If you're Mo Farah you can run 10,000 metres, with more than a couple of minutes to spare. And if they're not digging up the track at Langbank you can, almost, get from Glasgow Central to Greenock on the train. On a quiet day, you might even get round the Edinburgh bypass in that time.
Or, if you happened to be in Paul Lawrie's group on the opening day of the Open Championship, you could have played all 492 yards of the sixth hole at Royal Lytham & St Annes yesterday. Astonishingly, it took Lawrie, Davis Love III and Tim Clark just one minute shy of half an hour to negotiate the par-4 challenge. According to the official course guide, it has actually been shortened by two yards this year. And thank goodness for that. Some people have buses to catch.
It should be said at the outset that Lawrie was blameless in a sequence of events of such epic proportions the whole thing might have been scripted by Dostoyevsky and directed by Eisenstein. It should also be said that it made for riotous entertainment, albeit erring on the side of farce at times. Some might say that Lawrie's score of 65 was a remarkable achievement yesterday, while others might commend his composure throughout. Had you joined him at the sixth, you would probably suggest that his greatest feat was to stop himself wetting his trousers in mirth.
Actually, it was another player's continence issue that kicked the whole thing off. The Lawrie group had been waiting on the tee for a few minutes already, held up by some players ahead. when the Aberdonian was finally given the go-ahead to tee off. His eyes narrowed. He performed a practice swing. He stepped up to the ball, and took one last look down the fairway. And then he stopped.
Because there, slap bang in the middle of it, was Matt Kuchar. Now, the American might have had his wits about him when he won the Players Championship earlier this year, but they had clearly deserted him at this point as he waddled across the grass. His destination was a Portaloo on the far side. And when a man's gotta go there's always a danger that he might not notice other things going on around him.
When Kuchar finally realised his mistake he held up an apologetic hand and scurried the last few yards. He then waited for all three players to tee off and then offered his embarrassed apologies. Enough drama for one hole, you might have thought, but Love III was about to dish up a lot more.
From light rough to the left of the fairway, he hit the most gruesome shank you are ever likely to see. It rocketed off to the right, pitched on the third green and rolled to the far side. Love III then had to wait patiently while Lee Westwood's group finished playing the third (where the Englishman was making another dog's breakfast of things as he ran up a double-bogey) before lashing his own recovery shot back towards the sixth green.
But enough of Love, as Byron (Lord, not Nelson) probably once said. Because the most noteworthy event of all these 29 long minutes at the sixth was the way Lawrie finished the hole. From behind the green, he took his putter and coolly knocked the ball into the hole. "Great putt, Paul!" someone shouted. Only they were wrong.
You see, as far as golf statisticians are concerned, a putt is only a putt if the ball is on the green, which meant he hadn't putted at all. And, in fact, he hadn't putted very much up to that point of his round. Lawrie had single-putted the first and the second holes, chipped in at the third, one-putted the fourth and chipped in again at the fifth. Or, as a golf statto would have it, he had made just three putts in his first six holes.
"That was probably the strangest start of my career, those first six holes," Lawrie said with a smile afterwards. "I didn't really hit many good shots and I was three-under." When someone pointed out that the remarkable statistical feat of taking three putts for half-a-dozen holes, the smile grew even wider. "Did I really?" he asked. "As many as that? Amazing."
Now, if your image of Lawrie is of a glum-faced loon, the dourest man ever to lift the Claret Jug, his words would have put you in your place. The fact of the matter is that there has always been a wry and enjoyably sardonic streak through his character. It should, of course, be remembered that the Aberdeen native once joshed with the galleries while playing a practice round for the 2003 US Open at Olympia Fields near Chicago, and the Scot confessed afterwards that he had been far too reserved, even protective of himself, after winning the 1999 Open at Carnoustie.
He was making up for it yesterday as he made such a big noise around Lytham. And the shouts from the crowd only amplified it. "I heard my name quite a lot today," he said, obviously touched by the experience. "Down in England you can be a wee bit surprised at that, I guess. I hit some nice shots for them, which was good."
Actually, it wasn't nice and good, it was brilliant and astonishing. When Lawrie left the 13th green with another par on his card, someone muttered that he had just wasted his last chance of a birdie. With the toughest finishing stretch on the Open rota, it wasn't a bad assessment. Only completely and utterly wrong.
He birdied the 14th. He birdied the 15th. To a mighty roar from the galleries that line the 18th, he birdied the last as well. From the man who closed out so magnificently at Carnoustie 13 years ago, it was a spine-tingling exhibition that his powers, most notably his nervelessness under pressure, are intact.
So what did the 43-year-old think of Kuchar's intervention in his round? "He was oblivious to the fact we were there," Lawrie replied. "It can happen. We're in our own wee world most of the time."
Own wee world? Oh yes, Kuchar was certainly in that.
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