Alexander Irving is so inspired by The Ryder Cup that he, his father and brother Daniel play their own version of the tournament every two years against their friends at Dumfries & County Golf Club.
They may have to change the date of this year’s contest though, given Alexander has the real deal to attend at Gleneagles.
The 18 year-old from Dumfries recently left St Joseph’s College and is planning to work this year ahead of going to university. He has been playing golf on and off since he was four, starting with hitting balls in his grandparents’ garden. They played the sport, as did his older sister Megan and all his cousins.
He progressed to taking lessons and last winter took part in the Scottish Golf Development Centre programme with professional Stuart Syme, covering different aspects of the game to those he had experienced previously.
He said: “It was good. It made my short game a lot better as we didn’t work on that at the range before. That was the main help, in terms of shot choice, widen the range of shot you play rather than just trying to get it into the hole.
He plays off 12 now and has been selected as a carry boarder at The Ryder Cup, after submitting his Development Centre player nomination form earlier this year. He said:
“I am really excited. I thought my dad was joking at first when the email came through, as it didn’t seem it could really happen.
"I’ve been to The Open and to The Johnnie Walker Championship but this will be different . I don’t imagine you’d see much as much golf as a spectator as the crowd will be massive, so I’m looking forward to being inside the ropes and seeing the action without anyone in the way!”
Alexander has chosen his dad Graeme to share this honour. Graeme, a surveyor with MR Rodger & Partners in Dumfries, has a handicap of 10 and plays golf regularly with his children at the weekends in the winter and in the summer they try to get out once during the week. He is delighted Alexander has been chosen to carry a scoreboard at The Ryder Cup.
He said: “It is such an honour. I'm very excited. We met a man from Madrid when playing golf in Portugal in the summer and he was also really excited to hear Alexander would be carry boarding - it is just such a huge global event.
“When we go to tournaments, my family get embarrassed by me when I run ahead to see the next shot being hit so I’m looking forward to walking at the same pace as the players!
“The atmosphere will be very intense as only four games on at any time, so the play and the crowd is cramped up rather than being spread out over the whole course.
“It has been great seeing my sons developing their golf, and a great experience to have with Alexander, seeing the people that inspire him.”