Coverage of yesterday's par-3 contest at The Masters had Fergus Bisset chuckling. Here are his 4 favourite moments.
Yesterday I rekindled a relationship with my armchair and the remote control, the association will be of an extremely intense nature until late on Sunday night. At 7pm last evening, I sat down, settled in and turned to coverage of The Masters par-3 competition. The anticipation was almost unbearable as my finger pressed 4, 0 and 5. Yes, there have been other tournaments to watch since Rory won the USPGA last August, but they don’t really compare to The Masters.
The Masters gets golf fans excited like no other event, even more so (dare I say it) than The Open. The reason is that we’ve been waiting through the long cold winter to see those azaleas, pines and dogwoods, we’ve dreamt of blue skies and pristine fairways while we’ve struggled out onto frozen winter courses dressed like the Michelin Man. The Masters means the start of the golf season. And it’s here!
The par-3 competition always makes for some amusing viewing and I found myself chuckling from the outset as Monty, McGinley, David Livingstone and Butch Harmon got things underway with a discussion that could have been a spoof on a comedy sketch show. My favourite bit of it involved the young Scottish Amateur in the field this week.
Bradley Neil has a reputation for being quite confident and there was a bit of debate between the team on whether his self-assurance sometimes goes a little too far. Monty had experienced it and struggled to stop himself getting a little hot under the collar about it. His thoughts went, not exactly, but something like:
“Well yes, I played with him and I hit a drive. Quite a good drive in fact. And he said to me ‘Is that all you’ve got.’ Well, I mean… It’s served me rather well.”
He then realised he had possibly been a touch too critical so he brought it back with his classic phrase of appeasement, “But, we wish him well.”
I wonder what Monty could get away with saying just by adding that little bonus line in at the end? …. “The guy’s a complete buffoon and I hope he misses the cut horribly and then has all his clubs stolen and loses his passport.” … “But, we wish him well.”
Tiger Woods was doing his level best to be a normal human being again yesterday and it was great to see him participate in the par-3 contest with his kids and Lindsey Vonn accompanying him. You could see he was properly trying to enjoy himself but, he just couldn’t conceal the fact it was all rather trying.
He looked a bit like a best man at a wedding who’s felt obliged to ask the mother of the bride for a dance. He knows it’s the polite and proper thing to do but, as he awkwardly waltzes across the floor, he’d really rather be somewhere else.
Rory McIlroy’s caddy got about as much attention as anyone out there. Perhaps it was quite a clever move by the World Number 1 to deflect some media attention away from his potential “Career Slam,” by asking One Direction member Niall Horan to carry his bag around the par-3 course. It did seem a little incongruous though. Musicians are supposed to be cool aren’t they? Their fans idolise them because they look cool, don’t they?
I’m not sure how many simpering One Direction fans might have just lost a bit of lust for young Niall after watching him fall over on the pine straw while headed for an interview with Kirsty Gallacher, and seeing him hit one of the worst hooks ever recorded by a player wielding a lofted club, (one that ended right in the middle of the pond.) The other 1D boys might give him a bit of a ribbing after those incidents, or they might not risk it for fear of him leaving the band…
Ben Crenshaw suffered a bit of mild joshing out there. But it came from an unexpected source. When "Gentle Ben" hit what could only be described as a, very poor tee shot on the first hole, there was a sort of hushed silence broken only by one ironic shout of “Nice shot Ben!” The Texan turned round, possibly ready to give some back, when everyone twigged the heckle had come from 85-year-old Arnold Palmer seated behind the tee. After Crenshaw’s performance in the par-3, his odds of 10,000-1 look a little short. Sorry Ben.
Fergus is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin (also of Golf Monthly)... Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?
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