Thought for the Day:
Remember to pillage and rape before you burn
The rich get richer
The torturous pre-shot routine of Kevin Na at the Players’ Championship has brought the pace of play taken by Tour pros into the news again – but don’t expect anything to change, especially in America. The last twoball of the final round – Na and Zach Johnson – took four-and-a-quarter hours to complete their round. That’s close to a quarter of an hour per hole. Na was put on the clock in the third round and will receive a financial penalty for slow play, but we’ll never know what it was because the Tour doesn’t publicise such things. In fact it’s likely to be between $5,000 and $20,000 but considering that Na slipped down the leaderboard quicker than a McDonald’s hamburger disappears down John Daly’s neck, and still made nearly $300,000 for tied 7th, I doubt he’ll be too distressed. When it was pointed out to Tour commissioner Tim Finchem that what happens in the pro game always filters through to amateurs he said: ‘Anything we can do from a communications standpoint to encourage people playing faster, we will do. But clubs have got to take the initiative to drive play.’ I translate this to mean: ‘It’s nothing to do with us if amateurs take too long.’ As a piece of bureaucratic buck passing it stands alongside Pontius Pilate washing his hands when the mob demanded that Jesus Christ be crucified.
But whenever we consider any pro Tours and their behaviour, or in this case, continued inactivity, we need to remind ourselves that various Tours around the world exist for the benefit and financial rewards of its members. The PGA Tour’s own website says: ‘The mission of the PGA Tour is to expand domestically and internationally to substantially increase player financial benefits while maintaining its commitment to the integrity of the game,’ (my italics). Obviously if the second part of that ambition, to promote the integrity of the game, is in contradiction to the first part, to make rich people considerably richer, then it can be abandoned.
Some Guys Have all the Luck
And if that hasn’t vented your spleen of its accumulated bile, direct a little of it towards Rhein Gibson, a 26-year-old Australian pro currently plying his trade on the Golfweek National Pro Tour. According to the magazine that is the title sponsor of that Tour, on May 19th Gibson played the 6,698-yard par-71 River Oaks Golf Club in a total of 55 strokes, or 16-under par. He started slowly with two pars, going out in a modest 29, before blitzing the back nine in 26. In total he made four pars, 12 birdies and two eagles. The round has provisionally been recorded as a new world record and the modest Gibson said: ‘I just kind of got hot I guess and every putt I hit went in.’
He’s a 26-year-old pro golfer who is self-effacing and, while he may have fallen out of the ugly tree he doesn’t appear to have hit too many branches on the way down, and has just shot 55 – is there any reason not to hate him? Oh, and at the Madeira Islands Open, Carlos Del Moral set a new Tour record by completing a round of golf with just 20 putts. In the same event, Shiv Kapur made his own entry into the record books by hitting a drive that was officially measured at 442 yards, just 11 yards short of the green on a downhill par five hole. Del Moral finished tied fourth while Kapur, who only managed to par the hole on which he hit that monstrous drive, was tied 26th. Serves him right.
A bit of news that should bother us all is that the BBC is losing the rights to cover all golf except the Open and two days of The Masters. It recently showed the BMW PGA from Wentworth but that’s going, and so too the Barclays Scottish Open from Castle Stuart. More worryingly, at a press conference a few weeks ago, Peter Dawson, chief executive of the R&A, said of the Beeb: ‘They have to keep up with the advances in technology in broadcasting, and they know we’ve got our eye on that for sure.’ The BBC’s current contract to screen The Open runs until 2016 but I interpret Dawson’s words to mean, in effect: If you’re not regularly showing golf, you cannot keep up to date with how to best do it.’ And the result of that would be to lose the contract. It is a significant shot across the bows but one wonders if the BBC has the financial muscle any more to respond.
Quote of the Week:
Be brave if you lose and meek if you win.