Where to start? With golf, I suppose, having been told off by a sister who shall remain nameless for not mentioning the game at all last week. Some weeks just go like that – and the non golfers don’t mind a bit. Let’s start at the top, with the Coronation Frolics (the initial caps are a bit grand for a 7-hole comp but it was that sort of weekend). As you can see, the Whittington Heathens pulled out a few stops.
At least the weather behaved itself, which was not the case a few days later when the Hamer Cup, one of our biggest competitions, was washed out. You might ask why it was being played so early in the season but the minds of schedulers move in mysterious ways and the golfing gods made their feelings known with thunder and lightning of near-biblical proportions. Perhaps it was something to do with HS2 – although there’s not been much movement on that front recently – but I could have sworn that Noah was out there gathering wood.
My partners and I had just finished the 9th, well away from the clubhouse these days, when we saw the first flash of lightning (no ‘e’ in the middle – I looked it up) and heard the thunder. Oops. What to do next? “Bunker,” I said. “We’re not to stand under trees and I’m sure the advice is to hunker down in the nearest bunker.”
So that’s what we did and bloody uncomfortable it was too, even before it started to hammer down with rain. We hadn’t put up our brollies, though I think they’re all fibreglass now and after a brief discussion, soaked and stiffening up, we creaked to our feet and headed the few hundred metres to the (nearly) halfway house – not open for business, of course, because it was a Tuesday and the women, whose competition day it is, aren’t interested in using it – except to go to the loo. Hmmmm.
We amused ourselves in our inimitable style until the thunder and lightning gave us a little leeway and, cold and hungry, we decided it was safe enough and we could stand it no longer and headed for the clubhouse – as quickly as we knew how. All souls were saved.
I think it was probably a bit sunnier in San Francisco, at Harding Park, where Thailand won the Hanwha LIFEPLUS International Crown in some style. Don’t ask me exactly how it all works but there was a bit of minor controversy before the start when Georgia Hall and Charley Hull withdrew from the England team late on (with perfectly legitimate reasons but a bit belatedly nonetheless with the subs drafted in without much time to prep).
The USA, the favourites, as ever, featured Nelly Korda, the world No 1, Lilia Vu, recent winner of the Chevron Championship and veterans Danielle Kang and Lexi Thompson. Pretty good but, as it proved, not good enough. In a tight, nail-biting contest, they lost 2-1 to Thailand in the semis, with Atthaya Thitikul beating Thompson, Vu beating Patty Tavatankit and sisters Moriya and Ariya Jutanugarn beating Korda and Kang by one hole in the deciding foursomes. In the final the Thais beat Australia (Minjee Lee, Hannah Green, Steph Kyriacou and Sarah Kemp) 3-nil.
“It’s so much fun,” Moriya said. “Very, very enjoyed it. We take a lot of good things and confidence and learned a lot. Everything more than I could ask for and I’ve very, very proud of all of the girls.”In England, at Woburn, that marvellous venue, the first G4D Open, for golfers with disabilities, is under way, over 54 holes. Eighty male and female golfers, from 17 countries, are competing over the Duchess course, a narrow, tree-lined test. Whenever I visualise it, all I can see is trees, alien things that Dad, brought up on the links at Rosses Point, thought had no place on a golf course…
Weather permitting, the final round is today (Friday), with Ireland’s Brendan Lawlor just one shot ahead of Kipp Popert, of England, who is five strokes clear of Tommaso Perrino, of Italy and Spain’s Juan Postigo. If you’re in the vicinity, go and be inspired.On Tuesday, I set out with the intention of giving every shot my full concentration, not something I’ve managed very often. Well, perhaps once, many years ago, when I won a much-treasured (by me) trophy at Pedrena, Seve’s home course, in the rain, with borrowed clubs. I came off that course and said, truthfully, “I couldn’t have scored any better.” It was knackering (a technical term used by hackers unaccustomed to concentrating for an entire hole, let alone a round, let alone a tournament).
No, I didn’t manage to replicate the feat this week and am coming to the conclusion that tidying up the course is more suited to my talents. We had an important PGA comp scheduled for Thursday, so there was a lot of grass on the greens on Tuesday (as good an excuse as any for leaving so many putts short) and we more or less able-bodied members were asked to volunteer to help make the course look neat and tidy for our visitors. We picked up broken tees, cigarette butts (please put them in the bin or take them home – they don’t biodegrade) and armfuls of old, shrivelled divots.
In fact, to clear them all we should really still be out there but we had a time limit and I had to go to tai chi.
Some of us were glued to the telly at the weekend, watching the coronation but it wasn’t high up on every agenda…