Rymer turns on old style to become number one
A TEENAGER from the Buckinghamshire Golf Club has become world hickory champion – only a year after taking up the retro form of the game, writes Tim Street.
Rymer Smith, 19, a rising star at the Denham-based club, triumphed in the amateur competition at the World Hickory Open at Carnoustie in Scotland.
It is an impressive achievement, seeing as he has only been playing hickory golf, which sees players using pre-1945 wooden clubs and dressing in period clothing, for less than 12 months.
Smith, from West Drayton, found himself in exalted company too, with former Open and US Masters champion Sandy Lyle winning the pro competition.
Smith said: “I like learning about the history of the game. I played a game with the old clubs and enjoyed it, and I like dressing up in the plus fours too.
“It was a two round tournament, and I shot 72 and 76 to win. There were 126 players and I led the leader board overnight, ahead of even Sandy and all the other tour pros.
“I was playing alongside Sandy a lot of the time. I watched him and he watched me and we had a chat. He was a nice fella and very down to earth.
“As far as regular golf goes. I am trying to become a pro myself. I am at the level where I can do it, but I want to do it in my best possible form, in the next two to three years. I want to play some more major amateur events and get some more experience.”
Smith has now been invited to compete at the American Hickory Open in Philadelphia next May, but before that he will team up with his old man once more to take part in the European Father and Son Championships, which began yesterday (Tuesday).
It was a tournament Rymer and his father, Joe Smith, won in 2011, but have finished third in each year since – and they are determined to win the trophy back this year.
‘Gypsy’ Joe Smith is a former golf professional himself and also a London junior champion, who was also once London’s bare knuckle boxing champion in a colourful sporting career.
Rymer Smith with Sandy