Oh dear Mr Poulter

I was a bit taken aback by Ian Poulter’s lack of backbone when recently interviewed about the LIV Tour by a panel of journalists. But it was one journalist in particular who rather stumped him.

It went something like this. Would you play in a tour if Vladmir Putin was at the head of it?

At this point I wish I could have been in the room to see him and Westy cringing at this excellent question, given that Saudi Arabia are brazenly heading up the LIV Tour.

Ian came out with ‘that’s a speculative question and I’m not going to answer it’

I suppose, Ian, you meant ‘hypothetical’ ?

And also, I reckon you’ve being watching too much ‘Today in Parliament’ because that’s the sort of deflection that Bojo would try on. Except he would at least get the right word.

However, the journalist then delivered a knock-out follow up in asking, essentially, if there were any moral grounds upon which he would not tee it up for loads of money.

Ian answered ‘I don’t have to answer that question’

To me this raises just two questions.

Does Ian not understand the meaning of the word ‘moral’ ? or has he simply got the ethical outlook of a Donald Trump and anything beyond getting a birdie is outwith his mental grasp?

And it’s a shame because these guys have real opportunities to make take bold public stances about right and wrong in this world.

And boy we need that nowadays.

LIV Tour and other stuff

This new mega-money LIV Tour is causing a bit of a stir in the world of golf. Dustin Johnson reputedly has been paid a $26 million fee to play it. Bryson Dechambeau and Patrick Reid have just jumped ship too. How predictable was that?

The PGA Tour is in a bit of a quandary as to how to play this though and at the moment it looks like it’s suspending those individuals from playing their Tour. And of course it’s all about money. Obviously the Saudi’s have a lot of that and look like they are willing to throw crazy amounts at this.

Now you wouldn’t expect the likes of Bryson Dechambeau, Patrick Reid, Greg Norman and Phil Mickelson to take a moral stand over the Saudi’s. They all don’t appear to be the brightest fish in the pond and have, let’s say, rather faked-up Donald Trumpish world outlooks. That is money and money and oh yes, money. They say they are making ‘business decisions’ and all that expected cliche’d crap.

It rather sucks. Especially when some pro recently commented ‘it’s not all about the money’ Of course it is.

I think when Greg Norman was asked about Jamal Khashoggi he replied ‘yes we all make mistakes’.

Yes Greg, like when you open your mouth on a serious issue.

We can be very grateful for the guys with brains like Rory and Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth who have rightly and properly turned their backs on this nonsense.

In my golf world I bombed out of the division 2 championship in St Andrews. I played badly. I was 4 down after 7 holes, somehow managed to get back to square on the 13th tee but then lost it again. I was convincingly beaten 4 and 2.

However I will now be marking my ball very distinctly and for the following reason. My tee shot on the par 3, 13th went left and looked like it bounded round the corner towards the further rough. I hit a provisional which went left but on the fairway. We looked for my first ball which we both thought had gone further than it actually had. Then I walked back towards my second ball and saw my first in the rough parallel to it (the reality was that I struck the balls about the same). Now my playing partner was a bit surprised that it had only got that far and to be honest so was I as it looked like it had gone further from the tee, but it was my ball.

However, there is always that very awkward moment when you sense a kind of marginal disbelief in someone’s voice. I could only say ‘it’s definitely my ball’ Which it was. It was a Titleist 4 with 3 dots and ‘Fairmont’ written on the side. A ball I had found and someone else had marked.

A slight weakness is that I have been using the markings of balls that I have already found and am not in the habit of distinctly marking my ball. The point is that this can give rise to doubt. And it’s not a nice place to be to be honest. Especially at a critical point in a match, which unfortunately this was.

So I shall be marking my balls ‘TKC’ from now on in a very distinctive and fetching pink. Period.

My golf though was a worry during the championship but has since improved beyond all recognition.

I will keep you posted on this one. I’m pretty excited about it.

What a day at Mortonhall

The sun shone, the course was immaculate, the birds were singing, old friends appeared, we chatted and laughed and made merry. It was altogether a very happy day.

Don’t mention the golf though, as I probably made the worst start in the history of championship qualifying at this, the oldest club in Edinburgh. To say I didn’t get out of the stalls is a bit of an understatement but we’ll go with it as it was Derby Day too.

So off the first tee I hit two consecutive shanks and lost two balls with my play-safe 5 iron and then proceeded to hit five off the tee with my driver which went with pace through the tree left of the first tee and was also never seen again. I accepted my lot. A NR. Surely the quickest no return declaration in a comp? What I need to know is that if the rules permit a 3 minute search for each ball? Or is it en masse? And if so may I say these balls were well apart.

Of course I knew it was never going to be an uneventful start back in the big league at Morty but this took the biscuit. It’s rather a blessing that we weren’t playing off the old first tee in front of the clubhouse.

Now will you believe this though. I’ve never felt so good about my goff and my swing. I just really have to drop it inside from the top by letting my arms fall and not use my upper body to swing across it. This has taken me a tonne of time to learn by the way!

Ok mentally things have got to improve a bit (however what’s new there!), but I’m pretty excited all told.

It was so lovely to get back though and I had a great half an hour shooting the breeze with some of Dad’s old pals. It was like winding back the clock 30 years. Mortonhall was a big part of my life for so long.

This week however I’m in St Andrews and feeling very bullish about my chances in their champ. I’m through to the quarter finals already as my opponent declared a positive covid test. But I’m reading more into it than that.

I would love to at least tee it up in the final on the Old Course this Friday evening. That would be fun.

Except I don’t think my playing partners on Saturday would quite believe it

I do hope they are ok. Must have been a bit traumatic for them.

I can’t do stand up

I’m afraid I rather bombed at my stand up debut the other night. It was a pretty grim experience all told. But at least I know now I suppose that it’s really probably not for me. It was a bit like trying to swim in a pool of treacle, gasping to remember my set and fighting like a madman to retrieve stuff from somewhere in my hippocampus. It was altogether exhausting.

But at least I tried I suppose and I actually got a very sweet email to that effect from the incredibly lovely lady, Julia Chamberlain, at the Gilded Balloon. She is a star. Thank you Julia. These were very kind words.

What I really got wrong was to try and write and recount my set verbatim I think. Whereas real or true stand up should be much more free and spontaneous, originating and developing from a series of cues I expect. I think Eddie Izzard just uses a list of pointers from which he builds upon. It’s a real skill and one that I don’t have I think. Or at least I went about it wholly the wrong way.

Anyway I will keep you posted. I’ve got a trial at a restaurant called Wildfire on Rose Street this Friday. It’s run by Greg and his sister Lesley who appear to be very nice people indeed and seem to run a very decent place with zero egos flying around by the sounds of it. I’m really looking forward to working in a place like that.

As I’m looking forward to playing in the Mortonhall Championship qualifying this Saturday with some old chums and the knock-outs of the St Andrews Championship next week. Albeit I’m in division 2 now.

Thanks again to the amazing Julia Chamberlain at the Gilded Balloon. That woman has a very big heart indeed.