Spy on Golf: When Pros Attack
For a so-called gentleman’s game, golf sure can turn acrimonious.
The latest examples include the revelation of a years-long, alpha-male spat between Greg Norman and Tiger Woods, and Rory McIlroy’s stunning split with agent Chubby Chandler. While no nasty words have been exchanged (publicly, at least) in the latter instance, it’s surely not an amicable parting.
Who needs reality TV when golf gives us this kind of drama?
All that, plus word on a jaw-dropping new course on the Chinese coast and an adult beverage bearing Arnold Palmer’s name and mug, in our weekly roundup of entertaining golf news.
Shark vs. Tiger
We were thinking Norman’s most recent comments about Tiger’s unworthiness as a Presidents Cup captain’s selection might have been spurred by Woods breaking the course record – shared by Norman – at the Medalist Club in Hobe Sound, Fla.
BTW, Norman designed the course, too. Double-ouch.
Turns out the animosity between the two goes back more than a few weeks, according to this article by Robert Lusetich. Apparently, sharing Butch Harmon’s time when both were under his tutelage was more than these supposed grown-ups could handle.
Norman tried to defuse the rancor in an email to Lusetich. “I have said this before and I will say it again, I hope Tiger does turn his game around,” Norman wrote. “It would be great for golf.
“I have said all I need to say about this.”
Let’s hope not. We’re kind of enjoying this little spat.
Big Mac attack
Another off-course bombshell dropped Friday morning, when news of McIlroy’s defection to Horizon Sports Management hit the wires. The 22-year-old U.S. Open champion spent his formative years with Chandler’s International Sports Management group, whose clients won four of five majors starting with the 2010 Open Championship.
Chandler has been praised for his delicate handling of McIlroy’s career since the Northern Ireland phenom turned pro at age 18. No definitive answer yet as to why McIlroy jumped ship to Horizon, a relatively new firm based in Dublin whose stable includes Ernie Els and Graeme McDowell.
Will this episode become another black eye for the likeable McIlroy, following his dismissive remarks about links golf and a Twitter spat with a TV announcer over McIlroy’s caddie?
Or is it just another sign that McIlroy has an inner ruthlessness that belies his outward charm? Image be damned, that could bode well for his future.
Chinese fireworks from Coore & Crenshaw
We don’t have much to say about the new Bill Coore-Ben Crenshaw course in Shanquin Bay, China, except that it looks spectacular. This being a Coore-Crenshaw design and seaside, to boot, it should draw plentiful attention from architecture aficionados.
Darius Oliver has a detailed review and terrific pics at Planet Golf.
Sorry Arnie, we’ll stick with beer
Not sure about the sales prospects for the new Arnold Palmer Hard Malt beverage – half ice tea, half lemonade, and 5 percent alcohol – but I do know one golfer who won’t be trying it.
That would be me. If Arnie ever slaps his name on a hoppy pale ale or toasty imperial stout, count me in.