One bare-legged leap caused a sport­ing stooshie … but golf can’t af­ford to be short-sighted

Evening Times - - SPORT -

the sear­ing tem­per­a­tures of a West­ern Open.

Play­ers on the PGA cir­cuit were fi­nally per­mit­ted to wear shorts in prac­tice and dur­ing pro-ams in Fe­bru­ary of this year and even the R&A un­veiled in the sum­mer that com­peti­tors at The Open could lim­ber up for the cham­pi­onship in shorts if they de­sired.

On the women’s cir­cuit, mean­while, the good ladies have long been al­lowed to wear shorts dur­ing events. Do they lack pro­fes­sion­al­ism? Ab­so­lutely not.

Pablo Lar­raz­a­bal, the Spa­niard who won in South Africa at the week­end, de­fied the heat and played all four rounds in his troosers.

“I don’t feel I’m ready to go in shorts,” he said. “It’s ok when I chill out with my friends, but for a com­pet­i­tive round it just doesn’t feel right.”

Each to their own, but at least play­ers now have the choice in­stead of hav­ing to toe some ar­chaic line grimly chis­elled into a tablet of stone. Golf, as we all know, can ill af­ford to be, well, short-sighted.

BY all ac­counts, the pro­posed merger be­tween the LPGA Tour and the strug­gling Ladies Euro­pean Tour (LET) has been warmly re­ceived.

The ac­tual de­tail of this al­liance re­mains sketchy at this early stage but given the strug­gles and the un­cer­tainty the LET play­ers have en­dured in re­cent years, any news which fea­tures phrases like “cre­at­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties” and “ex­pand­ing the game in Europe” will not just be mu­sic to their ears, it will be a full-blown con­cert.

The LPGA had its own cri­sis of con­fi­dence a decade ago. In 2020, the tour’s to­tal purse will be a record-bust­ing $75,1m and inch­ing to­wards dou­ble what it was in 2010.

Un­der the thrust­ing stew­ard­ship of Mike Whan, the LPGA has pros­pered. Let’s hope that dy­namism can help re­ju­ve­nate an LET that has plenty of po­ten­tial.

The late Brian Barnes was handed nu­mer­ous fines for wear­ing shorts back in the day

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