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Weird golf news of the week: Man loses 83-day court appeal over handicap dispute

October 10, 2014

This might be the weird golf news story to top all weird golf news stories in 2014.

We'll start with the basics. On Thursday, Thomas Talbot, a retired insurance official in Dublin was denied an appeal in an Irish court in which he claimed his former golf club had defamed him by accusing him of having a false handicap.

If that's not crazy enough, the appeal took 83(!) days in Ireland's High and Supreme Courts before finally being rejected. Justice Susan Denham helped make the ruling and said the system, "would benefit by further development and use of case management so the best use can be made of scarce court resources for the benefit of all litigants." Gee, do you think?


Talbot was suing the Hermitage Golf Club, one of its officers, Eddie Murphy (great name!), and the Golfing Union of Ireland. He felt the club was accusing him of cheating when it sent him a certificate that gave him a 13 handicap, accompanied by the phrase: "General Play (Handicap Building)."

Essentially, Talbot thought the club was accusing him of artificially inflating his handicap. Of course, that would anger any golfer -- although not as much if true -- but taking the club to court? Really? Oh yeah, and this all happened in 2003!

It gets weirder. Apparently, in 2004, Talbot, who also unsuccessfully sued the club for conspiring against him, got into a confrontation with the club's manager over the certificate he received and was suspended. According to Laois Nationalist, Talbot is the third person to be suspended by the club in 40 years. The other two were suspended for abuse of club property and singing songs with inappropriate words in mixed company. OK then.

Talbot, 77, now faces a rather large legal bill. Just a guess, but this decade-long pursuit of clearing his name as a sandbagger probably wasn't worth it.