Top 5: Greatest golf spatsMay 24, 2016 The Scoop
From Seve Ballesteros vs Paul Azinger to the Battle of Brookline, there have been some memorable spats in the world of golf
Everybody loves a good golf spat played out in public.
There is nothing better than watching wide-eyed as two people lose the plot and clash in hilarious fashion with little regard for the spectators gleefully hiding their smiles behind their hand.
But a spat becomes even juicier when it takes place in what is widely known as the gentleman’s game.
Golf is famous for its strict adherence to rules and high levels of sportsmanship.
However, nothing can be done when two personalities clash on the course and the TV cameras are on hand to capture every moment.
So here are five of the best golfing spats to have been played out in public.
5. Monty vs Sir Nick
Colin Montgomerie and Sir Nick Faldo are two of Britain’s greatest ever golfers and it’s somewhat a shame that the pair haven’t always seen eye to eye.
Monty criticised Sir Nick’s captaincy as Europe succumbed to a rare defeat to America in the 2008 Ryder Cup and then failed to seek his advice as he took up the captaincy himself two years later.
Faldo hit back on air while working as a TV analyst by saying: “Monty’s too busy these days cutting my head off to try to make himself look taller.”
4. Jimenez vs Bradley and caddie
Not many people would decide to square up to popular cigar-chomping Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez, but Keegan Bradley and his caddie Steve “Pepsi” Hale gave it a good go in 2015.
The trio became involved in a heated debate involving a ruling at the WGC Cadillac Match Play Championship.
Jimenez questioned the ruling of a referee after Bradley was given a relief and that kicked off a whirlwind of arguing between Jimenez, Bradley and Hale.
Watch the awkward scenes below…
3. Azinger vs Seve in double golf spat
The heated clashes between Paul Azinger and Seve Ballesteros have now become the stuff of legend.
It all started at the 1989 Ryder Cup when Ballesteros indicated that he would be changing his damaged ball on the green, before putting. Demanding to see evidence of the damage, Azinger insisted that the ball was perfectly playable and no change was allowed.
Later, Azinger was unhappy that Ballesteros had questioned the validity of his drop at the 18th.
Two years later the Ryder Cup headed to Kiawah Island and became the scene for another clash between the American and Spaniard.
Ballesteros and his playing partner Jose Maria Olazabal noticed on the 7th hole that their opponents Azinger and Chip Beck were breaking the rules by switching the type of golf ball they were using.
However, they didn’t point it out until a few holes later when they were losing. It had the desired effect as the Americans lost their focus and the Spanish duo went on to win 2 and 1.
2. Daly vs the Roth family
Big-hitting John Daly is no stranger to controversy, but even his scuffle with Bob Roth, father of player Jeffrey, at the 1994 World Series of Golf in Ohio was shocking.
Daly was grabbed from behind by 62-year-old Bob Roth outside the clubhouse and the pair fought before the crowd separated them.
Roth was upset because Daly had twice hit balls into the group ahead of him. Roth’s son, Jeffrey, was in the twosome ahead of Daly.
Whether Daly did it on purpose is unknown but with his ability to smash the ball you would have thought he would be more conscious of the people ahead.
1. Europe vs USA at the 1999 Ryder Cup
The 1999 Ryder Cup was one of the most heated and controversial in the history of the competition.
The animosity between the two sides had been building throughout the contest, now dubbed ‘The Battle of Brookline’.
USA fans had been directing a lot of their abuse towards Colin Montgomerie, so much so that the Scottish golfer’s father left the tournament early in disgust.
But the most controversial moment came when Justin Leonard was mobbed by members of the USA team on the 17th green as he sank his putt. The Americans were celebrating their probable victory despite Jose Maria Olazabal still having a chance to level the contest.
Angry European vice-captain Sam Torrance said: “It’s about the most disgusting thing I’ve seen in my life.
“This is not sour grapes. The whole American team and spectators ran right across the green over Olly’s line.
“He still has a putt to tie the hole, we could still take the Ryder Cup home.”
Torrance singled out Tom Lehman, who also celebrated wildly after holing a long birdie putt against Lee Westwood at the 13th.
“It was disgusting and Tom Lehman calls himself a man of God,” Torrance said. “His behaviour today was disgusting.”
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