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Vagaries of golf

Update: July, 23/2017 - 09:00
Viet Nam News

TO 23-July-2017



By Robert Bicknell

As I write this, the 146th Open Championship is getting ready to tee off at Royal Birkdale and the weather forecast calls for pain and suffering, just like any Open Championship is supposed to have in plentiful amount.

While I used to love the US Open because the USGA used to be sadists and set up their Open courses to humiliate and frustrate the “best players in the world”, they got soft last year and cut the rough. However, it has always been the Grande Dame of them all, the Open Championship, who tortured players simply by letting Mother Nature provide the fireworks.

Let’s be honest, players can complain about the USGA, but they cannot complain about Mother Nature. The R&A cannot control the weather so they simply take advantage of the situation.

Rain, wind, variable conditions from one hole to the next. This is golf the way it is supposed to be played.

The course itself has a lot of history, including the 18th green where Nicklaus conceded a putt to Tony Jacklin in the 1969 Ryder Cup to halve the match. I will avoid mentioning the clubhouse, which everyone seems to take great delight in trashing. One pundit described it as an “air-traffic-control building of a small provincial airport”.

Weather conditions at Royal Birkdale have been described as “If you cannot see the lighthouse, it’s raining. If you can see the lighthouse, it is going to rain.”

Royal Birkdale is a natural course of average length with nothing artificial looking about it at all. It provides a decent challenge for the “best players in the world” without any trickery.

So this should be fun to see what the “best players in the world” will do this weekend.

According to early reports, Rory McIlroy won’t even bother taking out his driver until the 13th hole, and Phil Mickelson won’t even be carrying on in his bag. Of course, knowing Phil, he’ll have a hot 3-wood and an extra wedge.

John Daly, on the other hand was seen hitting 280-yard Rescue clubs at the range, so things could be very interesting.

To make matters even more strange, the R&A also added an internal OB between Holes 9 and 10 to stop players from taking a shortcut.

Yes, there should be pain and suffering.


Speaking of pain and suffering… the LPGA just changed the dress codes for their players and you can bet the males who watch LPGA will be very disappointed and even the lady players are a bit irked.

As of this week, LPGA Tour players have been told that several items are now banned on the course, including skirts or shorts that reveal the “bottom area (even if covered by under shorts)” at any time, standing or bent over, cut-offs or jeans with holes and jogging bottoms. Racerback tops are only allowed if accompanied with a collar.

Michelle Wie’s appeal just dropped significantly…

Heather Daly-Donofrio, the LPGA tour’s communications and operations officer, said that the dress code requires players to present themselves in a professional manner to reflect a positive image for the game.

“While we typically evaluate our policies at the end of the year, based on input from our players, we recently made some minor adjustments to the policy to address some changing fashion trends. The specifics of the policy have been shared directly with the members,” she said.

OK, I can see banning cut-offs or jeans with holes in them as it doesn’t belong in golf, but let’s face it, female golfers look good in sleeveless shirts. We enjoy seeing them looking good and when they are actually excellent players, it just adds to the enjoyment.

Am I being sexist? Probably, but I’m 60 years old and pretty set in my ways. Call me a dinosaur if you want, but I will always enjoy seeing ladies dress like ladies.

I don’t see Wimbledon complaining that spectators can see the female player’s butts. Nor do I see the Olympics complaining about gymnasts dressing the way they do and don’t even get me started on female beach volleyball teams – especially Brazil or Venezuela.

So, when the LPGA starts to see the TV ratings drop and the turn-out for events start to wane, they can only look to themselves to blame.

Some things shouldn’t be tampered with.VNS




by Robert Bicknell

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