Kenny Still Nicely On Course
We wouldn’t dare have rung Kenny Hibbitt for this piece while play was actually taking place in this weekend’s Open Championship. His love of golf guaranteed that courtesy from us.
But it’s not only events at Hoylake that have recently occupied the thoughts he gives to his second sporting love.
The brilliant former Wolves midfielder has also been playing plenty – even fitting in three rounds during a recent holiday spent with an exiled Wulfrunian in America.
It was the second time this year he has played abroad, the first being his usual appearance in the Terry Mancini Professional Footballers Classic at La Manga.
Steve Bull’s side finished second in Spain to that of Kenny Dalglish in a field that also included Des Walker, Dave Bassett, Luther Blissett, Ray Clemence, Joe Corrigan, Mike England, Mark Falco, Pat Jennings, Alan McInally, Chris Nicholl, Gary Owen, Paul Walsh and Hibbitt’s room-mate, John Lacey. Further Molineux links came with the presence of Dave Beasant, Derek Mountfield, Shaun Newton and Steve Sedgley.
“That’s about the tenth time I’ve been to the event, although I had to miss it last year because it clashed with our 40th wedding anniversary,” he said. “I shared a room with Andy Gray when he won it maybe three years ago and also remember once sitting in a group at a table with Alan Ball and hanging on every word he spoke.
“It’s a brilliant tournament for catching up with players I used to come up against regularly. A lot of them seem to be from my generation and we’re all still pretty competitive.
“We’re very lucky to have this circuit of tournaments to look forward to. I also played in a Harry Redknapp Legends event in Dorset a while back.”
Hibbitt remains off a handicap of one, having previously been off scratch for many years. He still plays for Gloucestershire Seniors and finished third earlier this year in the Footballers’ Matchplay Championship in aid of the Bobby Moore Fund at Essondon in Hertfordshire.
He lost to former Reading and Wales forward Steve Lovell in the semi-final but then won the third-place play-off against Mountfield, who had been beaten at the last-four stage by eventual champion Beasant – the Wimbledon FA Cup-lifting captain who was briefly on loan at Molineux more than 20 years ago.
Hibbitt is set to play in the West Midlands at least once later this summer and also has another appearance ahead in London in another Mancini event.
He is a member at Cotswold Edge, where son Rod, who failed by two shots in final qualifying for the Open Championship several years ago, is the professional.
* It was on the Friday when the Open was last staged at Hoylake, in 2006, that Mick McCarthy was appointed as Wolves manager.