NEW DELHI, AUG 7: This is the story of legends, past and current. A tale about the demigods and the darlings of people spanning five continents. It is the memory of a hot, humid day spent with golfers (nee cricketers) and an experience that was not quite cricket.
The setting was quite perfect. The idyllic Classic Golf Resort in Gurgaon, where the icons of the cricketing world came to take a swing (and a swig too) and display their prowess in a game that is the very antithesis of cricket in a sense golf. For most gathered there to witness the inaugaral Alfa Laval Ambassador’s Cup though, the golfing was purely incidental. What mattered most was seeing their heroes up close. And they were there in all their golfing glory led by the indomitable Geoffrey Boycott and his roving camera. You had Allan Border, Dean Jones, Alistair Campbell, Craig Evans, Lance Klusener, Mark Boucher, Dipak Patel, Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes and on the home front, golfing regular Kapil Dev and Ajay Jadeja. They teed off aroundhalf past eight on Saturday morning and things picked up from there. A few of us decided to walk part of the course with former Aussie captain Border and his group, and it was quite an experience. Till the 18th (Border began on the back-nine, teeing off from the 10th) the Aussie southpaw was at four over and looking pretty good. What was most interesting though, was Border’s interaction with his group. He was always involved, always there to offer advice and to look for the odd ball that disappeared in the rough.
The byplay between Border and Boycott, who arrived to watch the action just before the 16th hole was like `watching’ live commentary. The Yorkshireman first words: “I just saw Dean, he said he’s doing four, but I know he’s lying,” was vintage Boycott and the next 15 minutes or so, was peppered by more of the same.
The major draw of course was Klusener, who amicably allowed a couple of very well-informed kids to help him along the course. `Zulu’, who hit a birdie on the third hole, alsodemonstrated that when he hits it, it stays hit, much like in cricket. His power was awesome, even though it was not always in the right direction. On the 8th hole, he found the rough twice and the bunker once.
As this (finding the bunker) happened quite regularly with many players, and no one seemed to mind much, it was all keeping in with the spirit of things. Klusener, when later asked why he took to cricket and not golf, which he picked up at an earlier age, replied, “To earn a living buddy, I can’t play golf as proficiently as I play cricket.”
That’s one more credit to his list his disarming honesty.