Unfortunately I have been indisposed for nearly two weeks now as a result of the aforementioned Falkand cricket match accident and resulting injury. So you may ask what do I get up to? And that indeed is a very good question. Let’s say not very much. I do have a wee study in our flat and it looks onto our lovely garden and I, like the new children’s laureate, gain much inspiration from gazing thereon. It’s really easy but vital creative work. I started doing this in primary school, P2 I think, and can even remember the teacher, Miss Clay, asking ‘what do you think about when you look out of the window?’ And I’m damned if I was able to answer. Still can’t. Mind you it was probably the most valuable thing I learned to do at school.
I have written my column for HK Golf Monthly and the editor likes it, which is always a very good thing. I have discovered audiobooks, been to Edinburgh to celebrate getting our planning permission for the wee Murrayfield venture, got mercilessly drunk on the back of it and somehow hoofed an antique armchair back from a Morningside charity shop. However becoming unbalanced on the bus station escalator I very nearly had an embarrassing end and being done over by a Parker Knoll. Won a ton of money at Ascot when Stradivarius and Shui Feng came in. I have now, gladly, removed three letters from the title of my present work in progress book, which becomes ‘Diary of a successful gambler’, as my bet bank has suddenly moved into very healthy territory. And I have cut the grass, dead headed the roses and perfected my wren whistle.
I had the stark realization that my flat in St Andrews is in a very precarious position indeed. For if I come out the front door and walk left for sixty seconds I come to the Whey Pat pub, whereas if I walk right for sixty seconds I come to a Ladbrokes betting shop. There are no other distractions in between. Friends have suggested I move to a safer home or go straight forward. Both options are very dangerous. If I go straight forward I am very likely to be knocked over on the busiest road in St Andrews. My only option in flitting is to go back to Edinburgh to my flat there but it is unfortunately sixty seconds from the Canny Mans pub and a William Hill’s establishment. The only other realistic solution is to get barred from the Whey Pat and Canny Mans’ pubs. However I have already done that.
Matt, my very decent and caring caddiemaster, did manage to get me a buggy job at the weekend. However he didn’t know how dangerous a job it would turn out to be. My man Joe hit his ball into the burn in front of the 15th. I went down the wet bank and put my foot on a stone to cross the water. It was as slippery as ice and I lost my balance and was heading towards the startled looking ducks three feet below, when luckily Joe grabbed me and prevented a rather ungracious fall.
As you can see my life is a tad out of balance but far from dull.
I had a lovely caddie round on Sunday as I was out with mellow John Gunn from Tampa Bay. He played in the most relaxed fashion and was simply, delightful company. He told me how his son in law was a caddie out in Streamsong, Florida and was an industrial engineer by training, but couldn’t abide working a 9 to 5 office job. Now I can relate to that. The big difference is that his son in law is highly regarded as one of the top caddies at Streamsong and is often asked to look after high profile clients.
John told me a funny story of how he was having dinner with him one night and asked who was the worst golfer he’d ever caddied for? And he couldn’t answer. However the next day he’d been out in a thick fog with some chap who made him crystallize his thoughts on this. The guy was seemingly awful and managed to hit three provisionals on one tee.
I can remember my worst client and it was strangely enough my first job ever, up at the Torrance course. To be fair the guy admitted he wasn’t a golfer at the outset and I could fully support this fact after the eighteen holes. It was tortuous stuff.
Now, I am just wondering if John is thinking that I am his worst caddie ever? as I gave him some really bad lines and there seems to be an iambic metric and rhetoric here. A rhyme and reason to this post.
And as I said. Some really bad lines.
I was lucky enough to have been off last week. Lucky because we had four days of consistent, torrential rain. Now that is not good for the soul nor the body.
I was back yesterday and saw poor Toni very much under the weather with a heavy cold. He reckoned he got it on his second day of a double round. Yes people actually played full rounds in that stuff.
Jack had some guys from Pittsburg who dragged the poor lad out in the afternoon after he had been soaked in the morning. They were in good spirits and reckoned they should be having ‘the scottish experience’. I think to that I would have quickly inferred that there were a couple of nice bars in town which sold a whole range of lovely whiskies and this could be viewed as a scottish experience too. And to boot a damned more sensible scottish experience.
Next day Jack was out again with a chap who insisted on dragging him through 17 and a half holes in another downpour. Seemingly the man picked up his ball in the middle of the eighteenth fairway and Jack said ‘what are you doing?’ to which he retorted ‘it’s raining’. Unable to refute this de facto comment and growing increasingly irritated, Jack reminded the guy that it had indeed been raining for the last four and a half hours, and moreover, he had made him carry his bag thus far and he was not going to stop now.
And finish they did.
The kilted caddie is aware that he could only too easily have changed the course of British politics last week after voting SNP in the election. He was wavering and very nearly went for the Lib Dem candidate Elizabeth Riches. It turned out that Stephen Gethins the SNP candidate won by 2 votes from Mrs Riches. And I am just wondering what would have happened if I had actually voted for Lib Dems and there had been a tie? I suppose they could have had a playoff over the Old Course.
On a more serious note Boris Johnson was seen having a drink with Lord Buckethead in a Chelsea wine bar on Saturday, creating much speculation and interest. He is adamant that he will not be contesting for leadership.
However the kilted caddie is not so sure and has drawn up 3 scenarios.
- Boris is indeed going for Theresa’s job and has already hired his advisor.
- Boris is disillusioned and is going to follow in the footsteps of his sister Rachel and join an alternative party.
- Lord Buckethead was also a member of the Burlington Club at Oxford and they were merely catching up.
Unfortunately, Lord Buckethead was not able to provide comment as he had a bucket over his head.
However such is politics.
Roberto de Vicenzo who sadly died last week, aged 94, was renowned for missing a chance to compete in a Masters playoff for signing his incorrectly marked card. He scored a 65 which would have tied him with Bob Goalby. The error came on the 17th where his playing partner Tommy Aaron recorded a 4 instead of the fabulous birdie 3 that Roberto had actually scored. I would say that was Aaroneous marking at the least. Roberto signed for the four and later on realizing his faux pas, famously retorted ‘what a stupid I am!’. Now I think I would have been much more graphic and vulgar on hearing that news.
Recently, Lexi Thomson put herself into a majors playoff at the ANA Inspiration as a result of her erroneous and highly dubious looking marking of a two foot putt. She incurred four penalty shots when a TV viewer phoned in to alert the golfing authorities that she had moved the position of her ball. Two shots for placing the ball incorrectly and two for signing an incorrect card. She was informed of this the next day while out on her final round and she said ‘is this a joke?’, to which the official answered solemnly and in the negative. She then went on to lose the playoff.
Lexi admittedly could not be faulted on her arithmetic. However it’s most apparent from what I saw, that if there was indeed no ulterior motive, then a visit to Specsavers would not be unwarranted. Nevertheless one has to slightly sympathise with her further two shot penalty. But the whole issue is suspicious looking, sullied and she comes out in a terrible light.
However, one will always admire and hear the beautiful echos of de Vicenzo’s honest and straightforward words ‘What a stupid I am!’ around the golf course that is Augusta National, in springtime. It is said that this hugely increased his reputation and tournament invitations as well.
And so we have the interesting events this year at the ANA Inspiration and Roberto who was simply an inspiration.