Thursday, April 12

Watch The Birdie

Helen Parton is mesmerized by fores, fairways and five irons

Viewing the human race from outer space, golf must seem a pretty peculiar activity to any alien life forms and watching it on TV must count as even stranger. So many strokes per hole predetermined by it’s never clear who and whoever has the most under par, assuming the cut of your plus fours is right, and dividing the number you first thought of – wins.
But the expanse of calming greenery and lack of anything too taxing on the brain (ignoring aforementioned logic-less scoring) is perfect for Sunday night TV, which is why I was tuned into the US Masters (BBC2, Far Too Long). Given that the most televisual excitement you’re likely to encounter TV-wise on this day of the week is an elderly Yorkshire gentleman falling off a dry stone wall or someone stealing a pig, again in Yorkshire, and making off in an Austin 7 soundtracked by the Hollies, it’s perfect scheduling. And so in Augusta, there was nothing much doing: Tiger Woods got a bit angry and managed to snap one of his clubs in two, one shot went in the crowd narrowly missing some dullard golf fanatic and at home we all involuntarily went ‘Uhhhhhhhhhhooooohhh’ as another ball nearly went in, in a response nearly as Pavlovian as grabbing the top of one’s head at a penalty miss. Oh for the days of John Daly, who caused uproar in golfing circles years ago by only having one technique, namely ‘twat the ball as far as you can’ or tres silly Frenchman Jean Van der Val, who squandered the British Open a while back by playing a ball even though it was partly submerged in a pond and sacrificing numerous swinging splashes at it in strokes. No such characters this time around, it was all bland blokes with flat bottoms squeezed into bad slacks. Our own wacky Ian Poulter could only muster a Doherty-like trilby, but in a distinctly un-Babyshambles like shade of baby pink and with no staircases on the course to do a comedy roll down clutching aforementioned headgear, the similarities ended there.
The only real joke of the tournament being Gary Lineker’s airfare over there to do, well it appears, very little, aside from topping up his tan and chatting to some old pros. Even then the old crisp muncher wimped out and got a sore throat. I’d like to think this was from shouting ‘Uhhhhhhhhhhooooohhh’ to women with names like Dixie Lee and Krystal in Hot Legs 11, Georgia’s finest lap dancing emporium, on a racy night out with Peter Alliss and Sam Torrance. But a Quaver probably just went down the wrong way instead.
With Manish Bhasin having bagged the cushy Cricket World Cup presenting slot in the West Indies, the ever dependable Ray Stubbs and Adrian Chiles must be wondering what they did wrong to be stuck with some sweaty blokes in XXXL acrylic at the darts, or discussing United Biscuits’ share price on Working Lunch respectively.
The golf was won by some God fearing American, our boys having patriotically choked in the last round, in case you were wondering. Never mind the aliens, what on Earth was I thinking putting in so many hours to find out?

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