.

Ever since I placed Mike, along with myself, in the "tearful warbling" category of Scottish journalists, I have fretted over a fine tradition ending - Mike making me his Caesar salad special as we lord it at Augusta each April. I hope this minor paean helps to make up for that.

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