This week marks the start of one of the great end of season events in Europe, the Dunhill Cup. This event is in effect, the three-man World Team Championship of Golf, and has grown in stature over the years partly because of the continuing strengthening of the teams, but more so I think because of the venue.
We’re all familiar with St. Andrews in July during the Open Championship, but by mid-October the old girl is in a decidedly fouler mood. It’s about this time of year that the male inhabitants of the, “Auld grey toon” fill the hemlines of their kilts with lead shot, lest the icy northern draft should expose their wedding tackle to the tourists. Mind you, as cold as it gets, a tourist would need an electron microscope to see anything.
In the Dunhill Cups that I played, I saw everything from warm sunshine to snow, sometimes all in the same day, making it difficult to remember who the hell you were playing. “Excuse me, but weren’t you wearing three sweaters, oilskins and a ski-mask on the last hole?” Also, there is always a variety of really dopey hats because, if you don’t wear one, the chances are, your ears will fall off before you make the turn.
This year, I am pulling for the USA, largely because of their third man, John Daly. I don’t know who made the decision to include him on the team, but I like it for a couple of reasons. Firstly, his game is ideally suited to the course as he proved in ’95 when he won the Open at St. Andrews, and secondly, it’s a really nice thing that someone has done for him. Yes, I said really nice.
Over the last few years, ordinary people in ordinary galleries have come to watch the 250 pounds of strength and weakness that is John Daly. They marvel at the strength, and they identify with the weakness. This week, he will be surrounded by people who really will be glad to see him back, and will hope that he is inspired by the memory of his heroic efforts in the ’95 Open Championship. I hope he is too. Someone had enough faith in him to put him between Tiger Woods and Mark O’Meara. That’s the nice bit.
Speaking of Woods, I wonder if Nike makes a dopey hat with a pom-pom? I bet they do.