with Robert Bicknell
This has to be one of the craziest weeks I have seen in a long time. To wit: Augusta National finally decided to admit two women as members for the first time, and one of them was Condi Rice, the former US Secretary of State during the Bush administration. Condi's admission is actually a "twofer" in that she is both a female and black, which gets two of the potential complaint groups off the club's back.
The second weird item was a golf course being built in the Maldives and, given that these are small atolls which seemed to be destined to fall under the sea eventually, you play from one island to another, each island consisting of one golf hole and the "holes" (for lack of a better word) are connected by underwater tubes.
Yes, you actually have to go underwater to get from one hole to the next. If you've been to the aquarium at VinPearl, this concept is pretty clear. You're in a dry glass tube while the fish swim around you.
I have no idea of the green fees, but I think that they will have a waiting list years long of people wanting to play it.
I shouldn't have to say this, but given the nature of people in general, no practice swings in the tubes, please. Take a divot there and you're swimming.
And lastly on my list of strange items this week is the report of a Vietnamese golfer kicking a caddie at Dai Lai GC to the point she had to be hospitalised.
Yes, the incident has been verified in the Vietnamese press.
On this item, I will simply state that there is no excuse in the world for striking a caddie or any other club employee. If you dislike the caddie, ask to have her changed. Simple. If the problem runs deeper than that, voice your complaint to the club manager and let him deal with the problem. That's what he's there for, amongst other reasons.
If you cannot control your emotions on a golf course, then you shouldn't be playing golf in the first place. Golf is all about control of oneself and is a test of character. You cannot hide from yourself. Golf will bring out the best and worst of a person and put it on display for all to see.
Also, regardless of who you are, striking someone with intent to injure is "assault" and you can go to jail for it, so restrain yourselves out there.
End of subject. Next case.
Augusta National has always been highly resistant to pressure from the outside in regards to, well, most everything. They are highly secretive and even revealing information about the club to a non-member can get you kicked out. Where most clubs take pride in boasting about the speeds of their greens and even post the speeds, Augusta National doesn't even allow this information out. They don't have post handicaps either because the thought is members know who they are playing.
The Lords of Augusta refused to buckle under pressure in the past when it came to admitting a black member, and then to Martha Burke's campaign to force them to admit a woman. In the case of the latter, they even cancelled all sponsorship for that year's Master's tournament just so Ms Burke couldn't pressure the sponsors either.
Yes, they have enough money to do that.
Of course, they did eventually bring in a black member and now two women, but the difference is that they did it when they felt the time was right and not just because some crusader with an axe to grind decided they should, or because some news organisations decided they should.
Augusta National has always marched to the beat of their own drummer and, I suspect, they always will. This is what makes Augusta National special in the minds of most.
Augusta National bringing in women members is news simply because it is Augusta National.
If Augusta announced that Wednesday's would be "Chicken Salad day" in the club restaurant, that would also probably make the news and the magazines would have "experts" speculating endlessly on what ingredients they used.
Of course, they could only guess because the recipe, like everything else at Augusta National would be top secret. — VNS