WHILE the best golfers in the world were contesting The Open Championship at Royal Liverpool, I was busy taking part in a major competition of my own.
The venue was not a world-famous links course, but a nine-holer near Guildford, and I only had one opponent to worry about, my wife’s 82-year-old grandfather.
Pops, as he is known in the family, may be 50 years older than me, but a match against him is never anything but an incredibly tight affair.
He may have lost some of his distance, but he more than makes up for it with unerring consistency and a razor-sharp short game.
I went into the round full of confidence, having beaten Pops the last time we met, but back on his home course I found him a far more difficult nut to crack.
I hit a fine opening tee-shot, but found a fairway bunker, an unfortunate thing to happen to my only straight drive of the day, while a duffed pitch ensured that the opening hole was halved in six.
Pops went ahead at the next with a bogey four after I missed a short putt to match him, but three good blows got me up to the green in three at the third, a par five. I took three to get down after a poor chip, but a bogey was enough for me to take the hole.
The next two holes were halved with double bogeys, but Pops regained the advantage at the par-five sixth. A holed chip earned him a six, while I carded an eight after a snap-hook off the tee.
The roles were reversed at the next, with me taking six and Pops an eight, while we both managed to make par at the short eighth hole, Pops producing another excellent chip.
The scores were level as we stood on the last tee, and both of us proceeded to make a mess of the hole, eventually getting to the fringe around the green in five blows.
Another fine chip had Pops in gimmie range, while I was left with a six-footer to tie the match. Being a gentleman, Pops attempted to give it to me, but I insisted on putting out, holing the knee trembler to ensure we both carded rounds of 52.
Unfinished business, I fancy.