It was a mixed weekend for me with losses in the Six Nations, Premier and Superbowl redeemed by top seven finishes by Ian Poulter living up to his nickname The Postman (he always delivers) and Matt Kuchar.
Above all, it was a superb weekend of sport .
It started on Friday with France v Wales. I thought the French heavyweight pack would do for the Welsh in the rain. You cannot legislate for schoolboy errors and the French made two relatively unforced ones. I still hold to my view that Wales are a good each way bet for the forthcoming World Cup.
Someone I know locally implored me to back England at a tasty 3-1, always enticing in a two-horse race, but I was dissuaded by England’s dismal record in Dublin and Ireland’s impeccable one.
In the old days you had definite and discrete positions, nowadays flankers become number eights, wingers full backs, and forward play is like British Bulldogs with behemoths with South Sea names piling in.
Factor in referees showboating the attention – and endless delays poring over the entrails of whether it was a try – and I for one find that it lacks appeal.
The Saudi International did not get off to the best of starts with controversy over massive financial playing inducements.
Justin Rose, one of my favorite sportsmen, was ill-advised to say “I’m a pro golfer, not a politician” in response to controversy over the murder of a Saudi journalist.
Personally I am against sweeteners and rarely back a golfer who has accepted them. Sergio Garcia who received £500,000 will surely be up before the beaks for attacking 5 greens.
As for the tourney, Dustin Johnson held off the challenge of the young Chinaman Hautong Li. Li was penalised for his caddy’s positional standing on the green but DeChambeau was regularly flouting the 40 second putting regulation.
Ricky Fowler was leading by 5 strokes when he hit an overly ambitious pitch to the 13th green which slid down the back into the drink. He replaced the ball and scrambled up the bank.
Whilst he did so, the ball slid back into the water. The referee asked him if the ball was set, he was honest enough to admit he did not know and was penalised a further stroke carding a triple bogey 7.
This opened up the challenge from Brandon Grace and my man Matt Kuchar. The problem with the likeable “Kooch” is he generally finishes poorly – though he has won two events already – and his game became slovenly and wayward.
Grace hit the drink and Ricky Fowler won.
The 17th par three hosts the largest audience in golf. It is a bear pit of drunken behaviour and excess illustrated by booing of Grace.
I followed the BBC presentation, hosted by the ubiquitous but bland Mark Chapman, before the radio one on Talksport which soon soon sent me to sleep.