Hello. Welcome to this week’s edition of The Slam, NCG’s look back on the golfing week.
And how can I start anywhere else other than Tiger Woods? Well I have to really, don’t I, because I’ve put a really horrible clickbait headline. Sorry about that.
It was revealed by Nick Faldo on the Dan Patrick Show this week that he overhead Tiger tell a fellow Masters winner at the Champions Dinner in 2015: “I’m done, I won’t play again.”
If Tiger did indeed say it, it’s a fascinating insight into how Tiger felt about his game at the time, and the dark depths into which he clearly plunged.
The more things that get revealed like this, the more it becomes apparent that the fact he is playing again, let alone contending in majors, is nothing short of a miracle.
Look, if Tiger ends his career with the same number of PGA Tour and major wins as he’s on now, I’m happy. And I’m sure he’s happy with that, too.
I’m just delighted that, as proved while watching him make a run at the PGA Championship, he’s just back and making me feel those feelings I haven’t felt in a long time.
24 reasons to watch a Pebble play-off
Now, onto the US Amateur, which is being played on the famous links of Pebble Beach in California this week.
If you don’t know, the US Amateur is exactly the format I believe the PGA Championship should be: 36 holes of strokeplay followed by two days of matchplay.
After the strokeplay portion had ended, a whopping 24 players were left to play-off for a single spot in the matchplay.
So the organisers sent them back to the par-3 17th and put them in groups of four.
With the pin tucked away at the back left of the green, players must have been feeling like par was enough.
But the four players in the first two groups who did walk off with a three were promptly eliminated when Jacob Bergeron of Louisiana State University, pictured, knocked it to five feet and stroked in his birdie putt.
Bergeron then watched as player after player failed to match his achievement, that is until Peter Kuest, the 24th and final player, rolled home the clutchiest of clutch putts from 12 feet.
So just when you thought we’d be in for a day-long marathon play-off was suddenly down to just two men.
On 18, both men found the fairway before Kuest pulled his second into the Pacific Ocean.
Bergeron played safely up the right-hand side and eventually made bogey, but Kuest’s watery antics meant he couldn’t better a triple-bogey 8.
I feel like I need a lie down just explaining it
More fun and games with golf’s rules
Also at the US Amateur – guess what? – yet another silly rules infringement has cost a player victory.
Akshay Bhatia, the 16-year-old left-hander that’s dominated the junior circuit this year, and his caddie, Chris Darnell, both stopped to use a restroom while they played Pebble’s par-5 14th during their Round of 64 match against Bradford Tilley.
Bhatia walked up to the green, then when Darnell was finished he hopped on a USGA official’s cart to catch up.
“The gentleman was wearing a USGA pullover,” Darnell told the Golf Channel. “I asked if I could get a ride to the green to keep up pace, and he said yes. So I hopped on the back, got up to the green, hopped off and thought nothing of it.”
But, of course, golf’s increasingly oddball rules dictate players and caddies from using any form of transportation unless authorised.
So just after Bhatia had rolled home a birdie putt to go 1-up, he was swiftly handed a one-shot penalty and the match remained all square.
What was more intriguing was that Darnell said he’d seen the Tilley’s caddie do the same at a different hole, but didn’t say anything as “everything seemed kosher”.
Bhati went on to lose at the 19th hole.
“What can you do?” he said.
Well, you could start by changing such nonsense rules.
I was a guest on the Sky Sports Golf podcast this week alongside Jamie Weir and Sporting Life’s Ben Coley. That’s available to download now from iTunes – or whatever your podcast provider happens to be if you’re not down with the Apple kids.
Magic. That's what. (And golf chat.)https://t.co/dR41rM9q3O
— Alex Perry (@AlexPerryNCG) August 15, 2018
If you don’t want to listen for the golf chat, at least listen for me dropping a huge bombshell that’s got me in a lot of trouble with my mum and dad.
Right, that was this week’s edition of The Slam. There won’t be a Slam next week as I’ll be at Le Golf National getting in some Ryder Cup preparation – so look out for that.
Does that make it sound like I think I’m actually playing in the Ryder Cup? One day…
Recommended in The Slam
About the Slam
Founded in 2017 in a tiny green room in Leeds, The Slam, presented by Alex Perry, is National Club Golfer’s irreverent look back on the biggest news of the week from the golfing world.
It has since received rave reviews from the critics:
“This guy is nowhere near as funny as he thinks he is” – Facebook
“I wish he would get his hair cut” – YouTube
“WTF” – Twitter
“I heard him say Tiger Woods. Did he criticise Tiger Woods?” – Tiger Woods fans
“You look very handsome and I’m ever so proud” – Alex’s mum
If you’d like more musings from Alex’s little world, you can follow him on Twitter. Or don’t, that’s up to you. Probably best you don’t.