Missed cuts after dark
ON a weekend when Rory McIlroy, Padraig Harrington, Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell all missed the cut at the Irish Open, I too ‘missed a cut’ of my own, at the Golfing Insomniacs competition at Westport Golf Club.
A few days earlier the Sports Editor had asked: “Robbie, I know you’ve an interest in golf, would you be available to do a feature?”
?I must admit that my first thought was he was going to send me to the Irish Open (poor Austin Garvin would have been devastated!) but that was not the task at hand.
Instead, he offered me the chance to write a feature about the Golfing Insomniacs competition so, as all good journalists do, I proceeded to get the details from the organiser Paul O’Neill, and everything was good to go at 4am on Saturday, June 24.
After finishing a busy night’s work in my uncle’s pub in Claremorris, I struck off for Westport. The expansive night-time roads were calling to me, Jake Bugg was singing to me, and I was contemplating as I drove.
I thought of being there to witness a serene summer sunrise, flickering across Clew Bay, creeping up the iconic Croagh Patrick. I thought of the excitement of the shotgun start in the early morning darkness, of the new friendships that might be sparked and, of course, being the person that I am, of winning the bloody thing!
I swept in past the concrete pillars of Westport Golf Club’s entrance, and drove up the tree-lined avenue to the spectacular parklands clubhouse. There was something missing though, something that would send a chill up a lesser man’s spine. There was a distinct lack of people and activity. “It’s only 3.30am” I reassured myself. “They’ll be here soon”.
So I found a parking space (not very hard), put back my car seat and decided to have a sleep until someone came.
But as I awoke to what was the beginning of a storm, I had a stark realisation, a realisation that shook me in a similar way to how my car was now being shook by the gale force Atlantic winds.
“Saturday, June 24 at 4am. .” I calculated, “Was this morning!” I had somehow managed to be 24 hours late for my tee-time. “It could have happened to anyone” I said to myself defiantly.
But it didn’t happen to anyone else, I was the only person sitting in a golf club car park at 4am on a Saturday night, or Sunday morning. To be honest I’m not even sure anymore.