It was a week for nostalgia on two fronts for me as I met up with our ‘Skins Gang’ for our Master golf tournament in Spain while the passing of the Queen also brought back memories of my late mother, who was a keen royalist all her life.
In deference to Mum, I will relate her tale first. As I said we always listened to the Queen’s speech on Christmas Day so when she heard she was coming to Dublin in 2011, she was beside herself.
Her excitement rose even further when she heard that I had received an invitation to the National Convention Centre where the Queen would be circulating with Prince Philip. The coup de gras was there was a Plus One on my invitation, and naturally my mother was the chosen one.
Dressed up to the nines, she set out with me on the day and she was like a schoolgirl. When the Queen came into the auditorium, I thought we would be thrown out as my mum stood up and clapped joyously in the moment. No one else seemed to mind. Then I was invited upstairs with other sporting people like Keith Wood, John Delaney, Eddie Jordan and the late Christy O’Connor junior. For expediency, the room was split in two with the Queen doing the rounds of one half and the Prince doing the other.
I was on his half but he was quite interested in snooker and we had a little chat. That was before a detective with an earpiece and gun in his inside holster appeared and said to me: “Mr Doherty, your mother sent me up to say that she has seen the Queen and now it is time for you to take her home.”
That was Mum alright. She had met her hero in a sort of way and was impatient for her son to get her back to the house. She passed away five years ago but I still miss her and her ways.
On the golfing front, we have had a group of 24 Dubs and Galway lads the past 30 years who sporadically go away together. Although the number has now reduced to 21, we still love to meet up and I think we will continue to do so until there is only one of us left.
I am delighted to say that I won the Green Jacket by one shot and while it was hot in Spain this past week, one of the duties of the winner is that he has to wear it all evening. I could put up with such discomfort any day of the week.
It’s back to normality this week with ITV1 covering the Snooker mixed tournament with the top four men and women in the game playing in pairs. I haven’t made the cut but will be on duty commentating and I must say I am looking forward to it.
The novelty event is being held in Milton Keynes and anything that gives the game a lift is to be welcomed. I’m sure other sports may follow the lead snooker and racing is giving the blending of men and women playing with and against each other.
PS – It never rains but it pours. Who should I meet while out in Spain but my old snooker mate John Virgo. They also were holding a tournament among his mates and I was allowed play in that. And guess what? I won that too. What’s seldom is wonderful!