However, my immediate reaction to the suggestion was negative, one round is possible then moving up to the final qualifier where you're having to play 36 holes, which was feasible too. But the end result of teeing up, potentially, at St Andrews this summer against the world's best didn't sit well with my soul.
I am after all 53 this month and have, for the last 10 years, played very little competitive golf, haven't really had a solid stretching regime, overall fitness is pretty poor. At my core I am a realist but a hugely positive realist. Then I remembered that a buddy of mine, head professional at Monte Rei, Neil Turley, had a crack at Senior Open qualifying last year and made it through to the big show at Sunningdale. Now Neil is a very diligent, hard-working professional who practises hard and often.
But the needle regarding realism, possibility and potentially competing against players my own age definitely moved in my favour. So much so, that it wasn't long after I was floating the idea to Fiona and a couple of friends over Sunday lunch. The suggestion was met positively, so I was waiting for the entry form to be released allowing me to start planning properly.
Fast forward a couple of months and my entry has been accepted, I'm playing at Blairgowrie Rosemount on the 18th of July. Training commenced eight weeks earlier with expectations set firmly towards having fun, enjoying every moment, and doing the very best with what I have in the moment. A doctrine which has been adopted by our College (Edge Golf College) through our performance psychology specialists allowing us to keep our feet on the ground while maintaining a high level of intensity.
I'm staying 10 minutes away from the course at my sister’s house, my caddie is a very good friend who was actually part of the Sunday lunch discussion. The body is behaving, the weather is hot, the golf course is running fast and the greens running even faster.
It's been established that a minimum of six spots are available at each of the four qualifying courses, with 125 players attempting to qualify from Rosemount that Monday. I shoot level par front 9 and three under for the back 9 birdieing 17 and 18. As I walk off the 18th I don't know whether it's competitive or not, but what I do know is I definitely did my best and really enjoyed the experience.
Then the nerves and excitement started to come over me, because I realised that I didn't have my reading glasses with me and because of playing in the last 4 1/2 hours in bright sunshine, my eyes were very tired, and I had to verify my score in the recorder's office without being able to see clearly what has been written down. A very senior golfer predicament!
Then two things happened in the Recorders office; they supply reading glasses at the table where the scores are submitted. The best thing I could have wished to have seen at that moment. The second element was as I looked at the scores, I was tied 5th with two other people which meant, as it stood with two hours left of competitive play, I was going to have to play off against three people for two spots if things stayed the same. Then the best news was delivered by the Chief Recorder, Blairgowrie Rosemount had 13 qualifying spots allocated, due to withdrawals from the main event at Gleneagles. I was in, barring anything dramatic that was going to happen in the next two hours. Nothing dramatic happened.
I got to play in my first Major Championship last month. But that Monday evening, after being given my player log in and credentials got to put my name next to Bernhard Langer for my Wednesday practise round.