Tommy the golfing bear was very excited. It was the first time he was going to a proper golf tournament with all the world’s best players.
He wasn’t playing of course but he would have a chance to see lots of great golfers hitting great golf shots.
On the way to the golf tournament in the north of England he asked why he couldn’t play in the tournament. “It’s called The Open so surely it is open to anyone to play?”
“Not so,“ said Grandpa who was taking him. “It’s not open to women and certainly not open to men. In fact it’s only open to men golfers who have qualified in earlier tournaments – so only the best golfers get chosen to play. Most of them play golf as their job but there are some who work at other things and they are called ‘amateurs’.”
Tommy nodded but thought it was rather bad that he couldn’t even go to a qualifier! After all he had been practising hard with his golf club for weeks. But when they arrived at the big golf course he was amazed to see how many people, like him, had come to watch. “Wow, I would be scared that I would hit them with my ball – they are so close,” he said.
He was amazed too just how far the best golfers hit the ball.
Eventually the winner was announced and he was presented with his prize. It was a small silver jug.
“Is that all he gets for winning?” asked Tommy. He didn’t think an old jug was much for all that effort.
“Well he gets about a million pounds as well!” Grandpa chuckled. “Not bad for four days work.”
That evening Tommy and Grandpa were staying at a hotel in the town. Tommy was too excited to go to bed early so he decided to go for a little walk in the town. It was as he was walking that he heard the noise of a party. Now Tommy does love a party. It was coming from a house nearby.
He crept up the driveway and pushed open the door. Inside were many golfers including the man who had just won The Open. They were all very happy. When the winner saw Tommy he laughed and said “Well, well, well. It’s a bear come to join the party. Come and have a drink.”
Tommy preferred jam sandwiches to drinks but he saw there were a lot of sausage rolls on the table and started to help himself to those. After a bit he began to feel sleepy as it had been a long day for a little bear. He sat in a corner and nodded off.
Some hours later he woke up and everyone had gone to bed. He felt a little guilty so he decided to help by clearing up the plates and glasses. After all he had always been told to help when he could. He found the dishwasher in the kitchen and put all the things in it and pressed the start button. Then he crept out of the front door and made his way back to the hotel.
It was as they were leaving to drive home the next morning that the news came through. It was on the car radio. The famous Claret Jug, the prize for the winner of The Open had been stolen! The winner said he had left the jug downstairs when he went to bed and when he awoke, it had gone. Someone had stolen it and the suspect was a small bear who had come to the party uninvited.
Grandpa looked at Tommy as he stopped the car. “You don’t know anything about this do you? After all there aren’t many bears who come to The Open.”
“I was only trying to help,” said Tommy rubbing a tear away with the back of his paw. “I was just tidying up and I put everything in the dishwasher. That’s where the jug is – it’s in the dishwasher.”
Grandpa got out his mobile phone and asked for the local police station. He explained what had happened, gave his number and rang off. A little later his phone rang and it was the winner of The Open. Grandpa passed the phone to Tommy. “Hello Tommy. We’ve found the Claret Jug – it was in the dishwasher as you said. It’s a bit wet but very clean! I guess you can tell all your friends now that you cleaned up at The Open!”