Hello sports fans!
It’s no use I cannot do the sporty type thing,unless it involves screaming at the telly or getting tickets for other people to attend sporty type things. Until now…
I had bought tickets for the practice days of The Open, staged this year at Royal Liverpool,Hoylake; not too far from where we live and in a very pleasant part of the world. I agreed to go with my chap as I ‘quite liked that nice chap Tom Watson’ and I might be able to sit off somewhere and just eat ice cream while looking out for low flying golf balls.
Not to be.
When we arrived there at sparrows fart in the morning, the town of Hoylake was all awake and prepared. I counted at least two stuffed tigers strapped to parked cars.There were guides waiting to help you get to where you were going and all with a cup of tea and a cake. Well done Hoylakians,you were lovely.
Programmes bought, we were stopped by a nice gentleman waving golden tickets. Unfortunatly it was not Willy Wonka, but a chap asking us would we like a ‘free lunch’ I immediatly kept on walking.’Don’t be so cynical.’ he said. ‘I was born cynical ‘ I replied in a cynical I’m not giving you bank details,sitting through a presentation kind of way. Jimbo polity listened and took two golden envelopes from him. ‘Sucker!’ I thought.
We began our walk around the course, and it looked amazing. Very lush,very green and not a spot of litter thanks to the polite youngsters who patrolled looking for escaped rubbish. We headed toward the club house, where a lot of people milled,putted,chatted and looked harried.
We watched various golfers leaving to go to practice. There were a lot of (male) groupies who would just rap off the names of who was waiting to go out. I went to put my coffee cup in the bin but was quickly shouted at to ‘Come Back!’. That lovely Tom Watson had strolled across to sign flags,giant golf balls and programmes. At this point I would have liked to get a photo but I was pushed aside buy nervous golf fans,bursting with joy at seeing a hero. It was quite sweet actually. Everyone was very polite,yet there was a rush at seeing a favorite player.
This happened throughout the day.People suddenly were overcome whenever they could be near their favourite golfer. I myself had a little rush of excitement, and not just at seeing Tom Watson; it was that man, Tiger! He briefly came out of the clubhouse,determinedly on his way some where, and, I do not lie, everyone became silent,a superstar was among us (probably going for lunch or something…)
After much walking,getting soaked and more walking we went for lunch. Jimbo with golden tickets waving forced me into The Champion’s Club. The tickets had been given out so the waiting on staff could have some practice with real people before the actual start of The Open. At each table was a bucket of free wine and beer, the food-excellent- was free and the staff were fantastic. We left after and hour stuffed and relaxed. Much to my chagrin and Jimbo’s laughing there is such a thing as a free lunch.
We carried on following various players on the course and rested in the new 18th Hole stand. It looked impressive, even in the rain.
And so, it was coming toward the end of my day as a sport enthusiast. We ambled toward the gates,looking wistfully at the sand dunes and Hilbre Island that this course overlooks. I was surprised at how I became caught up by the atmosphere,and the genuine happiness among the other attendees. It was a great day.