Many tours have been touted as the Worst Ever. Few however have sunk to the lows of 2019 tour which failed to meet even the most basic expectations such as three complete rounds.
After years of bullish chat about a WAGs tour, when push came to shove a weak pound and weaker constitutions saw support for the long-awaited transatlantic swing evaporate. An alternative plan for golf, fine cuisine and great wine was formed and flights were duly booked to Bordeaux. In a bitter twist, despite hotel availability at the highly regarded Golf du Medoc, a tournament (wait for it) meant that golfing would not be possible. Eventually the beautiful town of Biarritz and the Atlantic coastline was selected.
On Thursday afternoon, the touring party gathered at an empty Gatwick airport. The Earl of Sibley finally arrived and things got underway with the normal bullish, excited banter. In an interesting twist, the Molinari brothers were drawn together for the first time. The fraternal bickering began almost immediately.
On arrival in Bordeaux, rental cars were procured and loaded for the scenic drive through the dark countryside. Unfortunately the lateness of hour, length of drive and lack of food led to grumbling that set the tone for the weekend.
Fortunately the long drive and obligatory Corson conference calls with the US gave Earl the opportunity to learn about what real CFOs think. Driving shenanigans were limited although lobbing coins into a large basket at the toll booth caused the Dr as many challenges as finding a fairway.
Having safely arrived at the adequate Radisson Blu hotel, a quick turnaround preceded a night cap at the neighbourhood bar.
Friday morning kicked off with a bracing swim in the Atlantic where the Dr suffered an unfortunate and ultimately expensive watch malfunction. Local wetsuited surfers looked on slightly bemused as a group of pasty Englishmen frolicked in the September waves in their shorts.
A brief retracing of the prior evening’s steps led back to the Golf de Seignosse, known for its 666 yard final hole and hilly terrain. The Dr lost another club and Molinari North was spurred on by some helpful locals.
Day 1 golfing spoils went to Andreeeew and Molinari North with 33 points. The Dr and Woody brought up the rear and earned beer monkey duties. An evening dip and beers in the rooftop pool set the tone for a relaxed evening. Dinner was at Chez Scott and included banter with the Chef Patron.
For the keen beans, Saturday morning kicked off with a meeting of the running club. The charming Golf D’Arcangues was the host for the day’s round. In a high scoring day, Jim P lit up the course with 46 points to claim a seemingly unassailable lead in the Grail. In honour of this spectacular scoring, the French Red Arrows laid on a celebratory fly by. Higher than usual scoring across the board was reflected in an eclectic score of one under par. Andrew and Molinari South propped up the field and the unfortunate role of beer monkeys for tour dinner evening.
A stroll across town in blazers and ties (for some) led to the Michelin starred, L’Impertinent. A tasting menu and wine pairing took an awkward turn with Andrew rejecting the “interesting” organic wine that the Somm had carefully selected to complement one course. The Dr and Mylo jr III requesting an alternative to the pear pudding was a totally different thing. The evening concluded with a stop at the underwhelming casino.
Sunday’s golfing destination was the Golf Hossegor. In a horrifying turn of events, after arriving at the course it transpired that a competition had been booked on that very morning. After tense phone calls, much finger pointing between the club and the tour operator and a frantic search for an alternative venue, it became clear that a complete third round would not be happening.
In the end, Hossegor offered the option of playing the last 8 holes ahead of the competition. This unusual situation created some mathematical complexities of multiplying by 2.25 to provide comparable scoring. The exertions of the “once in a lifetime” round on Saturday took its toll with Jim collapsing to record a low of 5 points.
The stress of the booking debacle also caught up with the tour organizer who completed the slump from hero to zero. The Dr took the t shirt for the final day but with a consistent showing Molinari North came through to take the spoils and unexpectedly record his second win in three years. In the pairs, after a countback on cumulative singles stableford points, Woody and the Dr secured victory ahead of the Molinaris with both teams securing two wins out of three.
On a positive note, the abbreviated golfing activities allowed for a leisurely lunch and snooze or snore (Sibley) in front of the F1 before the long drive back to Bordeaux airport.