Ageing - Stuart Lennon
Why did nobody tell me about ageing?
I walked the dog this morning, and on my way back, paused to admire the lawn. Not only to admire it, but to take a photograph of it.
Why? I have absolutely no idea. Out of nowhere, the state of my lawn has somehow become an issue about which I care. It must be part of the ageing process.
Another one. This weekend, we had a wonderful blast of weather. You know the type, a gorgeous, sunny couple of days which promises a long glorious summer, only to be followed by a ten degree drop in temperature and sideways rain. Anyway – in an unexpected, and unusual moment of good sense, I liberally applied sun cream before heading off to play golf on Saturday morning. I toyed with the idea of putting on a hat – but look, it’s April.
I returned home bronzed and revitalised. The vitamin D had not seen off the man-flu, but I certainly felt a bit better.
“You look a bit crispy.”
Not quite the adjective I was looking for, but I decided it was a compliment. Sunday brought another day of golf. This time with a hat.
On Monday, I awoke feeling a little flat. The day was frankly a struggle. Shortly before eight pm, I was being barked at for snoring loudly on the sofa. I muttered something about a shower before creeping up the stairs and under the covers. Where I stayed, unmoving, until gone six this morning.
Where did that come from? In bed by eight? I am claiming a touch of sun-stroke, but I suspect that actually, I’m just ageing.
One last one. As you know, I love a bit of golf. This weekend, the Masters was on. Going into the last day, Justin Rose (from a club just up the M3) and Sergio Garcia from Spain were joint leaders. Sergio arrived on the golfing scene in the 90’s. An eager puppy with a winning smile and twinkly eyes. The next big thing. The new ‘Seve’. Talent tumbling out of his ears. For the best part of twenty years he charged about, winning some tournaments, making buckets of money, and gradually earning the tag ‘best-player-not-to-win-a-major”.
This Masters was his 74th Major. The last day, Sunday, would have been the 60th birthday of the great Seve Ballesteros, Sergio’s golfing hero, hell, the golfing hero of an entire generation of European golfers.
Could he do it this time? Could he win? Of course he couldn’t. The Masters requires a whole load of things, but it definitely requires nerveless putting. Years of struggles have made Sergio a nervy, fidgety man with the flat-stick. Watching him putt can be painful.
As the last day unfolded, the challengers fell away. It became simply Justin against Sergio. The Spaniard eased ahead over the front nine. The metronomic Rose kept in touch though, reeling him back in. As they walked off twelve, the momentum was with Englishman. It was clear to me, that the pressure on Sergio would increase shot by shot, until he cracked under the relentless competence of Rose’s game.
Sergio took on the riskiest line for his tee-shot on 13. He didn’t quite catch it right and the ball settled at the bottom of a bush. Rose was in great shape in the middle of the fairway. Sergio needed to take a penalty drop for an unplayable lie. Wherever he dropped it, he would have an iffy lie, with trees and water between him and the green.
Time for bed, I thought. Nice work Rosie.
In fairness to Sergio, he salvaged a par 5, but Rosie was 2 ahead walking onto 14.
Hang on, look at Sergio. Bouncing along, a smile on his face. Not dropping a shot has given him a little shot of something.
One more hole, I thought. on 14, Sergio made his putt, Rose’s grazed the hole. Only one in it.
On 15, under enormous pressure, Sergio hit an 8 iron that will be on highlight reels for years to come. A gem. He eagles the hole. Rose birdies. All square, three to play.
Lest this become the longest post in history, I’ll spare you the blow by blow account of the remaining three holes. They could not be separated. They moved onto a sudden-death playoff.
Sergio was left with two putts down a slope to win. He did it in one.
The partisan American crowd around the 18th green leaped into the air as one. Pretty much every golfer in the world cheered. The Americans began chanting ‘Ser-gi-o’. Me? Inexplicably, I had got dust in both eyes and tears were tumbling onto my cheeks.
Must be part of the ageing process.