The Masters is over, and we’re all back to normal at CBS, whatever that means. All I know is that a, “normal” broadcast includes McCord, which of course makes it an oxymoron, but the truth is our show is just not the same without him. Don’t tell him I said this.
The first thing that I noticed about Harbour Town was that there were gnot gnearly as many gnats gnawing at us as there gnormally are there. Glen Day’s win in the MCI Classic was obviously brilliant and long overdue, but as usual I am going to ignore the headlines and take you swimming in the undertow, or rummaging through the tour’s dirty laundry if you like.
It’s been a bad couple of weeks for the sack-draggers out there. Jerry Higginbotham and Mark O’Meara parted company on the same Augusta National green that they embraced upon the year before, and Lorne Duncan, also a veteran bagman who has worked in the past for such luminaries as Craig Stadler and, ahem, me, was fired by Jesper Parnevik in what appeared to be very peculiar circumstances. I didn’t like the way it was reported.
A spectator reported to a Rules official that he had seen Jesper brush the line of his putt with his glove. After the round, when Parnevik was asked if this was true he could not recall the incident. Duncan, however, did remember his absent-minded boss’s slip-up, and Parnevik was subsequently disqualified. Duncan was immediately fired. Now, to the casual observer, this would appear like an act of mean-spirited retribution on Parnevik’s part, but this was not the case.
I found out, upon digging further, that Duncan knew he was on the way out with Jesper anyway. He knew that this was to be his last week working for Jesper because there had been little conversation between the two for a couple weeks, and for a caddie, this is usually an indication that your days on the bag are numbered. Sometimes a relationship just becomes stale. Duncan is an excellent caddie who worked for an excellent player, and both of them will do just fine in the company of others. Both Duncan and Parnevik have well-deserved reputations of integrity. These are the facts.
The real problem of course, and I love to harp on about this, lies in the stupidity of the Rules of Golf. How about this one. You can brush your line with your gloved hand, but not with your glove. Apparently your hand has to be in the glove. But how much of your hand has to be in there? If only your middle finger is inserted, and you sweep away a leaf, would that be a penalty for rudeness? Presumably, you can stand on your hands and use your hair as a broom, but whatever you do don’t pull a bunch of it out. You could use your hat also, just as long as your head was still in it.
A mentally disturbed gerbil could see that the book of Decisions on the Rules is becoming a joke. At 600 pages and growing, soon we’ll all need Johnny Cochran present just to make sure we don’t screw up whilst putting the ball on a tee. While I’m on a rant, did anyone see McCord’s Rules feature on the Sunday telecast? The Decisions book provides for relief from so-called “hazardous situations,” such as an alligator in the vicinity of the ball, or a beehive, or rattlesnake or fireants. This is garbage. I mean where’s the fun in that? Personally, I’d like to see a player run screaming out of the woods punching himself in the head, and tearing his hair out, or hopping up the last hole with a one-shot lead, after losing a leg to a giant reptile. It would give me something other than the wind and the yardage to drone on about.
My Uncle Dickie was right. Play the ball as it lies, and the course as you find it. Throw in, “Without undue delay,” and we’re covered. Hit it and stop whining.