‘Pawdweg Hahwington’ causes a Major stir among the brains trust in Foley’s bar

Vinny sides with Phil Mickelson at 22s

Graeme McDowell: will be flying the Irish flag at Merion.

Graeme McDowell: will be flying the Irish flag at Merion.


Whenever the US Open rolled around, the lads in Foley’s got twitchy, something which had as much to do with holing short putts on Howth’s notorious glassy greens, as to identifying the most likely winner of world’s most rigorous Major.

Ever since Vinny Fitzpatrick got hitched to Angie, Boru Betting had sponsored the Soiled And Ancient Golf Society outing to Beann Eadair, held on the second Monday of June.

It was a prize worth winning as first past the post on the hill of Howth won a €200 free bet on the US Open, while everyone else was allowed a wager to the value of their stableford score in the outing.

The gesture was immensely popular for the punting-daft regulars of the Society while Boru Betting’s risk was off-set through decent coverage in the Clontarf Courier and the Northside Express.

Sometimes, a sting demanded Angie put on the bravest of smiles, like in 2010 when Two-Mile Boris, Foley’s resident chess grandmaster, placed his 30 hard-earned points on Graeme McDowell at 66/1, and pocketed almost €2,000.

On the flip side, Dial-A-Smile’s outing win in 2011 had caused consternation. After his €200 free bet on Sergio Garcia came unstuck, the grumpy barman had marched into Boru Betting on the Monday and demanded the stake money as compensation.

Perusing the card
After some persuasion by Vinny and The Reverend, who were casually perusing the card at Carlisle, Dial-A-Smile took his leave, in high dudgeon, arguing that he had won the outing and should have something to show for it.

Dial-A-Smile had been black-balled for membership since and now despised everything about the Soiled And Ancient Society. Thankfully, he wasn’t on duty in Foley’s on Monday night as Angie recorded the various selections for the week’s business at Merion.

When it came to golf, the brain’s trust in Foley’s bar was a cerebral crew, their knowledge hardened by regular fills of Sunday night golf from the States, and fills of pints which provoked debate.

For the free throw at the US Open bull, it was agreed that any money won would be put behind the bar. There were six in the syndicate, Charlie Vernon having replaced the late, and much missed, Shanghai Jimmy. For a toff, Charlie was a popular chap who rolled his r’s a bit like Roy Hodgson and was known as Elmer – after Elmer Fudd – behind his broad back.

None of the six-ball had touched the day’s winning score of 37 points posted by Big Dave. Instead, they returned scores, ranging from 22 (Brennie) to 32 (Fran).

Off 25 handicap, Vinny had signed for 30 points – 15 out, 15 back – his best of the year and was pleased he would face a relatively straightforward calculation should his selection emerge as the master of Merion.

Normally, there was little debate about a selection but Brennie stirred a hornet’s nest by declaring his preference for Pádraig Harrington at 80/1.

“Pod’s come into form with a top-10 finish in Memphis and showed last year he can grind it out in the US Open. He’s as tough as old boots and a big price,’ said Brennie.

Fran shook his head; Kojak cursed quietly, while Macker rolled a cigarette and stared into the distance.

Vinny was about to make an observation about Brennie being entitled to his vote when Charlie St Vernon intervened.

‘Pweevious best’
“Pawdweg Hahwington. You can’t be seewious. He’s a lovely chap but his game is not a patch on his pweevious best. I suggest Bwennie, you dwaw a line thwu Pawdweg and pick someone else.”

‘Bwennie’, however, wasn’t having it and embarked on a robust defence of his nap, pointing out Harrington’s huge price, his experience of Majors, and the relative shortness of the Merion track.

While Vinny would love to see Harrington make his mark at Merion this week, he wouldn’t be putting a red cent on him, not from his own coffers, or Boru Betting’s either.Placing his glass loudly on the table, he interrupted Brennie and Charlie in full flow. “Right lads, that’s quite enough. We’ve heard both sides and Brennie is not for turning. The bet on Harrington stands, €22 at 80s. Right, who’s next?”

Fran put his €32 worth on in-form Matt Kuchar at 22/1, Macker’s €26 went on former winner Angel Cabrera at 90s while Kojak took a punt with his €27 on Ryan Palmer at 100s – Palmer had popped up in the Fedex St Jude Classic over the weekend. That left Vinny and Charlie Vernon to choose. Vinny went first. “I’m going for a man in-form and who knows Merion well having played there in the US Amateur, Phil Mickelson. He’s top priced at 22s and carries my €30.”

There were nods all around. Harrington, Kuchar, Cabrera, Palmer and Mickelson were in the ring. Who would join the quintet? Charlie cleared his throat and in true Elmer Fudd style said quietly: “It’s easy lads, Waw-wee McElwoy will win.”

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