Golf is a game of highs and lows, not just with regards scoring. When I’m going through a good spell of play, I feel on top of the world, I can’t wait to get out on the course and I curse bad weather that prevents it. I look forward to trips to my club, hoping someone might just ask how I got on in the last competition I entered. I enjoy everything about the sport – watching, reading about and writing about it, as well as playing it of course.
However, when going through a bad patch things change dramatically. I can say this with great clarity as I’m experiencing an extremely bad patch at the moment. This winter/Alliance season has been my worst ever – an absolutely desperate run of games around the North East of Scotland. In the main I’ve handed in no-returns (probably approaching double figures,) and those rounds I have completed have been well into the 80s. A couple of seasons ago I got through an entire Alliance season where I didn’t fail to break 80 in a single round.
I’m supposed to play off a three handicap for goodness sake, and a few years back I got down to one and was threatening scratch! Now I can’t even scratch by own backside.
I’m in serious danger of falling out of love with playing golf. I’ve actually welcomed the recent snow and bad weather as it’s averted more frustration, wild driving and woeful displays of short game. Jessie (wife) has stopped bothering to ask how I got on when I return from a game, she knows the response will be a clipped, “terrible.” Or, “I don’t want to talk about it.” I’ve threatened to do it a few times in recent years when my golf has been bad, but this time I’ve actually done it – taken up cycling!
I’m sure it’s just a phase. I’ll probably shoot level par in the first Medal of the 2013 season and put my new road bike straight on eBay. I hope so at least. Cycling is far more tiring than golf!
I do still love golf as a sport and, no matter how badly I play, there’s nothing better than watching it on the telly, particularly when you have a little bet on the action.
I’ve been doing rather well on that front in recent months. Those of you who read my online previews on this website might be aware of that. In the first seven tournaments of the 2013 European Tour season, I’ve predicted five winners and I’ve had a little wager on each of them.
A couple of the picks haven’t been that outstanding – Schwartzel to win at Leopard Creek and Oosthuizen in Durban didn’t achieve huge rewards. And, Sterne last week in Joburg at 16-1 wasn’t a massive money-spinner either. But, Scott Jamieson at 60-1 winning the Nelson Mandela Champs and then Stephen Gallacher at the same odds, winning in Dubai, earned me a fair few quid.
I can’t believe Gallacher’s odds were that long. He was runner-up in the event last year and had been on decent form in recent months. I would have had him more around the 35-1 mark. I imagine the bookie wishes he had too.
I wrote a few months ago how I was going to start betting on my online predictions. I looked back over my picks and then the results through last October and realised I would have cleaned up if I’d had money down. I feared then that, as soon as I put my money where my mouth was, I’d come a cropper. Well, that hasn’t exactly happened and, to this point, I’ve increased my initial investment by 10 times. Not a bad return.
No doubt it’ll all come crashing down. But, for now, I’m living in a deluded world where I’m just an amazing tipster. I can’t help thinking that, by studying the tournaments on the European and PGA tour week-in, week-out I must have a bit of an advantage when it comes to predicting those who might perform well. We’ll see how it pans out over the coming months.