While I blog a lot about all sorts of heavy, serious stuff, there is also a lighter side that takes my interest, including my love for sport, although for those who are most involved this is seen as serious too. I have blogged on a goodly number of sports that have taken my interest over the years, but not as far as I can recall golf.
I was introduced to the game of golf as a 15 year old by a school class mate, who was rather good, and we used to cycle over Belfair’s golf course to play. This received a boost when my headmaster, himself a keen golfer, later allowed us to play during our games lesson, which at the time I thought was a pretty good deal as it was a lot better than any of the alternatives. I stopped playing much after I left school to go to university and while I dabbled in the interim I picked up seriously playing again in mid career, when I began as a freelance computer consultant, when I found a number of my colleagues also played the game, and I played at least once a week. I stopped playing 20 years ago, when along with skiing and sailing, two other recreational pastimes I enjoyed, I gave it up when I married the love of my life. As I recall, I have always followed the game since that early interest and when I did play I was resolute in my desire to be good at playing but frustratingly never really succeeded. I also used to follow the fortunes of boyhood heroes like Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Arnold Palmer. I did once win a trophy though as a junior partner, in a doubles pairing in a works knock out competition, when as I recall one act of flukery, holing a putt from a long distance on the last hole, won us the final. I had a motto: “smell the roses and s*d the golf” for despite my golfing successes, or rather lack of, there was something magical and liberating walking the 18 holes of a golf course and enjoying mother nature.
I mention this because one of the activities I regularly indulge in, albeit limited, is to follow the four majors that are held every year: US Masters, US PGA, US Open and British Open and especially enjoy commentators like our own Peter Alliss This time it was the US Masters that was the object of my interest. Along with the British Open, this is the one competition that stands out, for not only does it attract the cream of the world’s golfers but the course is spectacular. I watched with excited anticipation a bit of it on the screen and listened on the radio, as well as followed up going over online reports on the Internet at the end of the day. Memories included Jordan Spieth setting the pace for most of the competition, thinking Rory McIlroy may mount a challenge (which in the end petered out), seeing my veteran (58 years old) hero Bernhard Langher looking early on as if he might even win, and poor Ernie Els taking 8 putts on the first (an experience I can well relate to – ed). When I went to bed last night, I was fairly confident that I would wake up to a Spieth win but was pleasantly shocked that an Englishman (only the second in the Masters history and the first British player to do so for 20 years) Danny Willett (someone I don’t recall hearing off before) was the winner of the coveted green jacket. So well played Danny!