On the Sunday morning of the US PGA Championship I woke up and smacked the bed hard with both hands. There might even have been an expletive uttered from the prone position as I lay there, still rankled by what had happened the evening before.
It wasn’t Rory’s implosion (or whatever it was) in the third round at Southern Hills that annoyed me, though that was disappointing and frustrating enough for his fans as our hopes of another long-awaited major title faded into near nothingness. After all there was still Seamus to cheer on, more Power to the pride of Tooraneena and Matt Fitzpatrick, a Yorkshireman who is, apparently, less dour than he looks and has the sense to have the sainted Billy Foster on the bag.
Some days you’d never have to putt if you were Matt’s foursomes partner, you’d spend your time picking the ball out of the hole or up as an increasingly demoralised opponent said, “That’s good; that’s a gimme; pick it up.” So far, though, he’s lost all three of his Ryder Cup foursomes – partnering Henrik Stenson at Hazeltine and Lee Westwood twice at Whistling Straits – and both his singles. Let’s hope he makes the home match next year at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome and all the Europeans bring their best stuff, with the Americans sticking to their role as home track bullies!
No, what was still pissing me off when I woke up was my failure to make a contract of 5H (five hearts for the non card players) early on in our keenly fought Zoom bridge game – once a week during lockdown but now down to once a month. It was a slight tricky ask – you can only afford to lose two of the 13 tricks – but I failed to make it by one solely because of my ineptitude and, worse, idiocy.
As I opened my eyes on Sunday morning all I could see was the last card on the table, useless, irrelevant. It was the ace of spades (the top banana) that I could still see sitting there, reproachful but mercifully silent – unlike my partner and our delighted opponents, who went on to smash us out of sight.
Goodness knows how Mito Pereira, the Chilean who led the PGA after 71 holes, felt when he woke up the day after the championship. Of course, he might not have gone to sleep at all. He needed a par 4 to win, a bogey 5 to be in a play-off. He took 6. SIX.
That really will take some getting over.
I have managed to play golf this week – 10 holes early on Wednesday – and it was lovely. We started at the 8th, at 0800 and got the best of the weather, a bit blustery but no rain. I played quite well, by my now not-too-demanding standards and there’s nothing like a few holes of golf to rattle you towards and beyond your 10,000 steps.
Later this year, at the beginning of August, plonk in the middle of the Commonwealth Games in Brum, some proper golfers will be playing – undoubtedly painfully slowly because that’s women professionals for you – at Muirfield, which is hosting the AIG Women’s British Open for the first time. It’s a marvellous venue, one of the world’s great golf courses and home to The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, who joined the modern world not so long ago when they decided to admit women.
The club’s earliest written records date back to 1744 which really has nothing at all to do with what I’m about to say! The current members, men and women, didn’t do themselves any favours when they sent out an invitation to their Women’s Open media day that included the following bit of dress code: “…jacket or long-sleeved dress for women.”
Muirfield, Muirfield, woe is Muirfield. Months and months of hard work and rehabilitation undone in a single, ill-chosen edict. It had specified jacket and tie for men, still normal attire for the males of Muirfield when in the clubhouse, I’m reliably informed. Not sure what kind of socks they’re allowed on the golf course but we won’t go there this time.
I don’t care who approved the long sleeves phrase but they couldn’t have been more WRONG. WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?
Hannah Holden, the long-suffering equipment editor of National Club Golfer, criticised the form of words on Twitter and has, of course, had abuse as well as support. Well, I’m in Hannah’s corner. It’s ridiculous. Immediately, I toyed with the idea of going in a burka. No, what about something with long sleeves and a very short skirt? Or something long-sleeved and very see-through? Plenty of ways to get creative and put two fingers up to the dress code.
Many of the smartest, most fashionable and elegant women I know go to summer dos in short-sleeved or sleeveless dresses. You could take them anywhere but perhaps it’s particularly cold in the clubhouse at Muirfield? It is a chilly part of the world, even in August. Or perhaps they’re feeling the pinch because of these energy hikes? After all, who wants to look at arms, however well honed, covered in goosebumps?
I had a little mooch round Lichfield yesterday morning, to see what was on offer, just window shopping, hence the reflections but it was all in the interests of research because I’m not going to the media day, or the dinner. I wasn’t invited. (And I don’t think Maureen was either.) The blog just isn’t high enough up the pecking order.
To sum it all up (don’t forget the bridge, especially the bridge), using the International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet: Bravo, Oscar, Lima, Lima, Oscar, Charlie, Kilo, Sierra..