A completely out of the ordinary but enjoyable weekend. The first involving the Ryder Cup where I have not been at the event or bolted to the settee watching – with all other life put into suspended animation for the duration . The Ryder Cup clashed with the wedding of Amanda’s oldest friend’s elder daughter, Amelia, at Elvetham House in Fleet (the family home of Jane Seymour). So history, emotion and my attempt to watch the golf without seeming to dis the wedding ceremony making up an interesting 3-ball. (Not helped by the lack of Sky Sports in the venue – too expensive the receptionist explained – so I was driven into launching Sky Go on the first morning on my I Pad and watching fairly grainy images with more than occasional buffering!!) But even with those constraints it gelled. Great wedding and exciting first day at Gleneagles.
We moved on to our second hole – staying with friends in Chiswick on the Saturday and without seeming too pushy, I managed to get a look at a TV. Amazed at how amazed I was by the difference in the quality of the pictures!! Why – but great to see the golf properly and a lovely day with Ed and Marilyn Snape and their children George and Izzy. The excitement of the golf seeped into a further adventure when the rack of organic lamb which was to be the centrepiece of the evening meal was found to be missing!! The combined deductive powers of four adults and two very bright teenagers unable to locate it, but I understand that austerity has meant that organic lamb rustling is a growing crime among the inhabitants of Chiswick.
A lot of red wine and a game of cards finished a very different day to a normal Ryder Cup Saturday perfectly. Ed and Marilyn were exemplary hosts and gave me some time to watch the start of the singles before we went for lunch on Sunday. We were driving to the Lake District later and I had a cunning plan to make the most of the remains of the day. Listen to the last couple of hours on Radio 5 live in the car and relive my memories of 1957 Ryder Cup at Lindrick on radio (previous post). A pleasing symmetry and the perfect antidote to the pain of trying to get out of London at that time. I didn’t factor in a great but elongated lunch and the speed with which Europe would close out the match. We said our goodbyes, got the car loaded and settled in. I switched on the radio to hear the commentators discussing Jamie Donaldson’s approach. Gone about the same distance when he stiffed it to win the match!! Great shot and delighted for him but then had to listen to tailings for the next 3 hours as the BBC tried to spin out the programme and we crawled out of West London. Not quite what I had anticipated.
It was the most non-golf, Ryder Cup weekend I can remember but I really savoured it. In the extra time I had in the car I had an idea. An amateur Ryder Cup (not top amateurs – not another Walker Cup). Handicap players. Held in the years between – at great, playable courses – not fields like Gleneagles/Celtic Manor. North Berwick – Silloth on Solway – Southport and Ainsdale. Have local/club starting qualifiers –two members from each club get through – Then regionals – again two through from each qualify. Say 64 through to final. Match play – final 8 qualifies – other 56 play one medal round – top 4 make up the team. Same in USA.
Would that generate interest? Would Sky/BBC/ITV cover it? Would it get sponsors? I think it is worth exploring. Sort of Britain’s Got X-Factor Golf Talent!