Good morning everybody, this blog is being brought to you under a certain amount of duress (all relative of course – I am not starving, homeless or languishing in a cell with my fingernails under threat). No, it’s just that I’m trying to compose while decomposing, having had my second jab on Wednesday (that fact alone brings home to you just how quickly the years are rushing by) and visited the osteopath yesterday. As usual, the bits that I thought were tootling along nicely turned out to be locked in unnatural positions and now that they’ve been re-aligned, I’m knackered. Fit only for a return to the pub, really – inside preferably, given the weather we’ve been having. Let’s hope the Horse and Jockey’s refurb stays on course – and the dust from the neighbouring demolition stays out of the beer.
You couldn’t tell from the picture above but it’s complete chaos on Sandford Street in Lichfield, just next door to one of the country’s great pubs.
Florida, I have to confess, is not my favourite state but that’s where I’d like to be this weekend, at Seminole, at the Walker Cup, watching the amateurs of GB and I (Great Britain and Ireland) suffer yet another defeat at the hands of the United States. We usually lose away from home, so that’s not an unreasonable assumption but in reality and against the weight of history I always live in hope and there have been celebrated upsets in the past, so perhaps there’ll be another famous away win this weekend…..
At least the team won’t be hampered by having me taking to the tee. Earlier in the week, I woke up in a muck sweat because, for some unknown reason, I’d been drafted in at the last minute to play in the Walker Cup at Portstewart, my home course. I don’t think I ever quite made it to the 1st tee (that’s an anxiety thing usually – in this case it was a relief) because I couldn’t work out why they’d picked me. Where were the reserves? Couldn’t they get there in time? Weren’t there any Irish guys high enough up the list to get there?
Fair enough, it was my home course but I’d never played it from the back tees and would have to play out of my socks even to reach the fairways. How on earth was I going to avoid losing 10 and 8? The par 3s were my only chance really and even then it would probably take chipping in a la Dad. He was lethal around the greens but could I, a not very spiritual being, channel that? Would blind panic be enough to summon a long forgotten family skill? Putting like the sainted Inbee might help but I’m still waiting for the videos to be translated…
Proud strikers of the ball though our Walker Cuppers undoubtedly are, chipping like Daddy Madill and putting like Inbee Park, fearsome competitors both, might be just the skills they need to upset the odds at Seminole. Good luck gentlemen.
These days most Walker Cuppers harbour hopes of being successful professionals and earning lots of money, winning titles, all that sort of good stuff. Nothing wrong with that, so when everyone starts wondering how much money is too much; when ambition becomes greed; when independent contractors are suddenly no such thing; when proposed super leagues threaten to upset the comfortable status quo….What happens then?
Well, it’s all a bit beyond me, not least because I couldn’t quite grasp the attraction of the premier super-duper league concept, apart from the bank vaults of cash (or will all transactions be in/via bitcoin?) being thrown at potential competitors. What professional – and assorted advisers – wouldn’t be intrigued?
It just seems a very limited concept to me but judging by their reaction the US PGA Tour and the European Tour are worried. They probably should be – not too many empires have lasted for a thousand years – and golf is not the same as football, with fans invading Old Trafford. Who’s going to be storming….where? Wentworth? The Belfry? Quail Hollow? TPC Sawgrass? Le Golf National?
This looks like a story that will keep a lot of people exercised for quite a while and even the newspapers are taking an interest. If you’re a Daily Telegraph reader (I do know a few), Jamie Corrigan will keep you informed and I think Daily Mail readers are lucky enough to have Derek Lawrenson writing about golf still. The Scots haven’t given up on golf yet and Alistair Tait is asking some pertinent questions on alistairtait.com.
Back to the supposedly ho-hum, lowkey, everyday European Tour, which is doing its best to survive and throws up heartwarming stories time after time. I love its leaderboards, featuring players from South Africa, Germany, Poland, Finland, name your country and who wouldn’t be moved by the general joy when Dean Burmester ran away with the Tenerife Open (how quaint and old-fashioned, a tournament sponsored by an island) with a last round of 62 at Golf Costa Adeje.
“There’s no words that can describe it,” the South African said of his long-awaited second European win. “It’s four years of struggle and hard work…I can go home and see my family now, I’m so excited. This is pretty emotional.”