Though the 2019 golf season started last September (no, don’t ask), this week sees the first ‘major’ of the season, the only one that has the same home every season, the Masters, at Augusta, Georgia.
Its fair to say that until recently, the people who run golf at Augusta were a little behind the time, would be putting it mildly. The first to break the race barrier at the golf course, 1975, and only then because they had no choice, because he’d qualified for the Masters. Just imagine if they said Tiger Woods couldnt take part, well… 1990 saw the first African American member, only after numerous complaints by members…about letting them in! Lovely people, but this is the deep South, so…?
For women, it was even worse, the first female member, with all the consternation it caused about having a woman on the grounds, not until 2012. The first competitive rounds by a woman at Augusta? Yesterday! Yes, a small number of female amateur golfers were given the ‘honour’ yesterday of being allowed to play competitive golf at Augusta. Wow!
I’d love to say this was the exception to the rule, but it isnt. Muirfield, near Edinburgh, only permitted women to be members in 2017 when they were told they would be taken off the Open circuit if they didnt. Even then it took 2 votes to ‘convince’ them to agree to this, and the secretary of the course described it as a sad day when they did eventually approve it, what a lovely gentleman, not!
Of course, whats happened now is that the ‘gentlemen’ in charge of Augusta are claiming this as a very special event, and in 1 sense at least, it is. But at the same time, the fact that it should have happened about 50 years ago is irrelevant to them! So congratulations are due to Jennifer Kupcho, for becoming the first woman to win a competitive tournament at Augusta (only last of 3 rounds, for leaders played on course), but Augusta, dont be so proud of being such a dinosaur that its taken you until now to catch up with the modern world.
How to annoy a bunch of grumpy, white, misogynists with a video? Oh, easy!
No, not politics, not that I would blame anyone for expecting it with that headline at present, lol.
All year long, up to now at least, I’ve been involved in a really good golf competition on Twitter. Somehow, I ended up 4th on the regular season, which qualified me as 1 of the higher seeds in the 16 person field. I crept through the first 2 rounds, not entirely skilfully, but as I was playing lower seeds, I had a points advantage which proved critical. Then came the semi final, against the number 1 seed, which not surprisingly I lost. This put me in the 3rd place playoff, which is pretty good, given my limited sports knowledge nowadays. Thing is, there were only 3 prizes, so now I had to win this, admittedly against a slightly lower seed to get any prize money. £100, so not something to be sneezed at, for just coming 3rd. Lose that match, get nothing. Yes, readers, you guessed it, I lost, today, in the final Euro Tour event.
Except, in the end, for some reason best known to others, and for which I’m very grateful, a 4th prize, matching the 3rd prize suddenly appeared! Put it this way, apart from the remaining £23, I have no plans to spend this on fripperies, or stuff. My plan was, and always has been, to try a couple of different therapies to try and ease my back, for which the extra expense was beyond my normal pocket, so now…
One is acupuncture, which I’ve fancied trying for years, even before my back went, but now I’ve got no excuse not to do so. I know, having needles stuck in you, for pain relief might seem weird to some, but it supposedly works, has been advised for me, so I will give it a try, and see, in near future.
The other is what they call a flotation tank therapy. Seems that floating, with zero pressure on my back might be a very good thing to do. Oh fine, the whole thing of being in a soundproof chamber, in the darkness appeals to me no end, though I doubt anyone is going to play a voice in the chamber, saying I am being brainwashed or the like will be available to me, lol. Maybe I can get that thought into my mind, but besides that…I can help my health, and help to have a fantasy come true!
So, with big thanks to Gareth, and ‘Scoled’ for their generosity in events today which have led to this happening. This old lady, and her back appreciate it far more than you can ever know.
You may have worked out tonight’s song, but you might be expecting, especially from me, Simon & Garfunkel, but you’d be wrong. This came out about 2 years ago, a stunning cover of said song, and we have a live version here.
You know something? How you sometimes feel that nothing is going to work out for you, and all that? Oh fine, after today, maybe I can still be a chorus line dancer in a Hollywood musical? OK, seriously, that isnt going to happen, but at the same time, something good might happen soon, more in the near future on that, I hope. Alright, Adriana, or Angie, I might at some point soon dress up like a dancer, but I’m not going to turn into Ginger Rodgers overnight!
But yes, had a couple of feel good moments that happened today, that make you do believe anything is possible. Strictly, one of these happened yesterday evening, California time, but here in the UK, it was early hours of this morning.
A few days ago, in the world of baseball, in an event that no one beyond his family, and friends would have noticed, The Los Angeles Angels called up a back up catcher, named Francisco Arcia. Well yes, fine, players get called up every day, and all that, so…? The significant thing here is, this guy has been playing Minor League Baseball for 12 years, never been in danger of the call up to the Major League, and all that. Then the Angels traded a player away, and for reasons best known to themselves, they called up Arcia to the ‘big boys’.
Thing is, in his first 2 games, he’s taken 5 of his 8 bats for hits, had a home run, and batted in 10 runs for his team. For a super prospect, this would all be quite something. For a guy who has spent 12 years in various minor league teams, totally unnoticed, its really quite something! Now I’m not saying this will last, or that he will become an All Star or anything, but for a player who had probably given up on the big dream by now, he must feel like he’s in heaven!
The other 2 feelgood stories from today both relate to golf. The European tour was in Germany this week, and the tournament was won by a player most wouldnt have heard of, Richard McEvoy. This was his 285th tournament on the main tour, had never won one before. He did have 1 second, 1 third, but that was it. Today, he won! Now, to be fair, he has got a few wins on lesser tours, but until today, he was so far down the rankings, he was struggling to retain his playing rights for next year. Now, for 2 and a half years, no issue!
The other from the same tournament? There was a German amateur player, by the name of Allen John, and by the end of today’s play, he was joint runner up. No prize money, as an amateur, but the prestige… He turned pro in 2011, and his career was so ‘good’, he gave up, and became an amateur again! Got an invite, as a local this week, and almost took the event by storm! Oh, did I say, he’s 30, and profoundly deaf! Just shows you, if you’re determined enough, nothing can stop your dream.
Who, me? Audition for Broadway, or Hollywood, I dont think so now! But if I really still wanted to, and put my mind to it, well, maybe…? Kudos to all 3 of these guys, anyway
The video lyrics, so untrue for this trio, as it happened for all of them today.
Next week, the Open golf tournament (its not the British Open, as some call it, by the way) heads to Carnoustie, a course at which I can proudly say I played at, in the dim distant past. No, dont get excited, I didnt play the actual course that those top pro golfers will be playing at, I played the 18 hole putting green, with my partner of the time, but it was literally next door to the 1st hole, close to where all those players will be teeing off, to start their round. No, seriously, we couldnt have afforded to play the course, my partner was never more than a ‘pitch and putt/Par 3’ player, and by that age, in truth, neither was I. My days of being a 13 handicap golfer had long since passed by then.
We also played St Andrews on the same trip, probably the most unique putting course I’ve ever seen. You know, most of these things are on a pretty much flat surface, and if you just hit it at the hole, it goes in? No, St Andrews was nothing like that! Slopes, twists, and turns, the complete works! And yes, again, you could see the Old Course while playing it! Yes, now, most definitely the closest I will ever get to playing one of the famous name golf courses.
But back to Carnoustie…
For me at least, even having played in the hallowed grounds, my most amazing memory of the place was when the Open was previously held there, in 1999. Anyone who saw Jean Van De Velde conjure up defeat from the jaws of victory on the last hole, is never likely to forget that. What people forget is that Paul Lawrie wasnt even in contention going into the last day, shot the round of the tournament, but even then, Van De Velde only had to play the last with an element of care, and the title was his. As history shows, he didnt! Unfortunately, his career never really recovered after that.
As for this week, I hope the tournament is exciting, but I hope no one throws it away like that on the last hole of the tournament.
Oh, and while talking matters French, I suppose I’d better congratulate France on winning the Football/Soccer World Cup today. No, I didnt see any of the game, but the scoreline (4-2) suggests it was exciting at least? To prove how unnecessary it is to know anything about the sport, I entered a competition online. Thousands of entries, end up tied for 36th!
Seeing I cant find a song about Carnoustie, or Mr Van De Velde, lets go with a French video tonight. I have to say it, their anthem is a hell of a lot more inspiring than ours! From the World Cup, no less!
Yes, the blog title is a play on a song title, but unless you’re as old as me, until you reach the video, you may well not know it.
OK, fine, non sports fans might want to walk away here. Its funny, I remember when sport had deep bred traditions, but seemingly nowadays, thats not enough. In golf, for example, in the old days (and not that long ago, in truth), with the exception of the Ryder Cup (which used to be GB v US, but changed to make it competitive), and a Matchplay Championship once a year, everything was individual play, strokeplay, mostly over 72 holes, over 4 days.
Now, we have a tournament in Australia where they play 18 hole strokeplay for 3 days, with a cut after 2, before having a wild 24 person knock out tournament, with matches over 6 holes on the last day! This week, for the second year, we have a pairs tournament going on in the US, with 2 different formulas of play over the 4 days. Next week, in the UK, we have a round robin group tournament, involving 16 pairs in matches over 6 holes, with all sorts of weird rules (time to play shot being one of them), and in a few weeks, in Belgium, we have 1 with 2 days of standard strokeplay, followed by a 64 player knock out thing on strokes, over 9 holes!
I guess this is all to try and bring in a new audience, or maybe its because I’m just old, and set in my ways, but seriously…do we need all this?
The other sport in the UK that seems to be desperately trying to ‘re-invent the wheel’ is cricket. Not satisfied with the rapid fire 20 over stuff, someone has now come up with the idea of 100 ball cricket, 15 standard overs, plus 1 10 ball one! And instead of counties, and affiliation, there are going to be just 8 franchises. Now, lets face it, for example, if there is a franchise for the North, in Manchester, if they think Yorkshire folk are going to support it? Or vice versa? I suspect, in truth, both will get one, for the rivalry. But equally, if they think a West Country franchise based in Bristol, would get support from Somerset?
For US reader sake, imagine a baseball team, over 5 innings, 5 outs per innings, and 1 franchise in Los Angeles. You seriously think Angels fans would support it in Dodgers stadium, or vice versa?
The big snag with the cricket one is also the one our cricket board, as opposed to India, Australia and the like dont, is the financial one. Unless these teams employ international names, as opposed to county journeymen, who’s going to come and watch? Snag is, these things cost money, and the ECB dont like spending it, so…?
Oh fine, guilty as charged, I will probably watch some of it, when Sky Sports pay for the rights to show it, I’m sure. But do we need all these gimmicks in our sports, or not?
Video time. The snag with 70’s songs is finding live video performances from back then. Pre video cameras, and at a time when film of so many shows were wiped after use, ah well… So strictly, this is 10 cc. In reality, its one of the original group, but all the same…
I’ve had some fun today, given there’s been little of interest on TV in other matters for me today, I’ve been watching some cricket. Yes, I know, I like cricket, but the Indian Premier League (IPL) just tends to leave me cold for some reason. In truth, I blame the commentators for that, mainly because they tend to fawn over the Indian cricketers as if they were gods, and well, when Danny Morrison starts commentating, lets just say it starts to grind on me. So lets leave the actual cricket there, OK? Tonight, given that ESPN are giving baseball a pass on the early games tonight, I’ll have the Masters on until bedtime, much more sedate. And beyond the fact of commenting that I’ve just seen Tiger Woods knock in a long eagle putt, and do nothing more than acknowledge the crowds (no fist pump, as it used to be with him), I’m beginning to hope he wins again sometime soon, and if you’d told me a few years ago that I’d be saying that, I’d be laughing at you!
But going back to the IPL, and that ‘other universe’ life I might have had. Yes, I was watching the cheerleaders doing their routines, and wondering what that sort of life might be like? Well, without the bit of checking their smart phones while not dancing, but hey, if I was young now, like that, maybe I would do that sort of thing? In truth, I have no idea how well paid they are, or anything? I assumed all these Pro Sport cheerleaders were well paid, well pampered, and everything else, and then I read an article about how badly some NFL teams treat their cheerleaders, and it shocked me. Basically their attitude seems to be that of supply and demand, but I wonder how much demand there will be in future when they find out how badly the women are treated, but anyway…?
Alright, I suspect Clara, and all those other chorus line dancers were on pretty strict diets during their working years, to keep them slim, all the same. Probably why most only did a few years, before getting married, and retiring, I guess, as they could then eat more normal amounts?
But fine, if I had the youth, the looks, and the dancing skills, that sort of life might just be fun? I know, I’ll never know, I guess, unless Clara gives her full life story if I ever get regressed again! Either that, or a wonderful lady I know online, who worked in Vegas tells me. Not that either give me that personal experience, but short of a rejuvenation chamber, or something, not going to happen to me!
Fine, video time. I apologize for the less than regular quality tonight, but this is from Top Of The Pops in 1974, basically a lost episode, but someone found this bit at least. The actual song, and routine is fine (very vintage, apt for the song), but a couple of, err, interesting interludes. No, I know nothing of the artist, beyond this song!
About the only blessing of being unable to get through a whole day at work yesterday, because of my back flaring up badly again, was the fact that I got the chance to catch some of the Par 3 Tournament at the Masters, from Augusta, Georgia. In truth, seeing the actual coverage of the event only started at 8 pm my time, I would have been home in time for most of it anyway. Yes, the program started about an hour earlier, with the presenters just talking, but anyway, I survived all of that!
When I was young (mid – late teens or so), I was actually a reasonable golfer, think I got to a 12 or 13 handicap at one point. Not good enough to do anything major, but at least I could have a decent walk around a course without having to wander off into the rough too often! After that point, I started getting more involved in cricket, and I started to play less, and less, until I reached a point where I just didnt play any more. 20 years or so later, I was playing what the US people call Par 3 golf (UK folk probably know it as pitch & putt) for fun for a while, and while the basic skills were still there, its fair to say that my body meant much of the talents had receded, not helped by various injuries, arthritis, and the like. Now, with my back gone, I wouldnt even try any more, though in truth, its been a few years now, anyway.
All that meant though, that I’ve tended to follow golf over the years, to some degree or another. More so back then when I was playing a bit, than now, though I still watch some, and unless there is baseball on, I will probably watch the final round of the Masters on Sunday, for sure.
But yes, on the Wednesday, before the big event gets started, Augusta has this sweet little par 3 event, which seems to be played by a selected number of the tournament players, past champions who will, and wont be playing the main event (because of age), and randomized others! The others are mainly relatives of the players, usually children, but not always.
Anyway, when I was a young ‘woman’, one of the players I grew up loving to watch was Tom Watson. Always seemed a nice guy, though in truth, he was probably as competitive as the rest of them! Still, if I say that now, he’s one of those that no longer plays in the event proper, due to his age, it shows we’re all getting old! Amazingly, less than a decade ago, he was runner up in the Open, at the age of 59, and nearly won it!
Still, the story is, last night, despite age, despite everything, every putt he hit seemed to drop, whatever the distance, and some were lengthy. Yes, he won the whole event, though I suspect that some of today’s players dont try too hard, partly not to risk injury, partly as they’re just having fun, but anyway… There is 1 strange jinx, no player who has won the Par 3 event has won the Masters in the same year. Its going to happen at some point, but not this year, for sure!
But yes, for an old lady like myself, it was lovely to see the likes of Watson, Player, and Nicklaus doing so well in the tournament. We all grow old, and weary, but seemingly some less than others! Congratulations, Tom, enjoy the moment.
Yes, the video tonight is the blindingly obvious one, given the blog title. A live performance by the late, great, Ray Charles
Well, finally, as we get close to the end of the year, Christmas and all that, things start happening for the last time in 2017.
I’m due to take the final one of those 3 exams I needed to take tomorrow, and having passed the first two comfortably enough (in my opinion, only get told passed, or presumably failed, no actual score), I’m definitely hoping that will be it for the year. In theory I’ve got a couple of practice tests I need to do by mid January, but with luck I can leave them for now. We will see how busy Saturday is, I guess, though as of yesterday, I couldnt sign in to said website, so definitely cant do them at present. No, I’m not missing them in the slightest lol!
I am guilty of doing far too many sports related competitions for my own good. Horse Racing, Golf, and American Football are the main ones, though I do (shock horror) do a soccer one, but primarily because its very stats based, and seemingly, given I’m currently 55th out of about 460,000, a knowledge, or care for the sport clearly isnt needed! Number crunching, yes, caring about anything else, no! But do I care if I’m 55th, or 55,000th, beyond pride, no, I’m not.
Given the Golf is the only calendar based one, this is the last week of the competition. No, there arent thousands in this, more like 50! But yes, somehow or other, I’m 2nd! Yes, stats are a wonderful weapon, seemingly. Mind, I need a winner this week to have any chance of success, but beyond the thrill of beating all those men, not going to cry either way. Well, there is 1 prize, which might be nice, but otherwise…
Oh, and getting back to work matters. Some people take competition way too seriously for me! As in the judging of the work team Christmas displays. No, I’m not going to mention names, though some might guess, but someone takes defeat way too seriously for little old non competitive me! In related matters, given the ‘lovely’ weather we’re having over here at present, today’s required shopping ended up being done online, instead of in town! Still, Secret Santa gift is sorted out, and on its way now. The elf costume is no longer on its way, its arrived! Put it this way, unless they move me, and the office to somewhere very warm (or tropically hot), I will only be wearing it in the office! Not that I think First Buses, Huddersfield, and Bradford would be ready for me in an elf outfit, but anyway…lol!
OK, video time. Something apt for this blog, though with me, just the opposite is the truth. Main reason for this song, and the blog title, is to pay respect to Keith Chegwin, who died earlier this week at 60. Yes, I’m 3 months away from 60! Ah well, been nice knowing you…lol?
Well, seeing as the main topic that raised my ire this morning was political, I was trying to work a way of getting round to it, given the idiot was American (yes, guess who?), but given it involved at least a couple of British figures, I decided to pass. But lets just say, Donald, if you are going to throw an insult tweet at someone, make sure its the right person, OK?
In other news, by skill, fluke, or miracle, I passed that exam yesterday. No, I dont know how well, all it told me was that I passed, which means I scored somewhere between 70%, and 100%, and no idea where in between. 2 more on the next 2 Wednesday’s, lets hope I fluke them equally well!
So I was thinking, what else can I talk about tonight? And yes, maybe the title gives it away, golf.
I must admit, when he burst on the scene, and dominated events, I wanted just about anyone to win except Tiger Woods. Probably because I’ve always been a fan of the under dog (fine, Dodgers, I know…lol), so someone as dominant as him wasnt my thing. But then things started to change, for various reasons, a lot of it ‘rich person’ stuff, but equally, his body began to give up on him. Yes, I now know the feeling, but hey, I am nearly 60, so what do I expect?
And yes, as his injuries, and personal life woes started to catch up with him, something strange happened, I started feeling sorry for him. Probably because he stopped winning everything, and his golf became a whole lot more human. Thats my excuse, anyway.
So yes, I’m posting this tonight for the very obvious reason, his latest comeback starts today, in his own tournament in the Bahamas. Yes, I’m watching it, and he’s doing fine, and I’m glad about that. Yes, it helps that the crazy fist pumping days seem behind him, a much more measured acknowledgement of the good moments now, unlike before. Oh fine, also helps that its not hard to realize that he’s never going to dominate golf like he used to, so who knows, I’ll probably be delighted for him if, and maybe when he wins again. I know, crazy stuff!
No, in case anyone was thinking otherwise, I have no plans to make a golf comeback, I’m way past that point. Even at my best, in my late teens/early twenties, I only ever reached the semi respectable range of a 12 or 13 handicap, no better. Now I’d be lucky if I could hit a golf ball 13 yards! Well, fine, that might be a slight exaggeration of my body pains, but you get my drift?
But yes, message to Tiger. Stay a nice, reasonably respectful guy, and if you win again, I’ll be so pleased for you. If you told me 10 years ago that I would say that, I would have laughed. Ah well, times change…
OK, the video. A little bit of vintage Abba live. I’m sure the song was about a certain feline animal (given it was recorded in the 70’s), not a golfer, but besides that…
I have to say that basically certain events of the last few days have inspired this blog, sadly, for the wrong reasons. But before we get to that…
I guess I wouldnt be called the most passionate fan of any team, in all truth. Yes, there are a few teams (a couple who will be mentioned shortly) that I support, and follow, but get crazy about them, no chance!
Two of ‘my teams’ big rivalries are actually being played out today. The Buffalo Bills are playing the New England Patriots, and we Bills fans are supposed to hate the Patriots. So fine, one of my best friends is a big Pat’s fan. Do we have a rivalry over this, hell no! We might tease each other a little, but thats about as serious as it gets! Fine, I can dislike the Patriots, but thats more down to how good they are, rather than anything else. I mean, I dislike the big football teams over here for the same reason, and nothing delighted me more than when a minnow like Leicester won the Premier League last season, believe me!
The other tonight, I’ll be watching some of later, thats my Dodgers, taking on the San Francisco Giants in the last game of the regular season. Having said that, we could still have as much as 3 more games tomorrow, due to ties, play off venue deciders, and the like. But regardless of that, it will be Vin Scully’s last stand, as he’s said he’s not commentating on the play offs, so… Thankfully ESPN UK are covering that game tonight, and I only hope its his commentary we get.
But yes, Dodgers supposedly hate the Giants, but with me, no, I fail that test too. I know who I want to win, but… whole different game! There are still fans on the boards saying that unless we win the World Series, the season has been a disaster, oh please, be real!
But fine, the one that has annoyed me the last few days. Yes, the Ryder Cup. Dont get me wrong, I understand people wanting their country/continent to win, but there are levels of passion that are good, and those that are wrong. Sadly, the last few days, a small number of Americans (though the noise level suggests more) have acted like rabid idiots, rather than fans. It got so bad yesterday, and that is saying something, that fans started being ejected from the golf course, for their abuse of European players! I know, it was a long day, and maybe beer played a part? Equally, the awful behavior of Trump, and his followers, may lead people to think abuse of this kind is permitted? May be his type of followers doing this, who knows?
Either way, as a British born Ameriphile, its embarrassing! I thought the behavior at Brookline was awful, but I think this has almost topped that, at best. Yes, I know, my American friends are not the type that do this sort of thing, and I do appreciate that. The people who do, wont read this, so…I know, its been a while since the US won, but please, win it fairly, not in this matter.
OK, rant over!
The video. If anyone had told me that a cover of a Simon and Garfunkel song could challenge the original, I might have laughed. But fine, this does!