Charles Sale: Golf writers teed off by Donald's digs
23:12 GMT, 18 July 2012
World No 1 Luke Donald caused a
considerable stir on the eve of The Open with his less than gracious
response after winning the prestigious Golf Writers’ Trophy.
Donald, making his acceptance speech
in front of the game’s top brass at the Association of Golf Writers’
annual dinner at Royal Lytham, chose the occasion to be chippy in the
extreme about the tabloid press who had helped vote him top golfer of
However, Donald, who wrote the speech
himself rather than relying on his IMG management team, claimed
yesterday that he must have been misunderstood by the critical audience.
Ruffling feathers: Donald
He said: ‘I was just trying to be
light-hearted. I’ve no problem with the British press. I get on well
with them and was trying to reflect that. It seems some people have
got the wrong impression.’ They certainly have.
Meanwhile, the AGW missed an
opportunity by not giving more recognition to the Curtis Cup-winning
quartet in attendance, who all look like models as well as being top
sportswomen. It was a particular shame considering the sexist men-only
Royal St George’s hosted The Open last year and another male bastion,
Muirfield, will do so in 2013.
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Ashley's 2m payout
Newcastle owner Mike Ashley, who is considering bringing 35million striker Andy Carroll back to Tyneside if the price is right, might have to put 2m aside for Open Championship expenditure.
The sponsorship deal the Ashley-owned Dunlop brand has with Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke pays them 2m for winning a major. Westwood is again one of the favourites this week — as he was last year when Clarke took the Claret Jug and Ashley paid up just three days later.
Jose Maria Olazabal is nowhere to be seen at Royal Lytham despite being captain of the Ryder Cup team who will defend the trophy in Chicago in two months.
It is understood the Spaniard doesn’t feel the need to be at The Open, having failed to qualify, although his US counterpart Davis Love III is in the field.
It would be extremely rare in any other high-profile sport for a team boss not to watch all his players in action, as well as the opposition, ahead of an event as big as the Ryder Cup.
However, the last European captain to win in America was Bernhard Langer in 2004 and he missed that year’s Open for family reasons.
Staying away: Jose Maria Olazabal
BBC's big bid
BBC Sport are understood to have paid around 100million to secure exclusive TV and online rights to the summer Olympics in 2016 and 2020 and two winter Games.
This is despite Sky having discussions with the IOC about buying the contract and then sub-leasing it to fulfil free-to-air commitments. In the event Sky did not bid.
And having had the door closed on their Olympic ambitions, Sky’s resolve for hours of daily non-rights Olympic coverage will be tested.
G4S score Open goal
The biggest surprise at Royal Lytham this week is that the 200-strong workforce from bungling security firm G4S, who have a three-year contract, have all turned up at the course.
R&A executive director of championships Johnnie Cole-Hamilton said: ‘All the managers and supervisors, who we’ve been using for many, many years, are back with us. The numbers we asked for are all here. We have no issue whatsoever.’ Pity London 2012 can’t say the same, although some of the G4S golf personnel are bound for Stratford after The Open.
Is Rio on course
Golf enters the Olympics in 2016, but work on constructing the course in Rio will not start until October at the earliest following complications over the land ownership.
Despite the tight timescale, R&A chief executive Peter Dawson is confident it will be ready for a test event in 2015. Dawson was on the panel that chose American Gil Hanse as course designer ahead of golfing greats Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Greg Norman.
Hanse, responsible for Scottish Open course Castle Stuart, is prepared to live in Brazil during construction.