PGA Championship

Valhalla Golf Club

The Loop

Players abandon spirit of foursomes

October 02, 2010

Amidst the undoubted drama, tension, passion and excitement of any Ryder Cup, there remain aspects that can only be described as annoying or irksome. Any lack of decorum or courtesy from spectators who apparently have no idea of golf's long tradition of sportsmanship falls into that category. And so does the depressing pace of play from both sides. Lets face it, if they slowed down any more they'd come to a complete stop.

Which brings me to foursomes golf, or "alternate shot" as it is known in the United States (where, perversely and incorrectly, a foursome is what we Brits call a four-ball, if you follow the inherent lack of logic). Anyway, the point is that no one on either side in this or any other Ryder Cup ever plays "proper" foursomes. Instead of wandering up the fairway to wait for their partner's tee-shots to arrive, every player goes to the tee and metaphorically holds the hand of his accomplice in this heinous crime against golfing sanity.

My goodness, that is irritating to watch. Especially here at Celtic Manor -- where time is of the essence if the matches are to be completed by Sunday evening -- think how many valuable minutes could be saved if the players could be persuaded to spilt up in the time-honored fashion of real foursomes golf. At this level, most holes would be completed in less than ten minutes, the player who drives walking all the way to every par-4 green without pause, the approach having been struck by his partner en route.

That's proper golf. What a concept, eh?

-- John Huggan