I’ve been weary all week and wondering why and then I realised it didn’t need a medic to work it out: the most brilliant St Patrick’s weekend had taken its toll. I was recuperating from a wine-tasting triumph at Worth Brothers, based in an ancient wine cellar and one of my top Visit Lichfield attractions; then there was Ireland’s Grand Slam triumph at Twickenham, a masterclass of precision, passion and skill, a team that made sure they secured the prize they craved and deserved; Spurs also beat Swansea to reach the semi-finals of the FA Cup and now play bro-in-law Brian’s Man Utd; Rory made a jaw-dropping late charge to win at Bay Hill and earn an Arnie cardie; no wonder we broke out the birthday Bolly.
Exercise is the perfect antidote to a weekend like that but there was no golf on Monday because of snow and a seriously frozen course, so the final (yes, the final, my partner has dragged us to the final) of the Winter Foursomes had to be re-arranged. There was no golf on Tuesday because the course was still frozen and some of the paths were dangerously slippery – a few years ago one intrepid soul was persuaded out by his mates and ended up breaking several ribs, so caution is now the name of the game.
We had to console ourselves with the ladies’ captain’s afternoon tea, bring and buy and flower-arranging demo. It all looked so easy, as anything done by an expert does, then I got home, looked at my flowers and realised that, as so often, I still have a lot to learn. Good thing I come from a long-lived line. But, no, I have not added flower arranging to the list of things I’m doing that I can’t do. Everyone has their limits. And it’s beginners’ bridge this morning.
It was also a good weekend for Inbee (pesky predictive text turned that into Inbox!) Park, the Olympic champion, who is turning herself into one of the golfing greats. She blitzed the opposition – in the nicest, most sedate way possible – at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup in Arizona and won by five shots. The seemingly indestructible Dame Laura Davies shared second place with Ariya Jutanugarn, of Thailand and Marina Alex, of the United States.
Inbee has now moved back into the top ten on the Rolex Women’s World Rankings but she wasn’t too bothered, saying that she hadn’t really paid too much attention since she’d won her gold medal. She’s been No 1 and says that now she’s concentrating on “just playing some good golf, that just brings little rankings up anyway”. What a refreshing way to look at things. She’s competitive, of course but she’s done the No 1 thing, she defied a fair amount of Korean criticism to compete at the Olympics in Rio (she’d been injured) and she exudes an air of calm and control, whatever she may be feeling. Essentially, now, she plays for the love of the game and the competition.
DLD (Dame Laura Davies) is also a one-off, a talented, free-spirited, stubborn phenom who marches to the beat of her own drum. That second place was her best LPGA finish since – wait for it – 2007. I’m pretty sure I read that right – Laura is 54 after all and has been around for a long time. “Maybe now people will stop asking me when I’m going to retire,” she said. She puts her longevity down, in part, to limiting her time beating balls on the practice ground; a range rat she was not and she has never been a gym rat either but she’s kept herself fit and strong by being active and doing what she loves and is more than good at.
Ariya J played with the Englishwoman in the last round in Phoenix and the young Thai, who won the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Woburn a couple of years ago, was genuinely chuffed: “It’s like my dream come true,” she said. “I love how she plays. She’s like my idol and I had so much fun. I didn’t really concentrate on my score at all. I just had so much fun and it was a pleasure to play with her.”
Karrie Webb, a Queenslander from Australia is another legend, albeit only 43 and the USGA (United States Golf Association) has given her an exemption into this year’s US Women’s Open at Shoal Creek. That means the Aussie’ll be playing in her 23rd consecutive Open, a testament to her excellence and longevity. She last won the championship in 2001, successfully defending the title she’d won the year before. That wasn’t the world’s best bit of scheduling, in fact it’s a candidate for one of the worst, given that it was the same week as the Millennium Open at St Andrews. If ever a woman was badly served, it was Webb that week. She might not have noticed as she added another major to her consummate resume but the eyes of the golfing world were not on The Merit Club in Illinois in July 2000. Somebody called Tiger Woods won at St Andrews. I still seethe at the crassness of that clash.
And talking of seething, there are a lot of people out there, if my reading of Twitter is correct, furious that Juli Inkster, US Solheim Cup captain, commentator, icon, legend, still player, is out there without a sponsor. Nothing on her bag, on her shirt, no names nowhere. Some mistake, surely? Don’t they know that we older women have influence and money to burn???