Sunday, 14 June 2009


As any professional sportsmen will tell you, celebrating after a major success – whilst logical, human and certainly enjoyable – will inevitably have a consequential action to your following performance.

Hark at me. I won a D-flight competition and I am comparing myself with Angel Cabrera, still I did win the most significant and lucrative event I could on tour so celebrate I will. It also helps that it was Matron’s birthday so off to Miami we go, South Beach you all, swimming pools and movie stars and us...

We went on Memorial Day a national holiday here in the USA which had little significance to me. For us Brits, imagine Remembrance Day; imagine it in July when everyone instead of parading and wearing poppies celebrates in a party atmosphere their loved ones lost in conflict. South Beach was packed and one of the most haunting images I have seen was thousands of cardboard headstones on the boardwalk gardens in memory of lost servicemen. The significance to me was the general age of the deceased service men, the vast majority under 25, my son’s age.

Memorial day in Miami... A haunting field which shows headstones for the dead - it brought home the true cost of peace

Whatever your political beliefs, the rights and wrongs of particular conflicts, I defy anyone on seeing this spectacle not to feel humbled, sad and touched by the simple serenity and poignancy of the scene. It will long live in my memory. On a visit to New York in 04 I was similarly moved by thousands of yellow ribbons representing the victims of 9/11 simply tied to church railings in Manhattan.

Miami Beach was as I expected, chic, classy, expensive and full of beautiful people. All day long, and long into the night, the bars were full of bikini clad lovelies of all shapes, sizes, ethnicity and ages (the dark glasses were a must to hide the stares that could not be avoided when looking at such a bevy of beauties!) Flesh City it was for all three days of the visit (There are plenty of six packs on display to similarly enthral Matron.)

Partying at Miami.... No wonder the wheels came off at Victoria Hills

We partied long and well, enjoyed some excellent food and wine in Lincoln Street, a must-walk if in South Beach. A ½ mile walk-only street with numerous top quality restaurants, bars and shops. A wonderful place to while away the evening people-watching. The beach is as you will have seen on the TV, brilliant white punctuated by glowing tanned Amazonian bodies. Despite my new trim look, who am I kidding, the beach despite its attractions was not a place I felt comfy on… Too old and out of shape sadly!

We had a memorable time; golf despite being just a few miles from some of the most notable courses on the planet never entered my head. It was far too hot (nearly 100 every day). But Doral and Palm Beach will definitely be played on my next visit as we definitely will return.

After a week of this, I had not swung a club in anger and went up to Victoria Hills to play in the next event totally under-prepared. This is a course I particularly rate, I had played it last year in my debut on tour so I at least had the advantage of course knowledge, indeed I started imperiously, level par after 5 and well clear of my playing partners, Dana and once again Randy, the par 5s at six and nine took significant toll with an 8 and a 7.

In truth I never recovered but had little luck typified at the 17th, when my best drive on the back nine by a country mile finished in a divot, what a stupid rule it is to play it from there, my approach finished wide left in a larger divot, I chipped into an unraked bunker, before holing a monster for a double bogey. For the first time on tour I finished out of the top three and I was not well pleased with my performance. I had practiced regularly leading up to every event on tour except this one and the affect on my game was blindingly obvious. Do I regret it, missing out on Miami? Never. Sometimes golf can wait. Miami was memorable and magnificent, my golf at the Hills easily forgettable and redeemable.

South Beach Miami - chic avant garde, art deco, you'd be hard pressed to beat it!

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