I was in no hurry nor enthusiasm to post on golf after the weekend as to do so would be to hear the bleating of that bore, the unlucky gambler. My two picks for a top 5 in Thailand – Joost Luiten and Benjamin Herbert – finished outside and Retief Goosen whom I fancied for a top 10 finish just did not make this in the Valspar in Florida. That tourney was won in the play off by Carl Schwartzel over Bill Haas. South African golfers Hayden Porteous, Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace have all won this year and, to add the Southern Hemisphere success story, so have Aussies Adam Scott twice and Scott Hend in Thailand.
So the war-chest was bare going into the Champions League and Cheltenham. Cheltenham is a fitting subject for that hardy perennial of the Rust: attendance v tv watching. I have always found Cheltenham difficult to access and egress – I remember being stuck the car park waiting for a bus and eventually walking: I find the male behaviour, especially the footballers letting their hair down, boorish; horse racing is easier to follow on the box. So I settled down with Pricewise, the Racing Post punter – he specialises in value long shots which rarely come home but if they do the odds are tasty. I only won on a third place on the opening day and went for change of system abandoning Mr Price. I fancied Sprinter Sacre as he has recovered and won after well-documented health issues. He duly romped home.
So for the Champions League, my three fancies are Atletico Madrid, PSG and Juventus – the first two are in the final 8 so I watched Bayern Munich v Juve with interest. Juve strode into two goal lead and looked to have secured qualification. However the German outfit pulled one back. I duly laid Juve and Thomas Muller’s 90th minute header earned them extra time and me some moolah. The perfect result was then for Juve to win which made switching of loyalties constant and complex but Bayern continued to dominate. Juve lacked three of their best players – Chiellini, Marchsio and Dyelba – so it was quite an achievement. It also meant that Cheltenham and the Champions League had repaired the damaged fences of the golf. Most of all, peace and harmony reigns in the Pargiter residence and the trip to the garden centre is now affordable.