THE next time somebody tells me golf is boring I’ll show them the DVD of the final day’s play at the US Masters.
Every second was riveting, pure theatre and an absolute godsend for television.
It was ten minutes short of midnight our time when Phil Mickelson holed the putt that clinched the famous green jacket.
In the five-or-so hours before that there had been two hole-in-one’s, a chap named Tiger Woods holing his second shot from miles out for an eagle, a pine needle deflecting Mickelson’s ball as it headed for the cup, people chipping in from bunkers all around Augusta, and that same Tiger chap leaving his ball in a bunker.
To non-golfers this may sound pretty prosaic, but believe me, there was no time to put the kettle on.
With the spectacular National course looking more colourful and manicured than ever, and beneath a beautiful blue sky, this Masters was a television director’s dream.
There was something in it for we Brit’s too. I desperately wanted Lee Westwood to win, and claim his first major. He’s a good lad who I’ve known him since he first came on the professional scene, and he deserves one of the sport’s coveted trophies for the way he has fought to get to the top after some lean years.
His caddie Billy Foster, from Bingley, is equally as popular and for Sam Torrance to say on air that he’s “the best in the world” is some accolade. Sadly it was not to be, but Lee’s consistency is such that he’s bound to get another chance.
As for Tiger, well thank goodness we can concentrate on his golf again and hopefully forget the ballyhoo that surrounded his comeback.
No doubt there will be more kiss-and-tell revelations because that’s the way of the world, but for the time being let’s just appreciate the brilliance of a man who can play shots like no other human being.
From 16-year-old Italian Matteo Manassero to 50 year-old Fred Couples and even 60 year-old Tom Watson, the characters in this four-day drama performed to an incredible standard – and there wasn’t one dull moment.
YORKSHIRE’S first championship game of the new cricket season, drew one name to my attention.
Oliver Hannon-Dalby is quite a name anyway – why are there so many double-barreled names in sport all of a sudden? – but what really mattered was his return of 5-68 in Warwickshire’s second innings at Edgbaston.
This 20 year-old fast bowling giant (6’ 8”) took 1-58 on his debut against Surrey at the Oval two years ago and seemed to disappear from the scene, but he performed well in the pre-season matches in the Caribbean, and with Matthew Hoggard gone is now getting his chance.
His emergence reminds me of a lad called David Pickles, who was also born in Halifax, and exploded on to the county scene in 1957. He took 96 first class wickets at an average of 21.47 at a time when Fred Trueman reigned supreme.
Even Fred used to say: “When Pickles were playing he were so fast batsmen wanted to face me.”
That was some testimony from the great man. Sadly David, who spent one season at my club Baildon in the Bradford League, lost his bowling technique so badly he gave up the game and last I heard had taken up golf. Don’t we all!
WHO could have predicted that Fulham would be one of the two English clubs still in with a chance of winning a European trophy, or that Ross County would be playing in the final of the Scottish FA Cup?
These are exactly the sort of stories that make sport so romantic. We love the unpredictability, especially the sort that sees Portsmouth going into administration one week, and beating Spurs in a cup semi-final the next.
There are going to be plenty of cliff-hangers over the next three weeks, starting with Town against Millwall on Friday night, and there’ll be a few bloody noses too.
Were too many folk upset when Manchester United were knocked out of Europe last week, and their manager was yet again seen to be a bad loser? I suspect not, because we like to see the prizes shared around and United have won enough in recent times to fill more than one trophy cabinet.
To see Fulham triumph in Hamburg in the Europa League final, would be something else, just as Rochdale getting promoted for the first time since 1969, as they surely must, will be refreshing.