Patrick Reed’s Slur Slip-Up

It’s a prideful refrain among golfers that the game is about honor, character and a backslapping bonhomie too often absent in other sports and in society at large. To accept this notion as fact requires a certain suspension of critical faculty.

One would have to ignore the pervasive sexism that accords men priority for weekend tee times on the assumption that wifey had all week to play golf if she wasn’t busy doing her nails; the exclusion of African Americans from everywhere but the caddie shack and the clubhouse kitchen; the celebrated clubs where the membership waiting list seems discouragingly long if you keep kosher.

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Bubba’s Act Doesn’t Travel Well

HOYLAKE, England — Young Bubba could learn a lot from Old Tom.

In 1975, Tom Watson arrived in Scotland to play his first Open Championship. Never having played links golf, Watson teed it up at Monifieth, not far from the Open venue of Carnoustie. He drove it down the middle on the first hole — his first ever hole of links golf — and couldn’t find his ball. It was eventually located 50 yards offline in a small pot bunker, deposited there by the combination of erratic bounces and ancient contours that are the essence of this type of golf.

“Boy was I mad,” Watson said later. He didn’t care for the vagaries of golf’s most celebrated form, preferring instead the ‘through the air’ game he learned in Kansas. By his own admission, it wasn’t until 1981 that he learned to love the links, by which time he had already won three Open titles, including that ’75 debut in Carnoustie.

Even if he hadn’t learned to love it, he had learned to accept stoically the bad results that often accompany good shots over here. That perspective was needed five years ago, when his perfectly struck 8-iron into the final green at Turnberry took a hard bounce and ultimately cost him what would have been a record sixth Claret Jug at the age of 59.

At the age of 35, Bubba Watson seems far removed from Tom Watson’s level of perspective, maturity and professionalism. His performance at Royal Liverpool has been a master class in crass.

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The Silence of Steve Elkington

Where have you gone Steve Elkington? Twitter turns its lonely eyes to you.

Any golf fan who has ever questioned the capacity of PGA Tour executives to effect change should consider this fact: Steve Elkington, the 1995 PGA champion and frequent controversialist, has tweeted almost 16,000 times since joining Twitter, but virtually nothing since a widely-condemned homophobic comment about gay footballer Michael Sam more than three months ago.

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