Also published on the Golf Monthly website
I’ve just splurted tea all over my keyboard and spent the last five minutes trying to dry it off. The number pad keys are now a bit sticky and the six isn’t working at all.
The trigger for my aromatic emission was something I read on Darren Clarke’s website. I’m just reading it again to be sure. Yes, that’s what it says. Apparently he’s given up alcohol.
The Ulsterman is trying to get in better shape for the 2012 season and has hired a Belfast-based personal trainer called Jonny Bloomfield. He has (for the time being) reduced his alcohol consumption to zero. “It’s a long road but I will give it my best shot,” he wrote on his blog.
Clarke hasn’t been afraid to display his fondness for a bevvie in the past – downing a Guinness on the roof of the K Club after the 2006 Ryder Cup with the aptitude of a man who’d clearly done it a few times before; celebrating his Open victory last year by going on, what some of the tabloids described as, “a bender.”
Fair play to him if he can cut out the sauce completely but, from one man who enjoys a pint to another, I know how tough it’s going to be. Like Darren I’m trying to get into some sort of shape at the moment, with a vague thought it might help my golf in 2012. I’ve found taking the odd jog pretty straightforward, getting out on my bike has been fine, doing stretches and lifting weights – no problem, more muesli and less bacon sarnies – not impossible. But the psychological challenge of eliminating booze would be a step too far. I haven’t even thought about attempting it. Cutting back rather than cutting out has to be the way forward.
I just don’t think it would be good for my well-being to totally remove alcohol. Crotchety wouldn’t come close to covering it. Insomnia, irritability, resentfulness, yearning… It certainly wouldn’t put me in the right frame of mind for golf.
Can you imagine? Always sipping on an orange juice as your playing partners enjoy a post-round pint, early evening elderflower cordials and never a gin & tonic, Ribena rather than red wine to accompany a nice steak. It would drive me to distraction. With so little to look forward to, how would I remain positive on the golf course? No, moderation rather than abolition is the key. Life’s pleasures are few and far between enough without removing one of the finest.
Clarke is midway through his second round at the Volvo Champions in South Africa. He’s three-under and four-under for the day. Maybe he enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine with dinner last night…
It’s just one thing after another for Tiger Woods. The latest issue to rile the former World Number 1 is the announcement of a forthcoming book by his former coach Hank Haney called, “The Big Miss, My Years Coaching Tiger Woods.”
Due to be released just prior to this year’s US Masters, it will document the six years the pair worked together. Tiger has described it as, “unprofessional and very disappointing… especially because it’s someone I worked with and trusted as a friend.”
Haney is obviously in it for the money although I can’t believe he needs it after six years in the pay of Woods and all the ancillary benefits he will have earned from that role. But, then again, why shouldn’t he write a book like this? He dedicated a huge amount of time to Woods and got a unique insight into his life. Tiger fired him (which must have hurt) and he’s now decided to share his experiences. What’s wrong with that? I’m sure the book will be pretty interesting and Haney has said there are plenty of positives in there.
It’s tough for Tiger but he ought to be able to accept and ignore this sort of thing. After all that’s happened to him in the last couple of years he should know there will always be people out to make a buck or two from their association to him. Reacting as he has is exactly what Haney will have been hoping for – maximum publicity.
Having said this Haney’s timings are provocative. He didn’t even tell Tiger he was writing the book then announced its publication just before Woods makes his 2012 season debut in Abu Dhabi – once again taking the attention away from Tiger’s golf. Then, announcing the book will be released just before the first Major of the year. It does seem a little vindictive.
Let’s hope Woods can keep his focus on his game, get back to winning-ways in 2012 and stop us writing about this sort of petty squabbling rather than his sublime sporting talent.