Trouble and Strife in Delhi

Posted: 26th March 2010

‘Stop moaning and just knock the putt in’ were the words of wisdom Emily my good lady wife came up with when I hit a poor wedge shot to the last hole of the first round of the Indian Masters in Delhi. Pretty good advice  from a first time caddie.

It would have been a perfect way to end the first day with Mrs H on the bag for the first time had the putt not horseshoed out. Still fair play to her for lugging the clubs around for four days, her first time around a golf course for real.

Why was Emily caddying for god’s sake I here some of you question. Well I was not sure whether to play in Delhi or not, Vern could not make it and Mrs H was keen as mustard to see India so I suggested a compromise, I will play as long as you caddy I said. She called my bluff and said yes fully expecting me to chicken out before D day. Well I double bluffed her and so it was that Mrs H made her caddy debut.

Other classic lines included ‘this is not fair, I struggle to keep up at the best of times but I have to walk twice as far as the other caddies as you keep on hitting it onto the wrong fairway’.

‘Are you going to complain for the next two hours about the fact that you are five over for the day or are you just going to get shut up and try and birdie the next’. Good advice one would have to say.

My favourite moment however came when I was once again on the wrong fairway facing a nine iron over water to a tight pin position. Having to walk fifty yards to get an important yardage I came back to find Emily casually putting on lip gloss. Sarcastically asking her if she was ok she replied ‘why have I missed a bit’. Still I made birdie so her relaxed attitude to the situation obviously must have rubbed off on me.

So in the end a last day reverse left me in about 50th position, unsatisfactory but at least four rounds were played after missing the cut in Qatar and Dubai which was especially hard to take bearing in mind I could watch my compatriots compete for the spoils from our balcony over looking the Emirates course.

A week of commentating on the world matchplay was a pleasant distraction and seeing Paul Casey and Ian Poulter battle it out in the final was inspiration for me to get my backside in gear and play some decent golf.

Mind you it has not been for the want of trying that I have been playing so poorly, motivation is not the problem at all, hitting the ball straight has however been a little more problematic.

So step in Clive Tucker, keen followers of my career and far too seldomly updated website (sorry I admit I have been a lazy sod) will remember that Clive was instrumental in helping me reach number 9 in the world. A tough period led us to part company in 2008 and try as we might to resume the partnership periodically over the next couple of years it just did not seem to click.

This year however we are getting on like a house on fire and Clive has started to turn my swing around with great effect. Pinpointing the key problems straight away I firmly believe that the work I have put in is about to pay off. I have driven the ball like a 10 handicapper for about two years and you just cant compete at this level if you cant get it off the tee. With Clive’s knowledge I now know why it has been so poor and I am starting to right the ship.

Rome was not built in a day of course but a last round of 5 under in morocco for 19th place was confidence boosting and I write this today having just shot 69 in round one of the Turespana Masters in Malaga, which could have been better had we located my ball within 5 minutes on the ninth hole. Tucker found it in 5 minutes 15 seconds on the other side of the fairway in the semi rough. A ricochet that nobody saw left me with the most bizarre lost ball incident of my career.

Hey ho, whats for you will not go past you as my old pal Chic Carvel always said so hopefully tomorrow luck will be on my side. By the way, if you want to have a golf lesson from the best in the business my man Tucker is available to all and sundry.

He works from Wildwood golf club near Horsham in West Sussex, and he chargers about 75 quid an hour. Give him a try and if he does not help you can always sack him, that’s what I normally do. However I have always come back and I reckon we might just be in for the long haul this time and I reckon some good times are just around the corner.


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