The spare bedroom, which will be in use in a few days’ time, has become my packing ground as I prepare for the Ryder Cup in Paris – and panic is already setting in, not least because there’s a danger of a semblance of organisation ruling in the Davies household.
The last time I took this much care over my packing I was nearly arrested. Dai and I were going to Australia and environs for eight weeks, so I took a week to decide what I was taking with me, operating on Dai’s principle that you only needed to pack for a week however long the trip was. I was chuffed with the results – 12.5 kilos in a not-even-full bright yellow Kipling bag. That’s right 12.5 kilos including the bag. Brill, I thought as I checked in. How long did you say you were going for the check-in woman said. Eight weeks I said, proudly, oblivious to the disbelieving, nay, suspicious look on her face.
Later, as I presented my boarding card, I was taken to one side by a couple of men with stern expressions. Special Branch? Who knows, something similar anyway. Having Belfast as my place of birth probably didn’t help but I was a bit, as my mother would NEVER have said, affronted. It’s taken me years of practice as well as a week of assiduous mixing and matching to get to this point I protested. Plus a much-travelled husband with his 7-day rule. In the end, they laughed and let me go.
The bag weighed a lot more coming back.
Packing for Paris always does my head in – or it used to until I caught myself on. It’s Paris, for God’s sake Patricia, you haven’t a hope; it’s full of Parisians, elegant, stylish creatures since they emerged from the womb – or wherever babies come from these days; you’ll never be mistaken for a French person, let alone a Parisian woman of lots more than a certain age, so STOP WORRYING! Phew. Great pep talk. I can relax and pack the waterproofs and the bobbly purple fleece from the 2011 Solheim Cup.
It’ll be chilly in the mornings, though Mo tells me it’ll be warm for the match days next weekend, with no rain forecast. Huh. I’ll believe that when the first of October comes and my waterproofs are packed away dry – apart from the odd damp patch from Europe’s celebratory champagne spray!!? – ready for the flight home.
The last two home Ryder Cups I was at I lived in my waterproofs. To my horror, I realised they were way back in 2006 and 2010. The K Club was wet, wet, wet, not just from torrential rain but awash with tears as everyone tried to cope with the death of Heather Clarke, Darren’s wife, far too young, from cancer.
Funnily enough, I scarcely remember the rain and mud, though I know that the waterproofs – bright red (well Woosie, claimed by Wales, was the captain) – went on first thing in the morning and didn’t come off until we got home at night. Every day. It was much the same at Celtic Manor four years later when my very expensive Dubarry boots proved themselves worth every penny within 24 hours. Trainers and anything ankle length were liable to be sucked off into the mud, so knee high was the way to go. Mo wore the Dubarrys at Gleneagles and I’m thinking I might need them in Paris, fair forecast or not. Cost per wearing after all these years of service? Minuscule. Let’s hope Europe don’t need bad weather to win.There was torrential rain here today, with our friendly match against Sutton Coldfield cancelled, the course flooding and the American Circus big top in Beacon Park, near me, being battered by audience-deterring downpours. It seemed to be sunny at the Portugal Masters in Vilamoura, with players in their shirt sleeves as they enjoyed a low-scoring day on the Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course. Sergio, who might not have made my team for the Ryder Cup circus at Le Golf National, had a 66, five under par, three shots behind the leader Lucas Herbert, an Australian. Thorbjorn Olesen, the Dane who’ll make his Ryder Cup debut next week, started with a 68. Fingers crossed he and Sergio will be at the top of their game when it really matters…. One woman who was on top form in testing conditions at Crail, in Fife, was Laura Webb (nee Bolton), who’s just won the Women’s Senior Amateur Championship for the second time in three years. She had rounds of 67 and 73 for a 4 under par total of 140, nine shots ahead of Sale’s Catherine Rawthore. Webb now plays out of East Berkshire but she grew up at Cairndhu in Larne and also played a lot of her golf at Royal Portrush, so she knows about bad weather. Well done Laura, class is permanent.
I hate to finish on a sad note and this could not be sadder but I can’t not mention the tragic death of Celia Barquin Arozamena (1996-2018), who was murdered on a golf course not far from the Iowa State University campus where she was finishing her degree in civil engineering. The Spaniard, who had been named Iowa State’s Female Athlete of the Year, also won the European Ladies’ Amateur Championship in Slovakia in July. There are plenty of words that come to mind – heartbreaking, sickening, senseless – but at the moment they’re all inadequate. Love and hugs to Celia’s family and friends.
I’ll leave the last word to Meg Mallon, former US Women’s Open champion, US Solheim Cup captain and one of golf’s great people, who posted this tweet