Monday, October 24 2016


Teed Off (Jan 24, 2016)

Update: January, 24/2016 - 00:21

with Robert Bicknell

The European Tour did something so blasphemous that I simply cannot believe it. This earth-shattering news will undoubtedly cause ripples all the way to the farthest end of our galaxy and maybe even beyond. I am sure old-timers will be spitting up their Farina and fanning themselves before succumbing to a stroke while screeching "it cannot be allowed!"

They allowed Tour professionals in the tournament to wear shorts on the golf course. OMG! OK, it was only the practice rounds and it is in Abu Dhabi at the HSBC Golf Championship and we know temperatures there can reach ridiculous highs, but still the very idea of Big Easy walking around in shorts is something not many people would ever expect to see.

Jordan Spieth commented "I think it's awesome... It will be something that I would love to see on the PGA Tour, as well. It's a great move. I just wish that my hotel was closer. I would have gone back."

I gotta admit that when I first came to SE Asia a billion years ago, I staunchly wore long pants on the golf course, even when playing just casual golf. It was how I was raised and just the thought of wearing shorts never entered my head. Everyone else wore shorts and was comfortable while I slowly melted into a puddle or misery. Still, I refused to change.

Later, when more pros showed up here in Viet Nam wearing shorts on the golf course, I slowly started to come around and started doing it as well, but never in a tournament. Well, not until...

I was playing in the Gannon Viet Nam Championship at Ocean Dunes in Phan Thiet, which was a highly popular annual event, and many of the guys talked after the practice round about wearing shorts the next day during the first round. So... like a dummy, I showed up wearing shorts.

Everyone else wore long pants and I felt like a complete jackass. Naturally, there was no time to go back and change, so I felt self-conscious throughout the round and had to endure a few "nice legs" jokes from the boys from across the fairway.

Bob Van Mol, who has long been the bane of my existence, took great delight in my discomfort after the round with merciless jokes, even going so far as to claim I shave my legs. For the record, I don't, but I have never been as hairy as most guys, and certainly nowhere near as hairy as Bob.

They say we all sprang from the apes, but Bob didn't spring far enough. He has more hair on his hands than I have on my head.

Anyway, Bob being the evil demon-spawn that he is, waited until I went back to the hotel and said to the rest of the guys, "You know he's gonna wear long pants tomorrow and it's supposed to be even hotter. Wouldn't it be a riot if we all wore shorts?"

So... next day, I show up in long pants and everyone else wore shorts. Yes, it was hotter that day... supposedly close to 47oC on the course itself at 11am and I was absolutely dying.

I would get two bottles of water at each stop. One to drink and one to pour over my head. Somewhere around the 14th hole I no longer knew where the hell I was. My caddie had to point me in the direction of the hole and tell me what to do.

Yes, with friends like Bob you certainly do not need enemies. Of course, he's been dining out on this story for the last hundred years or so and I have yet to get even with him. Revenge has never been my thing, but someday, somewhere, when he least expects it... I will.

So, when it comes to the Tour events, I would say shorts is no big deal in practice rounds and pro-ams, providing the location demands it. Nobody enjoys playing golf in 90-degree weather with 70 per cent humidity.

Also, if we want to appeal to the younger generation of players, some rules need to be relaxed a bit. Attire is one of them. I'm not saying they can wear anything, but modest shorts certainly will not destroy the game.

And, we'll be much happier out there... right Bob? — VNS

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