Unable to get a ticket for Ryder Cup – long story – so ended up traveling to Cardiff for a meeting with other like-minded, like-budgeted folk. Due to meet up in ‘The Cottage’ at 2 so get to Cardiff early and wander around. Seems a lot quieter in Cardiff – some shops have golf displays but not too many. Not the feeling of any thing exciting happening at all – perhaps this is a mistake.
‘The Cottage’ is quiet – we talk, and wait for everyone to turn up. Drinks are bought, lives are caught up with and we watch the occasional report in the background on Sky Sports news. There’s a number of mobiles ringing which announce the fact that all who are here are here and we roam a little. First there’s the traditional “One in the Goat” – big mistake, in golfing terms. Three minutes later we’re in the Old Arcade – nice – it’s become a bit posher than we like and we have a few. Later that evening there’s a talk organised by a number of golfing types – we agree to return (we never do) and someone hears a report that there are a couple of old acquaintances in a different pub. We leave, get chips in Caroline Street, eat them and cross the room. At last….
We wander into O’Neill’s – It’s exactly like a rugby International – many, many excited, semi-drunk Welsh people talking, drinking, watching, analysing and cheering simultaneously. It’s still early but already all the shots are being cheered or jeered and favourites are emerging – Rory, Poults and Luke are current favourites and a mix of responses to Tiger – generally polite, very low level comments, all intermingled with ‘oohs’ and ‘ahs’ at the shots he plays.
The treatment of Monty has totally changed over the past week or so – where has the miserable, growling, grumpy Colin gone. Who or what has replaced him with this caring, sharing, human. “What have you done with the real Monty!” someone cries out , “Bring him back,” “No!” comes the chorus and the pretend ego-free Monty carries on talking eloquently, respectfully and politely on the giant screen. No-one is fooled – the real Monty will be back. We miss him.
We spot a celeb on TV and discuss how they managed to get a ticket. Chris Evans appears on screen and the pub is polarised. We all cheer as Mark Roe says something probably witty and insightful ( can’t hear a thing ).
Hours later we’re in an Indian restaurant reflecting on the day, eating and starting to work out how we’ll get home, when we’ll meet again and promising that next time we will go and see it in the flesh.
This article first appeared in Cambria Magazine June ’11