It feels great to be writing a column from a tournament at last.
I’ve certainly not had a problem finding the time, that’s for sure!
A few days of quarantine in a hotel room after arriving in Canada has seen to that.
There’s a whole mixture of emotions swirling around now that our first event of the Calgary bubble is about to get underway.
Trepidation is obviously one, because we’ve been away from competition for so long, but the main feeling is excitement.
In normal circumstances, I’d be moaning about the schedule we’ve been given for the Pinty’s Grand Slam!
Talk about being thrown straight into the deep-end.
First up it’s the current Olympic champs Team Hasselborg, then the reigning World champs Team Tirizoni, followed by all-time curling legend Jennifer Jones who has had too many achievement to mention and then another strong Canadian rink, skipped by Tracy Fleury.
We’ll find out pretty quickly where we are in relation to the rest of the top teams, which can only be a good thing building up to one more Grand Slam and then the Worlds.
Everything has been delayed by a day after a Covid scare at the men’s Worlds.
It was a huge relief to hear that the four positive tests are now considered false positives, resulting from potentially contaminated samples.
Alberta Health and the event medical officers are taking this very seriously, which is great to hear.
I haven’t heard from anyone who has felt unsafe in the bubble and there has been nothing but praise, which is really reassuring.
We’ll have masks on when we’re competing and there will be a few other old habits that we’ll need to cut-out but I can’t wait to get started now.
Congratulations to Team Mouat on their world silver.
Not only is it their best finish yet at that level, it has secured the men GB’s place at the Olympics.
Over to us next!
It was proof that dedication and hard work during the lockdown months back in Stirling has paid off. That includes their coach Alan Hannah who deserves the medal as much as the curlers.
I’m sure they’ll be disappointed with silver but they definitely have a gold coming soon.
They’re consistently at the top of the sport these days.
In my eyes they lost to one of the greatest curlers of all time now- Niklas Edin.
That’s five world titles he’s got now and three in a row. Incredible.
When people talk about the ‘greatest ever’, he’ll definitely be in the conversation.
The men’s Worlds and the Masters meant I didn’t have to start too many box-sets while I was quarantining.
The golf ended up a bit of an anti-climax on the Sunday but that certainly wasn’t Hideki Matsuyama’s fault.
There have been a few examples of athletes benefitting from scaled-down tournaments during this pandemic and I think this could be another one.
I’m not talking about the extra pressure big crowds would bring. I’m talking about the media.
I’ve seen the size of the entourage that comes with Matsuyama at an Open and it’s quite something.
They really do go all-in with their top sports men and women.
I can imagine that having far less of that at Augusta could only have helped him. I don’t think it will be a coincidence.
I’ll never forget the level of Japanese interest at curling events in that country – or at the Worlds or the Olympics.
Matsuyama should enjoy the competition calm while it lasts because his profile will go through the roof in his homeland now.