Had enough of Brexit? Now it might derail The Open

The Scoop

Royal Portrush's Brexit conundrum, JT lets loose on the rules, while the R&A and USGA contradict each other. Alex Perry explains all in The Slam

Hello. Welcome to The Slam, NCG’s look back on the week in golf. You’ve got all this to look forward to: The rules! Brexit! The rules! Let’s start with the rules!

Rules of engagement

Will we ever go another full week without the Rules of Golf making the headlines?

Since they came in at the start of the year, we haven’t been able to move for incidents on the European and PGA Tours. There was the Haotong Li debacle, and the Denny McCarthy showdown, then Rickie Fowler was front and centre not just once but twice.

And the pros haven’t exactly been shy talking about the new rules, either, from Dustin Johnson seemingly not having a clue, to those calling for separate rules for the pros and amateurs, to Brooks Koepka speaking more on this than anything else, well, ever.

Justin Thomas

Ahead of the Honda Classic, Justin Thomas was asked why he thinks Koepka is suddenly so keen to open up having been notoriously media shy before. Here is his answer presented verbatim:

Yeah, well, the thing about Brooks is somehow he was one of the most underrated players ever, and no offence, but nobody really talked to him, so it’s not like – it’s not that he just wasn’t speaking his mind, but there was no-one to speak his mind to other than us.

“I think now that he’s a little bit more – a lot under the scope and getting asked questions, that’s not Brooks’ personality to – he’s definitely not causing issues by any means, but he’s also – I feel I’m very similar.

Still with us? It gets more tasty (and more English):

It’s like, there’s no reason for me to sit up here and tell you guys that I think the Rules of Golf, the changes are great, because I don’t, I think they’re terrible.

“So why would I say that, know what I’m saying? I think anything you can do that’s going to change the game positively or have a good impact on something, then there’s no reason to feel like you need to hold back.

And there it is. It’s like the whole build up, where JT seems to be stuttering over his words and struggling to get his point across, was one massive build-up to the crashing crescendo that is his view on the Rules of Golf.

Two people we hadn’t heard from on how the changes to the rules are going are the head honchos at the R&A and USGA, Martin Slumbers and Mike Davis.

Until now.

Davis had this to say on the rules:

From my perspective, I would say by and large they’ve been a huge success. They did exactly what we wanted them to do, which was really simplify the understanding and make them easier to apply.

That’s not what the players are saying, Mike. Hopefully your R&A counterpart has your back…

There’s been some unfortunate situations, no doubt about that. It hasn’t gone as smoothly as I would have liked.

Oh.

Guys, maybe just talk to each other before you talk to the press.

How is Brexit threatening preparations of The Open at Portrush? And who are the headline acts replacing Rory McIlroy at the Irish Open? The Slam continues on the next page…

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