As the US Open hoves into sharp view the world’s better golfers will have been fine-tuning their games, trying to find that wee secret that just might lift them into the old game’s more relevant history books.
We’ve all tried this, of course. I have arrived early and practised hard before a round and then played poorly while I have arrived flustered and nearly late and played the best I can. So my hopes rose on Tuesday morning when I found myself haring off to wonderful Walton Heath and a match against the Golf Club Secretaries.
The reason they rose was that rather than haring I was doing an impression of a tortoise when the traffic on the northbound A3 in Surrey ground to a halt. Great, I thought, I am going to be late rather than early. No time to think too much about things.
This thin optimism was further fuelled when the young guy in the big white van immediately behind me, decided to have a daft moment and drove into the back of my stationary car. What’s not to like about this, I thought, as I joined him to exchange details at 7.30am?
It didn’t look like there was much damage to my ancient but beloved Nissan sports car and so, content that each was properly insured, I drove on and got to Walton Heath a few minutes before my tee time. Leaping out of the car I unlocked the boot, grabbed my clubs and banged the boot shut.
Only it wouldn’t shut. Seems there is something to worry about, the collision having twisted my rear end (a sentence I never thought I would write by the way). It was a problem that had to wait and so I headed off to the first tee and my date with fate. Turns out that the delay did nothing for my game. Well, actually it did – I played extremely poorly, my twisted rear affecting my focus as much as Tiger’s leg screws up his at the moment.
Dejected, I returned to my car and the ever-open boot, lobbed the clubs inside and then wondered if it would shut if I banged it really hard while pushing it in with my other hand. Glory be, it did. My joy at this more positive turn of events was rather diminished when I realised a nano-second later that my car keys were still inside the bag and that the rest of the car was locked.
Reassuringly, the AA bloke laughed hugely when he turned up half-an-hour later to extricate me from my own mess and thus allow me to grab the jacket I needed to wear for lunch. Lunch – late – went without incident. Well, apart from the dribbled wine it did. When I returned to my car the boot wouldn’t close again.
Did I mention I didn’t sleep very well last night?