By Larry Canning.
I just watched one of this year’s most majestic long irons from the sweet swinging Justin Rose. It was his final hole of the British PGA Championship at Wentworth in England and the elegant Pom was in contention not only for the title but also a treasured Captain’s pick for the Ryder Cup side. It resulted in a tap in eagle right when he needed it.
Seconds later the coverage went to the 16th tee where tournament leader Kiradech Aphibarnrat was shaping up. The Thai star was 9 under for his round and leading the show at minus 18 when out of the blue he hit his tee shot off the 16th tee so FAT it barely carried the rough to reach the fairway. From what I could see his lie on the tee seemed pretty good.
It reminded me of just how golf can make you look godlike one minute and craplike the next.
I couldn’t help thinking of all the times I have been humiliated by the game and how few times it had paid me back. In fact, I’m still struggling to remember the last time I found myself sucking in the adoration of anyone, really. But It didn’t take me long to recall my last excruciatingly embarrassing moment.
Is there anything worse than putting your kids in a position where they are either in danger of being hurt or worse, making them seek legal advice on how to change their surname. I once left my two youngest sons peering over the top of an alligator enclosure while my older bloke and I walked 5 steps away to check out the country’s laziest Saltwater Crock. Next thing I know I hear a horrible growl and see my young blokes in mid air diving across a table yelling “Dad!!” I rushed over to see a 10 foot alligator sliding backwards back down the enclosure wall into the water. I screamed out “Dad!!” as well when I saw how close this prehistoric reptile got to eating my kids.
It didn’t help after I complained to an older women wearing a khaki hat, who looked eerily like Paul Hogan. She said, “Aaah don’t worry Darl, it’s just that’s it’s mating season”. “Phew that’s a relief” I replied… “So a giant alligator was only trying to rape two of my sons?”
My oldest bloke is a PGA member and he asked me last year if I’d like to play with him in the NSW PGA 2-ball matchplay tournament. Neither of us had gripped a club for a while plus I’m really old and crap but it seemed like a nice way to catch up and have a hit together. “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” I asked myself, lose in the first round but have fun doing it? So it was – “Yes mate, let’s give it a rip”.
Before I knew it, our first match was upon us. One of our opponents arrived and informed us his mate couldn’t make it so it was the two of us against him. Now I’m thinking, “Safely putting up a fight and losing to two players who were more seasoned than us was OK… but now??? And on our home course?”
My son played well enough to get us over the line so we scraped through and lived to graciously lose another day. This sounds like I’m spinning one but bugger me, if our next opponent was also a one ball best ball and again, on our home course.
I slightly redeemed myself and helped with a couple of birdies and again we fell over the tape. Shallow victories? Yes I know but now we’re in the quarter finals! Dare we dream?
Okay so now we’re playing at a neutral course against two players so my pre-game motivation to my son is, “These two guys play the tour, you haven’t played competitively for a couple of years and I’m only months away from a nursing home. We have nothing to lose.” Sadly, my son Heath was running late and I was talking to myself but it still felt good.
Now this is when I get to my point about this freaking game biting you right on the tip of your self-respect! Our group had to push in front of two groups to regain our now late timeslot but I convinced all eight of them that we are all pros so won’t hold them up. The three young blokes all hit those low screaming long iron things that stay about 20 feet in the air for the first 220 metres then screech like a cheap Jetstar flight into Avalon airport when they land… Shit! Now it’s my shot!
How did I let this happen? What do I have that won’t make me appear, as my wife Sandra often says… “inadequate”. Driver is going to look pretty bad when it finishes 25 metres behind their irons. Aaah, I know… I’ll hit a 3 wood and take some of the spin off with an upward strike so it can run out and when it doesn’t get within 30 metres I’ll just fake a rotator cuff.
Tragically, I overdid the upward strike and the face of my three wood was not troubled but the sole was totally violated! My Z Star dribbled 15 metres in front of me.
My immediate reaction was to laugh out loud in an attempt shrug it off and I was hoping everyone else gathered round the tee would do the same.
Sadly when I spun around all I saw was 11 people, including Heath all sheepishly turning their heads and whispering to each other. If everyone had of laughed it off like me I would have felt “fine?”… no maybe not but definitely a lot less humiliated.
So the record will show Larry and Heath Canning made it all the way to the quarters but lost a close match.
In reality, Larry and Heath Canning probably will never play Gold Creek again and Heath is still pondering his new surname.
Please write in and tell us your most embarrassing golfing moment. It could really help with my rehabilitation.