Newburgh man’s relives squash wager

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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.

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.