I’M a little embarrassed to admit that this time of the year, when the Aussie summer golf season is in full swing, I still get filled with a sense of childish anticipation at the thought of standing within metres of the best golfers on the planet.
When I say “a little embarrassed”, I’m not talking about the level of mortification I suffered earlier this week when a respected and intelligent member was standing in the Pro-Shop of Mount Broughton Golf Club, saying how he was avoiding potential knee replacement surgery. I have had the same issue and couldn’t wait to offer up my experience with the problem and how, with the help of my ‘Pediatrician’ I had resolved my condition…. And apparently also been assisted with the difficult move from bottle to solid foods plus offered some valuable information on how to prepare for upcoming puberty and my impending first sexual experience.
Turns out the bloke who helped me with some orthotics, which go into my shoes and prevent me from walking in a similar fashion to Greg Chalmers combined with an angry Frilled Neck Lizard, was actually a Podiatrist! It wasn’t as if I had just used the term once, I kept bloody saying it until the member I was explaining this too, and how it had done wonders for my dodgy knees, couldn’t hide his big smile any longer.
Anyway, once again, we will have the World Number 1 player [[Editor: Unless Jason … or Rory is the official No.1 that week]] putting his game on public display at the Australian Open, appropriately being played at same course he won it on last year, The Australian.
The first world number 1 I saw in the flesh was back in 1970 at Manly Golf Club during the Dunlop International. His name was Jack Nicklaus. I was 12 year old kid wearing shorts and long socks, (who no doubt would have had regular visits to a Pediatrician), in awe of the great man and couldn’t wait to get close enough to see just what he looked like. I remember being a little disappointed when I spotted a small mole just near his nose but by and large, I was very impressed. The day before, he had driven his ball right into the centre of the par four first hole and I was anticipating the same opening tee-shot and wondering if I might in fact wet my pants.
Again I was a little let down when he removed his 1 iron from his Slazenger Bag, until the point where he hit it. I’d been impressed with Dad hitting the odd 2 iron back at Gosford Golf Course when I caddied for him, but this one iron Nicklaus hit made Dad’s look like a meat ball falling off a plate! I think I might have sworn out loud but the tens of thousands of spectators more than drowned my reaction out with their cheering and clapping.
A couple of hours later, Mister Nicklaus is 8 under par after 9 holes and I notice myself speaking with a high pitched American accent. He wound up bogeying the last hole for 62 and I was absolutely hooked on the man and the game.
I’m sure there will be bus loads full of kids of a similar age, running up to the first tee to take a close up look at Jordan Spieth as he defends the Stonehaven Cup at Kensington. Last year it was Rory McIlroy and he did a brilliant job of sending all those youngsters home with the same enthusiasm and passion for golf as Jack Nicklaus did for me in 1971. I have absolutely no doubt Jordan Spieth will represent the game and his lofty position in it as well as Rory with more kids and the odd 56 year old Professional Golfer again soaking up the excitement.
I just hope when Spieth rips his first drive down the first at Kenso I don’t get that urge again to wet my pants. Perhaps I should make an appointment to see my Pediatrician just in case?