Bubba Watson played his first-ever European Tour event in Paris Thursday. It might also be his last. While carding a three-over-par 74 at Le Golf National, the 2016 Ryder Cup site, Watson, who earned a reported $240,000 appearance fee, hardly endeared himself to the galleries or, for that matter, French historians. Graham Otway of The Express has the ugly details:
Followed closely by French TV during his round, he constantly snapped at local cameramen. And after finding a lake in front of the green, he was asked if he would play more European events in future.
“This might be the only one,” said Watson. “I miss my home.”
Watson has also been stunned by the criticism he has received for his total ignorance of French history and culture. After a trip around Paris, he could only refer to three big landmarks as “the big tower” (Eiffel Tower) “the arch way” (Arc de Triomphe) and “the L building” (The Louvre).
And he added to the anger locally when he referred to Versailles’ historic Louis XIV Palace as the castle next to his five-star hotel.
Watson then ordered a bottle of 1787 Chateau Lafite and poured it off his hotel balcony. Nicklaus sees double at Wimbledon Tennis nut Jack Nicklaus—he has three grass courts at his West Palm Beach home—dropped by Wimbledon en route to a business meeting in Moscow. On Wednesday, he took in the action with Greg Norman. On Thursday, he watched a doubles match featuring the powerhouse American twins Bob and Mike Bryan, reports Karen Crouse of The New York Times:
It was hard for the Bryans not to get distracted when Nicklaus showed up to watch them practice two hours before their match. Some fans did double takes as they walked past the court. It was as if they recognized the gentleman in the suit and tie, but couldn’t place his face.
“It was awesome,” Bob Bryan said. “He was out at Court 6 watching every ball we hit.”
When the Bryans were done, Nicklaus approached Mike, extended his hand, and said, “Hey, Bob.” Mike took no offense. As if to prove it, he slipped his wristband off after the victory and hit it with his racket into the stands in Nicklaus’s direction. Bob followed suit. Nicklaus gave them a thumbs-up, one champion acknowledging the greatness of two others.
Why Rory Sabbatini doesn't play pro tennis Speaking of Wimbledon, tennis’s third major has brought to light a problem that plagues both tennis and golf: “slow play — intentionally, strategically, maddeningly slow play,” Christopher Clarey of The New York Times reports.
… [It’s] not a new concern at tennis’s major events. In 1979, during a riotous match at the United States Open, Ilie Nastase protested the excessive time that the argumentative John McEnroe was taking before beginning the next point by stretching out on the baseline and pretending to fall asleep.
No one has gone as far as Nastase, a master of high jinks, to make that point against Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic or Mardy Fish, the most deliberate of today’s men’s stars. But frustration among their rivals — fueled by Djokovic’s bounces by the dozen or Fish’s overdependence on his towel — continues to percolate.
It has gone on long enough, in fact, that a perhaps once heretical notion has gained some momentum: the installation of a shot clock, an on-court countdown that would require a player to get the ball back in play by a set time: 30 seconds is one working figure.
The folks in Ponte Vedra ought to take note. Golf could use a shot clock of its own. Romney criticizes Obama for excessive use of 5-iron As the 2012 presidential campaign heats up, President Obama will have plenty to defend: the housing market, his foreign policy and, yes, the reported 72 rounds of golf he has played since taking office. Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, raised the issue while speaking at a metal works plant in Allentown, Pa., Thursday, reports Steve Holland of Reuters:
Romney, arguably the front-runner in the field of candidates competing for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, said Obama is not sufficiently focusing his attention on the economy.
"The president's time is being focused on playing golf and campaigning, campaigning in Pennsylvania today, and blaming. He should be spending his time and his energy working on getting Americans back to work and fixing this economy."
This isn't the first time that an Obama opponent has chastised his love of golf—and it won't be the last. Look for it to be a frequent talking point in the coming months. Tweet of the Day From Tiger Woods' niece Cheyenne Woods, who is competing in the Women's U.S. Amateur Public Links this week.