Friday, 26 September 2014

Ryder Cup (horse to Banbury Cross)

I really really want to like golf. That's perhaps an exaggeration. I really really want to be able to appreciate golf to have a conversation about it, not necessarily like it, but enough interest to not switch off whenever it comes on TV or up in conversation.

Just a couple of weeks back I was in the Bosun and the conversation got around to 'foot-tee'. Now I haven't checked the spelling but it seems it's a relatively recent phenomenon whereby you play in the style of golf but instead of a club, you use your foot. The golf ball is replaced with a football and the holes are replaced by barrels, sunk into the ground. You then proceed to kick off and attempt to sink the football in as few a shots as possible, much in the same manner as golf, I am told.

That sounds like a bit of a laugh. I assume it was invented by a small child trudging back from the park, kicking the ball along the pavement, trying to prevent it becoming entangled in traffic. My interest was piqued so much that I asked pertinent questions such as:

  • do you still only wear one glove?
  • why do they wear only one glove?
  • which hand do they wear it on?
  • do you buy gloves in pairs and find a friend of opposite dexterousness to save money?
  • in foot-tee, do you wear a single football boot and do you have to hop on to the green?

All questions exhausted and with the answers frankly lacking, I moved on to an unimportant statement which turned out to be quite a bold declaration: "I am quite interested in this foot-tee which is surprising as I have no interest in golf, whatsoever". Had there been music playing, it would have dramatically paused. Had people been playing pool, the balls would have frozen. Had conversations been raucous, they would have halted in deafening silence. As the Bosun lacks a jukebox, a pool table and customers, everyone was forced to imagine these dramatic turns of events; some with greater success than others. It was as if I had slandered the Queen in this recently-turned Royalist, formally Rebel, County. The sound of incredulity echoed round the empty bar, across the lounge, past the sleeping kitchen staff and resonated loudly out of the open window down the street, pausing briefly at the unnecessary traffic light, rounded the bend and continued out of sight.

I shall never darken the Bosun's door again.

The Ryder Cup has just started and I am valiantly trying to watch some of it. The problem is that I lose interest between the thwack off the tee and the thwop as the ball lands near or not near the hole. After the thwack, some uncouth, unidentified people shout 'U. S. A. U. S. A.' and 'get in the hole' and sometimes both and by the time there's a thwop, I've inevitably turned away. Subsequently I hear some ooh and ahhs and applause of varying enthusiasm but even this isn't sufficient for me to adjust my gaze twelve inches to the right to see what the noise is about.

Perhaps if they made the necessary adjustments to turn this competition into foot-tee, then I'd have more interest. I'd be intrigued to see what happens when the ball lands in the water and Tiger McIlroy has to stand one legged on a gondala, trying to kick the floating ball into the barrel from the middle of a pond. Sounds far more skillful than 'hacking in the rough'.

However, they'll never change. The Americans would hear the 'foot' part of 'foot-tee' and immediately pick up the ball and start wrestling, much as they did when bastardizing 'football'. So I am just going to have to persevere in my attempts to feign interest if I am ever going to survive in this Emerald Isle.

Six hours in and it's 1.5 each. Fascinating.

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