Hello. Welcome to this week’s edition of The Slam, our weekly round up of the news you may have missed. Lots to get through, including another golf slow play debacle, so shall we just crack on?
A man was arrested following a flight from Nashville to London on Monday morning. What’s that got to do with golf, I hear you ask. Well, one British newspaper is naming said man as a European Tour and Ryder Cup star.
I gave the press offices of both British Airways and the Metropolitan Police a call on Thursday and they gave me the same answer: “Officers based at Heathrow Airport arrested a 29-year-old man on an inbound flight on suspicion of sexual assault, being drunk on board an aircraft, and failing to comply with cabin crew.”
They added that he was taken into custody before released, though he remains under investigation.
There is no confirmation yet that the golfer named in the newspaper is indeed the 29-year-old in question, but we’ll keep you posted if there are any developments.
The Americans are coming
Looks like the move to September is doing some good for the BMW PGA Championship. These three tweets all arrived within 24 hours of each other this week…
— Patrick Reed (@PReedGolf) July 30, 2019
— Tony Finau Golf (@tonyfinaugolf) July 31, 2019
— Billy Horschel (@BillyHo_Golf) July 31, 2019
Now, European Tour, announce Tiger!
Koepka’s just like you
How do you prepare for a round of golf? Roll up 10 minutes before your tee time, change your shoes in the car, two putts on the practice green and away you go? Me too.
You always play horribly when you do that though, don’t you? You always vow to be at the course in plenty of time next time, don’t you?
What’s even more galling is that Brooks Koepka can do it and still win.
The World No. 1, who said he had been under the weather for much of the week at the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational, rocked up to TPC Southwind just 45 minutes before his tee time on the final day, before going on to overtake Rory McIlroy with a closing 65 and earn his first World Golf Championship title.
We’ve become big fans of the outspoken Koepka at NCG Towers and long may it continue.
Yes, we know, the major season was done and dusted before the end of July and now we’re into a nine-and-a-half month wait until we head back down Magnolia Lane. Stop panicking, there is plenty to go at in the meantime, like the Walker Cup – that’s always great fun – and the Presidents Cup with a certain T. Woods as captain.
We’ve all had our say – including a website not a million miles from here – but Jack Nicklaus is the biggest name to wade into the row.
Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, Nicklaus said: “”I don’t like the new major schedule.”
He added: “If you have an injury, or if you’re struggling with one tournament, all of a sudden the other one follows too closely to get it back.
“I’m not sure that that’s really a good thing for the game of golf, to have all your tournaments in about three and a half months. And I don’t think it’s good for the other tournaments on the tour.
“The guys have got to skip a lot of tournaments. We saw that this year – guys weren’t playing in between majors, and I think that’s a shame for the tour.
“I know that the all-mighty dollar is important, but I don’t think it’s so important that you really lose out on the tradition of the great tournaments that have been played for years and years and years.”
And who are we to argue with the man who played in 164 majors and finished in the top 10 on 72 occasions, including a record 18 wins?
Golf slow play backlash
SB Nation writer Brendan Porath shared a video from the US Girls Junior Championship that caused quite a stir.
Before you watch it, here is some context.
Jillian Bourdage left herself a three-footer to halve the hole and remain 1-down to Lei Ye in the 31st hole of the 36-hole final.
Bourdage, 17, holed out as her 18-year-old opponent watched on, but it’s the length of time it took her that’s garnered so much attention.
friend just sent me this from the US Girls Junior… Trickle down effects of slow play on a 3 foot comebacker pic.twitter.com/trYC2vZZIo
— Brendan Porath (@BrendanPorath) July 30, 2019
If you weren’t counting, or didn’t manage to sit through the entire video, it was a full 1 minute 24 seconds from Bourdage marking her ball to holing out.
“It’s a process,” notes Solheim Cup captain Juli Inkster in the broadcast, before Fox Sports analyst Shane Bacon adds: ““Bourdage does not hit these putts until she is 100 percent comfortable and ready.”
Bourdage has, as you would expect, been on the wrong end of quite the social media backlash.
Having carefully combed through the not-so nice things people have said about Bourdage, I think it’s safe to say whatever I have to say on the matter won’t be shifting any opinions. I guess that’s the world we live in now.
But if you do care, it’s got nothing to do with her age, or her nerves, and everything to do with how these players are coached and how the authorities allow them to get away with it – and that starts at the very top of the game. (Hi, JB!)
My colleagues Steve Carroll and Mark Townsend are putting together a carefully-researched deeper dive on slow play which we’ll have with you very soon. That’s certainly one to keep an eye out for.
Now here are some bits and pieces on NCG that you should check out…
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Do the Ryder Cup captains actually matter?