22 06 2012

José Manuel Lara: blameless

A wise man once told me that scoring well in golf isn’t so much about hitting great shots as minimising the potential damage of mistakes caused by bad ones. OK, this ‘wise man’ was actually John Ringstead, but even Ringer comes up with a good quote every once in a while. As with players, so too with caddies, and I couldn’t help but commiserate with a fellow bagger when I heard the news of José Manuel Lara’s disqualification from the current European Tour event in Germany. We all make mistakes, right? During my all too brief spell on the bag for Big B on the Canadian Tour I compiled a fairly impressive list of blunders myself. The list includes: letting Brian’s (massive) bag topple over at the precise moment he was attempting a very delicate pitch (and this in my very first competitve round with him); leaving a variety of items in my wake (towels, rangefinders, lunch etc) as I scurried down the fairway to keep up with the boss; and – perhaps most impressively of all – getting so engrossed in a conversation with one of Brian’s playing partners that I carried the flag stick with me from the 12th green halfway to the 13th tee box before he kindly pointed out that it might be a good idea to put it back so that the group behind would have some idea of where they were aiming. In my defence, this didn’t all happen during the same round – I mean, it’s not like I was totally inept or anything. But the fact that Brian put up with all this is testimony to his patience and good humour and, possibly, proof that good hired help is as hard to find on the golf course as it is in many other fields. No pun intended, of course.

But I have to say I never even considered committing the faux pas that young Mathias Vinson, Lara’s caddie, committed yesterday. It hadn’t been the best of days for Mathias even before the round started: heavy traffic had meant that he’d had to jog the last couple of miles to the course in order to help with Lara’s pre – round preparations. Doubtless somewhat discombobulated by this, Mathias must have been horrified to discover as he left the second tee that there were 15 clubs, rather than the permissible 14, in Lara’s bag. This is an automatic two stroke penalty per hole, up to a maximum of four strokes. Understandably fearing Lara’s probable reaction on being told the bad news, Mathias quickly came up with Plan B. Citing an urgent call of nature he made for the bushes, where he dumped the extra club. Unfortunately, the fact that he had taken his player’s bag with him into the undergrowth attracted the attention of Lara’s playing partners, one of whom – Irishman Damien McGrane – asked him what he was doing. Not surprisingly, Mathias was a bit stuck for an answer, and the best he could come up with was “I’ve done something bad. I wish it hadn’t happened.”

José Manuel Lara, who had no knowledge of what was going on, was initially given the mandatory four shot penalty but later – due to the gravity of the offence – this was changed by the rules officials to disqualification. Tough luck on Lara, but worse for the Argentinian Vinson, whose embryonic career as a caddie has come to a sudden and inglorious end. Head rules official John Paramor was quoted as saying “We’ve kind of asked the caddie not to come back,  and that’s how it’s been resolved”.

So poor Mathias joins a fairly long list of caddies who have hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons: I’m just grateful the cameras weren’t around when I made my little errors and that Brian was forgiving enough to accept my excuse: “Just trying to keep you loose, Big B. Just trying to keep you loose.”

All da best.

Bagger D.




6 responses

22 06 2012
Glennie the sandbagger

Yes indeed. This ranks right up there with the infamous “Krutzman Kick” and Stevie Wonder’s refusal to take a two stroke penalty for a lost ball on the second hole at Port Ludlow due to “faulty course design”.

Ah, what we are all capable of doing when we think the cameras are off.
I think Mathias should be given a second chance. My letter is in the mail.

As for the wisdom of Ringstead, I’ve always subscribed to the the theory that as soon as you get in trouble, just pound the piss out of it. By the law of averages, something good will happen. I’m still waiting on that “something good”

22 06 2012
Bagger Dave

I’m sure Robin will sleep easy tonight, knowing that you plan to ‘pound the piss’ out of every errant shot he makes in tomorrow’s alternate shot round in the shoot out. I see a big number in your future, Glennie…

23 06 2012
Bill Morrison

Almost as bad as Nalbandian getting ejected from a grass tennis tournament in England last week for inadvertently kicking a linesman in the leg and drawing blood!

23 06 2012
Bagger Dave

Now I don’t want to bring up ancient history here, Bill, or indulge in national stereotypes, but you’ll notice that both Nalbandian and the caddie were Argentinian. Coincidence? Almost certainly…

24 06 2012
john ringstead

‘Ringstead the Wise’ here: more wisdom to impart. If you hit one bad shot and compound it by hitting another bad shot with the same club, sell the club.

24 06 2012
Bagger Dave

This would seem to explain why you sold all those clubs to Lairdo. On the same basis, though, if I sold a club every time I hit a bad shot with it my bag would contain nothing but an umbrella and a ball scoop…

(BTW, where are you? Julie and I are on our way down to Onion Bay in the next hour or so).

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