Ever the optimist, I was sanguine when Mo told me that there was every chance there’d be no internet connection at hers and perhaps I should do the blog early, before I travelled west to play with her at Delamere Forest. No need to worry, I thought, B (the brother-in-law) is good at this stuff, he’ll have it sorted…
Well, even B couldn’t save Plusnet from themselves and it’s a really weird feeling when you realise that time is running out and you really do need an internet connection to produce the blog…
Now, youngsters and properly techy people could probably do the business on their mobile and just as I’d written that, the resourceful B linked my laptop up to Mo’s mobile (it’s still with BT apparently and she has shedloads of data, fingers crossed), so the blog is progressing more or less as normal. If there are no pictures, you’ll know that we reached our limitations; if there are pictures, you’ll know we were inventive or internetted…
First off, I have to say thanks to everyone for persuading the R&A and the USGA to rethink the Curtis/Solheim clash. Hooray, hooray. I was leaping around punching the air, cheering, ecstatic, disbelieving. Well done all of us who made our feelings known in no uncertain terms. The Curtis Cup at Conwy will now be the week before the Solheim Cup at Inverness (Ohio), from August 26th – 28th 2021. I have to confess I didn’t think the dates would change but in the end good sense prevailed. Some players will have a heck of a hectic two weeks but they’re young and it’ll be worth it, a fortnight they’ll remember as long as they’ve got memory. (In fact, with luck, by the time they’re old, dementia will be a thing of the past…)
There’s not much hope for me, I fear. Mo was watching the golf from Muirfield Village and came in to tell me about (the very thin looking) Phil Mickelson’s latest fad/notion/ tweak, something to do with his putting and a distinct pause at the end of his backswing/stroke. She was demonstrating and I, ever alert, said, “So, he’s putting left-handed now?”…
I’ve just about stopped laughing.
Many congratulations to Marc Warren, who won the European Tour’s first post-lockdown event, the Austrian Open, at Diamond Country Club, Altzenbrugg, last Sunday, carrying his own clubs every step of the way. When was the last time that happened on a proper, professional tour? It was the Scot’s fourth win but his first since 2014 and a real boost after some soul-destroying years of playing “very poorly”. Golf, like all sports, is a great way to make a living if you’re playing well but when you’re not, it really does put the ground down into grind.“It was nice to have such a long break with the family,” Warren said. “The last few weeks I’ve been able to get some good work done and get ready to play golf. Came out of it pretty refreshed. Carrying my bag this week probably helped tone it down a little, just going out and playing and seeing what happens. The result couldn’t have been any better.
“It’s been different [playing without a caddy], the first time since 2005 – so 15 years. Hopefully this is the one and only time. No matter what I say, I do enjoy the caddy’s company, especially on days like yesterday……it was brutal. At times like that you appreciate what a great job they do. I’m looking forward to getting a caddy on the bag again….
“It’s massive…..a few hours ago I didn’t have full status. Now to be in a winner’s category and plan the year a little bit is good. I just need to keep doing what I’m doing, trying to hit one shape all the time and when I do play try and do that and try not to mess about too much.”
Easier said than done because as a general rule pros are notorious tinkerers, always seeking ways to get better and liable to be led astray by the latest theory or gizmo, scared of being left behind. It’s not the life for everyone. I remember being at the Dinah Shore, now the ANA Inspiration, one year and someone assuming that I and one of the other British journos were players manquees, frustrated wannabe pros making do with second best. There was a stunned silence, then, in unison, a robust, “Absolutely not.”
We discussed it afterwards and realised that, no, we’d never given a moment’s thought to a career as a professional player. We were handy enough golfers but not remotely good enough and the thought of having to hit balls hour after hour after hour and hole endless three-footers to make the cut and, with luck, a living held no appeal whatsoever. We’d ended up doing what suited us, there was no manquee about it.
I played with a friend the other day and he hit, let’s be honest, a pretty crap drive at our 11th, into a load of ferns and the odd bramble lurking with intent to draw blood. Into the tangled mess he strode, muttering imprecations, not quite sotto voce and proceeded to find SEVEN balls – not one of them his. Is this a record?
Finally, another Muirfield Village observation from Mo: “Did you know that there are THREE Ulstermen in the marquee group? Rory, playing with Tiger and Brooks; Harry caddying for Rory; and Ricky caddying for Brooks…”
The world can be yours, wherever you’re from.