Paul Healy’s Week

Thursday

The Masters, which started today, is golf’s most celebrated tournament…immortalised for its capacity to combine drama and entertainment, steeped in tradition, a stage on which glory and heartbreak lurk…waiting for their moment, for destiny’s call. The course in Augusta is stunningly beautiful, but its bite awaits. The greatest golfers in the world must approach this marriage of beauty and history with respect, or all hell might break loose!

  For sports’ enthusiasts, the Masters provides gripping TV viewing every year…as we watch multimillionaires trying desperately to get the tiny ball into the elusive hole, while confronted by uniquely challenging slopes, water hazards, towering trees, fast and often treacherous greens – not to mention how the weight of Augusta National’s fabled place in sporting history can ransack their otherwise composed thought processes.

  With golf actually in decline worldwide, the media and the golfing world remain grateful for the extraordinary Tiger Woods, who has yet again confounded expectations with his latest return from adversity. Now 46, Woods has recovered from a near-fatal car crash which necessitated three months in hospital and further multiple surgeries on a body already creaking from previous back operations.

  Today, the incredibly resilient and hypnotically compelling Woods is back, shooting a one under par 71 at the Masters, his return a thrilling sub-plot to what promises to be another memorable weekend at Augusta.

Friday

Scam corner: I am grateful to ‘Mussa’, who has been in touch (by email, if you must know) with a proposal in relation to what to do about funds lying in the bank account of a now deceased person. Mussa doesn’t waste time; he got straight down to business, confirming there’s 18m US dollars (give or take) involved here.

  While deeply touched by the invitation to roll in dosh, I noted Mussa is proposing that “this will be disbursed or shared between both of us in these percentages, 55% for me and 45% for you”.

  Mistake, Mussa! No deal, Mussa! When I commit to something I commit 100%, and therefore expect to be treated equally, as in 50-50. 45% of 18 million US dollars may be nice, but Mussa really could have gone that extra 5%.

  Suitably miffed, I didn’t reply, and any readers who are ‘fortunate’ enough to be chosen to be ‘Bullsh*t beneficiaries’ should also never reply!

Saturday

Rod Stewart was wrong…the first cut isn’t the deepest. When it comes to mowing the grass for the first time in the year, even I know that you should cut high with the first cut.

  Today, it looked like I might pay a price for not yet signing up to the Lawnmower Preparation Charter, which is to say that one should (apparently) always prepare your dormant lawnmower for the renewal of activities.

  Served me right then when I withdrew the mower from its slumber to discover the battery was more splutter-y than smooth. In fact, it just wouldn’t start. Thankfully, there was no need to resort to Basil Fawlty’s treatment of his car when he lost patience with it and began to administer some ‘punishment’ with the branch of a tree. I, in contrast, was able to jump-start the mower (pause for pat on back).

  A few minutes later, on this beautiful day, I was immersed in the ‘first cut of the season’. It was actually lovely to be back. Mowing away on a nice day is enjoyable; it gives you time to think (or listen to music/podcasts).

  Today, I think. And of course it dawns on me, especially with it being spring – the sense of new beginnings, the robins appearing on branches – that this is my first afternoon doing a bit in the garden since my mother passed. Time to think, indeed. The robins stay just long enough to be noticed, then quietly slip away. The sun shines. It’s peaceful and calm during the first cut of the year.

  

Saturday

To any of my middle-aged (or slightly older) peers who think that time is moving slowly, I have devastating ‘evidence’ to the contrary: Brooklyn Beckham got married today. Yep, it stopped me in my tracks too! The son of ‘Posh & Becks’ married actress Nicola Peltz (Becks & Peltz).

Sunday

In the end, Tiger couldn’t sustain his remarkable start at the Masters (see ‘Thursday’), but the fact that he made the cut and competed well over four days – despite the enormous physical toll on him – was still remarkable, and the ovation he received on the 18th today was really special. Welcome back, Tiger.

  Tonight’s final round was a touch anticlimatic because Scottie Scheffler was such a composed front-runner, but the performance of Rory McIlroy still electrified Augusta National. Devastating off the tee, putting clinically, and with his pitching/chipping touched by genius, McIllroy saved the best until last, producing a magical birdie on the 18th. His ball never touched the fairway (or rough) on that hole…tee to bunker, second shot to another bunker, then a chip that sizzled on to the green and magically curved in an arc that captivated the watching millions before disappearing into the hole – and folklore.

  Rory’s sensational 64 placed him second behind Scheffler, who deservedly won the ‘green jacket’. Shane Lowry finished joint third and gave every indication that he will figure at the business end of the year’s three remaining majors.

Monday

We finally watched the third series of Ricky Gervais’ comedy-drama ‘After Life’ (I was a bit disappointed, but still enjoyed it). It’s uneven, lacking in credibility at times, but still frequently touching, and often very funny. As ever with Gervais, some of the humour can be quite dark, crude too.

  What a body of work the man has built up…The Office, Extras, Life’s Too Short, Derek, and now After Life. I look forward to his next creation!

Tuesday

You have to hand it to the quirky team on the Channel 4 News…

  As Boris Johnson ducks and weaves (again) after being fined by the police over lockdown parties, presenter Matt Frei asked a Tory MP this evening: “Does the Prime Minister owe Vladimir Putin a debt of gratitude for saving his political career?” (The bemused MP didn’t think so).