It?s Friday afternoon and the Golf Monthly office feels like the Mary Celeste. As the majority of the team are either enjoying their holidays or golf days, I cut a rather lonely figure, busily tapping away, sandwiched between the whistlers at Angler?s Mail and the grafters of Rugby World.
Not one to take my foot off the pedal on a Friday until the clock at least hits 4.30, I?ve decided to pen my first office blog. To celebrate this momentous occasion I?m going to indulge myself by casting my mind back to last Sunday. As I?m sure you are already sick of hearing if you?ve been reading our Carnoustie Open blog, it was an unforgettable experience for those of us allowed inside the ropes. But how exciting was last Sunday when placed within the pantheon of sport?s most exciting days?
In a bid to answer this question, I?ve run down the most exciting sporting moments in recent years.
Disclaimer As it?s the end of a long week, my brain is overflowing ? stretched to bursting point. As a result, there may be some factual inconsistencies. Please accept my apologies.
10. Wilkinson drops for World Cup glory
Apart from when you wake up and realise that you don?t actually have to get out of bed for another hour, there is very little to get excited about at 8 o?clock in the morning. The 2003 World Cup in Australia was the exception to this rule. Elton bleedin? Flately had kept the plucky Aussies in the match by kicking goals left, right and centre (literally). Set to become another valiant England defeat, Jonny Wilkinson stepped up and slotted the perfect drop goal. My Weetabix will never taste so sweet again.
9. Ebbo stumbles over the wining line
Watching late night sport is often the best way to do it, somehow it feels naughty. On this occasion, Peter Ebdon was on the verge of capturing the world title but in the red corner was a determined Stephen Hendry. As the pressure mounted the quality of snooker dropped like a stone. Both men desperate to win, it was Ebbo who finally stumbled over the winning line. Great stuff.
8. Monty flops at Winged Foot
This was another late night feast rewarding those with the stamina to stick it out to the early hours. After plenty of ebb and flow, suddenly Monty was standing on the 18th fairway needing a par for glory. At this moment I uttered the following to my flatmate who was dozing off, ?I can?t believe it. He?s only going to bloody do it.? Nope. The big man chunked his second, blamed his caddie and stormed off in a typical Monty strop. From hero to zero in less than 10 minutes. Vintage Monty.
7. Why can?t we get Brett Lee out
British summertime has never quite recovered from the 2005 Ashes. Nor have I. Indeed, the great game has never quite lived up to the high of the third Test at Edgbaston. With only one wicket to take but time ticking mercilessly away, something had to be done. Enter Harmo (he?s exited pretty quickly since). Michael Kasprowicz couldn?t handle the pace and bounce and was caught behind with just a couple of balls left in the match. An epic last-gasp victory.
6. Steven Gerrard?s belter against West Ham
Picture the scene. I?m on a weekend away with the missus that has collided horribly with FA Cup final day. What to do?? Well, after hours of pleading I was given the chance to watch the last five minutes. Up stepped Stevie G with a corker that took the game into ET. Result! Or not, as was the case.
5. Van de Velde crumbles
A lot of sports fans don?t like to watch someone crumble under pressure. I however, quite like it. Jean Van de Velde was on the verge of an unlikely Open triumph but it wasn?t over yet. Faced with the Barrie Burn, he unravelled like an Andrex in Battersea Dogs Home. ?Shall I play it out of the water or do I drop it back?? It doesn?t matter Jean, you?ve already blown it. Pure drama.
4. The king of comebacks
Mike Harris, the editor of this esteemed magazine is an Everton fan. As we stood in a pub in Bristol (we were on a golfing trip) at half time in the Champions League final between Liverpool and AC Milan, you couldn?t wipe the smile off his face. Well, actually, three second half goals and a penalty shootout win did a pretty good job. To the ironic sound of, ?You?ll never walk alone? Mike sat on his tod outside the pub crying into his beer. Classic.
3. Rocca holes the biggest putt of all time
Holing a long putt is always a great feeling. Well, take the excitement that you get from such a feat, times it by a million and you get Costantino Rocca on his knees pounding the 18th green at St Andrews. Just when I thought this scene couldn?t get any more momentous, the camera flicked onto John Daly mouthing rude words as he made his way out of the recorders’ hut and onto the first tee.
2. Chris Bailey v Goran Ivanisevic
At this point you are probably thinking one of two things: ?That?s a strange choice? or ?Who is Chris Bailey?? Well, I?ll answer both. Bailey was a decent, albeit English, tennis player at the top of his game before Henman arrived. He was drawn against the angry Croatian at Wimbledon and in a five-set thriller came desperately close to winning. Goran was staring down the barrel ? it was match point to Bailey and Ivanisevic had dumped his first serve in the net. His second serve again hit the net but, defying the most fundamental laws of physics, it crept over. Yes? nooooo. Brilliant. Bailey eventually lost the match but it was a fine effort.
1. Harrington wins at Carnoustie
Never has a single prize created so much desire to win. First Romero, then Harrington, then Garcia faltered with the Claret Jug staring them in the face. I like my sports stars to go through the mill, to show me how much they want it, to earn it. Harrington did all three? and I was there. Ha.