I was sitting mulling over the possible content of this week’s blog when the phone rang. That is an unusual occurrence because it was the house phone and I keep forgetting we have one. There is only one person in the world who ever rings it and that is a neighbour who refuses to do texting or mobiles.
Intrigued, I answered it and after a beat of silence an automated message began, informing me of a dodgy £800 charge on my Visa card for online gambling in America. Due to the suspicious nature of this charge the Visa team had put a hold on the transaction (lucky me!) and, the voice continued, if I wished to stop this payment going through I was to press 1 and I would get straight through to the fraud squad. I have no doubt whatsoever that had I pressed 1 I would, indeed, have found myself talking to a fraud squad, just not one with my best interests at heart.
Returning to my blog musings and wondering whether to start with Leona’s great win in the States (see pic at top) or Rory’s brave but unavailing attempt (known in this family as a BBU) to add another major title to his haul, I got sidetracked into pondering the amount of endeavour and work these scammers put in to relieve innocent folk of the contents of their bank accounts. They’ve obviously got decent brains but have decided a life of crime is more rewarding than honest graft.
If you’re a touring, professional golfer relying on your winnings for your livelihood then your entire life is dependent on good, hard, honest graft and as with most things in life there are absolutely no guarantees. That’s why I was greatly heartened to read of Northern Ireland’s Olivia Mehaffey’s fabulous 64 in the opening round of last week’s Amundi German Masters on the Ladies’ European Tour.Olivia, now 25 years of age, played during her formative years at Royal County Down Ladies’ and had a very successful college career in the States, which included two invitations to play in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur. She turned pro in 2021 but was stopped in her tracks last year with the death of her father, ultimately deciding to take a break from the tour to grieve and work on her mental health. Her 64, the lowest round of her career, paved the way to a top 12 finish and hopefully will be the start of her finding success and joy in her life again.
Meanwhile, the same week, Olivia’s erstwhile fellow international, Leona Maguire, was shooting her own 64 – this time in the final round of the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give. This catapulted her to her second LPGA Tour victory and to 12th in the women’s Rolex world rankings. A grafter supreme, Leona credited some key up-and-downs in that final sparkling round as the moments that cemented her win. She had spent some time last summer with fellow Irish professional Padraig Harrington, one of the hardest workers in the game, a three-time major champ and all-round good egg.Padraig is more than ready to share his knowledge and skill with younger players and he had a willing pupil in Leona, who says she’s going to see if she can repeat the exercise, diaries allowing, some time this summer. She’s keen now to take the next step and become a major champion. It could even happen this week as she’s currently in New Jersey playing in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, the second of the five majors the women play each year.
Harrington had his own major last week and proved at the US Open that he still has the game to compete at the very highest level. Now 51 years of age, Padraig finished 27th at Los Angeles Country Club on two over par and as an eternal student of the game, no doubt he feels he is still learning. And he is still giving back.
Anyway, he will always be a favourite of mine for winning me a bet with Peter Alliss many moons ago. After his (Harrington’s) sparkling 14-month spell back in 2007/2008 when he won three majors, the victories dried up. Peter and I were discussing this one day and the great Mr Alliss decreed that, sadly, he didn’t think the Irishman would grace the winner’s circle again. I stoutly disagreed and one of our spirited discussions ensued, resulting in the wager of a “decent bottle of red” over the outcome. It took until 2015 before Padraig won the Honda Classic – and, yes, Peter was as pleased as I was.Ok, so now I’ve mentioned the US Open I have to mention Rory. I hadn’t the staying power to sit up through the night and watch but I did record the broadcast. When I heard the result in the morning, I was gutted for him. He has achieved so much and set the bar so high that a 2nd-place finish in the US Open is another heavy disappointment. Contrast that with the talented Aussie Min Woo Lee who tweeted out in triumph, celebrating finishing 5th in a major.
This is how it’s going to be for Rory, though – and his supporters, I suspect. However unrealistic, nothing but 1st will suffice. He’s vowed to keep trying and promises that his fifth major victory will be the sweetest of them all. Another grafter supreme.
I deleted the broadcast without watching it.So, this blog seems to have turned into a bit of an Irish ramble. You’ve just been saved from more of the same – literally, by the bell. There’s the phone……the house phone.