Believe it or not, the R&A is getting hip

Okay, you might want to sit down for this. Royal and Ancient Chief Executive Peter Dawson has been talking about “iPhone apps, high-def TV and dotcom streaming.” Crikey and crumbs, as Sir Nick Faldo might say, the blazers have come into the 21st Century. Before you know it, they’ll be admitting female members.

The Blazers of St. Andrews gave their annual address to the world on Wednesday, proudly announcing that they have fully embraced modern technology. They’ve even relaxed dress codes. Sergio Garcia has been wearing a replica Spain soccer jersey during practice rounds. That’s the sort of fashion crime that would see him frog-marched to the gates of most golf clubs in the U.K.

But not at St Andrews. At least not this week. “Well, it would be churlish to object, wouldn’t it, given their great win,” said Dawson, before teasing the Scottish reporters. “I have no objections whatsoever. I’d hate to think what you’d all be wearing if Scotland had won the World Cup.” (Note to Dawson: Scotland didn’t qualify to play in South Africa.)

But Sergio wasn’t the only fashion disaster Dawson had to deal with this week. He was unlucky to be sitting opposite John Daly at the Champions’ Dinner, which was held in the R&A clubhouse on Tuesday night. While gray and black seemed to be the jacket color of choice, Daly turned up for supper resplendent in what looked like the latest design from the Jackson Pollock collection. “I had to look at it all night,” Dawson said. “My eyesight survived.”

At least Dawson didn’t have to endure the blindingly dull speech of Prince Andrew, the Duke of Golf, sorry, York, at the golf writers dinner next door. The first words from His Royal Golf-ness were: “I have no idea why I’m here.” Twenty-four minutes and 17 seconds later, 250 people were none the wiser.