52% intelligent. 9% modest. More monkey than bear.

Monday, September 25, 2006

we had dreams and songs to sing....



Woosie might have been stretching it a bit when he said that it was the greatest week in history, but I'll be blowed if the Ryder Cup isn't the single best sporting event in the world. I was at the Belfry in 2002 and thought that was the pretty good, but this week at the K Club in Ireland has completely blown it out of the water.

It was *brilliant*.

What else can I say? I was there for four days, from the second practice day on Thursday all the way through to the singles matches on Sunday, and it was just magical. I was very, very lucky to be there.



We stood in a number of places throughout the week - the first tee, the first green, the third, the fourth, the sixth, the eighth.... but the one place that we kept heading back to was the green at the sixteenth. This is the K Club's signature hole; a par 5 dog-leg that finishes on an island green. It's a difficult hole to play, and players have to make a crucial decision: do they go for the green in two and risk a watery end in the hope of a chance at an eagle three, or do they lay up and play for a birdie at best? That risk/reward decision makes it an interesting place to watch golf, but what makes it perfect is the huge scoreboard and a big screen showing action from around the course. There's a huge grandstand there, but we always chose to stand at the front alongside the river Liffey. From there you not only get a brilliant view of the hole, but you also stand right alongside the path the players and their VIP supporters have to take as they walk to the green. At various times as I stood there, as well as the players, I was within touching distance of the likes of George Bush Sr, Michael Jordan and Bill Clinton. None of that mattered. I was also there when Darren Clarke finished his match against Zach Johnson on Sunday. The Ryder Cup had already been won and the scorecard was awash with the blue of Europe, but this was the place to be. Darren Clarke's wife died six weeks ago after a long battle with breast cancer. It was amazing that he was here at all, nevermind that he was able to play such sensational golf. It was apparently Heather's final wish that he play in this match and that he did himself justice, and I watched him play the first hole of his opening fourballs game with Lee Westwood on Friday morning, and not only did he hold himself together, but he boomed an enormous 320 yard drive down the fairway and promptly won the hole. At the sixteenth, with his work finally done, Clarke finally let go and broke down into tears and collapsed into the arms of his caddy. It seemed as though all of the other European and American players who had finished their games were there, and all of them took turns to embrace the sobbing Irishman, cheered on by an amazing crowd of about 20,000 people. It was an incredible moment and I'm sure there was not a dry eye in the house. I know I was in tears and I'll never forget it.

I could go on and on, but I'll spare you. Suffice it to say that I had a fantastic time. It was hard work (up at around 5am for four days and then on my feet all day) and the weather was a little variable.... but what an incredible way to spend a few days.

I even quite enjoyed the opening and closing ceremonies... especially that bit where they attempted to interpret the illuminations in the Book of Kells through the medium of dance.... inspired!



I'll leave you with a quick game of "Where's Swiss?"

Above you will see Colin Montgomerie teeing off his singles match against David Toms on Sunday. Somewhere in the background, I am sat in the grandstand. But where? Can you find me?

Guesses below. The winner (or maybe just the funniest guess) will receive the t-shirt I got given at the launch of our new IT organisation at work the other week. What about that, eh? It's pretty difficult.... but what a prize!

18 Comments:

  • At 9:54 pm, Blogger bedshaped said…

    I think you're just above and to the right of the golfer's elbow.
    Come on, tell me I'm wrong!?

     
  • At 10:06 pm, Blogger Mark said…

    he's right you know!

    I reckon you're the flamboyantly dressed fop below the red and green umbrella, because I can't see Biggles ANYWHERE

     
  • At 10:27 pm, Blogger SwissToni said…

    that's not a terribly good quality photo, is it? Sorry about that.

    Anyway. Very good. Bedshaped has set a pretty high standard here.

    ST

    (If anyone finds a better quality pic of Monty teeing off at the first, then let me know and if I'm in it, I'll stick that up too.... I might also be in some of those pictures of Darren Clarke on the 16th - a bit easier to spot as I'm wearing red -- not a clue, I'd taken my coat off by then -- and I'm about a foot taller than anyone near me but I'm too tired to have a proper look just now. four 5am starts and then standing up all day. Work should be great fun tomorrow)

     
  • At 11:58 pm, Blogger Mark said…

    you're the chap in the red hooded top to the right and about halfway up.

     
  • At 9:22 am, Blogger Cat said…

    Ah, I wanted to play and was too slow!

     
  • At 9:49 am, Blogger SwissToni said…

    nope - no one's even close yet. Keep guessing!

    ST

     
  • At 5:17 pm, Blogger spinsterwitch said…

    Blue cap, seated at the far left side of the photo.

    I'm glad that you had a wonderful time in Ireland.

     
  • At 7:04 pm, Blogger AMDG said…

    Having come perilously close to losing the will to live while reading the golfy stuff, Philistine that I am, I was relieved to find the guessing game.

    I reckon you're... either the one in the red top in front of the ghostly trio on the top left, or else the one in the red cap in front of the black and white umbrella...

    /looking for conspicuously tall people

     
  • At 4:22 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You're behind the rolex clock 'innit?

    Des

     
  • At 1:55 pm, Blogger John said…

    Second umbrella from the left of shot, you're a couple of rows forward of the guy holding it and your head is almost directly below the right edge of his umbrella (as we look). You're wearing your green cap (and possibly sunglasses although the weather would suggest otherwise), and leaning forward in your seat slightly.

    What was the prize again?

     
  • At 2:03 pm, Blogger SwissToni said…

    what green cap?

    do you need clues?

    ST

     
  • At 7:33 pm, Blogger YokoSpungeon said…

    OMFG Bedshaped's link almost caused me to wet drawers. :)

    I think you are the yellow-raincoated devil to the middle of the right hand half, towards the top.

    Welcome back swiss.

     
  • At 8:14 pm, Blogger Stef said…

    Hey, this game of 'Where's Swiss' is more interesting that the Ryder cup! Well done mate. ;-)

    Golf. Zzzz...

     
  • At 8:28 pm, Blogger SwissToni said…

    ooooh. closest yet yoko!

    (and are you gonna guess or what Stef?)

    ST

     
  • At 12:23 am, Anonymous Sasha said…

    middle of the right hand side black cap under the black and white umbrella- though the man under the red and green umbrella in the middle comes in a close second...

     
  • At 8:23 am, Blogger SwissToni said…

    oh, getting colder! This is extremely difficult though as I am huddled up in my raincoat and I must be hunkered down a bit as I don't look particularly tall in my seat either.

    Yoko was nearest so far.

    I'll reveal all in a couple of days and award prizes..... keep the guesses coming though!

    ST

     
  • At 8:28 am, Blogger SwissToni said…

    I'm sticking a couple of big clues onto flickr....

     
  • At 4:33 pm, Anonymous Alex said…

    Hmm...
    Two below the yellow raincoat guess? Dressed in black?

     

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