Mastermind winner's golfing secret

Golf fanatic Andy Page won BBC's Mastermind 2003 title this week - and reveals his golfing pedigree. Find out more...

Mastermind winner's golfing secret

When you share the same birthday as six-times major champion Nick Faldo (July 18) and celebrate it annually during Open Championship week, you’re bound to be a bit of a golf fanatic, surely?

As so it proved for 41-year-old Merseysider Andy Page, who this week won BBC Television’s Mastermind 2003 title, answering specialist questions on – you guessed it – golf.

The civil servant won the title by two points in a close final answering general knowledge and specialist questions on major championships from 1970-2003. His previous specialist subjects were the Academy Awards, and the life and works of Gilbert and Sullivan.

He scored 16 points (no passes) on golf and 12 (3) on general knowledge for a winning total of 28 points.

Though a quiz show veteran, Andy revealed he had been terrified by his experience of sitting in the famous black leather chair.

"Nothing really prepares you for Mastermind. You don't feel pressure like that anywhere else," he said.

I asked him this week about his own golf prowess and he told me: "My golf life is pretty much in my past. I played a lot between the ages of about 15 and 22 at Knaresborough in North Yorkshire.

"It used to be a fabulous par 68 course, but the lease on most of the land ran out in 1979 and they had to move up the hill and only retained four of the original holes which was a huge shame.

"The new course was still pretty immature the last time I played it, but I imagine it is somewhat different now. My handicap never got lower than 21, but it was a standard where I could enjoy the game and occasionally surprise myself."

Andy revealed to Golfmagic that his interest in the game began in 1969. "My first memory is as a seven-year-old watching Tony Jacklin win the Open at Royal Lytham and St Annes.

"My favourite player has always been Faldo, not least because we met his mother on holiday in 1974 when he was still a junior and she told us to look out for her son because he was going to be a big name.

"She wasn't wrong. It also helps that we share the same birthday - and The Open is usually on at that time."

Andy says he’s attended The Open a couple of times at Royal Birkdale ('83 and '91) but is now principally an armchair watcher.

The other three contestants were Geoffrey Thomas from Davenham in Cheshire; Darren Martin from Chorley and Ian Pickering from Northwich, so the North West is obviously, where the brains of Britain chiefly reside!

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