It was one of those calls we all love to get, “Hi Matty do you want to come to the British Masters this Thursday at Close House?”
Well, it was a no-brainer – I was scheduled to be in the office all day – Hell yes let’s go!
I am an ex/social golfer – I love it, it loves me less so. I have enjoyed a certain amount of golf gambling success over the years albeit, but I am no Steve Palmer.
I had already singled out Graham Storm as my pick. Local (ish) lad with good current form – a solid each-way prospect.
I was excited.
I wasn’t to be disappointed.
I live local to the course, so had watched fascinated over the previous 4 weeks as the infrastructure was put in place – temporary bridges, tented villages, grandstands etc.
As I pulled into the car park I was struck by the number of cars – this was the real deal. The North-East sporting public had turned out.
As I walked through the trade stands I was again struck by the enthusiasm and the atmosphere. Everyone was loving it!
I met my compadres at the practice range (I had to ask for directions…!) – only for Sergio Garcia to roll past in a buggy, shortly followed by Miguel Angel Jiménez, true to form engulfed by a cloud of cigar smoke.
We followed some of the major protagonists - Westwood, Mcllroy, McDowell, Kaymer, Willett, Fitzpatrick, Coetzee, Donaldson – it was a who’s who of the European golfing elite.
My man got off to a good start – and I cheered suitably loud for him.
It was a great day - capped off by the great Northumbrian weather.
I wasn’t alone in loving the occasion – the record crowds for the event speak for themselves.
I hope that top-level Golf remains a constant in the North East – and with Lee Westwood acting in an ambassadorial role for Close House GC I trust that it will.
Oh, did I mention Graham Storm tied for 4th – happy days!