This last couple of weeks CHICAGO has been playing the beautiful city of Canterbury. I?d been looking forward to this venue for a while not only for the historic ambiance, the imposing cathedral and the sold out performances, but because I was due to stay with my good friends Linda Bayman and her son Alex.
Linda and Alex, like myself, are gloriously golf obsessed, not only that but their house backs on to Royal St Georges Golf Club, the garden gate opens on to the 4th green, where Alex is a member. However unlike me Linda is a player of some renown. Having played in the victorious Curtis Cup side of 1988, and with a handicap of +3, she is now the performance director of ELGA, The English Ladies Golf Association. To show you how successful she is at her job, of the 8 English amateurs to enter the Women?s British Open, 6 made the cut, If that had happened in the men?s equivalent it would have been major news. If you can believe it, my opening question when I first met Linda was ?So, do you play Golf.? The Anthony Newley song ?What Kind Of Fool Am I?? comes readily to mind.
With no one in the caste playing our beautiful game, golf conversations have been about as frequent as a John Daly gym visit. But not this week. How glorious to return, after the show, to Alex and Linda watching the Firestone WGC event and indulge in a conversation on Tigers resurgence. This also coincided with the English Amateur being played at St Georges. Oh the joy of sitting in the garden, coffee in hand, discussing the performance of England?s top players on their 4th hole. Alex and I like a younger Critchley and Murray, without the annoying fake laughter and ridiculous military nick names, commentating, quite harshly and always inaudibly, on their successes and disasters. In truth these are pretty impressive golfers. Not only do they posses prodigious length off the tee, excellent control with their irons and a magical short game, but they all seem to boast 28 inch waists. Jealous, me?……. Oh yes.
My last weekend in golfing digs nirvana coincided with Tigers victory in the U.S.P.G.A. Alex and I continuing our harsh commentary deciding that given the chance we could have given Mr Woods more of a run for his money, a decision strongly at odds with our previous days round at St Georges.
It was with a heavy heart that I said goodbye. It had been a fantastic couple of weeks filled with good golf, great friends, laughter and the odd bottle of Red. I knew that away from my family I would never be happier on tour. Let?s face it, not many theatrical digs back on to Open Championship venues?. More?s the pity.