Rules of Golf should be banished to Room 101
Personally I would have one page of rules and 10 pages of etiquette and behaviour
There’s a programme on the Beeb called Room 101. In it people you have vaguely heard of or you sort of recognize (celebrities, that is what they are) offer suggestions for things, people or yokes that they wish to throw down a big hole that connects to the oblivion of room 101.
When, eventually, my lifetime plan of becoming a celebrity takes hold and I get invited onto the programme I have my candidate for Armageddon all parceled up and ready for the trip.
Well, technically, my candidate is currently gathering mould in a long-abandoned golf bag in a shed at the bottom of the garden.
My candidate is the Rules of Golf.
“But why, Martyn, why for Ben Hogan’s sake, why?” I hear you cry.
Well ,I will explain.
Firstly, no one in full possession of their marbles has ever read, studied and inwardly digested the Rules of Golf. There are 200 pages of them and a further billion pages of decisions, arbitrations, rulings and judgements.
I have got by, for almost 60 years now, playing golf at various competitive levels without reading the rules.
My trophy cabinet of three electric carving knives (perfect for me, the vegetarian golfer), a wifi speaker, three clocks encased in glass and, the zenith, The Presidents Prize, Woodford Golf Club, 1963 were all won on the back of total ignorance of the rules of the game I was playing.
Thus, we might deduce, they were probably illegally gained ‘cos who knows what laws I transgressed whilst I was being triumphant. I don’t. I suspect that I am not alone in operating in this netherworld of playing golf without being quite sure of the finer details of the game I am playing.
The truth is that absolutely no one except one particular acquaintance of mine, knows the rules. And I’m not sure about him. After all, I only have his word for it.
Since last week we know that Rory McIlroy doesn’t know the Rules of Golf. We have known,since last year’s Masters,that neither does Tiger Woods.
Nor does poor Simon Dyson who is currently being sliced in bits for doing something that would come naturally to any ordinary person.
Tapping down a spike mark. Who wears spikes these days apart from Miguel Angel Jimenez?
Now if Simon Dyson had brushed some of Miguel Angel Jimenez’s cigar ash off the line of his putt then that would have been okay – assuming he had brushed in the manner prescribed by the R&A.
Neither does Pádraig Harrington who illegally fixed a pitch mark which was just off the green and was deemed to have improved his lie. Which was a lie in itself, of course. He was just being considerate of other golfers, which is as it should be.
Neither, it seems, do Senior Tour players know the Rules of Golf. You would think with all their years of experience they would.
But no, they don’t. I was only told today, as part of the deep background research The Irish Times demands for these exposees, that a Senior Tour golfer was recently seen on TV consulting with a referee as the senior player didn’t know his arse from his elbow rules-wise. So the referee was consulted. And he decided.