"I'm looking after the wee one and she's just starting to cry," muttered Steven O'Hara, as he moved to temper the impending tantrum. It was all part of the day job for this correspondent, of course. A few seasons covering Monty means we're well accustomed to the toys being tossed out of the pram.
With his baby daughter pacified again, we could get down to business. This weekend, Great Britain and Ireland's amateurs will attempt to defend the Walker Cup on US soil when the biennial battle takes place at the National Golf Links of America, venue for the very first match between the two teams back in 1922.
History declares that it won't be easy. GB&I have won only twice on American territory, after all. They achieved that feat for the first time in 1989 and won again 12 years later. Another 12 years have passed, so maybe it's their time again? O'Hara had his time back in 2001, when the Scot was part of Peter McEvoy's dream team that romped to a magical 15-9 triumph at Ocean Forest in sweltering Georgia. Luke Donald, Graeme McDowell, Nick Dougherty, Michael Hoey, Marc Warren. It was a side jam-packed with talent and O'Hara, too, was at the peak of his powers in the amateur game, even if he didn't actually appreciate just how good he was. The inspirational McEvoy knew it, though. "He went through each one of us and our achievements and said we should hammer them," recalled O'Hara, who had won the Scottish Amateur crown in 2000 and the St Andrews Links Trophy the following season before taking the professional plunge after the crowning glory of the Walker Cup.
"He was a great motivator. I tended to plod along week by week and just did the best I could and I probably didn't realise how well I'd actually done over the years. Peter sat us all round a table and started going through everyone. Luke Donald had won this and had won that. Then he came to me and the list was quite long. I thought 'Gee, I did do alright'. I'd not really appreciated what I'd done but Peter made a big thing out of it and it gave me a buzz. He was good that way. You were made to feel good about yourself and after that I couldn't wait to get to the first tee."
He didn't have long to wait. Paired in the opening foursomes with the evergreen Englishman Gary Wolstenholme, who seemed to have been around the Walker Cup since records began, O'Hara found himself out in the very first match of the contest against the US double act of Danny Green and DJ Trahan. "Gary hit the opening tee shot which certainly helped me," he reflected. "He just wanted to hit it, he was that kind of guy. I then hit a 9-iron to about three feet and that was us one up straight away and I was settled."
The GB&I duo would go on to win 5 and 3 but it was a different story for O'Hara in the final day foursomes as he and fellow Scot, Warren, went down 7 and 6 to a rampant David Egger and Bryce Molder. "They were unbelievable," added O'Hara. "Even if we'd played our best I think we probably still would have lost. They were holing everything, chipping in. At one point we started laughing. We were four down and hadn't really done much wrong. I hit it to 10 feet on one hole and they holed their approach. We were thinking, 'what do we have to do here?' "
It all turned out alright on the night, though. O'Hara bounced back in the afternoon's concluding singles - "I was well rested after a 7 and 6 drubbing" - and beat John Harris 4 & 3 as GB&I blitzed the session 6½-1½ to surge to victory.
The dream team then went their separate ways. For some the golfing paths have been paved with gold, for others the routes have been rocky. While Donald and McDowell now operate in a different stratosphere and Warren and Hoey have seven European Tour wins between them, O'Hara finds himself at a crossroads. The 33-year-old will be back in Stage 1 of the arduous scramble that is the European Tour's qualifying school next week as he tries to clamber back up the order after a year of toil. In this game, there are fortunes to be made but for many the fortunes can be fickle.
"Luke's game hasn't changed that much, for instance," said O'Hara, who is muddling on without a sponsor and is set to take a step back from the Challenge Tour and focus his energies on his q-school assault. "He was always straight off the tee, his iron play was excellent; he was pin high and his wedge game was unbelievable. I think he just refined his putting and chipping and just did everything a wee bit better.
"I went down the route of changing things and started messing about with swing changes, even though it was my putting that was the problem. That was not the way. I had a couple of good, solid years on tour and topped the greens in regulation stats. I could have got by with my putting and should have just kept working on the basics and improved a wee bit each year.
"If I had another chance, that's what I'd do. It's a shame. I'm only 33 though, and injury-free. I just need to focus on tour school, kick on from that and give myself a fresh start. The likes of Luke and Graeme have, obviously, gone on to great things. We were at a similar level at one time and that still gives you motivation."