Newburgh man’s relives squash wager

When Open champion Rory McIlroy rolled in his final putt on Sunday it enabled his dad to collect £100,000 for having the vision to back his son to win golf’s biggest prize when Rory was only 15 years of age, writes Jack Nixon.

Saturday, 26th July 2014, 7:00 am

It also brought back memories of a similarly audacious bet placed by a Newburgh man more than 30 years ago.

The late Dr Eric Farr was known in the area to be the top squash coach, and reckoned when he saw eight-year-old Inverurie boy Peter Nicol in action that he 
was watching something special.

Dr Farr explained many years after the event when Nicol was the world’s top player: “I was so sure he would become the world number one that I went to William Hills and asked what odds they would give for it to happen before Peter was 25.

“In the end I bottled out and waited until he was eleven, but got nothing like the odds had I gone with my first instinct. I still managed to do quite well with my £100 investment.”

Dr Farr was an inspirational, and much-loved sports buff who would have revelled in the success of McIlroy, spending much of his waking hours supporting local sport, including designing a black box made to improve the golf swing of his devoted followers at Newburgh.

The likeable, sports enthusiast was one of a crowd of 700 present the night runner Roger Bannister broke the four-minute barrier for the mile in Oxford.

“I was privileged to be standing next to the official timekeeper, so I knew exactly what was going on,” said Farr on the 40th anniversary of the record on May 6,
1994.