RIGHT, hello, I’m back in the land of the nearly living. You may recall that last time I told you I was off to the golfwriters dinner. I haven’t blogged since then because (a) I’ve not had time and (b) I have been nursing the mother of all hangovers. This was cured by a visit last night to the Hendrick’s Gin distillery just up the road from my house for the week in Girvan.
It may seem unlikely but a few belts of decent gin turns out to be a terrific livener for those of us jaded by the previous evening’s revelry. A good turn was had by all at he distillery, especially the journalist who elected to ride a penny-farthing bicycle and then fell off. Not once, but four times. Another journalist, Peter Corrigan of The Indpendent and who is both the nicest bloke and worst golfer – and most enthusiastic – I have ever known, won a watch after pitching in to a punch bowl set up for the evening.
While the rest of us went for high, soft pitches, Peter’s cunning plan was to top every pitch. The fourth one worked, his ball whacking against the target, shooting straight up in the air and then nestling in the old punchbowl. Extraordinary.
Anyway, back to the dinner thing. GM’s playing editor David Howell volunteered to make this his debut as an after-dinner speaker. The boy done well too, encouraging genuine laughter several times. Bit I liked best was his reference to the fact that “as a pro golfer I have always dreamt of making a speech in front of a large crowd. I never thought it would be at something like this and in front of you lot.”
This got me quite a few laughs when I retold it in the champagne tent yesterday lunchtime. By then I had walked the last half dozen holes with Tom Watson as the old boy plugged into that 1977 magic and transformed it into a 2009 fairytale. As he walked off the final green Tom stopped and handed his ball to a lady in a wheelchair, cupping her hands to his and grinning. Top bloke.