I love John Cleese’s Titleist ads on the telly. But they make me wonder how Old Tom Morris, now under the sod for almost 100 years, would play if he actually DID come back.
Inside the clubhouse at St. Andrews, several members sit, sipping pink gins and talking. None of them is John Cleese. A ghostly vapor appears on the window, the condensing breath of Old Tom, who materializes holding an old wooden spoon. He is screaming: “Hey fellas, any chance of a wee snifter for the auld boy here, or am ah still no” allowed intae the f–kin’ clubhoose? Yez don’t need tae wurry aboot the sheep here, she’s female, so ah’ll be leavin’ her ootside.”
The members look shocked, but one of them motions for the old man to come in. The ancient keeper of the green walks through the window and sits down. He waves at the bartender. “Hey Jimmy, ah’ll have a glass of the Macallan 25-year-old, although it’ll still be fairly new tae me so ye might as well make it a pint.” He cracks up laughing.
“Oooh, that wuz a wee beauty, wuz it not? Ah’m killin’ maself here.” He looks around the group. “Whassamatter? Yez all look like y’uv seen a ghost or something. D’yae fancy watching the old boy playin’ a few wee holes or wud yez rather sit there like poofters? Come awn, an’ we’ll do the whiskey loop.”
The first tee, where a cluster of members has gathered. Old Tom loosens up with his old spoon. He looks toward the group. “Hey Snodgrass, gimmee a pellet there an’ make sure it’s a ProV1. F–k the NXT, ah need the good stuff.” The member tosses the ball, which Old Tom catches and tees up in one movement. “Okay lads, how much are ye payin’ an’ why is it so little?”
They decide on a fee of Ã‚Â£1 over the whiskey loop, aka holes 1, 2, 17 and 18. Tom settles over the ball and makes an elegant swing. The spoon goes right through the ball, leaving it resting on the tee. “Shite! Ah forgot ma clubs are dead too. Y’ez cannae count tha’ one. Hey Wilberforce! Gimme tha’ big smelly-lookin’ Cobra driver there an’ ah’ll take another dig at it.”
Old Tom snatches the driver and looks at the head quizzically. He walks over to the pathway beside the tee, picks up a handful of gravel and rubs it vigorously into the painted finish. “Too bloody shiny this thing is. It’d give a man a headache.” Then he takes another swing, and this time the ball flies sweet and true down the middle of the vast fairway. But he reels back off the ball, holding his ears. “Christ, what wuz tha’? If tha’ thing disnae deafen ye, it’ll start a f–kin’ fire. Ah remember the ball comin’ aff with a wee squelch.”
Old Tom has borrowed a wedge from one of the members and is over the ball. He swings, clips the ball neatly off the tight turf and turns to the crowd. “Suffer tha’ one ye losers.” The ball lands 10 feet short of the hole, takes one bounce forward and zips back violently into the Swilcan Burn. “Bollocks! Did you see tha’? Tha’ ball must be haunted or something. In my day the bastard went forwards.”
Tom is standing ankle deep in the water. He stares at the ball, confused.
“Okay boys, somebody needs t’explain tae me why this piddly wee trickle has a concrete bottom. It’s supposed t’be ‘watery filth,’ ye know? An wha’ is this ye’ve handed me?” He looks at a sand wedge, fingering the sole. “You must think ah’m away in the heed. This has a wee bumpy sole tha’ll never let me under the ball, so gimme a 9-iron.” He opens the face of the club and plays a neat little splash shot to a yard from the hole, covering himself in slime. “BOLLOCKS!”
Tom has decided that four holes is too much like work, and he needs to get back to the Macallan, so he goes to the 18th tee, where he makes an elegant swing with the big driver. The ball takes a bounce on Granny Clark’s Wynd, shoots forward and runs into the Valley of Sin.
“Holy pints of McKewan’s, tha’ wuz some bounce! Granny Clark made the haggis ye know? The problem wuz she ate it too, and tha’ path used to be deed grass tha’ she killed as she wuz just walkin’ along.”
With that, Old Tom turns his back on the members and begins to make his way toward the clubhouse.