Mention bifurcation to a medic and they’ll launch into something about the aorta splitting in two – or some such; dividing into two branches is what it means and some golfers hate the very idea while others wonder what all the fuss is about.
The R&A and the USGA, the game’s governing bodies at the time of writing, announced earlier this month that they were proposing, in essence, to reduce how far balls used in elite competition could go. Don’t worry fellow club golfers and tippy-tappers, it won’t affect us at all. The idea is to stop the big guns hitting the ball so far that a lot of classic courses have lost their place in the scheme of things because the game has become mostly about bombing drives, towering wedges and putting.
Of course, lots of full and frank consultations await but the very suggestion has caused uproar because, surely, one of golf’s central tenets is that we play by the same rules as the pros and use the same equipment. Hmmm. To be frank, that’s a load of old guff. Delve down a little bit and you’ll find that the clubs the pros play with are as similar to the clubs on offer to the general golfer as artisan sourdough is to sliced white bread. As for the balls…
Any road up, as they say in these parts, this is one of those discussions that’ll run and run, with a lot of the pros resenting being “dictated” to by a bunch of amateurs i.e. people who are not professional golfers, however professional, experienced and thoughtful they may be in other matters golfing. The manufacturers of golf balls will have their say, of course, as they should and there’ll be some cracking conversations at Augusta National next week when the great and the good of golf pitch up in Georgia for the Masters, the first major championship of the season.
No doubt they’ll be chatting already as the club hosts the Augusta National Women’s Amateur and the Drive, Chip and Putt finals.
For what it’s worth, Mo and I aren’t particularly fazed by the thought of bifurcation but we discussed the possibility of a championship played with the sort of clubs we started out with…When we look back at the tiny (wooden) heads on our drivers back in the day, we’re in awe that we managed to hit the ball at all, let alone put together a respectable score. As for the shafts…
Mo and I also discussed LIV and we don’t object to professionals, especially those who are past their peak (or never had much of a peak), taking the money and running. But, please, please, please, don’t expect to eat your new cake and then go back and gobble up the old cake as well after trashing the baker and all his recipes.
And I still don’t get the team thing.
Perhaps that’s not so surprising because we all know I’m a bit of an eejit who’s often slow on the uptake – or quick on the wrong take. Any road up, as an adopted Brummie (more or less), I decided it was time I started supporting teams closer to home than my tottering Totspurs, so I’m adopting Aston Villa Women (sorry Blues) and have become a member at Warwickshire (cricket).
Earlier this week, in the interests of research (and recovering my engagement ring, which some kind soul had found in the car park at MAC, the Midland Arts Centre, home of the latest Grayson’s Art Club exhibition), I got the train from Lichfield City to University (two stops beyond Birmingham New Street) and set off for Edgbaston cricket ground, which is dead opposite MAC.
I say set off but on emerging from the station at University, I havered, not having a clue which way to go – campus or QE (the hospital); which way was the city centre? Eventually I chose a bus (bus pass coming up trumps) and the driver, an eastern European accent I think – he certainly found mine a bit baffling! – told me I’d have to change. He let me know where to get off and I walked the rest of the way without getting lost.
Edgbaston is the second-biggest cricket ground in the country but it is fiddly to get to. I called in and said hello and was invited to nip in and watch us play Worcestershire in a friendly. Fortunately, I had to pick up my ring from MAC and get home before Mo arrived at mine, so I was able to decline the offer to freeze in the empty stands.
Ring retrieved, coffee drunk, I plonked myself at the No 1 bus stop outside MAC and Edgbaston, having been told it would take me to Five Ways, where I could get the train home. Well, even I recognised that it was a roundabout route, the driver was a bit vague about where the train station was (I called in at a Marriott and they gave me a map and sent me to an underpass where a young man pointed me in the right direction). Later, another young man, a student from the Far East, put me out of my misery and led me to the station…
Not quite as convoluted as getting to N17 but not as straightforward as I’d hoped.
And at least I made it home just ahead of Mo.