Our Ryder Cup heroes had a very hearty and well-deserved drink on Sunday night and I doubt if even they’d have trusted themselves to play golf first thing next morning.
There, in a nutshell, is why my gallant attempt to break 100 in last Saturday’s medal failed so miserably.
My celebrations, a touch premature perhaps, took place last Friday. I made the mistake of agreeing to watch the opening foursomes over lunch at the club in the company of three friends. One is a doctor, one a dentist and the other an ex-RAF officer — but you can’t go on appearances.
We had a superb steak from Ben the caterer and sat enthralled by the action from Medinah. Unfortunately, it proved to be thirsty work and time flew, as it always does when you are enjoying yourself. It was 10 pm when I finally excused myself and went home to watch the rest of it on my own television.
I confess to falling asleep and missing the final holes and was rudely interrupted by the alarm at 7.30. I didn’t feel to badly, considering, but we were off the first tee at 9.00 and I wasn’t at my sharpest.
But they do say ‘beware the sick golfer‘, that you can play decent golf if you are not feeling too good. It makes you slow down and, since I’d already slowed my swing down following my operation, I still felt the confidence I expressed in this column a week ago that I could break 100 for the first time in ten years.
However, there is a difference between slowing down and coming to a complete bloody halt. This was my fourth round after a five month break but my first while walking because I had taken a buggy for the other three.
It was a mistake. What energy I had was soon ebbing away. What co-ordination I possess, and believe me it is never much, disappeared between the backswing and the downswing.
I took a nine on the first, recovered my poise to get a four on the par three second and then slumped to another nine and then a ten.
This was disastrous even by my standards. I seemed to be swinging fairly well but the presentation of my clubface to the ball was apt to be a touch wobbly. They flew off the toe, off the heel and, inevitably, off the socket in a series of shanks.
Last week I criticised those golfers who, when faced with the disgrace of a high score, make a non-return of their card, an NR. I’ve never NR’d until last Saturday but I couldn’t find my ball at the seventh and didn’t have the energy to go back and play another.
I tried a Clark’s pie and a cup of tea at the halfway house but it did no good. I lost another ball on the eleventh and said to my playing partners, Mike and Max, that I was going to give up the struggle.
They said they’d walk in with me. I insisted they played on but they were adamant — to tell the truth they weren‘t playing all that well themselves — and we trudged gloomily in.
So that’s the end of the medal season and all I can do now is concentrate on improving my game over the winter.
I’m playing in the winter league, the Snakes and Ladders, with Dave Ellis who very kindly asked me to play with him in the ten-week league leading up to Christmas. It’s very brave of him because he’s a 13 handicapper and could have easily got someone better than me.
It’s a foursomes competition, so he is going to have to retrieve the ball from wherever I put it but I will pull my weight and we’ll have a laugh if nothing else.
Unfortunately, he’s had to get a sub for the opening match on Sunday because I’m away. I’m off to Turkey to see the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final which features eight of the world’s best, including Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, playing for prize money of over $5 million.
Should be very interesting and I’m writing a piece about it for Golf Monthly. Meanwhile if Dave and the sub win, there will be less chance of us getting the wooden spoon.