Hubble, bubble, toil and trouble, turmoil everywhere you turn. People taking umbrage, intractable positions, painting themselves into corners they can’t get out of (they’ve decided), prevaricating, posturing, pouting, sulking, making assumptions (often wrong ones), being prats, going to hell in a hand cart. Life goes on as usual. And so does golf.
Golf’s just a game but it has played and still plays an important part in my life. I’ve given up trying to explain it or justify it. It’s just the way it is. It happened. As Tiger Woods and an increasing number of sportswomen and men like to say when they don’t want to say anything at all: “It is what it is.” Maybe aye or maybe och aye.
One certainty is that professional golf (like all professional sport) is an indulgence, a luxury, not by any stretch of the imagination one of life’s necessities. Even in these straitened times there’s a lot of money sloshing about – and in many cases some of it goes to good causes – but it’s very top heavy and the LET (Ladies European Tour), for example, continues to struggle. Recently they got rid of Ivan Khodabakhsh, their chief executive and in the meantime chairman Mark Lichtenhein, late of the men’s European Tour, is in the hot seat.
Have I chased up Ivan, quizzed him at length, dug into the finances (even the LET has substantial sums sloshing about and old adages like follow the money are still the best)? Have I spoken to Mark, who’s been to the House of Commons recently, keeping the LET in the mainstream and promoting the benefits of golf (which are legion) and asked him about his plans?
I confess I have not. Selfishly, I’m too busy out on the course, trying to turn my backswing into less of a non-event (blooming difficult as you get older and stiffer in all the wrong places), taking less time in my shot box i.e. not getting frozen over the ball like one brother-in-law I could mention – and surpassing 10,000 steps with ease. Besides, I’ve lost count of the number of chief execs the LET, in its various guises, has dismissed for one reason or another. I’m such a dinosaur I’ve met most of them (in my defence, the tour’s not that old) and probably unforgivably I’ve run out of steam and patience. Blimey. Not again?!
Perhaps somebody’s looking in to it – I hope they are – but then again perhaps that’s a faint hope. In the general scheme of things the LET is small beer and sails under the radar. Radio 5 live is busy promoting women’s cricket, rugby, football, whatever but it hardly ever gives women’s golf even a passing mention in the results. Every now and again it might tell you how Charley Hull is doing somewhere but will they tell you who’s leading, as a matter of course? Will they b…… Not good enough.
Mike Whan, boss of the LPGA Tour (the US women’s tour) and a man who seems to be doing a good job, mostly, was talking to the Golf Channel recently and he said (I paraphrase) that plans for the LPGA, the (men’s) European Tour and the R&A to rescue the LET, which is undoubtedly struggling, were on hold. Fair enough but really, if you’re in the water, freezing, drowning, gasping for air and someone comes along and offers you not just a lifeline and a lifejacket but a whole lifeboat and a hand into it, plus thermal blankets to counteract the hypothermia, do you just say, “Nah, you’re all right thanks, I’m OK” and paddle along on your own?
I don’t think so.
Whatever the history, the legal unravellings, the bruised egos and the complications, those can be sorted out. If you’re drowning and someone offers to save you, you grab their hand and cling on for dear life. When you’re dried off, fed and rested, then you can fight your corner and work out the details. Perhaps it’s only a no-brainer for a bear, like me, of very little brain.
Finally, just because it’s irresistible, here’s a tweet from Lexi Thompson: “obsessed is a word that the lazy use to describe the dedicated.”