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Friday, 27 July, 2001, 18:27 GMT 19:27 UK
Whole new ball game for Stewart
Sherwood Stewart
Sherwood Stewart won a string of doubles titles

Sherwood Stewart made his name as a doubles player in tennis. Now he is serving up some impressive play in seniors' golf. BBC Sport Online's John Haughey met him at the Senior British Open.

Wimbledon, Flushing Meadow, Roland Garros...and now Royal County Down.

Five-times Grand Slam tennis doubles champion Sherwood Stewart is enjoying a second sporting life.

Missing the cut on Friday at the Senior British Open didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the 56-year-old former Wimbledon mixed doubles champion.

"There is only one other guy who has played in a US Open at golf and tennis and that was Frankie Conner so I feel quite privileged".

His Grand Slam tennis wins included French Open doubles titles with Freddy McNair and Ferdy Taygan and an Australian Open title with Mark Edmonson.

He also won mixed titles at Wimbledon and Down Under with Zina Garrison.

His 1988 success at Wimbledon with Garrison came in his final full year on the circuit at the age of 42.

I actually do not play much tennis anymore - only Wimbledon and the US Open
  Sherwood Stewart

On the course as opposed to the court, Stewart hit four birdies in Friday's second round at Royal County Down.

But the good work was undone by three double-bogeys which meant adding 77 to his opening 76.

"Course management seems to be a little bit of a problem for me. I am hitting the ball well but I just got unlucky a few times.

"I don't know what the cut is going to be but I probably missed it by four or five."

Stewart is now looking forward to next week's De Vere Hotels Senior Classic at Slaley Hall after receiving a sponsor's invitation.

'Wimbledon difficult'

Stewart's last major sporting endeavour was the over-45s men's doubles event at Wimbledon earlier this month.

"I actually do not play much tennis anymore - only Wimbledon and the US Open.

Sherwood Stewart
Stewart missed cut at Royal County Down

"From my results at Wimbledon this year, my lack of tennis showed.

"Wimbledon is kind of difficult because we have to play with 45 year-olds and I am 55 and my doubles partner Marty Reissen is 59.

"This year we were giving up almost 24 years when he played (Peter) Fleming and (Sandy) Meyer. They kind of beat us up. Peter stills plays really well."

Stewart and Reissen though have bigger hopes for the US (tennis) Open in September.

"At the (US) Open Marty and I are the defending 55-and-over champions and at least we get to play guys who are our own age.

"The last one left standing up wins those matches," laughs Stewart.

But golf is now Sherwood's main sporting passion.

Encouraged by his grandfather, Sherwood first picked up a golf club at the age of 13.

Amazing courses

"I played a little bit of golf as a kid but I didn't know what I was doing. I still don't know what I'm doing!

"In the US, in a lot of the places where we played tennis we had access to some amazing golf courses and we took advantage.

"Because I was playing doubles I did not have to do quite the same amount of training as singles players so I had time to play some golf.

"So for the entire first year after I quit the tennis circuit, I just played 36 holes everyday.

"Then five or six years ago a couple of my friends at home decided that they wanted to go to the US Senior Tour qualifying school.

"I said: 'C'mon I've never played in a competitive golf tournament in my life' but I went into the tournament and finished 19th and got my card and kept it for a couple of years.

Very fortunate

"I did not play all that well in tournaments when I did have the card. My game needed a lot of work. I got very fortunate the week of the qualifying school.

"But over the period of time I have got to understand the golf swing a little better and I'm getting better," says Sherwood.

For a period last year, Sherwood picked up some tidy sums of cash on the somewhat bizarre US Celebrity Players Golf Tour.

"(American) Footballers, baseball players and other celebrities play and there is some big money involved.

"There was one Celebrity Tour event earlier this summer which had a first prize of $100,000 although generally it's $25,000 for the winner.

Great partners

"I qualified last year and came in second on it but it didn't really mean a thing because I didn't get one invitation this year.

"I could do very well in that if I just got the opportunity to play a bit more on the Celebrity Tour".

Looking back at his tennis career, he acknowledges his one and only Wimbledon title at the age of 42 was a "highlight".

"I had some great partners.

"Freddy McNair and I had the biggest highs and lows.

"We won the French in 1976 and the next year we lost in the first round. We had the capability of achieving a lot more.

"Marty (Reissen) and I were probably the steadiest even though we never did win a Grand Slam.

Pretty solid

"I won the French in 1982 with Ferdi Taygan. Then I played with Mark Edmonson and Kim Warwick quite a bit.

"They were all darn good players who knew the game very well.

"I was pretty solid, never did anything fancy. Got my serve in, got my return in and was a good volleyer.

"Winning the mixed with Zina (Garrison) in 1988 was something I never thought I could have done at the age of 42.

"We had to play two matches in one day and beat Kelly Jones and Gretchen Majors in the final.

"We came out really fast and were 5-0 up in the first set before they could shake a stick. We jumped on them real quick."

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