Inspiration for this week’s blog has been rather thin on the ground, I’m afraid.

Patricia, who is rather good at coming up with topics for me, has failed to light any sort of touchpaper, blue or otherwise, and I once again find myself being very thankful that writing was not how I had to earn my living.  Mind you, that’s not what I always thought.  I used to think it was a piece of cake for Patricia and her late husband Dai to knock out an article at the end of a tournament day.  One Christmas, with the family all gathered together, I had the temerity to voice this opinion.

“Right,” said Dai.  “Let’s see how you get on.  Here’s a leaderboard after three rounds of play in the Madill Open at Portstewart.  I’m John Smith, I’ve just shot 65 and lead by three.  I’ve never won before.  You interview me and write your piece.  Oh, and by the way, your deadline is one hour from now.  Five hundred words.”

Always up for a challenge, I began my “interview”.  Dai was purposely slow with his responses, ponderous, in fact, and I was acutely aware of the time ticking by.  And he gave me the most boring answers imaginable.  Try picking the bones out of THAT!

Not just as easy as it might look!

I got the point – never presume you know what others are facing until you try to walk in their shoes.

I’ve been cranky all week – very Victor Meldrew-ish, in fact.  I made a complaint in Sainsbury’s the other day – much good it’ll do.  (There you go, – Victor again!)  I was standing in the fruit and veg aisle and looked around in despair at the oceans and oceans of plastic packaging.  At least 85% of the produce was contained in plastic cartons or shrink wrapped within an inch of its life.  It wasn’t possible to buy a single loose potato. They were all coralled with dozens of others in plastic bags.  There were no loose mushrooms – not one.  The same with a lot of the fruit.  This has been a slow burn for me for a very long time and on Sunday I had had enough.

I have plenty of words for this, but none printable.

A very nice assistant listened carefully, agreed with me and said she’d pass my message on.  I felt a little better but will be astonished if anything is ever done.

Wherewith all this discontent, then?  I’m blaming my back.

I tweaked it on holiday, hiking in Gran Canaria.  That was seven weeks ago.  Since then, I’ve been largely confined to barracks, venturing out for a couple of intensive treatments per week.  It’s particularly galling as I was, at last, feeling like I was escaping the clutches of Long Covid after more than two years and just when I was contemplating getting back to some regular golf I had to shelve that idea.  This trying to get back to being healthy is a giant game of snakes and ladders.

Add in to the mix that I’m embarking on all my prep for this year’s men’s majors, beginning with the Masters.  The fact that I’m not on the road as I used to be means more intensive prep at home – simply because you’re not out on tour each week with your finger on the pulse.  That research involves sitting a lot – and, you’ve guessed it, my back isn’t happy sitting.  I’ve made a strong reacquaintance with a large, bright blue Swiss exercise ball and my every second thought has to be “Engage your core!”  The things I know now that I wish I’d known when I was sixteen years of age.

…..and so, it begins.

In an attempt to lighten my mood I switched on the golf to watch the Players Championship and it was heartwarming to see Scottie Scheffler back to his best.  By all accounts he’s an all-round good egg and staggeringly normal and watching him win his second consecutive Players title (something no one else has ever achieved) was uplifting.  Life is good for the Schefflers at the moment with wife Meredith expecting their first baby soon.  (Picture at top.)

Scottie Scheffler became the first to win back-to-back Players Championships in its fifty year history. []

Not so uplifting was Rory McIlroy’s continued curate’s egg brand of golf.  He seems to sabotage the brilliant stretches of play we associate with him with a run of horrendous holes and shots.  I remarked to Patricia that last year when I went out to Augusta I was told that if Rory won, thus becoming only the sixth player in history to win the career grand slam, I would be doing the winning interview for Sirius XM.  I wondered if I would be charged with the same task this year – were it to come to fruition, and what questions could she suggest, given you only get the opportunity for three, or at the most four of them.  Patricia was not slow to respond:-

“You won’t need any because,  a) he’ll never win the Masters and,  b) if he does, neither of you will be able to speak.”

That would make for an interesting interview, wouldn’t it?  Any suggestions from you, dear reader, for three dynamite questions for this historic interview are more than welcome.

Perhaps I’ll ask him for his views on plastic packaging and good back maintenance.