Viet Nam News
By Robert Bicknell
Everyone has those weeks when the entire world seems intent on falling in on you? Bingo. That’s what’s happening to me lately. It’s not just one big thing, but a lot of little ones that seem determined to drive me more nuts that I already am.
Listen, I’ve never been too tightly wrapped to begin with, and my normal operating condition wavers between “volcanic eruption” and “rabid Tasmanian Devil with a migraine”, so these last few weeks have seen me in truly rare form.
Two hours sleep in three days while preparing my club for a storm, then riding around IN the storm on Friday night looking for trouble spots on the golf course and getting storm teams into position to redirect water, then even more rain on Saturday and watching my golf course become a swimming pool, then getting everything ready again for play on Sunday.
Right. A piece of cake… Someone please kill me.
Anyway, this is Viet Nam and my condition is hardly anything new. Many foreigners have the same operating parameters as I do, but most disguise it better, or drink enough beer that it doesn’t matter. Others simply meander through life with a smile and let everything roll off their backs. Nothing upsets them.
So, I hope they get a screaming case of hemorrhoids and are forced to sit through a six-hour bus ride on a bumpy road in 40 degree heat.
That will teach them to mock the rest of us.
Anyway, the topic of this week’s rant, I mean “column” is about gambling on the golf course, specifically the PGA Tour which seem to be intent on taking the joy out of the game by imposing new restrictions on gambling.
I’ll bet five bucks they’re nuts.
Yes, as you might expect, it’s the US Tour, because hypocrisy and puritanical nonsense seems to be a new national pastime, second only to “finding something to get offended at”.
Disclaimer – I am American by birth, so I can bash my own countrymen if I choose. I would not bash anyone else’s, simply out of good manners. Yes, I was brought up correctly. Pity I cannot say that about most of today’s youth.
Hmm, that’s interesting. I am beginning to sound like my father.
Anyway, back to gambling. Sorry, but my mind tends to drift as I get older. Pretty soon I will start wandering around with a glazed look on my face and wondering why I went into a room in the first place. No, I don’t have any specific room. Suffice it to say that almost any room except the bathroom will do. No matter how senile I get, I’d bet money I would immediately remember why I went in there. The problem is I would not be sure if I did something in there already, or not and that could become embarrassing.
Where was I?
Ah yes, gambling. Or was it bashing my countrymen? Silly me.
In the US, if you’re a professional athlete, woe behold if you bet on your own team. It doesn’t matter if you always bet on your own team to win, you’ll still get ostracized for it.
However, betting on golf is legal and popular in the United Kingdom. There are all kinds of odds. At the British Open, you can wager on which member of the threesome will post the low score. And there are always odds on players winning.
Tour pros already bet hundreds and, sometimes thousands of dollars with each other in practice rounds. Hey, playing with nothing riding on it is boring, right?
The new US PGA Tour “Integrity Program will extend the ban on PGA Tour betting on Tour events and will encompass virtually anyone related to tournaments. This includes players’ support teams, tournament staff and volunteers, as well as all PGA Tour staff and policy-board members…
And probably their mothers as well.
Their reasoning is “to maintain integrity and prevent and mitigate betting-related corruption in PGA Tour competitions— ensuring competitions always reflect, and appear to reflect, the best efforts of the players, while protecting the welfare of the players and others involved with the PGA Tour—through clear policies and regulations, ongoing education and training, and effective and consistent monitoring and enforcement functions.”
Wanna bet players already found a way around it…? VNS