We have Opens coming out of our ears at the moment: the big one at Royal Birkdale, the senior men at Royal Porthcawl and this week the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Kingsbarns, a scenic gem just outside St Andrews. Perhaps it’ll get a mention on 5 Live but who knows? No sign of a preview that I could see in the Daily Mail, supposedly a paper aimed at women. But then their golf correspondent, one of the best, is concentrating on the men and Rory’s reasons for dispensing with JP as his caddy.
The women’s football is all the rage at the moment – which is good, but I can’t help thinking that we golfers are missing a trick and not getting in there, elbows out, fighting our corner. We have to rely on side issues – like dress codes – to boost the numbers and generate interest. And since our recent rant, the LPGA have instituted their own new dress code, laying down the law, concentrating on the don’ts, the no thises, no thats that make me detest dress codes with a passion. It’s like kneeling on the floor at school so they can measure how many inches/centimetres the skirt is above the ground. Does it pass muster? Does it heck as like. (Have never been quite sure what that means but it seems right for the occasion.)
Anyway, the women seem to be playing well at Kingsbarns, with Michelle Wie, a proper golfer whatever the hype and brouhaha of her early years and her subsequent trials and tribulations, leading the way with a 64, eight under par.I’m getting the train up to Leuchars today, to see how the weekend pans out and who hoists the trophy on Sunday. There’ll also be the announcement of the Solheim Cup team for the match at Des Moines Golf and Country Club in Iowa later this month. Make a note of the dates: Friday 18th August – Sunday 20th. It’s a big deal in Iowa and it should be a big deal over here. The LET may be wobbling (not a state it’s unused to) but Europe can still put a good team together and I’d be astounded if Annika Sorenstam, the European captain and her players don’t give Juli Inkster, the USA skipper and her team a scare. The Americans, the holders, are overwhelming favourites, as they usually are but they would do well to guard against complacency. If I can find a bookie who’s heard of women’s golf, my money’s on Europe….
At a less elevated but no less important level, at least to those of us battling away on fairways far from the madding crowd, it was the Whittington Heathens’ ladies’ captain’s stay-away (not so sure about the hyphen but hope Lynne Truss, author of Eats, Shoots and Leaves and Get Her Off The Pitch! among many other things, would approve of the apostrophes) this week.
We played at Llangollen and Henlle Park and stayed at Lion Quays Resort, just in England, Gobowen way, Ian Woosnam territory and we more or less avoided the rain, bar one torrential plump in the middle of our round at Llangollen. Both courses were hard work because they didn’t give you an inch: there was no run because of the rain and we had to work hard for our points but we all had a ball and there were lots of laughs, not least because there are times when laughing is better than crying.
I’m on tour at the moment because after the stay-away it was on to Wrexham, to play in another Open. An Open that was open to women at my level – and much better. In fact, thanks to my team, from Wrexham and Fairhaven, all better than me, we won! I did my bit and we all tried hard, hit more good shots than bad, holed some putts, missed some we shouldn’t have, got plenty of exercise, yakked a lot and laughed a lot. Isn’t that what golf’s all about?!