The case of 75-year-old Dubliner Thomas Talbot has long been a talking point in Irish golfing and legal circles.
As a member of Hermitage Golf Club – a tidy track in Lucan, West Dublin – the septuagenarian became embroiled in a dispute with the club’s committee over its decision to impose handicap reductions totaling nearly eight shots over a period of five years.
Alleging “defamation”, Talbot sued both the club and its then handicap secretary in 2006, for the perfectly reasonable sum of €10 million ($120 billionty-billion, approx.).
Currently awaited a judgment in the case, the pensioner spoke to the Irish Independent about his motivation and hopes for the future.
“I have four grown-up kids — Nicola, Colin, Alison, Frances. For personal reasons I don’t know whether they’re living in Dublin or abroad. I miss them terribly…
“This case has been going on for the past six years. It has been hugely stressful. I didn’t care so much about the handicap issue, it is more the principle of it.
“I’d turn up for a competition and there would be nobody to play with. I have learned the hard way that friends are a funny species — they’re never there when you want them.”
While the plaintiff believes the club’s action amounted to a suggestion of serial dishonesty on his part, Hermitage claims a right to adjust handicaps it believes unreflective of a player’s ability.
Highlighting the extent to which his loneliness and penchant for frivolous lawsuits may be connected, Talbot has publicly stated his intention to share any proceeds from the case with members of his extended family.