The 12 golfers of Christmas – The Weasel
Welcome to my Christmas series highlighting characterisations of golfers I’ve played with over the years. A wide variety of people with a vast array of personalities enjoy this game. I’ve distilled them down into 12 types to entertain you over Christmas.
I obviously pre-wrote these so I didn’t have to write my daily blog over the holidays. No flies on me. In other words, I’m currently incommunicado enjoying time with my family, eating and drinking too much and taking Izzy for long walks. So, in true BBC style, please do not respond to these blogs; they’ve been pre-recorded.
7. The Weasel
Weasels are sleekit creatures. They've got passive aggressive streaks they just can’t purge.
Similar to the coach, they can’t help themselves. Such is their desire to win they’ll try any manner of sly tricks to put you off. Not just in amateur golf, but the professional game too.
A friend of mine, a European Tour player, once played in the Open Championship with a multiple major winner. He was excited to be playing in The Open with a major champion, considering it was so early in his professional career.
The thrill only lasted eight holes.
My mate happened to start better than the major winner. He was half way into his downswing on the seventh tee when, out of the corner of his eye, he noticed the major winner move his feet slightly.
Surely not, he thought?
It happened again on the next tee. The major winner began with his feet crossed and then uncrossed them just as my mate was nearing impact. Thankfully, he hit a decent shot.
As they walked off the tee, my friend had a quiet word with the major champion’s caddie. The conversation was along the lines of, bodily harm may occur if your man does that again.
Unsurprisingly, the major champion stayed still when my friend was on the tee for the rest of the round.
Amateur weasels do this sort of stuff too, especially if you’re playing better than they are. You’ll suddenly be much more aware of their presence on the tee. They’ll start walking off the tee just as you reach impact, or shuffle their feet slightly. Small movements to put you off.
You might suddenly become more aware of where they're standing when you're putting, especially on crucial putts to win or halve holes. They might even jingle change in their pockets.
They’ll try to get inside your head with supposedly innocent comments designed to throw you off your game. Such as:
“You seem to be really coming at the ball from in to out. Is that something you’ve been working on?”
Of course, you've been working on no such thing, but that doesn’t stop you from thinking about it anyway. Precisely their plan.
They’ll make other sly remarks, such as:
“Oh, I don’t fancy that shot.”
“That’s a tricky up and down.”
“That’s not a guaranteed two putt.”
So you go from thinking you’ve got a relatively straightforward shot, up and down or two putt to thinking, wow, I better pay extra attention. Sure enough you put extra pressure on yourself and either mess up the shot, hit a poor chip or run your putt eight feet by and miss the return.
Of course, they'll profess wide-eyed innocence when you query them on the motives behind such comments.
There's obviously a distinction between the weasel's actions and mates who engage in a bit of banter, or trash talk, as my American cousins call it. I’ve occasionally engaged in such banter with pals. It’s sometimes a bit of fun in friendly bounce games if both parties are in the mood.
There’s nothing friendly about the weasel’s words, though. It’s a subtle form of gamesmanship designed specifically to throw you off your game. These people have such a yellow streak running down their backs they need to wear black shirts to hide the stripe.
Weasels are rare creatures in this honourable game, but they do exist.
Trust me, there’s no greater feeling in golf than beating a weasel.
#JustSaying: "The only way of really finding out a man's true character is to play golf with him." P.G. Woodhouse