Larry Canning: Professional golf… when having the right “balls” really does matter

Larry CanningBy Larry Canning.

There I was watching the golf on TV when – 

Fred Couples pulled his second shot into a hazard during a Champions Tour event and then turned to his caddy, cracked a joke while gently PLACING his club back in the bag.

I mean, I’ve had members at my club react worse after I’ve told them we have run out sauce for their pie.

It made me think.  How wonderful it would have been to play golf for lots of money when you already had lots and lots of money?

I played my entire illustrious career pondering, how much coin I was about to lose.

It was part of my pre-shot preparation.

I played my entire illustrious career pondering, how much coin I was about to lose. It was part of my pre-shot preparation.

A conversation with my caddy would resemble something very different to that of Fred and his mate. More along the lines of –

Me – “How far do we have to the pin?”

Caddy – “145….. a good 7 iron”

Me – “How far do we have to that creek on the left?”

Caddy – “145….. a good 7 iron”

Me – “How much will that cost us if we go in?”

Caddy – “It won’t cost ‘us’ anything, you don’t pay me. But for you… about nine hundred”

Me – “Give me a soft 8 iron”

I found it flat out impossible to overcome the crippling effects of impending disaster to perform a task I could do with ease on the practice fairway.

“Performance Anxiety” was the professional term – I called it having a pair the size a tick tack. If I was anywhere on the leaderboard on the weekend you’d often see me walking down the fairway with the St John Ambulance crew following with a spare hospital gown and a canister of oxygen.

I wasn’t the only player to feel the stifling effects of this heinous condition. My mate “Hearny”, who could seriously play, had to finally give the tour away when his anus was diagnosed with chronic schizophrenia.

He now runs the Pro-Shop (with its own ensuite), down at the beautiful, sleepy and stress free hamlet of Bermagui.

I know what you’re thinking, “Eh! You need to firm the hell up Mate!” and you’re right. But let me tell you, it’s a lot harder than you think to hit a good shot and god forbid, make a good swing when the outcome can change a lot of things. Not just $900 but a cut, a re-rank, an exemption or an opportunity to play on a big Tour overseas.

The reason I’m boring you with my personal ball-less baggage and my mates quirky colon is right after I saw Freddy Couple’s extreme case of under-reaction, I watched Tim Herron in the same event lose a 4 shot lead and nearly his lunch in the process. It was painful and familiar to watch but for Lumpy it looked like agony.   

Knock me down with a wedge tee but the very next tournament that came onto my screen was a replay of the US Women’s Open. If watching Herron shoot 39 on the back nine on Sunday wasn’t enough, the sight of poor Lexi Thompson squandering a 5 shot lead over her final holes by shooting 41 was even worse.

The first person I spoke to later that morning began telling me about how Lexi Thompson was a choker and after I gave some off hand borderline rude response, I thought I’d write about it before I heard anyone else use possibly my most hated golfing term.

Like I said readers, it’s a bloody lot harder to play your best golf when there is so much on the line. I’ve heard all kinds of ill-informed punters attempting to compare their recent monthly medal meltdown or Club Championship fail with terms like – “It’s all relative Larry”, “the monthly medal means a lot to me as well”.

Sorry kids no its not. Come Monday, and you still have a job, right?

I was once told by a slightly patronizing hypnotherapist not to feel embarrassed by my testicular shrinkage

Along my unceremonious journey into playing for large amounts of cash, I was once told by a slightly patronizing hypnotherapist not to feel embarrassed by my testicular shrinkage and if I needed to explain to the critics to use this daggy old analogy – it’s like walking on a tight rope that’s 6 inches off the ground then raising the rope to 20 stories high. (Sorry, that’s still sounds unbelievably condescending doesn’t it??!).

Anywho, can we at least find a more a user friendly term for “Choker”. I’d love to have some feedback??

Covid vaccine a cure for chipping yips?

Can I finish on something positive? For those of you fellow yippers, I just had my first Covid 19 prick last week and you wouldn’t want to know it, I can now chip again!

My second jab isn’t for a few weeks and I reckon after that I’ll pick up 25 metres… I’m back on Tour!!

Get yourself prodded folks… it’ll save your game!!



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