First tee first shot. Second shot. Third shot. Fourth, fifth and sixth shots. Wedge in, chip back to the putting surface. Two putt – wipe.
It wasn’t the start I was hoping for with the Masters Pennant Guru Tony watching on. It didn’t help that former Masters Pennant legend Ross was in the group, or that Ben the pro was in the group. With a collective handicap of two, their years in the game was almost 100.
Nervous? Me? Maybe. You see, we all have our dreams, while some are serious some are silly.
I had a silly dream for ages that somehow, I would qualify for a golf tournament and against all odds, would win it. Amazingly, in a streak of dumb luck, I’d have turned professional the day before, so not only would I win, but I’d get the booty as well.
In a staggering turn of events, that tournament would be a feeder tournament to The Masters. You guessed it, I’d make the field, and hover round the periphery of the cut line for two whole days. Somehow, and things like this are never clear in dreams, I’d make the cut with a putt on the last and shake hands with some blonde bloke called Greg who just missed out.
I know, it’s mad.
And then, on moving day, I’m bloody moving through the field with purpose, but remain off the front page of the leaderboard and away from the prying eyes of the cameras. That would continue for most of Sunday, but by the back nine, they couldn’t actually avoid me. With dream logic, I’m in the last group. (I wasn’t at the start of the round) and I’m in a three-ball (I know, I know) with Tiger and Monty.
Monty? As in Colin Montgomerie? Why Monty?
No idea. I think it was to deny him victory, once again. I’ve got a mean streak, you know.
So it’s down to me and Tiger and Monty. Greg, in his big sun hat is now caddying for me. He tells me if I can chip in for eagle on the 15th like he couldn’t in ’96, I could win this thing. And I made the chip, but still fell to my knees in an odd kind of flagellation to my hero.
“One real dream is to play Masters Pennants for my beloved Long Reef. The problem is, I’m not actually good enough.”
The commentators went nuts. They had no idea who I was, where I was from or what the hell they were going to say – so they made stuff up about my Pappy being a war hero and Mumma having polio. There’s a chance I’d had Chinese food the night before.
Anyway, long story getting longer – I won, going on to win the four majors that year, becoming the first ever rookie to win the Grand Slam.
Then, in a surprise to me, the dreamer, I quit pro golf and went back to my local club. Cool dream, right?
Back on earth, one real dream is to play Masters Pennants for my beloved Long Reef. The problem is, I’m not actually good enough. Not really. Two years ago, you had to be off a handicap of two to make the team. Things are slipping, great players are moving aside, and now three will get you a spot.
A handicap of four will see you ‘on the bubble,’ as the commentators like to say. That’s me. On the bubble, and frothing. And today, with Tony and Bocko and Ben I’ve got a chance to stake a claim. A chance to put a peg in the turf or a line in the sand and state, ‘I’m bloody ready’.
As we all know, to dream by night is to escape your life, but to dream by day is to make shit happen.
But, was I ready? Even after a redeeming par on the second hole, things didn’t feel quite right. Bogey on three, errant wipes on four and five: the bubble was blowing away and I was no longer on it.
There had to be someone to blame. Or something. This was not my fault. This was a higher power fiddling with destiny. So, I thought about it. Properly. While pretending to go through my pre-shot routine after dropping from another hazard.
Yes, I was late to the course.
No, I had not had a practice swing.
Or a practice putt.
Or a coffee.
Damn it! It was straight from the car to the course! No wonder I stank. After doming my next shot I remembered why I was late. Before leaving the house, to appease my Saturday golfing guilt, I hung out the washing.
Over the final 13 holes things were good enough to land me back on the bubble, but that’s about it.
Note to self. Hang out the washing AFTER golf, not before. And dream on! Always dream on.