It’s been another week of terrible PR for Greg Norman and his Saudi Golf League. Alex Perry tries to contain his second-hand embarrassment
Hello. Welcome to this week’s edition of The Slam. And we just have to talk about that Greg Norman letter to PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, right?
I can’t help but think of the wonderful scene in bingeable comedy The Office in which Michael Scott, the branch manager, is upset by HR representative Toby Flenderson for kiboshing his latest madcap plan. In this instance, Scott wants to run an impromptu casino night catered by Hooters.
“Why are you the way that you are?” Scott tells Flenderson. “Every time I try to do something fun, or exciting, you make it not that way. I hate so much about the things that you choose to be.”
The PGA Tour signed up to be part of a fly-on-the-fairway documentary for the 2022 season. At this rate it’s going to be something closer to a sitcom…
SCENE: The commissioner’s office at PGA Tour headquarters. There is a knock at the door. GREG walks in, JAY looks up from his desk and rolls his eyes.
“Surely you jest. And surely, your lawyers at the PGA Tour must be holding their breath. As has been widely reported, you have threatened the players on the PGA Tour, all of whom are independent contractors, with lifetime bans if they decide to play golf in a league sponsored by anyone other than the Tour.”
“Sponsored? That’s certainly one way of putting it.”
“For decades, I have fought for the rights of players to enjoy a career in which they are rewarded fully and properly for their efforts. They are one-in-a-million athletes. Yet for decades, the Tour has put its own financial ambitions ahead of the players, and every player knows it.”
“In 2021, the average PGA Tour player earned $1.5 million – a 1,000 per cent increase from when you were at the top of your game.”
“The Tour is the players’ tour, not your administration’s tour. Why do you call the crown jewel in all tournaments outside the majors ‘The Players Championship’ and not…”
GREG pauses for comedy effect.
“…‘The Administration’s Championship’?”
A tumbleweed rolls past the window behind JAY’s desk. GREG pretends not to see it.
“You’re incredibly pleased with yourself for that one, aren’t you?”
GREG thumps the desk.
“When you try to bluff and intimidate players by bullying and threatening them, you are guilty of going too far, being unfair, and you are likely in violation of the law.”
“Intimidation? Bullying? Threats? Have you even met your new boss? Or at least Googled him? Rest in peace, blessed irony.”
“Simply put, you can’t ban players from playing golf.”
“Because the Saudis have never banned anyone for doing anything…”
A short montage shows GREG angrily gesturing towards a clearly exasperated JAY as SHINY HAPPY PEOPLE by REM plays in the background. Back in the room GREG and JAY stand toe to toe.
“Commissioner – this is just the beginning. It certainly is not the end.”
GREG storms out of the office and slams the door. JAY looks down the camera lens in bemusement.
“Well, you know what they say – money talks!”
The studio audience applauses emphatically as the camera pans out. Scene ends.
Whenever the 16th US president, Abraham Lincoln, felt angry or upset, he would compose his resentment in a note. Then he would put it away in a drawer until he had calmed down.
In another talking head from The Office, Scott describes his work-place principles with a hilarious yet misguided take on Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.
Norman could do with being a bit more Lincoln and a little less Scott.
In the meantime, give us what we want, Netflix.
The chances of the 2031 Ryder Cup being held in England are now seemingly all with the London Club.
The Kent complex appears to be the last club standing after Bolton Council voted 15-1 against the controversial Hulton Park project. This follows a few days after the Belfry pulled out.
While the London Club, with its two Jack Nicklaus courses – the Heritage and the International – as well as excellent facilities and transport links, will undoubtedly be a fine venue for golf’s greatest competition, this is a huge blow for this part of the world.
But short of building a new course, or the increasingly unlikely of taking it back to the links of Lytham or Birkdale, this is something my northern brethren will have to accept may never happen.
A decision on the 2031 Ryder Cup venue is expected to be made this summer.
While the European selection panel still um and ah about who will lead the home team in Rome next year, the Americans have come to a decision that will be announced on Monday.
It looks like five-time Ryder Cupper (and one time winner) Zach Johnson will get the nod.
Stay tuned, folks.
In the winners’ circle this week…
Daniel Berger was five clear and cruising through 54 holes, then a 4-over 74 on Sunday left him three behind champion Sepp Straka.
The Austrian pipped Shane Lowry by one.
On the Champions Tour, Miguel Angel Jimenez had TWO holes-in-one en route to winning the Cologuard Classic – his 12th win on the senior circuit.
The first was on the par-3 7th during the opening round…
And the second was on the par-3 14th on the final day…
The man is ridiculous.
Right, that’s enough from me for another week. Remember, you can follow me on Twitter, if you like. Play well if you manage to get out.
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