And you thought the rules of golf were complicated

I’ve been following the Formula 1 end of season championship furore with some interest. It appears that there is some dubiety about the result of the final race in Abu Dhabi where Max Verstappen overtook Sir Lewis Hamilton on the final lap to win the coveted Drivers’ Championship for the first time.

In a nutshell this is what happened. With 5 laps to go Sir Lewis was 19 seconds ahead and there were cars between him and Max, but then Nicholas Lafiti crashed his Williams car and a safety car had to come out until it was deemed safe to restart the race, if at all. The problem then arose as the course director, Michael Masi, changed his decision about the 5 intervening cars. First not but then allowing them to un-lap themselves. Ultimately this meant that the 19 second gap disappeared and it was basically a sudden death race over 1 lap to decide the championship. Now Sir Lewis was in front, but he didn’t have fresh tyres like Max, who had gone for bust and made the crucial change. So he was a bit like Tom Watson going into the 2009 Turnberry Open sudden death play-off against a younger Stewart Cink after a gruelling four days of slogging it out. Tyred out.

The parallel is perfect actually, for it became a sudden death situation if I ever saw a sudden death situation.

Fair? Hmm! Debatable.

But what 14 million viewers wanted to see? Yes, and a resounding yes.

For the regulations allow the course director to use his discretion and as Michael Masi pointed out to a very disgruntled Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff, ‘this is a car race’.

You can’t really argue with that one.

And indeed, as the boss of Team Mercedes, old Toto should have known that one. It’s the moto’s Toto.

Well I’m playing on the Old today at 12.30. Probably the last time this year. I must have played it about thirty times this season. My golf is as wayward as ever though. Albeit I had a bit of an enlightened moment on the practice area last week when I started my swing from three quarters the way up. This made sure I had a straight left arm and square club face and may be the way forward? We shall see. I can’t do takeaways (well perhaps a Kebab Mahal if pushed).

Next year promises to be very interesting as I’m back into my old club Mortonhall in Edinburgh and I will be juggling a bit of work at Dean Banks at The Pompadour, a bit of golf around St Andrews and a few other projects which I shall reveal nearer the time.

I did have a pretty crazy dream about Mortonhall last night though. A hazy mix of old faces alongside the new changed modern dynamic that is now Mortonhall Golf Club and a very forthright lady who I remembered from telling me off for not wearing my mask at the club last year. A fair point she indeed had, but I left primary 2 a few moons ago my dear.

Of course, the irrepressible clubmaster David Henderson was there in full flow, a butler who looked like Leonardo di Capriccio, a new tip-top drinking den somewhere near the first tee, a lot of very critical looking faces, a taxi for McLaren and the most kindly chap from Elie who looked like our Andy Bubbles, the characterful Irish sommelier at The Pomp.

All pretty rum stuff all said, apart from a few unrecognisable missed calls on the old phone and the taxi for McLaren of course.

On not getting a ‘like’ from Tom Coyne

It doesn’t piss me off that much to be honest. I mean maybe he doesn’t read the comments on his Instagram account posts. But last week he posted about having some swanky breakfast in a golf club somewhere in America and I commented about the forthcoming opening of Dean Banks’s new restaurant in Golf Place, St Andrews, just around the corner from the Old Course. I indicated that you could get there if you hit a lob wedge shank from the valley of sin on the 18th and suggested that we could possibly catch up over a lunch there next time he was across. But he didn’t reply.

Now this is maybe a bit sour grapes on my behalf. Tom Coyne has been immensely successful as a golf writer with his books, starting off with ‘A Course called Ireland’ and then with the follow up ‘A Course called Scotland’ and now indeed one on America.

I emailed him a couple of years ago and explained that I had also been thinking about playing golf around Ireland twenty years back after reading a book about a bloke taking a fridge around Ireland (Tony Hawks ”Round Ireland with a Fridge”) and low and behold, Tom admitted that that was what had inspired him to do the trip also. Funny how things work?

The difference is that Tom actually did it, whereas I only got to the point of having a meeting with a business friend where we briefly talked through the project and looked at all the positives that would come out of it. The book, the money, the fame etc. But I didn’t do it. Tom did. And all credit to him. That’s not to say that I’m a fan of his writing. I’m not. But I have great admiration for his determination and resolution. That was some feat.

I’m really enjoying Instagram by the way. It’s so easy and instant and such fun. Of course I’m a bit eclectic and anything can show up. And of course I can’t resist to write some stuff alongside the photos. But that’s me. A lot of people are just visual. I’m more verbal than visual I think. Although an old friend said I had a good eye and indeed she also said that I had perfect pitch. Which surprised me a bit. But she was my violin teacher. I mean it surprised me that I had perfect pitch.

Anyway I’m rambling now.

The year comes to a close and it looks like being a topper for us. I’ve lost 8 kilos, got my teeth fixed, my brain fixed, my finances fixed. Ok the gee-gees haven’t been performing but my wife has secured a permanent post at the Japanese Consulate and we have bought back into Edinburgh which gives me the best of both worlds, St Andrews and Edinburgh. I am really enjoying working again and meeting old pals (indeed new folk too!) in Auld Reekie. I’ve been away far too long.

It’s going to be fascinating working at Dean Banks at The Pompadour. I am very curious to see who will be coming through the door. Remember that Edinburgh is an awfully small place. I mean take our new pad in Rutland Square for example. Dave Clark, who works next door at Standard Life, strolls past at 1pm every lunchtime as regular as a Tam the Gun, Charles Spence owns number 4, I think? He and his lovely wife Ruth live in Murrayfield and used to patronise our restaurant a lot. Across the road from him, Julian Scott works as top property lawyer for Gilston Gray. Julian is best pals with Charles and Julian and I played rugby together for Melville College years back! Mathew Gray who owns Gilston Gray (and appears to have taken over half the square) is brother of my pal Chris Gray, who also has an office there. Chris Paterson, ”Hobbit’, an old school mate and golf pal (also a friend of Dave Clark) works for Burns and Partners diagonally across from us and the infamous Hutch of the West End and stalwart of Wigham’s Wine Bar, chain smokes throughout the day in front of our flat and works for a wee investment house in the building that Charles owns. My pal Dave also knows a couple who own another of the town houses in the square! (we don’t own a town house by the way) Pop around the corner to Stafford Street and I can visit Pete who has his shop Solo there and Jason Miller, of course at Charlie Miller’s. Not that I often pop into woman’s hairdressing salons. But Jason is a top bloke. Indeed so is Pete.

And get this. The Scottish Arts Club has the building at number 24 Rutland Square. I was curious to have a wee peep in after we first secured the flat, as it was a dull November day. I sneaked in as someone happened to be leaving. It was almost empty and I wandered up to the first floor and heard some voices in one of the large drawing rooms at the front. I popped my head around and who was there but Ken from St Andrews, my early morning Taste coffee companion, with his pal who looks like WB Yeats who had a painting exhibition on!

You just can’t get away!

Anyway where was I. Oh yes The Pompadour. Last week we had Keith Skeoch, the chief exec of Standard Life Aberdeen in. Now in my past life we had the flower contract with Standard Life Investments and I couldn’t resist mentioning this to him as I cleared his table’s bread plates. I think he vaguely registered the name ‘Bloemen Ecke’ and we had a wee chat about his PA, Lyn Warren, with whom we had mostly dealt with. She has now got into gardening by all accounts (or was it gardening leave?!) Anyway I said remember me to her and ask her if she needs any help, which got a slightly muted response, all said.

I am now working assiduously on my brother to try and get JK Rowling to venture in. Her favourite restaurant is seemingly Ondine. It would be interesting to meet her. Indeed serve her.

Now that would make a rum post.

But what an awfully small world this is.