I confess, I haven’t really been paying that much attention to golf recently, apart from sparing a thought for all those poor souls trying to rearrange schedules and anticipate an approximation of normality, then finding themselves juggling madly as the plates spin out of control and the plans made one day are obsolete the next. Selfishly but pragmatically, I don’t worry about it because there’s nothing I can do about it.
The Curtis Cup, scheduled for Conwy, north Wales, for the second weekend of June this year, seems to have been rearranged for June next year, same weekend, same venue. Mark it in your diary and keep your fingers crossed. After all, if there are no airlines running by then, it’ll just have to be the boat, like the old days. Separate cabins presumably and plenty of time to perfect your skills; the nets must be better nowadays, so you should lose fewer balls overboard.
[Editor’s alert, added post publication of blog: Hold off on that date, the R&A confirm that the match will go ahead at Conwy next year, all being well, pandemics permitting, but there’s no date yet and it’s unlikely to be June. Apologies for the duff info.]
The WATCs (World Amateur Team Championships), the Eisenhower Trophy (men) and the Espirito Santo (women), have been abandoned altogether. Scheduled for Hong Kong originally (in October), the competitions were moved to Singapore because of fears of social unrest and now, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Golf Federation has bowed to the pressure of “events, dear boy, events” (as Harold MacMillan put it) and is looking ahead to France in 2022.
At the moment I’m paying £20 a month for Sky Sports on NOW TV – sub taken out just before lockdown – and have glanced at it a couple of times, watching a bit of Alastair Cook’s century in his last test, a bit of the Miracle at Medinah and the battering at Brookline. But with hardly any live sport anywhere – don’t think Sky are covering the Cactus Tour in Arizona (which, whether you think it should be playing on or not, should help give event organisers some tips for events post virus) – my watching is sporadic in the extreme. Then, the other day, I saw something that made me jump for joy, an event that I put in my diary at once.
It wasn’t the second round of Phil versus Tiger – I refused to pay money to watch the first so-called match, which proved a wise decision since it was, by all reasonable accounts, an unmitigated fiasco. Things have been tweaked for the re-match, a couple of American sports superstars added to the mix, charity included and if I’m not in bed asleep, I’ll be gorging on reruns of Old Tricks, NCIS, Morecambe and Wise, whatever. Quality stuff.
It is a made-for-TV thing that I’ve put in the diary – Sunday 17th May. It’s the TaylorMade Driving Relief charity event that pits Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson against Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff in a team skins game. Who knows who’ll win? Who cares? It’s being played in Florida, at Seminole, one of the world’s great golf courses, designed by Donald Ross and, usually, a very private place. Rory’s Dad Gerry is a member there, Ben Hogan practised there and it’s considered a classic. The course is the star here and I’ll be glued to see how it holds up in the face of today’s booming drivers unfettered, devoid of championship nerves. Also, pandemics permitting, it’ll be hosting the Walker Cup next year, in May. Well worth a visit, even if we have to walk there. Better start soon I suppose.The sad news this week is that Dinah Henson, nee Oxley, has died. Born in 1948, she was a quiet, private person, a golfer of rare quality who, despite her many achievements, refused to realise just how good she was. That’s a perfectionist for you. She won the British Girls in 1963, the English Girls in 1965, then trained on to win the English in 1970 and 1971 and the British (Matchplay) in 1970. She played in the Curtis Cup in 1968, 1970, 1972 and 1976, the Vagliano Trophy, the Commonwealth, the Espirito Santo (WATC) and was British Golfer of the Year in 1970 (the year Tony Jacklin won the US Open). The woman could play but she met her husband James thanks to a wayward shot that smashed his windscreen.
In 1970, Dinah’s year of years, Pat Ward-Thomas, of The Guardian, waxed lyrical about her talents. (Don’t think he ever wrote for the D/T, despite the note at the bottom of the piece.)
Rest in peace, Dinah.
On a lighter note, I’m sure you’ll be glad to know that my blood donation passed muster and made its way to Colchester General Hospital, so I don’t feel quite so guilty about not sitting up all night sewing scrubs or making masks. My granny did most of the embroidery on the gingham apron we made at school; I think she also knitted the hooded cape for Rosebud, my rubber dolly; she most certainly had nothing to do with the tent-like nighty I made in Domestic Science, an item that was always destined to be cloths for the car. Sewing is not my forte.
Nor is sowing but I’ve been weeding madly and preparing the ground for the wildflower seeds that came through the letterbox a few days ago. Wish them luck.
Finally, just to encourage those of you who are following an unbalanced diet this lockdown, here’s my meal of the day. I’d been eating healthily (mostly) for weeks but I think I’ve cracked. I had a takeaway pizza (delicious) a couple of days ago and yesterday I succumbed to my version of the bean sizzler that was a speciality de la maison at Whittington Heath. Will I have the strength of will to go back to salads….
Bon appetit. Enjoy your meal.