There’s been an awful lot going on recently in the world of golf – so much so that it’s difficult to know where to start this week’s musings.
Let’s start with Mel Reid, one of England’s best female golfers, who relocated recently from Derby to Florida in a bid to continue her quest to be the best she can be. Vivacious, hard-working and veteran of three Solheim Cup matches, Mel is not afraid to speak her mind and that is exactly what she did in an interview with the Independent’s Tom Kershaw. When asked about inequality in golf her response was “I think it’s getting worse.”
She then cited an incident from July 2018 when former world No 1 Inbee Park, who’s won seven major championships and an Olympic gold medal, called up a manufacturer to request a replacement 3-wood. The response? “We don’t support women’s golf.”
That’s beyond shocking.Mel chose not to name and shame the company, probably fearing jeopardising any deals some of the women players may have managed to negotiate with the big multi-nationals. That’s a real pity. This company should be named and shamed and when I replace my aging set of clubs this year I certainly do not wish to inadvertently support a company that could utter such a crass statement. When I find out the culprit, I shall certainly name them in this blog; and if that doesn’t terrify them, it should…….!!
I have felt for a while that the equality movement in golf is gathering pace from the ground up but that from the top down it is found woefully wanting. Gary Player, ever creative and provocative, has suggested in an interview with the Ladies’ European Tour that he would like to see the male professionals donate “a lousy 1%” of their winnings to women’s golf for the general good health of the game.
Nice idea, Gary, but can you really see it happening? Mind you, that would mean that Adam Scott and Justin Rose, having just surpassed the $50 million dollar mark in their PGATOUR earnings alone, would jointly contribute $1 million to the women’s game. Hmmm, hope this latest Player idea doesn’t take decades to catch on like his fitness craziness did. But then, Gary always was ahead of his time.We are now into February and the new FFS Rules of Golf (faster, fairer, simpler, of course) are in the news again. Last week Haotong Li of China was penalised two shots because his caddy was deemed to have been standing behind him as he began to line up his putt on the final green. He tumbled down the leaderboard to 12th spot. This week Denny McCarthy was penalised in Phoenix under the same rule but the penalty was rescinded after endless scrutiny of the video action by officials. I thought that INTENT was a big thing in this game of ours? In neither case was there the slightest intent to gain an advantage. Slightly ironic, isn’t it that a rule change designed predominantly to stop female pros from using their caddies to help their alignment has caused mayhem on the men’s tours and slowed play down even further as a result? The USGA and R&A have acknowledged the flaws in the interpretation and implementation of the rule and have been swift to issue further clarification. I do wonder, however, just how long they will turn a blind eye to the pace of play rules – or does it not count when Bryson DeChambeau takes well over a minute on three different shots when coming down the stretch to win in Dubai?
On a final note, huge congratulations to a longtime friend of mine, Marta Figueras Dotti, about whom I have penned a few words on other occasions. Marta, from Madrid, is the chairman of the Ladies’ European Tour and has been honoured with the gold medal by the Madrid Golf Association as they celebrate their 50th year. At the celebration dinner she was introduced to the great and the good of golf in Spain as “the first Spanish player to compete on the Ladies European Tour and the LPGA, with victories on both tours, who led and inspired all the Spanish players that are now in competition and who is now chariman of the Ladies European Tour.” In reality, to list Marta’s achievements in the global game would take an entire blog of its own but her influence and inspiration have touched many and this honour is thoroughly deserved.
It also means that we can share a lovely, celebratory bottle of Rioja when next we meet.