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Claire Byrne: Guys, grow up -- your golf club toilet row is far more Judge Judy than Sopranos

If they weren't adults, you'd ask their mammies to sort it out. Two men, big enough to get involved in a row in a golf club, but not man enough to resolve it between them have resorted to the civil courts to decide which one of them is sillier, more aggressive and petulant than the other.

It's seven years since Alan Holmes and Martin Curtis had a bust-up in Lucan Golf Club in Dublin over a Manchester United game, but they still just cannot let it lie and are each suing the other for €38,000 in the Dublin Civil Court.

A male lunch companion recently gave me a very detailed explanation about why women are happy to fight and bitch among themselves, while men who argue will get over it quickly and move on. His theory went on and on, but I remember that it had something to do with bonding and hunter gatherers. How I wish I had the details of the Lucan Golf Club case to hand to disprove his point.

Firstly, these two paragons of male virtue began fighting over a Manchester United match. Now we all know that football excites boys, but there is a point where grown ups have to have a word with themselves and understand that a football game really isn't worth the violence that ensued in this case.

Mr Holmes and Mr Curtis fought because Mr Holmes wouldn't accept a €100 bet that United might be beaten by Burnley as they settled down to watch the game in the club with about 40 others. The court heard that Mr Curtis waved two f50 notes around as he offered to make the bet with his adversary. That in itself reminds us that this all happened in 2003, when men waved large denominations around golf clubhouses the length and breadth of the country.

Eventually, our heroes ended up in a violent row in the toilets. The resulting battle was fierce and according to the judge, the loos resembled a scene from The Sopranos with blood everywhere -- on the walls, the washbasin and floor.

I've always suspected that golfers are a juvenile crowd, with that fascination they have for expensive clubs and small balls, but now these two fearless ambassadors for the sport have provided the proof.

It's one thing to be so lacking in self-control that a stupid bit of ribbing over a football game is allowed to turn into a bar room brawl, but it's quite another to still be arguing over it all seven years later, with both sides employing expensive legal teams to continue the war.

Lucan Golf Club is no doubt dismayed at the publicity this has bestowed on them, but they may have bigger fish to fry as the court has heard that the club is 'split' over the bust-up between the men.

It is probably the case that those in the midst of this debacle can't see how dumb the entire story appears to the rest of us. Come on boys, you got into a row over a football game, sort it out!

Is there not a wife, friend or family member between the two of them who can just tell them to drop it once and for and to get on with their lives?

Don't they feel today, as their names and photos are splashed all over the papers, that they should have had their battle and then agreed to disagree?


The Lucan battle is a case which I would take great pleasure in seeing played out in Judge Judy's courtroom.

The feisty, no-nonsense bastion of the law would surely tell them to take their claim and counter-claim and leave the courtroom with their tails between their legs and their petty differences packed away into their golf bags.