I began this year with a plan to match myself against Tiger Woods. Don’t tell him about it because he has enough to worry about.
Of course, it is a colossal impudence that a golfing wretch like me could even consider himself worthy of occupying the same sentence as Tiger.
However, it is one of golf’s many strengths that it involves a wider and more diverse set of participants than any other sport and we all play the same game on roughly similar courses.
And, thanks to a handicapping system far superior to that of any other sport, Tiger and I could actually play each other. Indeed, if he gave me four shots a hole I’d happily play him for a couple of quid.
But he is No 1 in the world rankings and, if they went down that far, I would be many millions below him and the only reason I dared compare myself to him was that we both entered 2014 with burning ambitions.
He desperately wants to win another major championship — the last one he won was in 2008 — and I am desperate to break 100 in a medal, which I haven’t done for a dozen years or so.
At the time, I wrote that apart from the scale of it all the main difference between me and Tiger is that all I have to conquer are my own deficiencies while he has to beat off the strongest challenges to the major titles there has ever been.
Sadly, he is suffering a back problem that may cause him to miss the opening major of the year, the US Masters at Augusta.
Back spasms forced him to retire during the fourth round of the Honda Classic last month and this week he has pulled out of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Orlando.
This, of course, presents me with the opportunity to strike first. My first chance to break 100 comes in the March medal a week on Saturday. Unfortunately, I have a slight set-back of my own.
I wrote a month or so ago about losing my voice which, instead of a rich baritone, now sounds like a high-pitched squeak which my friends find most amusing.
Two weeks ago, scans revealed that I had a tumour in my neck which was affecting my vocal chords. I had cancer of the oesophagus two years ago which resulted in a major operation from which I made a full recovery and, unfortunately, this is a recurrence of the cancer.
But they are hopeful they can cope with it and on Monday I start a few months course of treatment. In the past, I’ve tried everything to improve my game but this is the first time chemotherapy has been brought into play.
They say I should try to carry on as normal so I shall be aiming for that below-ton score. There were few signs of my readiness for the challenge when we played in a Texas Scramble last Saturday.
We managed a nett 64 but were well short of the prizes and, in truth, you have no chance unless you have one of two big hitters in your team. Out of our team of me, Andy, Max and Mike only Andy is a capable of a mighty hit but he doesn’t connect often enough , although he did get a birdie on his own at the short four.
You’ve got to able to reach all the par fours in two and we struggled to reach the par threes in two. But it was enjoyable if a bit cold.
The boys are being very sympathetic with my problem. Most call me Tiny Tim and Mike said that if it happened to me 40 years ago I could have joined the Bee Gees. I’m sure Tiger doesn’t have to put up with all that.