Epic Saturday

Tomorrow is going to be a rather massive day on many fronts. Golf and nostalgic ones. Essentially, I am playing in the Autumn Meeting on the Old Course at 8am and then rushing down to Edinburgh to play at my old club, Mortonhall, in their Gents Open in the afternoon. That’s if I can make it.

The issues are tee times and transport. I don’t drive and I have a booking on the 125 from Leuchars at 12.23. However, it is unlikely that I will be round the Old in four hours and so be able to nab a cab and catch it. I tried asking the St Andrews club and a friend if they would swap my tee time for earlier. My friend said yes I can have his 6.50am start which would have been perfect. Unfortunately the club said no. I then tried to get a later time at Mortonhall and the nice pro chap did his best to phone some members and see if they were willing to change with me, But they unfortunately weren’t. So it looked as if I was doomed and would have had to compromise Mortonhall if I was shooting a good score over the Old or just walk off and try my luck in Edinburgh if I wasn’t.

However, all was saved when the nice chap from Mortonhall phoned later to say there had been a cancellation and I was now off at 3.10pm. Excellent. Well, so long as it doesn’t take more than four and a half hours on the Old as the next train is at 12.49. But it should all now come together. And that’s a rum thing.

Yes I have fond memories of Morty. It’s the most beautiful course next to the incomparable Braid Hills, with stunning views up to the Pentlands and over the city. I spent my childhood there. It’s all a bit of a dream of a place to be honest. The oak lined and meandering fourth hole is called ‘Poet’s Walk’ in remembrance of Siegfried Sassoon who was convalescing at nearby Craighouse during the war and would play there. Yes it’s a bit of a Grantchester all told.

Anyway, don’t let me get poetic.

But, God catch me a train.

When the pressure is on

We all remember Jean Van der Velde making a complete horlicks of the last hole at Carnoustie when he had the Open Championship in the bag. A five would have got the job done for the hapless Frenchman with two solid eight irons. Unfortunately though, he disengaged his brain and for some reason hit a two iron which risked going into the burn before the green. Which it did. That was not the right way to play that hole. And his caddie should have told him so.

There was no such excuse as the heat of the moment for England’s dismal performance in the penalty shoot out in the Euro 21 final on Sunday evening. Indeed the manager had the team practising them for months by all accounts. Really I ask? But did they discuss the mode of taking a penalty? It doesn’t look like it.

For this is one thing I don’t get in football and it seems so self-evident, so common sensical. A powerfully hit penalty has much more chance of beating the goalie than a strategically placed one. Is that not so? And is this not primary school stuff?

Yet England’s last three penalty takers all tried to outwit the goalkeeper and pamper it into the net. So did Jorghino of course with his pretty little hop, skip and jump routine. But he is an exuberant, exhibitionist Italian and was just playing to the crowd. Anyway, he missed too.

So why didn’t Southgate just say put your laces through it guys? I think that is the correct terminology. Don’t try and be clever or showy. Because It really comes down to the simple laws of physics, speed and reaction time and all that.

I mean there must be stats on all this I would think? but maybe not.

Anyway comments please. I’m well mystified.