Way to kick the European Tour while it's down, Martin

The Scoop

Martin Kaymer has a pop at the European Tour, more controversial rules incidents, and the craziest bet we've ever seen. Alex Perry explains all in The Slam

Hello. Welcome to this week’s edition of The Slam, NCG’s look back on the golfing week.

Now you’ll notice there is no video version of The Slam today. Sorry about that, there is a technical issue – the technical issue being that I am at the complete opposite end of the UK to the production team.

But we’ll soldier on – you’ll just have to read it this week. If it helps, read it in the voice of a man desperately trying to cover up his West Country accent…

Kicking Kaymer

Remember Martin Kaymer? Tall German bloke, won a couple of majors, was World No. 1 for a bit, always looks like he showers in baby oil?

Well, he’s had a bit of a pop at the European Tour this week.

The European Tour has had a tough couple of weeks, having had to shift its schedule to suit the PGA Tour, coming under fire for announcing a tournament in Saudi Arabia, and needing a last-minute reprieve to save the British Masters. It’ll be interesting to see how, if at all, they respond.

And Kaymer, who fell out of the world’s top 100 for the first time for more than a decade earlier this year and currently sits at 150th in the rankings, was talking to reporters after being handed his PGA Tour card for 2019 on a special exemption basis – having battled shoulder and wrist injuries for the past few seasons.

The new PGA Tour schedule is going to have a huge influence on the European Tour from February until June. The [European Tour] tournaments are very low on world ranking points and prize money. So if you have the chance to play on the PGA Tour, why would you play in Europe?

I can spend three or four months in the States. Then I can play in the Rolex Series events after the US Open in the run-up to the Open Championship. That will mean much less crossing the Atlantic. It just makes sense to stay in America until the end of the US Open when there is only three or four weeks between the biggest events from the Players all the way through the majors. It would make no sense to go back to Europe, which is a shame for the events there.

Ouch.

The worst thing, though? He’s absolutely right. This is the PGA Tour’s world and we’re just living in it.

Itchy Chen

Golf’s complicated rules have been making headline news again this week. What else is new, right?

First of all, this is Doris Chen…

Doris Chen

Now, Chen was playing at the LPGA Tour Q-Series when, on the 17th hole at Pinehurst No. 7, her drive came to rest beyond the out of bound stakes.

Then it gets messy.

When Chen arrived at her ball, it was in bounds. One spectator had told Chen that she had seen a woman kicking the ball into a nicer lie. The same spectator then pointed out Chen’s mother as the culprit.

Chen claimed the spectator “did not mention that the ball was out of bounds” and elected to play it as it was because it was “still a live ball”.

The LPGA said in a statement: “An outside agency moved her ball back in bounds. Ms Chen and her caddie were made aware that the ball had been moved. Doris elected to play the ball, which was a wrong ball by definition, from its altered lie.”

Because she did not penalise herself for the violation before teeing off on the next hole, Chen was disqualified for breaching Rule 15-3b.

Chen later said the spectator “told the LPGA that the ball was moved from out of bounds to in bounds” before adding: “I swear to God that is not what she told me. My caddie was a witness. He heard it.”

Then it gets even messier because Chen’s caddie, Alex Valer, told the Golf Channel he was left “frustrated” by the incident and wanted to set the record straight.

“Doris did the wrong thing. I’m just trying to do the right thing, to be fair to all those players at Q-Series who have worked so hard for a whole year,” he said.

Meanwhile Chen said: “I feel hurt. People are calling me a cheater, with inflammatory words. I’m not a cheater. I never intend to cheat, and I’ve never told my family or friends to move my ball if I push my shot in the woods.”

She later wrote on Twitter that she intended to just hide and forget about it for a while.

Probably for the best.

Cruel intentions

Elsewhere, there was uproar in the golf media this week when Gian-Marco Petrozzi was hit with a two-shot penalty during Stage 2 of European Tour Q School.

The Englishman’s 6-under 65, which included an ace on the par-3 17th at Las Colinas, looked good enough.
But at the final hole, Petrozzi had paced off a yardage for his approach which would need to carry a bunker. He walked through the sand to do this and, as he returned to the ball, raked his footprints in the sand.

In doing so, he broke Rule 13-2 which says you cannot improve your line of play. The two shots dropped him to a tie for 32nd and well out of contention.

“CRUEL”, “DISGRACE”, “BRUTAL”, and “RIDICULOUS” – all in capital letters, of course – are just a handful of the ways I’ve seen this story described in the past couple of days.

Or, a pretty simple rule that even I know.

A frustrating way to miss out, sure, but this isn’t one for which to go after the rulemakers, folks.

Petrozzi, at least, has accepted it with good grace.

And finally…

I like to put a bit of money on sports here and there. I’ve won a bit on golf down the years – thanks Adam and Bubba – and I usually bet against my team, Torquay United, so at least my frustration in defeat is countered by a minor financial gain.

But I’ve never done anything quite as crazy as this.

Australian betting company Tab shared a successful accumulator that covered three sporting events over as many months.

First up, he backed Brooks Koepka to win the PGA Championship in August. Then he backed Autumn Sun to win the Caulfield Guineas – a Melbourne horse race – in October. And finally, he punted on Cross Counter to win the Melbourne Cup – another horse race – in November.

His triple bet made on August 9 was complete on November 6 and his $10 had turned into $76,440.

Not bad for three months’ work.

Right, that’s enough from me. I’ll be back on screen next week. Promise.

Some recommended reading

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