Aboitiz Invitational: Caddying for Another O’Toole (they’re everywhere!)

13895038_10153494955402242_445565081786664541_nFrom one O’Toole to another, it was time to drag my weary body to Manila. This time I would caddy for Casey’s cousin, John Michael. Surely, he won’t be as ‘talented’ as Casey,but rumour had it that he was…I was just hoping that he wouldn’t be farting and singing Justin Bieber all day to be honest. This would be my last tournament caddying during my summer break. While most of my co-workers relaxed on beaches across Asia, I liked to use up my free time stressing out on golf courses-not sure why, but then again I have done many questionable things in my life.

20160731_210922After eating half of the lounge food in Bangkok airport,I wobbled up to the departure gate,praying for a peaceful flight,something that I hadn’t experienced in a long long time. Amazingly, my prayers were answered when I realised that my seat was next to two deaf people, who were communicating via sign language- praise the Lord! (To clarify, it was the impending peaceful flight that cheered me up, nothing else!).

6326977875_78486a27e9_bSitting just in front of me was Miguel Tabuena, who was also looking pretty shattered, after playing in the Kings Cup earlier that day. I told him I was heading to an ADT event in Manila; he said next up for him was the Rio Olympics – a slight difference in our schedules. I preferred mine to be honest- only a three hour flight to deal with and no threat of the Zica virus in Manila. Although, if he asked me to caddy for him in Rio, I’d probably have considered it. It didn’t pop up in the conversation though, maybe I’ll be required for Tokyo 2020. By that stage I should have a few hundred cuts made…

s-l300I eventually got to my hotel at 330am after getting charged five times the going rate by a cowboy cab driver. I was so tired that I had no idea about the exchange rate and my haggling skills were not up to their usual top notch level. I was wondering why he looked so happy when me said a price and I quickly agreed without hesitation. Cowboy! I finally got to jump into bed at 4am, roughly the time I had been waking up at for the past week. My sleeping pattern was out the window for the day…not literally as I was on the 15th floor of the hotel.

After waking up at 1pm, my belly was pretty angry due to its lack of donations,while I tried to rest my mind.Tough going at times this sleeping carry-on. A quick check on TripAdvisor showed me that I was just a short stroll to a Mega-Mall, which meant mega food court.13873118_10153490340912242_8420036291354992395_n I was not feeling very adventurous, so popped into Ronald’s gaf again for a cheeseburger meal (large of course). It’s probably not a wise move to go clothes shopping in the Philippines straight after eating Maccy D’s.13900058_10153490340892242_8914314401014474631_nYou know that shite feeling you have after eating that crap? Well then to be told my local shorts size is 3 XL was like the knockout blow in my heavyweight championship. FYI 3XL in the Philippines = medium in US. But then again a medium in the US is at least a large everywhere else…There’s a whole bunch of irrelevant information for you!After my traumatic shopping experience, it was time to head back to the hotel and sleep began again at 8pm aka Casey time.

Tuesday was our only practice day, as the tournament ran from Wednesday-Saturday, probably so everyone could hit the Manila clubs on Saturday night. Unsurprisingly, I was up and about at 5am. JM was planning on playing at 9am, so I looked for cab at 715am.13879437_10153490341037242_588866032975595535_nI wasn’t really prepared for the traffic and it was 8am before a taxi picked me up and drove me five minutes up the road to Wack Wack (yup, that’s the name of the golf course-something to do with local bird life, I wasn’t really listening when being told and probably just bored you know by mentioning this…) JM had teed off early with Sergio Baxter and Gavin Green, so I was chauffeured down to them in a buggy, that had seen better days and golf shots clearly…13921004_10153492637937242_6700783220662816531_n We said our hellos and I grabbed his bag, which immediately told me I would be in for a cuschty week! It was so light I had to check twice that I had actually picked it up. How considerate of JM to do this and he even had shamrocks on his golf shoes in my honour- thank you.13886947_10153492637562242_3009510732912959746_n Eh, Casey and your big bag? No need for it…When JM took his two litre bottle of Gatorade out of the bag, the weight halved. “Chug it back JM…”

The course was in great shape, with the par 3 8th being notorious for destroying many golfers score cards.13901499_10153492638032242_8046327875668447165_n                                     NOT THIS WEEK NUMBER 8, NOT THIS WEEK! 13879237_10153494957422242_8200869258822343276_nI honestly thought JM’s buddy was Sergio Garcia for a split second and with Gavin Green also playing in our group and heading to Rio after this tournament, maybe it was. But of course it wasn’t…

We grabbed a bite to eat in the clubhouse afterwards and I was back in my hotel by 4pm,after airing out the shoes again…13938623_10153494955487242_4464664772222145360_nThe day was finished off with a Burger King delivery and Rocky marathon on TV. Yes, BBC News was on when photo was taken…13902622_10153493021427242_1068438287402169444_n Seriously, how did Sylvester Stallone make it onto TV? I mean who was the first person to interview him for a job as an actor? Even though Rocky was on an English TV station, subtitles in English were also provided, enough said…

It wasn’t until day one of the tournament that I realised my phone was still set on Thai time…So JM hadn’t teed off early yesterday…Oops!13912499_10153492636887242_6855580001154801899_n Luckily, I still arrived 45 mins before our tee time. We got off to a rough start +6 through 7(maybe he was nervous as it was the first time not having local caddie as a pro? Or maybe not?). Anyway, we battled back to finish final 11 on -2 with +4 total, that was like par on this course.

JM asked me to mention hole 10 as he said it was probably the greatest hole he ever played…much better than Casey’s par recovery the week earlier…Quick summary- tee off buried in a bush, chipped out onto the fairway, 180 yds to 2 feet, par, next hole please.

13887060_10153492628732242_3744620208520806323_nI better mention that the heat was ridonkulus (not a typo) again, as if it was going to be any different…There was free lunch on offer upstairs afterwards, but fish, eggs and rice was not too appealing; more grease was required. On the range, after lunch, when one of the local golfers found out that he missed the free food, he acted like he’d been shot 50 times. It would have saved him about $5. Tough times on the Philippine Tour…

I got back to my hotel at 5pm, after 45 min taxi journey for 1 km spin and stretched in nescht for the evening. 20160803_180758The hotel had its own phone app for ordering food from almost anywhere in Manila- time for a pizza followed by zzz by 9pm – rock star (more like retiree) lifestyle.

Day two began with the eyes opening delicately at 5am. Rocky was still on TV, but quickly switched off. I go to the course at about 730am in a bid to beat the morning traffic- I think it’s just 24/7 in Manila.13920894_10153496723627242_7324581670646532674_n I crackled down possibly the crispiest bacon I’ve ever eaten, and believe me, many pigs have passed through my digestive system. Free brekkie not looking good. We got off to a slow start again,which left us just out of the cut line,but it never really felt like we we’re gonna miss it.

13932753_10153497256122242_3807635428274440456_nAs we were about to finish out the 12th hole, the sound of foghorns rang round the course- a thunderstorm was coming, apparently anyway. 13939590_10153497256542242_3248556079345986810_nThe two hour delay gave me some time to dry off basically everything- shirt, shorts, cap, shoes, socks, Wack Wack money…It wasn’t the most social occasion waiting around, as everyone sat at the clubhouse staring at their phones, including myself of course!

13900161_10153497461137242_8498425618628473253_nWe had 6 holes left to try and salvage the round and make the cut. No problem sirrrrr…A serious grind ended with a birdie on 17 and a clutch 10 foot par putt on 18,  to make the cut and keep the run going…these Alabamans are serious grinders, they almost have as much fighting spirit as us Irish, almost.

13939511_10153508409632242_7483008214517254764_nThe taxi man back was an expert at chatting shite, even more than me. He spent the whole journey (15 minutes only thankfully) telling me if u eat five baluts you can have sex for 24 hours. ”That’s OK Seamus (my token name for people whose name I don’t know), if I wanted to have sex for a day, I’d pop a couple of Viagra’s instead of eat five baby bird fetuses”.

I got back to the hotel at 8pm and the lights were out by 9, after hoovering back a well deserved Maccy D’s delivery via this majestic app!20160804_202045 No matter what country I’m in, Ronald will always be ma maaaan for the greasy munch.

Moving day morning always starts with the hope of going low and flying up the leader board and this was no different. I was not in the best shape having had a pretty rough night sleep with stomach issues. Ronald my maaan, what did you do to me?? Throughout the night, I spent more time arched over the toilet bowl than a supermodel after overindulging at an all you can eat meat buffet. I had a total of two hours kip and felt like an Eskimo trekking through the Sahara, as I made my way to the course.

13876300_10153498758507242_3939922497281948214_nI nervously forced some fruit into my fragile belly for breakfast, which seemed like the safest option. The round itself was turning out to be a tough battle and I slipped into the toilet on the back 9 to throw up, but JM doesn’t know this, until now! I kept quiet and battled on like a proper Irishman! It was a tough day, although as we still managed to stay inside the top 40.

It was straight back to the hotel after the round for much needed kip. I woke up a few hours later feeling much better, so celebrated with a trip next door to Mr Kabab for dinner.20160805_181637 “We have beef,lamb or chicken kebabs sirrr,which one would you like sirrr? “I’ll take one of each Mary-thank you”. And straight back to bed after!

I woke up for our final day, back to peak fitness (which is about 85%). We finished with a solid round of 73. The notorious number 8 gave us a punch in the face and a double,but JM quickly followed that up by grabbing number 9 by the throat and squeezing out a birdie. We finished T-35th (8 places better than the week before…). 13925862_10153501700762242_3694747704889467097_oGavin Green was beaten on the last by local favourite Jay Bayron, but he was off to Rio, so his disappointment probably lasted about 10 seconds.

13908968_10153501707057242_1563524520625868431_oSo after caddying for the two O’Toole’s over two consecutive weeks, I believe that I am in the perfect position to give an accurate opinion of who is the better all round golfer. Who is better off the tee? Who is a more solid iron player? Who has a superior short game? Who is the stronger putter? Most importantly, who is the better human being? Casey or John Michael…..

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I ain’t saying nothing…please go away, the article is finished. Thank you 😉

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