Honesty is always the best policy
THE rules of golf are unyielding. If you doubt that, just ask European Tour professionals Robert Rock and Marc Warren, who were disqualified after round one and round four respectively in the '3' Irish Open at Killarney.
Both players made the same mistake -- they transposed their scores on holes 13 and 14. The total on their card was right, but once they signed their card with the wrong score entered for those holes, their tournament was over. Costly indeed for both players.
Afterwards, they were man enough to front up, and stressed they were not blaming the playing partners who filled in their card.
Inwardly they must have wanted to choke them -- at least for a minute or two -- but Rock and Warren know that it's up to each golfer to make certain his card is in order.
The two players were only guilty of failing to check their card properly, but the rules say you've got to be disqualified. No appeal.
And that brings me to the oddities and vagaries of the motivation for amateurs who fiddle their handicaps. You'd think the bandit is always the guy who gets his handicap high to be ready for the captain's prize or a team event offering good prizes.
No doubt most golfers will have a tale or two to tell in that regard about dodgy characters with high handicaps. However, recently I heard of a category-one player who adjusted his scorecard to buffer-zone level in order to avoid getting point-one back.
That's one you don't see very often. The card adjustment came to light when the intended safe, buffer-zone score proved to be in the prizes because weather conditions changed later in the day.
That reminds me of an incident some years ago when three buckos from a Dublin club filled in their cards for an event without going through the inconvenience of playing.
They were nabbed when bad weather forced the cancellation of the competition.
Happily, the majority of golfers are honest and play the game in the right spirit, which is to get their handicap as low as possible.
In that respect, we have watched with great interest the scoring in the Irish Independent Most Improved Golfer competition in association with the GUI. Over 5,000 golfers entered, which is a testament to the true spirit, enthusiasm, and ambition of golfers across all the four handicap categories.
The entries closed on July 31, and we're now in the last few weeks. Keep playing lads, and we will shortly announce the date for the play-off at Carton House.
Doran back to defend his Mullingar crown
AN August Bank Holiday weekend without the Mullingar Scratch Trophy?
Yes, indeed, that's how it was, but the good news is that the tournament, sponsored by Grant Thornton, is all set to be played on Saturday and Sunday August 28/29.
This prestigious 72-hole stroke play competition, first played in 1963, had to be moved because of a change in date to the European Individual Championships, which from now on will be played in the first week of August.
Holder Connor Doran of Banbridge will defend his title on the renowned parkland layout at Mullingar. Doran joined an illustrious band of winners who span the best of Ireland's golfing generations since Joe Carr of Sutton became the first victor in '63.
The event has been won by all of the country's top Tour pros, including Philip Walton, Darren Clarke, Paul McGinley, Padraig Harrington, Rory McIlroy, and Shane Lowry. Amazingly, no Mullingar member has got his name on the trophy, and that's something which Des Morgan hopes to rectify in the 48th staging of the competition.
Chance to shine in Mulhall Pro-Am
DUN Laoghaire Golf Club is hosting a special Pro-Am in honour of former club pro Owen Mulhall on August 24.
All golfers in the area are invited to participate in the event organised under the auspices of the PGA.
Owen has been a well-respected professional. He worked in the UK for 10 years, then spent some time under the guidance of John Jacobs before becoming a pro at Dun Laoghaire in the early 1970s. In recent years Owen has suffered from serious health issues.
Current club pro Kevin Kelligher has the time-sheet for the Pro-Am. Contact 01 2721866 for entries.
Seniors challenged to get back in groove
IRELAND'S senior golfers are being challenged to play four rounds of match play in two days in pursuit of the inaugural Irish Seniors' Matchplay title at the European Club on September 27-28.
Two rounds in a day will be but a receding memory for many of the over-55s brigade, but don't fret, tournament promoter Pat Ruddy has promised free use of ride-on golf cars to those who are in need of a lift.
"Not really," says Ruddy. "This is a way to give these boys the thrill of the intensity of competition they experienced when playing championship golf years ago, and to get them home alive.
"They are sure to respond enthusiastically to the prospect of cut-and-thrust match play! Besides, if anyone wishes to walk he can do so!"
The qualifying rounds are to be earlier, on Monday, September 6 and Monday, September 13.
The tournament is to be played in two handicap flights to broaden its appeal. Players up to eight handicap will be in Flight One and those with handicaps nine to 18 will form Flight Two.
Eight men will qualify for match play from each division on each day. GUI handicaps are mandatory and the entrance fee is €50. See firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0404-47415.
Miele boils down to the final four
THE ILGU club competitions are coming to the serious stages now, so congratulations to the teams that have qualified for the Miele Interclub Fourball championship semi-finals.
The draw pits Rockmount against Thurles and Milltown against The Heath at Glasson on Sunday, September 18. The final will be played the following day.
In the Northern final, Rockmount won the top two matches but were pegged back to 2-1 after Larne won the third on the home green.
The issue was put beyond doubt, however, when Noreen Mikhael and Marie Donnelly closed out the final match on the 16th.
The Western final was a much closer affair, with The Heath capturing the top two matches by a margin of nine holes.
Portumna rallied strongly to win the remaining two ties 4&3 and square the match, but they unluckily lost out on countback by one hole.
Milltown and Thurles qualified for the semi-finals after defeating The K Club and Youghal in the East and South Regional finals at Thurles.