Many years ago - well not really many years but quite a few, 2002 to be exact - we were stunned and breathless with excitement. We were going to have a visit. A visit from a superstar. Not Jesus but nearly as good. A star like no other. Tiger Woods was coming to New Zealand. Not only was he coming here, to us, he was going to play golf on one of our golf courses. In Paraparaumu. In our very own New Zealand championship.
We all felt very humble as we should be, but we chortled with glee. Our fortunes would be made. Thousands of big spenders would come from overseas to see the Tiger. The championship golf course would be shown in all its glory on every television station in the world and everyone will want to play on it. Our personal fortunes would be made. Our economy would benefit by untold millions as the tourist industry boomed. New hotels to be built on the Paraparaumu coast, a casino maybe and employment galore, jobs for everyone, even if we would only be hotel cleaners or waiters, lowest of the low, who cares? The Tiger was coming.
Who cares? Who knows? Anything goes. Certainly does. Nobody came. Rain poured down for a couple of days and if I remember correctly, the $500 plus tournament stand tickets were given away just to fill the seats for television. It was no good - the whole thing was a financial disaster and a flop. And Tiger played poorly, never looked like winning and sulked off home as fast as he could.
It was never properly explained to the New Zealand public why the estimated 85,000 overseas visitors, a hopelessly baseless guestimate - which allowed the organisers to charge vastly inflated sums of money for anything to do with the tournament - why all these big spending visitors never turned up. "I know" they said "It was 9/11". Which happened the year before. The reasoning being that that the Americans, and therefore everyone else in the world, were scared of flying and everything was being blamed on that fateful day.
It had nothing whatsoever to do with fact that Tiger Woods plays in tournaments somewhere in the world every day and that it would be somewhat naive to expect the world to arrive on our doorstep to see him play in a second grade obscure competition on the far side of the world. Oh no, wouldn't be that.
I am only raising this because we have another awe-inspiring sporting event coming up soon. The Rugby World Cup. To which we are forecasting 85,000 fans and tourists - yes I know, again, we are always told there are 85,000 coming. And once more untold wealth and prosperity will be ours and we all will have employment as cleaners and waiters, for at least six weeks anyway, then we can all go back on the DPB.
I personally, am sure the tournament will be a total success. It will be well organised and with my limited experience of Rugby fans, know they will enjoy the social side of the game as much, if not more, than they enjoy the on-field action. They will come here to drink lots and lots of beer, love the Rugby and get drunk. They will have a great time.
Twicker's rugger buggers will be here drinking Champers in their Campers, all the bandy randy Andies from Scotland are, with a quick toss of their cabers on the way with a hoots mon and nips of their golden flings; Welsh choirs will bring tears to everyone's eyes - especially their own - and the Aussies will fourex anything thing that moves and toss another cucumber on the barbie while the Irish will be river dancing up any Sheila's shillelaghs. The South Africans broody Braai's no doubt will make a few boerwurst sizzle, and our nemesis, the French… hang on, are the French coming? And hang on again, Aussies throwing another cucumber on the barbie - surely that should be a prawn or something.
Seems there is an E.coli outbreak in Europe (don't worry you can't catch it over the internet) and the Euros have been told to avoid raw cucumber, lettuce, tomatoes - they must be cooked first. Europeans being told not to eat fresh food - it may kill them? Which is exactly the opposite of what we in New Zealand have been telling everyone to visit us for. So now it's don't eat fresh food, and looks like we will need the French to show us how not to curdle our cucumbers, and meanwhile they will be all the time hoping to help themselves to a little bit of the old Entente Cordiale on the side.
Perhaps even the Tiger might turn up again and chip in with a few chippies.