*Before you read this, please understand that I couldn’t give a shite who the next US President is.Whether it is Trump, Hillary,Johnson or Dennis Rodman, it’s not of interest to me. If you are offended by any political references I make in a lighthearted way, please keep your letter of complaints to yourself, because they will be ignored (and probably laughed at 🙂 Week 3 in Pattaya had finally arrived. It’s definitely not the number one tourist spot in Thailand, unless you are not far from your grave it seems. Definitely not the place to be hanging around for too long, but with just a few days between tournaments, I ‘battled’ through staying there and tried my best to avoid the dodgy places I would have loved to visit back in my prime…I think I succeeded in doing this, maybe. You will never know.
I was fully recharged and ready for a big week with the great great grandson of an Irish potato farmer, Casey O Toole, arguably the best player I’ve caddied for so far, (I said arguably…). Well I suppose we would find out on Sunday. He had finished in a tie for fifth in his previous tournament, so maybe this was going to be the week that I would experience what it was like to be in contention going into the weekend. I’m sure that will be a whole new level of pressure, but after next year’s Masters, I will be in a better position to comment on this. First and foremost, the Kings Cup cut needed to be made.
I had a relatively sleepless Sunday night (in a hotel that looked like a ship), due to the chronic snoring by Alan (Asian Tour regular caddie). Although his snoring was probably more bearable than his snap chatting to be fair… We took off to the official hotel early in the morning to check in and devour some free bacon- quite possibly my two favourite words.With the bellies bloated, Alan drove us to the course, leaving me with plenty of time to wander about the course chatting shite to different people, as I waited for Casey to arrive from Bangkok.
As I arched back bottle after bottle of water beside a fan in the reception area, I felt obliged to get a snap with Anthony Kang when he arrived. He looked like he had stolen someones lampshade from the 1970’s wearing that cap. Not the most stylish of entrances, but then again Anthony was going to be behind the TV cameras commentating for the week, which seemed like a much cushtier job than lugging around a golf bag in the baking heat. Maybe one day I will get the opportunity to do this, although I’m not sure golf TV coverage has room for subtitles amongst all the other text on the screen.
As I waited patiently…for Casey, the ‘headline act’ for the week Trevor Immelman was next to arrive at the clubhouse. It was probably a bit too hot for him to be wearing his green jacket and to be fair, it’s probably a bit worn out at this stage. When he saw me, he ran up and begged me for a photo.”No problem, Trev my maaan”. It’s hard to believe that he is only one year older than me. Clearly I have had a much less stressful (and successful) life.
Casey eventually arrived at around noon along with David Lutterus aka the Australian Chris Wood (well according to me anyway). Proudly wearing his combat cap with “Make America Great Again”,I immediately got the impression that an interesting week was in store…
Lutterus told me that he had recently played at my home course in Ireland, which meant that every course after that was a major letdown (according to me). It was another hot and humid day, so we only played 9 holes, which was probably a good thing as Casey was down a few bets against Woody.Casey didn’t seem too happy after our first practice day…
We got back to the hotel at about 5pm and wandered around the place looking for a decent place to grab a much.Not too many options around, so we eventually settled on dinner at an Indian restaurant, down a dodgy looking lane way. Probably not the best decision we made all week. The butter chicken was more like scutter chicken that looked like it came straight from the open sewer outside.The taste matched the look and we left soon afterwards knowing that we would never return there. Thankfully a few 7-Eleven toasted sandwiches saved the day and the belly was content once again.
In what became the main theme of the week, Casey fell asleep from 7pm. Jet lag was an acceptable excuse on this occasion. I like to go to sleep pretty early too these days, but not when the sun is still shining outside… so I stayed up until 10pm, which felt like about 4am after spending a few hours listening to Casey snoring and farting the night away.
Tuesday began with the usual dragging of the feet in the direction of the smell of bacon. To be fair I also had two pieces of fruit, so my balanced diet maintained. We played the first 9 holes on our own. Not that we don’t have friends (maybe Casey doesn’t?) on Tour, but there was about 50 golfers on the front 9, so we crept onto number 10 between groups- and Casey drove the ball down the middle, as expected! There was still a crowd on the front 9 when we arrived, so after pairing up with Indian Randhawa for holes 10-13, that was enough for the day. Seeing ten golfers waiting on the 14th tee box made the decision quite an easy one.
We grabbed lunch in the players lounge and I felt a little bit guilty when I found out that Casey was avoiding all forms of fried food. I probably shouldn’t have filled up my plate with a mountain of chicken cordon bleu, but in all fairness it was hard to resist, as I watched Casey struggle through his pasta and salad…The next bus wasn’t due for another hour so he hit the putting green for what he said was 30 mins- but I clocked it in at 13:45 seconds, still a solid session in that heat!
Later that evening, we took the long trek up to the rooftop bar on the 38th floor of the hotel, to check out the view and use up for free welcoming drink voucher. I stuck to my soft drinks as usual! We ended up chatting shite with the Saffas and Ping Rep David for a few hours and amazingly it wasn’t until 10pm that Casey needed his nest again. This would be the latest he stayed up for the week. Asian Tour life…
Wednesday was a rest day, as our position as first reserve for the Pro-Am stayed that way, thankfully.! I registered for my media pass, so I could get a free t-shirt to add to the collection and watched the local Thai traditional dancers or gropers more like. We hit the range for about an hour. Casey told me he likes to listen to Justin Bieber and Garth Brooks when he is on the range. I kept my comments to myself.
It was on this day, Wednesday, July 26th, 2016 at 5:03pm that I first witnessed Casey’s toxic ass gas in its fullest. Of course, he didn’t give me any warning, but once I felt my nose burning and eyes stinging, I knew that this was not the typical odour in Pattaya- unless you are on Walking Street at 5am. I would not wish this on my worst enemy and am just happy that I didn’t die from such a vile puff of air pollution.
Day One saw us paired up with South African Dean Burmester and some Thai player whose short game was on another level, but that doesn’t really narrow it down I suppose. It was a pretty routine round with one bogey and seventeen pars. Casey did ask me (many many times…) to mention his par on the 16th though. Tee off in water, third shot 179.9 yards to five feet, one putt for par- next hole please. This was without doubt the best recovery shot I had seen as a caddie…but was later topped by his cousin in Manila, the following week…#MaybePoomWasRight 🙂
Having an afternoon tee off time for day two, we decided to be a little bit adventurous and head down to the night market for a sneer. I love these markets in South East Asia where you can buy disposable clothes and sunglasses for a few dollars. They are disposable, because they fall apart shortly after you buy. Casey was desperate to get a photo of the sunset, so we headed down to the beach for a quick look. I tried to encourage him to practice his bunker shots but he promised me he would not be in any more for the week. This was not the case… We grabbed a quick drink at a beach side bar and after getting this snap taken by the waitress, I realised that a second career as a Seth Rogen lookalike was something to fall back on if his golf ever went to shite, which I’m sure it won’t. Ever!
A 12:30pm tee off time is always quite difficult to wait around for. We were both still up at 6am and he wandered downstairs to call home for a while. I flicked on the PGA Championship on the Thai Golf Channel, which for obvious reason was left on on mute. Without any caffeine in the system, it took me 30 minutes to realise that I was watching a replay of the Players Championship from 2012. The TV quality definitely hasn’t changed much in the past few years it seems.
We arrived out to the course at about 10am and followed the stale smell all the way to the locker rooms.
Unfortunately, it seemed that the majority of that waft was coming from our locker and dominated by my shoes…they would be aired out after today’s round. Thankfully, we made the cut with two to spare, in which we had three birdies and Casey decided to have one bogey all by himself. It was a long day, so once the round was finished so were we (also I have no what happened that evening as I didn’t take notes…). I did do one thing when we go back to the hotel though…Moving Day had arrived and this time we were paired up with an Italian from the Challenge Tour and Thai player Poom (we remained on first name terms). Poom, who plays on the ADT with Casey’s cousin seemed like a solid player, who was also brutally honest with his opinions…When Casey asked him who he thought was a better player, without hesitation Poom said John Michael (Casey’s cousin), as he hit the ball much straighter! It had been a while since I had witnessed steam coming from another person’s ears, but Casey decided to birdie the next two holes to quieten Poom. I was just hoping the Thai fella would have a few more comments to say during the round. That was not the case and we finished up with a level par roundWe grabbed a feast of food next door to the hotel and Casey was back on track again, asleep by 752pm…maybe he was just pretending to be asleep so he didn’t have to listen to my excessive amount of shite talk? Surely not…
Sunday began for Casey at 4am again, as he continued to have the same sleeping schedule as a new born baby…I was up at 5am for the 6 o’ clock bus to get some blisters burst. The bubbles were back! We were paired up with Scott Jamieson and some Thai dude (with a long name and great short game…). After getting it to -3 on the 8th, we were only 5 shots off the lead and beginning to dream a little… Unfortunately, the 9th, which is the hardest hole on the course, gave us a good hard kick up the arse and a 7 on the score card and the battle was on to salvage the round…funny game. We eventually finished on level par for the tournament and t43rd. I suspect it won’t be too long before you see his name in the winner’s circle on TV and hopefully me in the background jumping into the nearest lake. Lots of laughs were had throughout the week and I suppose rednecks aren’t all that bad…
After munching on the scraps in the players lounge and packing up, we booked a taxi to Bangkok, as I was flying out to Manila later that evening and that’s were Casey was based (but not anymore!). The taxi turned out to be a Resort hotel bus big enough for a family, (maybe not the O’Toole family, who seem to pop up everywhere), so a horizontal trip was very much appreciated. I spent a few hours killing time at Casey’s apartment beside the airport before flying to Manila to caddy for another O’Toole. Comparisons will be made in the next article…I think Linda O’ Toole is the most superior of all the O’Toole’s though, so is there any point in giving my opinion on the minor places??
I learned a lot from this week, but mainly that I hate Justin Bieber and Alabaman farts are more toxic than Fukushima. Next time I’ll be prepared with ear plugs, nose plugs and maybe even a new pair of trainers, maybe…good luck for now and Roll Tide etc…