Eve Muirhead: Chance to seal our Olympic place

February 17 2017, 10.30amUpdated: February 16 2017, 4.20pm
© PPAEve and her main rival for the Scottish title, Hannah Fleming.
Eve and her main rival for the Scottish title, Hannah Fleming.

I’d like to think that we have one foot on the plane for the Olympics.

Next week gives us the chance to make it both feet.

It’s the Scottish Championships, which is realistically the last opportunity for other teams to put a spanner in the works.

This tournament and the European Championship qualifiers are the ones when Team Muirhead has a big target on its back.

I think it’s six times I’ve won the Scottish title now but the pressure doesn’t get any less.

The more you win, the bigger the favourite you become the following year.

You can’t afford to ease off. We’re not machines. There could well be games we lose, but you have to try to be ruthless and not give the up-and-coming teams any psychological foot-up.

It’s a long week.

We start on Monday and, if all goes to plan, the final is next Saturday.

There are seven teams and, on paper, Hannah Fleming’s is probably the main threat.

They’ve had a few good results on tour this season and even though we won all three games against them in the European play-offs, they were all close matches.

Two of our former team-mates, Claire Hamilton and Sarah Reid, are in a team together these days. So they could be strong.

And Gina Aitken is coming off a pretty good University Games where she just missed out on a medal.

It will all come down to one game to see who goes to the Worlds and it goes without saying that we don’t want to miss out.

It will be the last one before the Olympics and the masterplan is to hopefully go to Pyeongchang as the reigning World Champions, as we were four years ago.

 

* There’s plenty of pressure on us but that is magnified for the men.

It’s still three teams who have a realistic shot at getting to the Olympics and it could well come down to who wins this week.

Team Brewster have had the best season but Kyle Smith’s team have been doing well recently and you wouldn’t rule out David Murdoch coming up with a big week when it matters most.

I certainly won’t be making any predictions for this one!

 

* Every sport has clashes between the traditionalists and the modernisers and this week it has been golf’s turn.

The European Tour event in Australia being played at the moment has a new format – 54 holes of stroke play as usual and then match play on the Sunday.

And then there will be golf’s answer to cricket’s T20 in May when the GolfSixes is unveiled.

I’m sure it will take a bit of getting used to for the older professionals but I’m all for trying something new.

Golf has to broaden its appeal and shorter formats, with all the razzmatazz that goes with it is a natural development.

It fits in with the way society is moving.

The European Tour Chief Executive Keith Pelley described it as “making modern changes to adapt to the changing habits of consumers”.

That’s business speak for saying that less and less people have time to sit down and watch a round of golf that last five hours!

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