By Keith B Marshall
In the game of golf there are two schools of thought about temperament. Either you like it, or you loathe it. From America comes the news that professional golfers are in revolt against ungentlemanly conduct. So much so that, whenever player misbehaves in a tournament, fines are imposed. For example, heaving a putter into the nearest wood or cracking a shaft across one's knee may cost a hundred dollars.
Club-breaker-in-chief is an ungentlemanly type called "Terrible-tempered" Tommy Bolt, who breaks putters by the bagful and then, because he's a member of the Conduct Committee, generously strings himself with a pretty stiff fine. In one tournament he busted two putters and an iron. In another he destroyed a driver. When someone informed him that the first prize in a tournament was 7,000 dollars, he said: "What! 7,000 dollars? Man, that won't get me out of town when they get through fining me!"
However, generally speaking, golfers don't throw their clubs around as they used to. Maybe tempers aren't as hot as they were in the old days, or perhaps clubs are a bit too expensive nowadays to heave into the nearest wood. But, whatever the reason, golf isn't by any means as explosive nowadays as it once used to be. Take, for example, the match in which famous Bobby Jones met Eben Byers, one-time American amateur champion. This is what Bobby had to say about it.
"Mr. Byers and I played terribly. He was a veteran and I was a youngster, but we expressed our feelings in exactly the same way - when we missed a shot we threw the club away. I think the main reason I beat him was because he ran out of clubs first. Somebody behind us said later that we looked like a juggling act."
So you see. In those days, club-throwing was a regular form of exercise, practised by old and young alike. If you missed a pitch, you slung your niblick into a nearby ditch. If you muffed a putt, without a thought of where the next club was coming from, you upped and cracked the shaft across your knee. When you went out for a round, it wasn't so much a question of how many strokes you were going to take, as how many clubs you were likely to lose.
An impressive story is the one about the golfer who became so incensed with the game that he pitched his clubs, one at a time, out of the carriage window of a train that was taking him home across Forth Bridge. It reminds me of another which created an even bigger splash.
An actor was trying to drive his ball across the pond immediately in front of the first tee, but had put his first and second shots into the water. Less temperamental players would doubtless have teed another ball, but the actor, turning to his caddie, said: "Give me all the balls, caddie!" - whereupon he flung them into the pond. "Take these balls, O Pond!" he exclaimed dramatically. "And these clubs, O Pond!" he said, taking the bag of clubs from the caddie and heaving it into the water. Unhappily, at this stage in the proceedings, the caddie laughed - and was thrown in as well. "And this caddie, too, O Pond!"
- o - 0 - o -
When I became a judge, I would that whenever I had a judgment to write I would write it with a bottle of port at my elbow. But I gave it up - it spoiled the port!
"The meter owes us half an hour and we've decided not to waste it."
"Did you call for me, sir?"
"What's the idea, waking me up? Just as I was having a
wonderful dream - nobody under sixteen was allowed in!"
"I think some people should only use their voices in case of fire."