In the latest we've-all-been-there moment, a Challenge Tour player gets hit by one of golf's more bizarre rulings. Alex Perry explains in The Slam
Hello. Welcome to this week’s edition of The Slam where, as usual, I’ve dug out a few little stories from the past few days you may not have spotted. What happens when a player runs out of golf balls? Stick around, we’ll find out.
So who stayed up for the US Open? I’m not entirely sure I’ve caught up on sleep just yet. I managed to stay up for the entirety of the final round and my colleagues Steve Carroll and Harvey Jamison were at Pebble Beach – the swines – and produced a lot of cool stuff that’s well worth checking out.
Ahead of the third major of the year, I popped to Machrihanish on the Kintyre peninsula in Scotland. I say “popped”, do you know how far it is? From England, you basically drive to Glasgow, then keep going, then keep going some more, then you basically do a full 180 round a loch then head southbound for another three hours.
“It’s south west of Glasgow so should only take a couple of h… oh.” pic.twitter.com/7612cMp1Jm
— Alex Perry (@AlexPerryNCG) June 10, 2019
Anyway, 16 hours in a car in the space of three days was well worth it when we finally arrived. On the Tuesday morning we played the stunning Machrihanish – the golf club that lost its clubhouse to a fire just before Christmas – and, of course, that opening tee shot.
Oh Scotland. Even when you’re a bit grumpy you’re just so bonkers and beautiful. pic.twitter.com/qXjVhAH5HZ
— Alex Perry (@AlexPerryNCG) June 11, 2019
Bailed right but found the fairway, if you’re wondering.
Then in the afternoon we met with Darren Clarke to chat to him about his career and, of course, the Open. He was in great form and afterwards we had dinner and he was telling some great stories – almost none of which I can write here.
The next morning we played Machrihanish Dunes, a course of which he is an ambassador. What a course that is, by the way. Some of the funnest greens I’ve ever putted on. At least twice I had to putt away from the hole and use the slope to bring the ball back close. Apparently Dunaverty, about 20 minutes from Machrihanish, is great fun too. You can do worse than plan a golf trip to this incredible part of the world. And if you don’t fancy the drive, however spectacular, you can fly from Glasgow to nearby Campbeltown.
Right, anything going on in the tour world?
New balls please
This made me laugh. (I’m not entirely sure why – but it did.) Did you know if you run out of golf balls during a competition you are disqualified? I only knew because of that now infamous Stevie Williams story where he said Tiger Woods had got down to his last ball at the US Open in 2000 – you know, the one he won by a million – and apparently Williams didn’t tell Woods just how close he’d come to a DQ until a few months later. But I guess we only have his word for it.
So back to the present and French golfer Clement Berardo was forced out of the Andalucia-Costa del Sol Match Play event on the Challenge Tour after losing all his balls.
Berardo, the current World No. 1,909, opened with a 9 at Valle Romano and was 10-over par when he dunked his final ball in the water on the par-5 16th.
We’ve all been there.
It is another one of those rules, though, where for me the punishment far outweighs the crime. If a footballer punted the ball out of the stadium, you wouldn’t just send everyone home, would you?
Having said that, if you’re in a position where you’ve lost all your balls you’re almost certainly not going to be making the cut and, with it, any cash. The rule is probably in place to save face.
You’re welcome, Clement.
Nice guys finish first
How great to see Gary Woodland pick up his first major championship. What a bloody nice guy.
I know the Americans go nuts for stuff like this but his friendship with 20-year-old Amy Bockerstette, who has Down’s Syndrome, really melts my heart. You might remember Amy from the Phoenix Open when she played the par-3 16th alongside Woodland during a practice round – and made par, by the way.
Well guess who the first person Woodland called was after his win at Pebble? And then he did this…
U.S. Open champ @GaryWoodland stopped by to surprise Amy Bockerstette, one of his biggest fans who cheered him on during his big win.
“The world needs a lot more of Amy in it. Her attitude, her energy – it was contagious. I thought a lot about you on Sunday." pic.twitter.com/WXTr6c1Sim
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) June 18, 2019
Watch it without me guys, I just can’t…
Right that’s enough from me. I was going to write more but I am legit writing this from my car while my girlfriend drives and shovels crisps into her gob and both kids are snoring in the back. So I’ll see you in a couple of weeks after a (hopefully) sunny break in Cornwall.
Before I go though, here is some proper journalism from my brilliant team: Mark Townsend’s fascinating chat with Tony Jacklin on the 50th anniversary of his Open win at Lytham, Steve Carroll explains why a weekend roll-up may end up counting towards your handicap, Hannah Holden puts two of the year’s best-selling drivers up against each other, and Harvey Jamison asked fans at Bethpage and Pebble if there should be a fifth major.