I’m feeling inspired by Robert Karlsson this week. Last Sunday the big Swede picked up the Harry Vardon Trophy for leading player of the year on the European Tour. He recorded 12 top-ten finishes in 24 starts through 2008 (including two victories) and pocketed nearly €3,000,000 in the process.
At 39, Karlsson is almost 11 years older than me and that gives me great hope. Admittedly, by the time he was my age he’d been competing on the European Tour for six years and had earned over £1,000,000 in prize money, but it’s only now that he’s reached his golfing prime. By his example, I should be coming on to my ‘A game’ sometime in 2019.
There are few other sports where that could be the case. If my chosen pastime was football or rugby I’d be thinking about hanging up my boots as I neared 40. If I were a runner or tennis player I’d be past my best by 35. It’s yet another reason why golf is the greatest game.
Is it just me, or does it seem a tad ridiculous that the 2009 European Tour season is already underway? There’s been a lay-off of only 72 hours!
One of the key reasons the Olympics and the World Cup generate such excitement is because they happen just once every four years. In the days before Sky TV, there were probably about 8-10 televised golf events each year and that made them much more exciting when they came on the BBC. While I was watching the Volvo Masters last week, Jessie (wife) came into the sitting room and said, “More golf? Is there one of these every week?” “No, of course not.” Was my immediate reply. “If you have Setanta, there’s at least two or three a week.”
While I’m on the subject of pro golf, I think it’s unfair that the HSBC Champions tournament counts towards the Race to Dubai. It gives a group of only 77 players an opportunity to get a massive head start on the golfers not eligible to play in the tournament. The winner of the event will earn €650,000 and, unless someone else goes on an incredible run, that man will still be leading the Race to Dubai in February next year.
Back to a more unassuming tour – the Alliance cavalcade rolled in to Deeside GC yesterday. I almost had a brilliant day. In dreek and dreary conditions, the course was sodden and the greens were incredibly slow – like putting across a sheet of Velcro coated in Pritt stick. Despite this, I started off like a train. I made a birdie two at the 1st and narrowly missed chances at the next three holes, I then birdied the 6th and 8th to get to three under par. At that point I was wondering what the course record was and how I was going to spend my winnings.
Unfortunately the conditions, and my nerves, got the better of me and I began to struggle on the soggy greens. I three-putted the 14th and bogeyed the 15th and 18th to finish the round at level par – three shots behind the winner in a tie for second with Big Stu and two others. So near, yet so far.
I’m feeling pretty positive about my game at the moment though and I’m certain the Alliance season of 2019-2020 is going to be all about me.