by Tony Stafford
I was watching Sunday Supplement on Sky Sports this morning…. Hang on, Sunday Supplement, that rings a bell!
I just stopped watching Sunday Supplement, yes the other Sunday Supplement, but now I’m here after a weekend of unprecedented for me telly-watching. No Newbury, even without Lionel Ritchie – too much dancing on the ceiling – no Newmarket, home of the Hannon Tatts-races benefit.
My day had been set by the night before, watching round two of the Tour Championship. My mate Harry Taylor had taken Lee Westwood at his word as he piled the beef on his plate at Doncaster and claimed the track for the Tour Championship – yes I know I got that wrong too – was right up his street.
Harry took the 17-1 to plenty and when he called from the cab early on Thursday night I told him Lee had birdied the first two and was in perfect position on the short par four third. After a round involving I think eight bogeys, the “plenty” was as worthless as the ante-post vouchers on Camelot a few days earlier.
I’m a Rory man and even though he was making it look less easy than usual, I still hope he can get the $10 million Fedex money and the $1.4 million for the event as it seems he’s in a bit of a hole financially. He’s having to sell his house, with its golf practice facility as (1) he cannot afford to leave it lie unused for much of the year as he cavorts around the world with Caroline and (2) his mum has kept his bedroom vacant anyway – the lodger must have moved out!
Coming back from Newbury on Friday, with the M4 and M25 behaving totally unlike their normal Friday selves, I got in for the start of the golf and that finished just in time to see the 11 p.m. film on Sky Premiere 2 on 302.
For the next almost three hours I was riveted, the odd 66-year-old’s mini snooze apart, by the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Daniel Craig was unrecognisable apart from looks and body to James Bond, acted great and carried the film with an amazing if skinny New York actress Rooney (no relation) Mara. She spoke in the weirdest accent that could have meant to be Swedish English – the film is Sweden-based and written.
It is one of those films that requires concentration above and beyond that of the average nonagenarian – alright 66 year old – so I watched it right through again last night, making it a second 2 a.m. finish. The follow-up viewing was rewarding, so when I see the 2009 version in Swedish, I’ll be quids in, and as for reading the book on my long-dormant Kindle, I can’t wait.
Saturday mornings need an early start, even if you aren’t going racing, catching up with entries – we haven’t got any this week – results, sales returns from Italy, fields for Paris and my friend and boss’s trainer Nicolas Clement’s runners, and so on.
At 8 a.m. it was then the Morning Line or Laura Robson in China, the former spoiling many racing non-fans’ day by reporting on the Richie debacle. I wonder how many still went along to hear the news that they would be entitled to only a 30 per cent refund. Great PR Newbury!
Laura battled for around three hours to lose, then win, then finally lose her first big final, but that initial success is surely only delayed until she gets a first serve in, something that happened only rarely. Her power on either wing equated to that of Lukas Podolski, if not with quite the German’s accuracy. Imagine how straight his towel would be poolside on his summer holidays.
After the tennis, we moved on to the T20 World Championship cricket, a seven overs a side rain- affected match between South Africa and the hosts Sri Lanka. What chance could Sri Lanka have after South Africa’s many matches influenced by rain in the preceding couple of months in England?
Then it was Racing UK, with their monopoly of the four English afternoon meetings being skilfully spliced between Newbury, Ayr, Newmarket and Catterick, while the odd very brief break enabled – from 3.p.m. – me to keep tabs on Chelsea’s narrow and possibly fortuitous win over Stoke that keeps the luckiest of all teams at the top of the League.
Racing ended, it was on to Birmingham and their obvious home win – the pundits not me – over Barnsley. Halftime 0-0, 73 minutes 0-5. Football’s mad.
Now it was golf again, Rory staying put, Tiger moving up, Snedeker hitting every putt in the middle of the cup, and as one of only five guaranteed to win the $10m if he wins the event, a real threat to Rory. As they say, though, it’s the last nine holes on Sunday that are vital in a 72-hole event.
The last putt from Jim Furyk – following a mad seven at the 17th – which left him three behind and only level with Rory, while that nice guy Justin Rose shared the lead with Snedeker – dropped at 10.58 p.m., nice timing for the film, viewing 2.
It was even better second time round, especially the saucy bits. I noticed Mr Craig didn’t smile much, and at the end I thought he ruined the film by not going off into the sunlight…. Better not tell you, as it’s on until Thursday and is a must-watch. Tough week. Be glad to get back to going to Newmarket on Friday and Saturday, even if us purists: correction, “old Fogeys,” Ed., rue the change in races between HQ and Ascot.
– Tony S.