Golf tantrums. We’ve all seen them. We’ve all had them. In this edition of Fourball, I’m joined by Dan Murphy, Steve Carroll and Harvey Jamison to discuss our favourite angry moments…
Kindly put together your most explosive fourball in tour golf that would be fun to watch from a golf tantrums perspective?
Dan: Tommy Bolt loved to throw a golf club in his day. Inevitably nicknamed Thunder, the American won 15 times on the PGA Tour. The story goes that he once asked his caddie for a club from 130 yards towards the end of a volatile round. Handed a 3-iron, he questioned the selection and was told it was the only iron left in the bag. So he’s in.
Let’s add Steve ‘Volcano’ Pate to the mix next. He once famously attacked an innocent tee sign.
There’s no sexism here – Dottie Pepper could start an argument in an empty room, especially around the time of a Solheim Cup, so she makes the group. And I can’t think of anyone spicier to round our fourball off than with Seve Ballesteros. The late, great Spaniard was no angel either, especially in matchplay. I simply dread to think what he and Pepper would find to argue about, particularly if the match was wrapped up in American and European flags.
Steve: I’d like to see Miguel Angel Jimenez and Keegan Bradley partnered up against slow play sensations JB Holmes and Patrick Cantlay. We could have a sweep on who would throw the first punch – although the time it takes Cantlay to do anything means it definitely wouldn’t be him. JB would spend five minutes thinking about throwing a haymaker, while Jimenez and Bradley would have knocked each other out six holes down the track.
Harvey: In the red corner I dream of Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Simon Dyson, with John Paramor alongside in his rules cart, and in the blue corner, Rory Sabbatini and Sergio Garcia. They’d all be mic’d up, the trash talk would offend everyone, the post-round tweets would be entered into the Hall of Fame and both Keith Pelley and Jay Monahan would have one hell of a PR job on their hands.
Mark: I’d probably have to go for a European quartet so Tyrrell Hatton, Jon Rahm, Thomas Pieters and Sergio. This should tick off everything on our bingo head-off – the broken tee box, the anguished scream, the snapped club over both shoulder and thigh, and the bunker assault all played out to a general, whiny background.
Sergio Garcia’s meltdown in a Royal Greens bunker a day prior to his disqualification for vandalism work on five greens. Story by @SkySportsGolf fills in details. Translations welcomed! https://t.co/UoGmPtTOz4 pic.twitter.com/dQMDN7y2PC
— Geoff Shackelford (@GeoffShac) February 4, 2019
Golf tantrums aplenty with this lot.
When was the last time you threw a club in anger or did something that made you feel embarrassed and apologetic on the golf course?
Dan: Hmm. I have a few skeletons in this particular closet, I’m afraid. The last club I threw was a while ago, happily, so I think I have learned my lesson. I was playing the Stroke Index 1 hole at Southerness into a cold, stiff wind. I managed to get a driver and a 3-wood into the heart of the green. One of my playing partners was well short in three and the other had got on to the front edge with his pitched third before putting up to eight feet. The former duffed a chip before getting up and down for a 6-nett5, and the latter saved his 5. I left my 20-foot birdie putt short then missed the next one.
A lobbed Never Compromise arced gracefully into the middle of a large gorse bush and it took me five painful minutes to recover it.
Harvey: I wish I could sit here and type that throwing a club during your weekly knock is profoundly petulant but the jury’s out and I’m guilty. My style is like McIlroy at Doral. I load all my power onto my left side, clubface pointing towards the sky, thrust my hips forward and fling my 8-iron at a perfect 45-degrees. Oh, that last time? Burns Night, January 25, after two balls in the water on the 9th hole at Close House.
Steve: I haven’t chucked one at a copse of trees in years. It’s not that I don’t get vengeful – in a sort of Rory Sabbatini meets Ben Crane sort of way – it’s just that they cost too much to replace. I last felt shame on the course barely a week ago when I inadvertently gave someone the wrong ruling on an unplayable lie. I spent an hour at home flagellating myself with the Rule Book as penance. I really could have just bought him a pint.
Mark: I can’t really remember helicoptering a club probably because I’m scared of doing a Judge Smails and getting my release point wrong. I have a vivid memory of attacking a gorse bush in around 2008 at one of the greatest and unstuffy of courses in the UK – I was tired and emotional but it was – and the embarrassment of that is still with me so I’ve been OK since.
What’s the best/worst example of a playing partner doing something particularly untoward on the course?
Dan: That would have to be a former colleague, no longer of this parish. Playing in the group behind of the annual Christmas Challenge, we found the divorced head and shaft of a fairway wood he had recently been gifted in the bin on the 4th tee. The following week, he asked if he could have a replacement.
Steve: If we’re talking rule-breaking then claiming your provisional is your first ball is a pretty low blow. That actually makes me want to chuck a club, or break it over their head anyway. I’ve seen that so many times during the years that I’ll actually check the number and markings before it gets hit. The perennial ‘good shot’ when you’ve clearly caught a significant part of the hosel also gets my goat.
Harvey: I’ve played twice a week with the same guys from school for four years now and blame it on the new rules or Brexit, I don’t care, but for one of them 2019 is the year of the pig rage. Our last three matches have been halted as he takes a strop, slamming either his putter or driver off the nearest tree, tee marker, or bag. He’s broken nothing yet, but has muttered the words, “why won’t you work?” several times. Pathetic.
Mark: At school one of our team had a terrible temper, and still does, on the course. Various matches would be interrupted by him having to retrieve his putter from various parts of the property and one match, at Royal Mid-Surrey, involved him having to climb to the top of a pine-like tree to get his Ping Anser back.
The beauty was that he, and his flatstick, returned to earth Tom-and-Jerry style down the trunk of the tree.
Another has just sprung to mind of another wrong ‘un who was on his knees at the far end of a course in Suffolk, shrieking a very bad word at the top of his voice while simultaneously trying to blow his nose.