IT IS in a week like this that I wish there were two John Helm’s or that I could split myself in two and head off in different directions.
For the first time in about 20 years I’ll miss the Open golf championship, which has always been one of my favourite events, because I’m commentating on the Women’s World Cup final in Frankfurt.
At one point I even contemplated dashing from Germany to Sandwich just for a couple of days on the links, and then flying back for the final, but for once I took the sensible option, it was just not practicable.
The Kent coast is just about the last place on earth you can dash to and from, so Royal St. George’s will have to do without me.
I’ve loved the Open ever since my first one – Carnoustie 1975 – it coincided with Tom Watson’s first claret jug, and it’s amazing to think he almost won again only two years ago.
The abiding memories of that year are interviewing Jack Nicklaus and the BBC sending him a cheque for $5, Bobby Locke agreeing to speak to me in return for a large scotch, ringing Bing Crosby to fix an exclusive chat and on-course commentator Chris Rea being run over by a women in a buggy while he was live on air.
Watson won a Sunday play-off with Jack Newton and I was the only member of the BBC commentary team still there.
One had promised his wife a sail on the Solent, another was fulfilling an after dinner speaking engagement, and one refused to work on the Sabbath.
No-one had foreseen the possibility of a play-off so I was left holding the fort.
There’ll be a cast of thousands working for the Beeb this week – including my son who is a cameraman – and I’m envious of his presence.
When the champion-to-be walks up the last fairway on his way to claiming golf’s top prize, it makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.
It is truly one of sport’s most magical moments.
Previously unheard of Americans like Bill Rogers and Ben Curtis have triumphed at Sandwich in the past but with all due respect to them and their fellow countrymen, I fervently hope the jug ends up in the hands of Lee Westwood, Luke Donald or Rory McIlroy this time.
PAUL SCHOLES has had a lot to say for himself this week, which is unusual because in 15 years of watching him play for Manchester United and England I’ve never heard a squeak from him.
Notoriously shy and reluctant to speak to the media he has now decided to opine that England’s players haven’t cared enough down the years, and that’s why he retired from international football – a sad reflection in our game if ever I heard one.
WE ALL know how cruel sport can be, and that was amply and emotionally evident at the two penalty shoot-outs in the Women’s World Cup quarter finals.
Faye White has been a stalwart of the England team, and captain, for a decade. She has broken her nose five times defending like a lioness, so for her to miss the final, decisive spot-kick against the French was excruciating in the extreme and not what she deserved, in almost certainly bringing down the curtain on her career.
And how can you console a woman who slices the ball into her own net after just two minutes, then misses from the penalty spot in the shoot-out, the only one to do so?
That was the fate that befell Daiane of Brazil against USA. She must have cried all the way back to Rio.