TV View: Golf’s version of a baton charge in South William Street
John Rahm’s weeping after positive test a warning shot as the Olympic Games loom
Fans were reportedly removed from the Memorial Tournament for heckling Bryson DeChambeau with his rival Brooks Koepka’s nickname “Brooksy”, as their feud continues. File photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images
Total disclosure. The golf was only watched on a sunny weekend because of the schism between Bryson DeChambeau, who says he will trust the PGA Tour to act appropriately when they consider the prospect of taking action against Brooks Koepka. It was the latest twist in their simmering rivalry.
All that hostility at The Memorial, tournament of the Trump lovin’ Jack Nicklaus. In case you’ve been out socialising in inner city Dublin over the weekend and missed it all, a number of things happened on the PGA Tour including spectators escorted from the Muirfield Village premises for shouting “Brooksy” at the current US Open champion. Seriously.
In a spate of shuttle diplomacy DeChambeau’s agent has also been holding talks with the PGA Tour over Koepka, who wait for it, had offered cases of beer to any fan escorted from the course. This is golf’s version of a baton charge in South William Street.
A studs up tackle from behind isn’t available to either player. Nor can one of them line up the other like a flanker taking out a scrumhalf with a belter.
That kind of tackle is far from fairway thinking, although it’s exactly what happened to John Rahm after his third round. Yes, it was all happening.
If you have never seen Wayne Riley speechless watch Sky reveal Rahm’s positive Covid-19 test just after he had shot a third round 64 to open up a six-shot lead. Rahm was told as he left the 18th green that he was out of the tournament due to the positive test.
“No play . . . I am just . . . he’s just played (hands in the air) . . . I’m . . . ,” said the usually garrulous Australian commentator. “What about the other guys he’s played with. They’ll have to withdraw as well,” added Riley giving the distinct impression this was a Riley interpretation and not that of the PGA as a knuckle punch isn’t exactly the most infectious social contact.
“Fist pumping. Hand shaking,” he continued. “This is far from what we can talk about now because there are so many implications with this.”
Sky told viewers that Rahm had tested negative Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Then he tested positive on Saturday morning. They ran a second test and that came back positive as well.
The cameras cut to the 18th green, where officials had been waiting for the grinning Spaniard, who had earlier in the day aced a hole at the par-3 16th.
After a brief conversation a disbelieving Rahm sinks to his knees in tears, the bad news denying him the chance to become the first player since Tiger Woods 20 years ago to win back-to-back at The Memorial.
It was genuinely disheartening to see the big man in a heaving pile and no doubt is the way sport has to be played at the moment. It was also a warning shot as the Olympic Games loom with lots more potential there to see weeping athletes prematurely leave the stage.
On the weeping point. If you were a family member of the Lowrys, you might have wept. The cameras barely showed Shane preferring the frisson of power and peculiarity of DeChambeau.
From Ohio to California and The Olympic Club, where the US Women’s Open Championship is currently being held. In women’s golf it’s a different kind of extreme you get to experience.
When asked on Friday what she likes about the McIlroy method, she replied, “Everything. I like everything”
DeChambeau might hit the ball 400 yards but Lucy Li, a veteran now and still in the field at 18-years-old, qualified for the Open at 11-years-old back in 2014.
The leader going into the weekend and yesterday in second before the final round was Filipino Yuka Saso. She’s 19-years-old by the way. Her thing is watching Rory McIlroy’s swing and trying to simulate what he does.
She has been watching videos of him for an hour before going to sleep and records her motion to try and get the club moving exactly the same way as McIlroy does it.
The results have been down right creepy in the way she has modelled it perfectly right down to his beautiful follow through, the one that would herniate most backs.
Sky with their side by side swing cameras rolling in slow motion showed how close the two players are. When asked on Friday what she likes about the McIlroy method, she replied, “Everything. I like everything.”
She first starting obsessing over the Northern Irishman’s swing at around 12-years-old. Saso has yet to meet McIlroy but hopes that might change at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. A ‘Brooksy’, DeChambeau pairing there for the USA, why not.