Hello. Welcome to this week’s edition of The Slam – a feature that couldn’t have a more appropriate name this week, because it seems we have our first Twitter spat of 2019!

The first event of the year on the European Tour is here in the shape of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

It’s a bit odd having the tournament run from Wednesday to Saturday – it’s to accommodate football’s Asian Cup which is taking place in the Emirate, if you’re interested – and it’s left us all wondering what day it is. It’s the week between Christmas and New Year all over again.

So what’s happened now? Well you might remember an incident a long, long time ago – the 2013 BMW Masters in Shanghai, to be precise – where Simon Dyson, co-leading at the time, was disqualified after being caught using his ball to press down a spike mark on the line of a short par putt.

It got quite messy after that. Dyson was found guilty of a “serious breach” of the European Tour’s code of behaviour, handed a hefty fine to the tune of about 40 grand, and suspended for two months. Dyson said at the time he wasn’t deliberately breaking the rules and called it “the worst moment of [his] career”, a career that never really recovered.

Fast forward to January 2019 and the updated Rules of Golf state that you can indeed now repair those pesky spike marks. I bet Dyson was dreading this day.

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, who was the largest beneficiary of Dyson’s DQ, winning his seventh and, as it turns out, latest European Tour title, couldn’t resist.


When it was suggested to GFC that he at least tag Dyson in the tweet, he replied:

Dyson should have probably sucked it up (ah-oh!) and let it slide, but he just couldn’t resist. In a later deleted tweet he said GFC “hasn’t got the f***ing balls” to tag him, before calling the Spaniard a “sad little man”.

Dyson replied to a couple of tweets insisting that he “can’t be arsed”, that “some of us have actually moved on”, and how he “didn’t bite six years ago so not going to start now”.

He then ended the chat like we all do in 2019, with an inspirational quote:

Fernandez-Castano wasn’t done, though. When Andrew Murray – the former European Tour player, not the tennis legend – called him out, he replied with a video of the incident:

Now if you’re anything like me, you long for the days when sports stars slagged each other off in press conferences, or post-match interviews, or just straight up to their face.

God bless Patrick Reed for keeping it old school.

Tour de Poults

Ian Poulter’s opening round of 66 on Wednesday shouldn’t come as a surprise, until you find out he’d essentially been in the air for two straight days beforehand.

Poulter left Hawaii on Sunday after a T33 finish at the Sony Open – a tournament in which he was only playing because he’d been a very naughty boy – and arrived in his Abu Dhabi hotel, via LA and Dubai, at 10.15pm on Tuesday night, barely 12 hours before his tee time.

I’ll let the Postman himself deliver (ay-oh!) the story:

Short changed

The Matt Kuchar story is rumbling on. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, you can catch up here, but Tom Gillis, the man who brought this to the world’s attention, was tweeted by a man named Marc Graubart on Tuesday:

He was then asked:

Gillis himself added:

I think it’s safe to say we haven’t heard the end of this one.

Ho Sung Joy

Rejoice! The man with golf’s best swing is on his way to the PGA Tour after accepting an invite to next month’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Choi is in action at the Singapore Open at Sentosa Golf Club this week, so let’s enjoy his “fisherman’s swing” in slow motion…

Also headed to Pebble Beach is Club Pro Guy, the Mexican mini-tour legend turned coach whose claim to fame is an eight-hole par streak at the 1998 Yucatan Masters. He issued this statement:

Spare a thought for Bill Murray, who won’t be centre of attention at this event for the first time since 1984.

That’s it from me. Here are some bits the proper journalists on my team wrote this week that you should definitely read…