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Golf: The Pedantic Poms

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Stan Sutherland
Stan Sutherland

“What's in it for the plus-foured pedants with a rulebook in one hand and a remote in the other?” That’s from James Corrigan reporting on Scotsman Peter Whiteford’s disqualification at the Avantha Masters.

According to James, “…as Whiteford slept the good sleep, his trial began. It would have been reassuring if it was the work of a lone lunatic, a serial Sky-Plusser perhaps with a lifelong grudge against polo shirts forged by his mother's demise as a T-shirt saleswoman. But no, there wasn't just one sad person prepared not only to take the time to spot this faintest of movements but actually log on to the European Tour website and post a message – there were "several". You'd think they'd have better things to do on a Saturday night.”

What a sad way to end a Saturday night. Nothing more enjoyable to do than take to your computer, log in to the Tour web site and report that Whiteford’s ball had moved a wee bit. So little that his caddie, playing partner and nearby cameraman advised him that in their opinion the ball hadn’t moved.

Now you’d think that would be sufficient but not so. A referee must be called in when there’s doubt in the player’s mind. And this can take quite some time. Several hours in fact. So long that it wasn’t until Whiteford had already started his final round when he was advised that he’d been disqualified.

At a time when golf needs to attract as many new players as possible. Incidents like this must surely impact on the potential players’ minds. Do I really want to get involved in such a game? And how do we assure them there isn’t a “Pedantic Pom” lurking behind the welcoming smile and handshake while at the same time anxiously awaiting the opportunity to make them aware of minor indiscretions?

“Minor indiscretions” aye there’s the rub. There’s no such thing as “minor” in golf infringements. Everything is considered a big deal and common sense has no part to play in the rules of golf.

James Corrigan headlines his article, “TV vigilantes strike again to make a mockery of golf” And sad to say that in my 50-plus years of golfing experience there are “Pedantic Poms” in every golf club who mock the spirit of the game with their pedantry.

Here’s the link to James

Quote of the Day

“The problem with the rules is that they are often too rigid. There needs to be more room for officials to have flexibility in such situations. You don’t need to be a Ph.D. student to realize Whiteford was not trying to gain any advantage.” – Alistair Tait

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