I arrived in London on the Monday after Spain after a bit of a journey. Myself and Scott Jamieson’s caddie, Ritchie, had hired a car for the week in Spain. On our way to the airport on Monday morning, we thought we’d be clever, and use the Sat Nav. Unfortunately, it had been set to take us the shortest route, and not the quickest. The result was that we ended up in the Gran Via, in the middle of Barcelona…….Probably the busiest road in Spain. There were cars and motorbikes everywhere!!! I had decided to go co-pilot, while Ritchie was driving. Once we realised where we were, he broke out into a cold sweat, cursing at everyone on the road, and at the woman’s voice on the Sat Nav. I found it funny, so I ended up getting it in the ear as well. Fortunately, we had left in plenty time, so we made it to the airport with time to spare.
Tuesday at Wentworth is usually a chaotic affair. The range is always swarming with everyone except players it seems. Managers, Physios, Coaches, hangers on, hangers on’s friends etc, etc. For this reason Paul usually arrives around lunchtime, hits a few balls, a few chips and does some putting then he’s gone, It’s a bit of a circus, so he tends to keep out the way of the distractions. On Wednesday morning we had the celebrity pro-am. Our partners were Jeremy Kyle(needs no introduction) and Mark Austin, who reads the News at Ten on ITV. Both guys where great fun, even if they didn’t play their best. We had an afternoon tee time for Thursday, which became a very late time, as we had a three hour rain delay. Fortunately we managed to finish before it was dark. Paul played a bit up and down, shooting level par. After a quick pizza and straight to bed, it was back at the course ten hours later. Paul played solid all day, not holing much, but birdies at the 16th and 17th put him under par for the day, and a par at the last meant we were safely in for the weekend.
Saturdays round didn’t start too well, with 5 bogeys and no birdies in the first ten holes. Chippie wasn’t a happy bunny. “When’s it going to change? Same ****, different day” he muttered, as his tee shot on the 6th bounced against the slope on the fairway to end up in a bunker. Our playing partners Richard Finch and Justin Rose where walking ahead, chuckling away to themselves at the chipmaster’s outburst(as we found out the following week when Mr Finch couldn’t keep it to himself). However, he dusted himself down, playing the last 8 holes in 4 under par, making it a respectable day. He kept the momentum going on Sunday. We played with Robert Karlsson(AGAIN) going round in 5 under. This moved us up over 20 spots into a tie for 21st place, and a decent cheque. It was another solid week after the long lay off and I headed to Sweden the following day with a little bit of anticipation.
I arrived in Malmo after a flight from London to Copenhagen, then jumped on a train for the quick journey over the bridge into Sweden. We hadn’t been to Malmo for a few years, and it was nice to be back, as it is a lovely city, and the weather is usually always good. Nothing had changed since the last time I visited, especially the price of a pint…..£7 !!!!!! There wouldn’t be many drunk caddies this week. I was at the course early on Tuesday morning to get a look at it before Paul arrived. It was a new venue, The PGA National of Sweden. It was long, but generous from the tee, as the fairways were fairly wide. It was also windy, as the course was very exposed. Paul arrived in the afternoon, and we spent most of the day trying out some new woods, and a new driver and 3 wood were in the bag for the pro-am the following day. The pro-am itself was, shall we say, a less than swift affair. 5 hours 30 mins in a 30 mph wind wasn’t much fun. Fortunately we had a late tee time for Thursday, allowing for a bit of recovery overnight and a lie in.
It seemed to have done the trick, as Chippie got off to a flier, birdieing 3 of the first 4 holes. I must admit, I got a bit ahead of myself, which I don’t normally do, and had visions of a 64 or 65. I think Chippie was the same. However, as we know in this game, it jumps up and bites you in the backside when you least expect it. By the time we reached the turn, a couple of errant drives meant we were back at level par. A bogey on the tenth and we were now over par. Again Chippie picked his game up, and birdied two of the last three holes to finish on even par, keeping us in the hunt for making the halfway cut. On Friday morning, it was a little bit calmer, and a good score was very achievable. Paul didn’t start too well, turning in 2 over par, but an eagle on our tenth, followed by a birdie two holes later, put us inside the cut line. Normally in this situation, Paul would press on and pick up another couple of shots by the end of the round, but a couple of unexpected shots resulted in four dropped shots in 3 holes, and before we knew it, we were on our way home. This sort of thing happens now and again, and it’s just one of those days which every golfer has. Chippie was still raging though. “Worst ******** of my career” was his text to me later as I arrived at the airport. My reply was “For once, I have to agree!!” On the upside, there was a direct flight to Edinburgh at 6.35 on the Friday night, so I zoomed back to the hotel, packed my bag, and made the flight easily. I was back home by 8.30, and gorged myself on toast and cheese, washed down by a couple of cold beers( which thankfully didn’t cost £7 each) …..Aahh, there’s no place like home!!!