I don’t know about you, but I often used to play a round without the intake of any sort of liquid. Now I load up like a pack animal heading out across the Sahara. There is water of course and probably one of those sweet drinks that masquerades under another name ? Power, Energy, Vitality, Desperation, that sort of thing ? and promises to re-energise me. It never does. But I daren?t stop drinking these things in case my usual semi-collapse after the 15th tee turns into a full-on breakdown.
Nowadays everybody seems to be drinking almost all the time. On trains, buses and pavements it is the same liquidy scene. These days that we can?t move without sipping something. Maybe it?s mobile phones that take it out of us or that, God help us, emails are not just tiresome but actually dehydrating.
The need for liquid and food to be taken on the hoof is now an accepted part of the game. I was minded of this the other week when I played The Oxfordshire as a guest of the nice people who are organising the London Golf Show from April 25-27, and, yes, I can be bought. Naturally my playing partners all had water/cola/energiser combos in their bags.
While walking wearily along the 15th I was brought awake when one of my companions produced a packet of biscuits. Not just any old biscuits, but HobNobs. My favourite. Not just mine, for Rowan Atkinson is an adoring fan of this versatile oat biscuit while Bolton?s second funniest man, Peter Kay, points out that HobNobs are ?the SAS of the biscuit world?. Footballer El Hadji Diouf is that Lancashire town?s funniest resident although, naturally, he doesn?t actually realise it.
Although my instinct was to reach out an eager hand to grab a couple, I was struck by the thought that the original tag line on every packet was the rather surprising ?One nibble and you?re nobbled?. Now why would this guy want to nobble me? It was a daft thought that I cast aside as I bit into my first one.
However, what now intrigues me is if there is anything of a digestible sort that someone somewhere does not take out on the course in the mistaken belief that it will help cure their slice, add accuracy to their approach shots and then turn them into a consistently good putter.
As far as I am aware this ludicrous lark began about 30 years ago when bananas suddenly appeared on the European Tour. I blame Bernhard Langer. I first saw him load up with bananas one breakfast time in 1980. As he stumbled out of the room I asked him if he had recently adopted a monkey?
Being Bernhard, he took my query slightly more seriously than I intended. ?No,? he said sternly. ?Bananas are full of potassium and this is a mineral salt that is essential for maintaining the pH balance in our body fluids and so plays an important part in regulating our blood pressure, bone mass, nervous system, muscle function, and heart, kidney
and adrenal functions. With these I can rule the world.?
He said this as though I should understand it which, to be fair, I pretended I did. However, at least a dozen wannabe pros earwigged this weird exchange and, as Bernhard was on his way to becoming world number one, the next thing I knew bananas were everywhere.
For a time this perfectly packaged fruit became the symbol of professionalism until about 10 years ago the baseball cap swept everything else aside. Yet the banana is fighting back. Recently, I spotted Tiger unwrapping one as he strolled to his latest victory and where Tiger goes the rest follow.
So what may we deduce from all of this? Well, apart from anything else, it seems that while the top pros may once again be defined by bananas it just might be that we amateurs are about to be obsessed with HobNobs because I had a better time over the last few holes at The Oxfordshire than I have enjoyed for several years. One nibble and, for once, I wasn?t completely nobbled.
I am so glad I am not a pro.
l So glad also I am not John Daly. Last month my colleague Iain Carter wrote a perceptive and sensitive column on the travails of Daly. Since then things have got worse. A sponsor?s invite at the PODS Championship in Florida, Daly missed the cut by a mile and then spent Saturday in a beer tent, where he didn?t drink water, but did make an obscene gesture at a photographer before autographing a girl?s backside.
This followed his escapade at the same beer tent when play was suspended for over two hours during the first round. When it resumed, he had ditched his caddie and had a local football coach carrying his bag. This is not just bizarre and unprofessional, it is irritatingly sad. Daly used to be a funny guy who played golf with an attractive wild abandon. Now he needs help. Mostly he needs help from himself because almost everyone else has tried and failed.