It was a tribute to Cindy Crawford's allure at Crans-Montana in Switzerland this week that she could persuade hundreds of spectators to watch her playing golf to make you weep. Cindy took up golf only nine months ago and it appeared she had an eight-month sabbatical from the game before announcing herself in the Alps with an entrance just as glorious as Cleopatra from a carpet.
When she and the most famous mole since Kim Philby arrived on the first tee of the Omega Celebrity Tournament there was open-mouthed quiet. Cindy looks even more staggering in the flesh, and as she stood there in beige slacks and a gold, lame top she appeared the most natural creature in the world. She must have got up very early that morning to achieve this effect.
An immense gallery surrounded the tee at 10.00am, an estimated crowd of 500. My foursome teed off 10 minutes later to a precise gathering of zero. Just before we left, the starter produced a notice asking us not to lick our balls. As if we would with all those people in attendance.
To be honest, I wasn't quite sure why I was there, although in the tournament literature my name had changed by Alpine whispers to Amundsen and there was a little interest whenever I had the flag in my hand.
Cindy's partners deserved to be invited. Johnny Herbert, from Formula One, proved that driving does not translate effectively from one sport to another, while Colin Montgomerie was at the Mont Blanc of his affability. Monty, it must be said, does not like noise on a golf course and, if he had his way, his gallery would be a maximum of one person and that would be Marcel Marceau.
Here though he had Cindy's technique to iron out. The girl from the Midwest has a loopy swing which is preceded by a generous wiggle, as if she is buffing windows with the seat of her pants. Colin played to the crowd by leaving this mannerism untreated.
The trip to the winter skiing resort cannot have been easy for Cindy and her disciples. The world's golfers have Sir Henry Lunn, an English eccentric, to thank for the tortuous journey 5,000ft up into the mountains. Sir Henry first established golf at Montana in 1906, and two years later the 18 holes of the world's highest course were opened. The great advantage of the acres on which this week's European Masters is being held is that the ball tends to fly 15 per cent further in the rarified atmosphere. Unfortunately for those of us who use alternative routes, the Alpine grass has a similar drag affect to its valley cousin.
The golfing route to Crans-Montana begins pleasantly at Geneva airport on the western tip of Lac Leman. The transport tends to pick you up on time in a country besotted by how quickly history is passing (correspondence posted in the morning is usually delivered in the afternoon).
Over the hostile yet beautiful terrain, gliders and paragliders test their nerve. The British inhabitants of my minibus thought this a rather poor show of machismo, and as the wonderful scenery drifted by we played that game trying to remember who were the three English football internationals with three "O"s in their surnames (Osgood, Woodcock and Storey-Moore).
Away from the potato water of the Rhone in the valley, the road takes the route of a helter-skelter up through vineyards of the Gamay grape. By the time you reach the resort, rest is needed. This, of course, did not apply to Cindy.
At the end of a macabre round Cindy still looked as fresh as Heidi and was applauded to the nearby heavens. It is hard to imagine an audience being similarly receptive if Monty also swapped his role and effected a dainty pirouette on a Parisian catwalk.
Cindy conducted a press conference, thanked everyone for their indulgence and wished all in the main tournament the best of luck. It had rained solidly for almost two months on this plateau in the Alps, and as the greens were also suffering from fertiliser burn officials were tempted to call off the European Masters.
The mood, however, was not one of great despondency. At least the most important round had been completed.Reuse content