Darren Clarke fumes at a rules official, Bryson DeChambeau's answer to slow play, and Muirfield finally makes it to 2019. Alex Perry wraps up the week in The Slam
Hello. Welcome to this week’s Slam, coming at the slightly later time of, err, Sunday. I had a lovely week off, thanks for asking.
I don’t make my love of Bude & North Cornwall Golf Club a secret and you shouldn’t either. Just look at it.
Go to your happy place. pic.twitter.com/NbgdFpZnI0
— Alex Perry (@AlexPerryNCG) June 24, 2019
Anyway, here’s a couple of stories you might have missed during the week…
No woman, no cry
First up, news that shouldn’t be news.
Yes, it’s the “news” that the Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, who play their golf at Muirfield, have started to accept female members.
I didn’t plan on giving this any airtime but the organisation, which is 275 years old this year, released a statement regarding the “news”.
“It is my great pleasure to announce that 12 women have been formally invited to join the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers this month,” captain Alistair Campbell wrote. “This marks a milestone in the club’s illustrious history, and we look forward to welcoming all of our new members to share in the great values and traditions of our club.”
They could have just done it quietly with little fanfare given just how ridiculous the situation is. But no, there had to be some sort of self-congratulation involved.
You might remember in 2014 the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews voted to accept female members in 2014, while two years later the Honorable Company rejected the idea, losing Muirfield’s spot on the Open rota as a result. In 2017 the club, due to increased pressure from just about every angle, held a second vote in which 80% voted in favour of allowing women to join. Now they can.
Just a shame it’s 275 years too late. And even then you had to be shamed into doing it.
Build a little birdhouse in your soul
Well after leaving the Scottish outpost, Clarke, who turned 50 last year, jetted to the University of Notre Dame near Chicago to make his debut in the US Senior Open.
And it was a memorable start for the Northern Irishman – albeit for the wrong reasons.
Having made the turn on day one at 1-under, Clarke’s next tee shot found some fescue just short of the wooded area that protects the left side of the 10th on Notre Dame’s Warren course.
Clarke was discussing his options with a rules official when his caddie began trying to remove a bird feeder positioned just off the fairway.
Now, as we all know, shifting a movable obstruction is allowed under Rule 15.2, but unfortunately for both Clarke and his bagman, the bird feeder is considered an immovable obstruction because it is a permanent fixture of the golf course.
Rule 16-1 describes an immovable obstruction as “any obstruction that cannot be moved without unreasonable effort”.
Here’s the clip:
— Doug Schwimer (@Dougiefresh_21_) June 27, 2019
Bizarrely, Clarke, who clearly wasn’t happy, wasn’t informed of his penalty until later. His bogey at 10 became a triple and he went on to miss the cut at 5-over.
I mean, the rules official is right there, why is he not telling Clarke what’s going on? Imagine in football if you scored a brilliant goal, only to be told later that someone was offside in the buil… oh.
Anyway, as there was a caddie involved in this tale, this seems like a decent place to plug the latest episode of Not Another Golf Podcast with European Tour bagman Steve Brotherhood telling some tales.
Walk this way
Bryson DeChambeau has the answer to slow play – and it’s not quite the deep-thinking scientific approach you might expect.
It is simply to be a “faster walker”.
Speaking to the New York Post, the World No. 8 said: “How long does it take to walk from shot to shot or to a drive 320 yards out? That takes about two and a half minutes compared to 40 seconds over a shot.
“We’ve got more of a potential to decrease the time it takes to play a round by walking a little bit faster. When you’re talking about pace of play, you have to include the time it takes to walk.”
Speaking from a personal perspective, he added: “I can take 10 seconds longer to hit a shot, but if I walk 10 seconds faster the total aggregate time is the same, yet they’re penalising me because I took 10 seconds longer over the ball. It doesn’t make sense.
“For some people to say, ‘I just go up there and hit it’, well that’s good for you. If it works for you, it works for you. But I want to be as precise as possible heading into that shot. I want to be right on point and that just requires me to be a little faster walker.”
Next week, John Daly solves slow play by getting everyone in a buggy.
Wild thing (I think I love you)
Speaking of whom, JD was at Moor Allerton on Friday to captain Yorkshire against Lancashire in the celebrity-laden War of the Roses charity event.
The Wild Thing rolled around the Leeds club in his buggy and my colleague Harvey Jamison went to take some snaps:
Driving greens ✅
Driving buggies ✅
Drinking Diet Coke 🥤
— National Club Golfer (@NCG_com) June 29, 2019
Daly has a few stamps left on his Open exemption ticket, but hasn’t made a cut since 2012. He didn’t play at Carnoustie last year, but it sounds like he will make it to Portrush in a couple of weeks.
He told Harvey that the R&A won’t let him use a buggy at the Open – there was quite a bit of controversy when he was allowed to use one at Bethpage – but he’ll get his leg taped up and see how it goes in practice.
Watch this space.
Marching on together
Staying with Team Yorkshire, congratulations to another of my colleagues, NCG’s equipment guru Hannah Holden, who was part of the team that did this earlier in the week:
Team Yorkshire – Northern County Matchweek Champions! This team had it all, the will, the skill and the ability to overcome adversity. Every player contributed in their own unique way. Thank you for the amazing memories @ylcga 🏌🏽♀️⛳️💚 #greenteamdreamteam pic.twitter.com/cs52dQGNem
— Hannah Holden (@HannahHoldenNCG) June 29, 2019
The green is a bit too “Plymouth Argyle” for this Torquay United fan, but I’ll let it slide this time.
Sweet sixt(y one)
And finally this week’s Ridiculous Round (just made that up, might make it a thing) comes all the way from Canada:
How did you play today?
"Made 3 bogeys"
How did you play the 3 par 5's?
Damn, saw 2nd was 68, were able to squeak out a top 5?
— Monday Q Info (@acaseofthegolf1) June 30, 2019
That’s probably enough from me now. As usual, here are some stories from my brilliant team that you should absolutely be reading…