President Barack Obama has played more than 70 rounds of golf since taking office, including a high-profile round with his biggest rival in Washington, Republican House Speaker John Boehner. Clearly, Obama views golf as an acceptable part of business. But in Vietnam, government officials have a different take on the game. The nation's transport minister has banned his staff from playing golf — even during non-working hours.
Vietnam's transport minister has ordered his senior staff off the golf course, complaining that their focus on the game is hurting their work.
High-ranking officials were instructed not to play golf or organize golf tournaments but instead concentrate on their jobs, according to the transport ministry website.
The ban even includes golfing outside of office hours.
"As the country and businesses are in economic difficulties, we would do better to focus our intellect and time on our work," Transport minister Dinh La Thang was quoted in Tuoi Tre newspaper on Thursday.
Golf was once seen as a bourgeois activity in the communist country, but it has become increasingly popular among officials in recent years.
How will this policy be enforced? Through the use of spies, of course. Ben Bland at Beyondbrics has more:
The head of the transport ministry’s organization department, a key Communist party-controlled unit responsible for internal monitoring and promotions, warned that his spies will be out watching for bourgeois recidivist golfers.
“We will have many secret methods to supervise how staff will follow the minister’s regulation,” Pham Tang Loc told Tien Phong (Pioneer) newspaper. “In this very difficult time, senior officials should concentrate on completing important projects rather than spending time playing golf. It’s a waste of money and time and they even use their government-provided cars for this.”
So, just so we're clear here: playing golf after work is a waste of government time and money, but hiring spies to covertly tail potential golfers during their day-to-day activities is an acceptable use of federal funds. Communism, everybody!
(*Note to communist readers: no offense intended. In a democratic society, journalists are allowed to make jokes. Please don't spy on me.) If you can't beat 'em, join 'em Add James Driscoll to the list of the PGA Tour pros who want the belly putter banned from competition. But that doesn't mean the 34-year-old won't consider dropping one in his bag soon — he's 125th on the money list and looking for an edge. Emily Kay at Waggle Room has the report.
“Why wouldn’t you switch to this?” Driscoll said of the long putter he tested with almost 100 percent accuracy from some 20 feet during a stint Monday at The International Golf Club & Resort’s TaylorMade Performance Center. “I think it should be banned.”
A purist as far as the flat stick is concerned, Driscoll believes the longer models eliminate “the art of putting.” But as long as they’re legal, the 34-year-old Boston native won’t be left behind by the hordes of pro golfers tinkering with sticks that Bridgestone Invitational winner Adam Scott, PGA champ Keegan Bradley, and money-title leader Webb Simpson have used with such success.
“It’s not just people looking for a cure for their bad putting,” Driscoll said. “Good putters are going to it too — [Jim] Furyk, [Phil] Mickelson. It’s clearly an easier, better way to putt.”
Rory McIlroy tribute video of the day Devout YouTube watchers are no doubt familiar with the stylings of German producer/singer/songwriter Flula Borg, aka "D.J. Flula," but since I am not, I was only recently directed to Flula's tribute to U.S. Open champ Rory McIlroy. Here it is. Short Game * J.B. Holmes is in good spirits and expected to fully recover from brain surgery, according to GolfWeek's Jeff Rude. * Rafael Nadal teed it up with his buddy and fellow Spaniard Sergio Garcia at the Castello Masters pro-am. Tweets of the Day