When the Captain of the Press Golfing Society asked me to be his vice-captain two years ago, I must admit, I hesitated. Not because the thought of addressing a bunch of delightfully cynical journalists a dozen times next year scared the hell out of me. Or knowing I would have to humiliate myself with a speech in French during our annual Wryter Cup clash given my questionable grasp of the language. The reality was that my newspaper was going through a somewhat trying period and playing any golf, let alone captaining a prestigious society seemed ridiculously ambitious.
But after some thought and several Pinots, I thought, why ever not. Can you imagine the pride of holding the honour of being only the third lady captain during a 108-year history? After all, the News of the World had played such a supportive and pivotal role in the PGS since its launch in 1904. What could possibly go wrong?!
In recent weeks, I turned to a list of eminent former captains for inspiration. From the late Sir Emsley Carr to Bob Warren, a who’s who of Fleet Street greats presiding over a society of intrepid journalists in search of silverware, friendship and decent wine.
I was relating this jaunty tale to another respected former captain at the Captain’s Dinner last week. He considered it for a moment, turned to me and retorted: “Barlow, you’re a girl, you’re from the colonies and your newspaper has sunk without trace … they would be positively turning in their graves.” Thank you for those honeyed words!
To that end… my Captaincy year has officially begun.
Gawd help me!