I had the thrill of interviewing Jack Nicklaus last week, at the Memorial Tournament, and I was interested to hear his opinion on the current controversy between Callaway and the USGA. Although neither the question or the answer made it on the air, I felt that it was relevant, given the fact that a couple of years ago the great man had suggested that the governing bodies should take steps to slow down the golf ball. They didn’t of course, but had they, would we now be forced to endure the drawn out, boring, and ultimately pointless legal battle that will surely follow?
Jack was cagey with his answer, saying that he felt the USGA always did its best to protect the game, and that the USGA was up against giant corporations worth billions of dollars. But he did say that, eventually, he thought the ball would have to be somewhat gelded, so to speak.
This brings me back to my beloved Uncle Dickie, and the members of the Scrought’s Wood club, who believe that the game should be played by the original two rules: Play the ball as it lies, and the course as you find it. Also, you should be allowed to carry as many clubs as you want. Uncle Dickie would like old Ely, and would definitely be carrying one of those drivers, along with Hamish McShug’s patented splatterguard niblick, for swiping it off those troublesome, freshly laid cow pats. I think you would find that most touring pros would take the time to become proficient at the left-handed game, or visa versa, and a club or two would be inserted for such an emergency. The boring chip out might be a thing of the past!
Last, and most importantly, due to the extra load of clubs, there would be a need for more than one caddie per player!
Caddies are my favorite people, and the more of them that are around, the better. A few weeks ago, on the European Tour, a Scottish caddie, working for one of the many talented Swedes, came out with the best caddie line I’ve heard for a long time. His player carved a tee shot off into the deep jungle, and then turned to his taciturn bag-rat saying, “Do you think we can find that Jimmy?”
Jimmy turned to his boss and said, “If that ball was wrapped in bacon, Lassie wouldn’t find it.”
Trust me, I can find a place to use that one somewhere down the road.