The inclusion of the 2nd at Royal Porthcawl as one of your ‘five of the best tough par 4s’ (September issue) reminded me of two very important golfing lessons that hole taught my 12-year-old son (and me) during the 2014 Senior Open.
The hole was being played as the 3rd that week and Tom Watson had started birdie, bogey and he was very cross indeed. My son and I were standing on the right-hand side of the fairway about 250 yards from the tee when Tom’s drive whistled past our ears and landed in the rough about ten feet from us. He fortunately got a pretty clean lie.
Tom arrived at the ball with steam clearly coming out of his ears and demanded “yardage to the middle.” “Er… 148” said the caddie. “Right, 8-iron” barked Tom. Then a beautifully smooth Watson practice swing was followed by a complete and utter duff. The ball went about five yards. Tom marched forward and, no practice swing this time, whacked the ball straight in the deep bunker to the right of the green.
And the two lessons my son and I learned? Firstly, if the great Tom Watson can duff it then we humble golfing mortals shouldn’t be overly troubled when we do it; and secondly, you will never hit a decent shot if you are angry about the shot before. Andy Wiggins, Staplehurst
Andy, your story just goes to show it can happen to the best of us. Keeping a clear head on the course is an often overlooked skill, but one which can save us all valuable shots. I’ll try to recall your experience the next time the red mist descends!
Tom Watson in a calmer moment at Royal Porthcawl