Inevitably there are feelings of hurt and pain that will doubtless take a time to heal. How could she do this to me? Over and over again I asked myself that question as I sat, a forlorn figure, waiting in the reception area of the Tudor Park Hotel and Country Club near Maidstone. As tears welled up in my eyes, I felt increasingly self-conscious, especially as I was reading the Daily Mail.
Looking at my watch yet again, I wondered what could I have ever done to her that could possibly justify this inhuman treatment. Thirty-seven miles I had driven in the hope and expectation of meeting her and with diesel at £1.30p a litre that represents a considerable commitment of my part. She’s only 25, I kept reminding myself. I’m comfortably more than twice her age so she’s probably found someone else or something better to do than spend time with an ageing hack.
Seeing my unhappy face, the kind receptionist brought me a cup of coffee but thankfully declined to offer me a tissue. Do you take sugar? How could sugar possibly matter at a moment like this? No, I replied and smiled a weak smile as I rang my date’s mobile yet again and left another message that I hoped didn’t sound too pathetic.
Having played in the Curtis Cup four years ago, been crowned the Welsh Strokeplay Champion and the World Strokeplay Champion and finished in a tie for second in the De Vere Ladies Scottish Open, meeting an ageing 14-handicapper obviously meant far less to her than interviewing a rising star of the Ladies European Tour did to me. That’s why I had put on my favourite light blue corduroy trousers and wore the dark blue shirt that I won for the best back nine at San Lorenzo in 2003. It’s pathetic, I know, to think that 19pts on the back nine would impress a former World Strokeplay Champion but you never know. I certainly won’t because at 11.30, precisely half-an-hour after we were supposed to meet, I sent her a text calling the whole thing off.
The drive home was a long and lonely one as my radio packed up a little while ago. Hearing the satnav lady’s voice only served to remind me of my sadness and so I switched her off and got lost somewhere around Tenterden. All in all, it wasn’t a great day.
That evening I received an apologetic text from Holland, where my date was preparing for the ABN AMRO Ladies Open. Apparently she had lost her Blackberry, got her days mixed up and wanted to rearrange our meeting for another time. Still emotionally fragile and angry about the wasted petrol, it was too early to talk about reconciliation and so I refused but generously agreed to talk to her on the phone after the tournament.
Despite everything, I followed her progress for the three days and was rooting for her throughout. Her name? I’m too much of a gentleman to reveal that but, if as I hope, she wins the Women’s British Open, I shall threaten to reveal it here in my blog unless she’s gives me a world exclusive interview. And she had better turn up to that otherwise the tabloids will almost certainly be interested in my frank revelations: Champion Stood Me Up Near Maidstone.