This Year In Golf Strangeness
As the festive indulgence takes root and we loll around on the couch like a walrus heaving itself along the shingle while jabbing at the remote control in search of yet another repeat and shovelling the remnants of the selection boxes and the antacids down our thrapples in equal measure, it’s an ideal time to dish out the annual awards for quirks, whimsies and oddities from 2016.
THE LIBERACE MEMORIAL AWARD FOR PRIZE-GIVING GAUDINESS.
Ah, the spoils of war. A meander through the twinkling trophy cabinets of a clubhouse provides a wonderful opportunity to wallow in the triumphant, shimmering opulence of golfing conquest and plunder. Claret jugs here, silver salvers there, ornate rosebowls, orbs, sceptres, gauntlets and tankards everywhere. The bounty from times of yore remains resplendent in its buffed up, elegant majesty. These days, of course, prize-giving ceremonies are now full of befuddled players smiling awkwardly and muttering ‘what the hell is this?’ through clenched teeth as a variety of bamboozling absurdities and tasteless baubles are thrust into their unsuspecting clutches. At October’s Safeway Open in California, organisers were hoping to roll out the barrels for the eagerly-anticipated, jubilant return of Tiger Woods. But Woods didn’t show up so they just rolled a barrel into the hands of eventual winner, Brendan Steele (Pictured).
THE TAKE A DEEP BREATH AWARD IN ASSOCIATION WITH JACQUES COUSTEAU
In a modern world in which we regularly communicate utilising as few words as possible – the arrival of the Tuesday column, for instance, is greeted with a flabbergasted silence on the sports desk – it seems golf is more than happy to use this surfeit of spare vowels and consonants that are swilling around to fashion wordy monstrosities which look more like a Countdown conundrum than tournament titles. While the names of cherished old events like The Open or The Masters slip off the tongue with the gliding nonchalance of a well-sooked Mint Imperial, a variety of global events can be as tricky to gouge from the mouth as a niggling clump of Highland Toffee that’s stuck to the back of your wallies. No golfer, for example, ever dreamed of triumphing in the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf at Big Cedar Lodge Championship but the winner of the golfing carbuncle of 2016 goes to the Ladies European Tour’s Ribeira Sacra Patrimonio de la Humanidad International Ladies Open. You can breathe out now.