We fly in to a small private air field in Tampa, Florida. We walk through this small area, got the tail number of our plane back. "Your car is waiting for you outside Mr Rosenfeld" please understand that Andrew is a very private and understated man. I know it doesn't sound like it but he really is. Always wants to go under the radar never wants to make a fuss. We walk outside. "Good god, what on earth is that."
This was the biggest stretch limo I have ever seen, jet black with a massive white strip running across the side, it looked like a 30 foot long skunk and believe me when we got inside it smelt like it. Even Pepe Le Pew would have said, "Not for me thank you". "Hi guys" was this loud shout. Standing at over 6 and a half feet tall, with the deepest tan you have ever seen, also never seen teeth so white and hair so black for someone in his late 50s. He was wearing a black suit with a white strip running across the bottom of his jacket, just to clash against the car, he thought it was funny! It wasn't.
"Welcome to my world he cried with both arms in the air." quick as a flash "I prefer the Jim Reeves version. There's no way I'm getting in that" said a distraught Andrew. "Mate, if we don't get in this car we will miss our tee time" I spent most of the trip with my head out of the sun roof waving to people. One reason was it stunk inside the other was to wide Andrew up. "Please do not drive into the country club" said Andrew to the driver, "there is no way I'm pulling in there in this, just drop us outside" the driver seemed really upset, no doubt this car was his pride and joy. Order was placed for a town car to take us back!
Today we are playing the monster that is the Copperhead course, Innisbrook, Tampa. 7,200 yards long with some striking beauty around the place. Fox squirrels, alligators, bald eagles, blue herons. The PGA tour had a big event there just last week, they played for over $6,500 million.
We were standing on the 12th tee waiting for the players ahead to move out of range when all of a sudden we could hear two loud American voices shouting at each other. We looked around, nothing, then all of a sudden this golf buggy appeared, it came flying over the bank of the last green, "hit the god dam break" "I can't, this thing is out of control" now, I'm going to keep the real language out of this story "give me the dam steering wheel" as he reached across to gain some sort of control, whist doing this, stubbed his extra-large cigar out on in his forearm.
Now that is when the language really gets fruity. Not sure I've ever seen a golf buggy go so fast. It was bombing towards us at an alarming rate, we ran away from the buggies firing line. They were sort of fighting with each other trying to get control. Now I'm not saying they were your typical American golfers, they were both about 18 stone wearing flowery shorts with matching shirts, one had a baseball cap back-to-front and the other had a straw beach hat which flew off in the Jetstream.
So, straight across our tee heading for a small stream that ran at the back of our tee. "Jump, jump" shouted one of them. These two rather large gentlemen did an ungainly swan dive out of the buggy then continued to bounce across the grass like a rubber ball bouncing down a marble staircase, with that the buggy hit the little upslope that guarded the stream and as if the buggy had wings, sent itself about 3 feet in the air landing full pitch, just like a javelin digs itself in the turf, the front of the buggy did the same. Bang, both sets of clubs were sent flying over the roof of the buggy. Balls, crisp packets, tees, pencils, empty boxes of chicken wings and hot dog wrappers were seen floating down the stream. "What's da madder with you" said one of them as he tried to get up. "What's da madder with you" came the return of this verbal tennis match. "You are some piece work, no wonder your wife plays around" well that was it, they were now sort of running towards each other and started this half-hearted fight.
All of a sudden the two that made up the four came over the hill, jumped out and separated their so called friends. "Check my clubs, they better not be broken" "It'll make no difference to your dam game if they were" came flashing back. Forget about the statement made about his generous wife playing around, the clubs were far more important!
When we got back to the clubhouse the 4 ball were sitting at the table together laughing away. "Everything seems to be ok lads" came from me. "Please join us pal" said one of the 4 smiling. "That's kind of you but we have got to go, we are off to see your wife!" Loud laughter from all…Thankfully! Golf is such an incredible game, it brings some many people together from all walks of life, all sharing the same thing, trying to play this great but difficult game whilst having loads of fun.
Poppy sits on my legs looks me in the eyes, then pounces, trying to stick her teeth up my nose. Sometimes you can hear her little paws patting across the floor then all of a sudden she's on you. We started out with all the right intentions. No jumping on the furniture, no upstairs, she must stay in her pen at times. O well never mind!
I used to have lovely little good byes first thing in the morning. It's always a throw of the dice when waking up the Mrs W! It's like lighting a box of fireworks, you don't know what direction there going to end up. The only time she will be ok with being woken is if it has snowed outside or a celebrity had died in the night! So it used to be, "Ok lovely, I'm off to work, I love you, see you later" with a gentle kiss on the forehead.
Now "babe got to go, Honeys been out and I haven't got time to deal with it and Poppy is eating my underpants, bye." I half shout this from the door.
Anyone listening would think her name is "Poppy no" "No Poppy" "O Poppy" "Poppy stop"
Thank you to everyone who has put their names down to play against the Captain and myself. David and I are both looking forward to playing with you. I've had to slowly part myself from last year's captain Andy Murray. This is like when TAKE THAT broke up. I think we need to create the Andy Murray help line. Andy, please stop driving past my house, we have to move on, it's you, not me, and I'm with David now. We had our time and now you must spend more time with your lovely wife and children. We had our time Andy, it was fun but we both knew that it would end. Of course I will still talk to you and of course we can still enjoy our hugs, I wouldn't be that cruel.
It's sometimes hard to break away because you spend so much time with your captain and share so much in the year. I did have a dream once that Andy came in to my bedroom wearing just a pair of club crested underpants and some fluffy slippers with tea and toast saying "come on sleepyhead we are on the tee in an hour" now that's freighting!
But in all seriousness, Andy you have been the most incredible captain. Everyone has told me that you did everything and more that is expected of a club captain. I hope that this will not affect the share price of fever tree tonic and monkey gin even though you will still be down here enjoying everyone's company.
Our President, Past Captain, David Edmonds alongside past Captain, past chairman Sandy Adamson, past Captain Andy Murray and, who was let out for the day and looks like a Competition winner, Tim Ledeboer. Great follow-through Andy and just encase Tim with towel.
We all need a Little Help
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