x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Wall's stroke of good luck

The fickle hand of fortune touches golf, as some of us realised why, at the memorable Dubai Desert Classic.

Big thanks and congrats to Chris May and the boys at the Emirates Golf Club after another brilliant Dubai Desert Classic. It's the third year I've been there, and the feel of the event and the laid-back nature makes it very special - something I'm sure the players love as well.

The McCaffrey clan went en masse but there was a big debate whether to take our two-year-old, who we feared might just throw a tantrum with Rory McIlroy just about to knock in a five-footer. There was also a chance she would run on the green wanting to play with the ball or simply dive into the lakes for a cooling swim right in front of the clubhouse. On balance, the decision was made to leave her behind.

Bizarrely, as we walked out on to the course for the first time, Anthony Wall teed off and sliced a horror - horribly wide and not very handsome. In truth, he was amazingly lucky as the ball somehow skirted a massive bush, that would have finished him, and came to rest three yards past it and in the sand. It was on a lie that looked like it had been teed up specially. Lucky or what? But that's when his luck ran out. A little girl, probably the same age as ours, on seeing the ball, ran over and picked it up. Her angry father shouted at her to put it down. But in her confusion she dropped it and trod on it, burying it into a burrow that Bugs Bunny would have been proud to live in. The only people to see it were them and us, and an embarrassed nod from the dad reduced us all to a vow of silence.

With the girl crying in embarrassment, big Anthony strolled up, told her father not to worry and, probably feeling delighted he had missed the bush, proceeded to knock it down the fairway with a chip and putt for par. I'm still not sure if morally we were right in keeping quiet, but then only Dr Albert Einstein has a full knowledge of the rules of golf. In the end, I think the general feeling was that all's well that ends well. The fickle hand of fortune touches golf, just as it does life.

Some people have been asking where I disappeared to towards the end of Wednesday's live show. Shucks...I didn't know you cared! There's me thinking no-one's watching at two in the morning and suddenly my phone's red hot when I don't show for the end of the programme. I had a long-standing appointment in London with my daughter Alice, which simply couldn't be missed. I'd tried every which way to get round it, but in the end I had to catch a flight in the early hours.

Sometimes even football has to take a backseat to family. And thank you to Showtime producer Dave Urquart for sorting it out. Incidentally, have you noticed a change in policy from the boys who drive the Dubai taxis of late? A few times recently I've asked for a lift down the road only to be told I'm not going far enough. Seems in the credit crunch the lads don't want to know unless you're going to Ras al Khaimah via Sharjah. sports@thenational.ae