First published on the Golf Monthly website on Thursday 26th June 2008
Fergus is struggling badly and has decided a total golfing de-tox may be the only solution. He’s under no illusions about how tough it’ll be.
This morning I’m somewhere between a cave and a dark place. Predictably my malaise is golf related and, once again, it confirms just how important golf is to my general happiness and wellbeing. Following another dismal round in the club championship last night I tried to put on a brave face in the clubhouse and laugh it off. But, after a torrid night’s sleep – nightmares about pulled short irons and decelerated putts, waking up at 4.30am in a cold sweat, I’m feeling extremely depressed. Jessie (wife) has ordered me to cheer up so I’ve come to the computer to try and get things in perspective.
Here’s a good indication of how down I am on golf. When I get up every morning I normally throw on the nearest golf outfit to hand. Even if I’m not playing I like to dress in cords and a polo shirt. But, this morning I made a point of rooting around in my cupboard to find a totally non-golf outfit. So, I’m writing this wearing jeans and a collarless t-shirt. Some people might be surprised I even own a collarless t-shirt, but I do. It’s about 10 years old and has a picture of a cockerel on the front.
I’ve decided I need to have a totally golf-free day to purge myself of the evil golf that has infected my body. It’s a sort of medieval remedy. It better work because I’ve tried pretty much everything else. After I’ve written this I’m going to attempt to spend the rest of the day avoiding golf completely. I’m not kidding myself; it’s going to be tough.
When I get the inevitable urge to nip into the garden for a quick chip I’ll go and make a cup of tea (I’ve already had two.) When thoughts of my putting technique start to creep into my brain I’ll turn up the radio really loud and start singing along. When I start to wonder what the scores are in the first round of the French Open, I’ll go straight to the BBC’s website and check out what’s happening at Wimbledon.
Wimbledon’s interesting isn’t it? The British public shows relatively little interest in tennis for the rest of the year but for two weeks the top players visit SW19 and everyone and their granny tunes into hour upon hour of coverage. At one point yesterday afternoon I walked into our sitting room to find Jessie watching Stanislas Wawrinka playing Juan Martin Del Potro. Who?
The sports pages are rammed with tennis. I’m sure the Open doesn’t receive such extensive coverage as this. It’s strange because over four million people in Britain play golf annually compared to just over three million who play tennis. Maybe it has something to do with the muscles and short skirts.
Watching Today at Wimbledon on Tuesday evening I was thinking that tennis has a couple of rules that golf might look at adopting:
First, the second serve: Wouldn’t it be great if you could have two attempts off the tee? You could wind up and go for a really big one on your first serve/drive. If you rip it down the middle great, if you hurl it into the bundi or slash it out of bounds you can reach for an iron or fairway wood and prod your second serve down the middle. Secondly, the net cord: In tennis if your serve hits the net you replay it. How about if your putt lips out you get to re-take it? I was trying to think of a way you could use Hawk Eye and the challenge system in golf but couldn’t come up with anything. Let me know if anything springs to mind.
Right, enough of this nonsense, I’m off to make another cup of tea.