Golf’s authorities have got together and agreed a strategy to ensure the sport isn’t embarrassed by another Lexi Thompson incident.
Leading American golfer Thompson lost the first women’s major of last season because of a four-shot penalty imposed after a TV viewer reported Lexi for replacing her ball in the wrong spot on the green.
The fact an armchair fan had spotted the rules infringement — which led to Lexi retrospectively losing two shots and a further two for signing for the wrong score in the third round — was humiliating for golf’s ruling bodies.
So, the men’s and women’s tours now have officials scrutinising televised golf to ensure any rule breaches missed on the course are reported immediately.
Lexi Thompson lost the first women’s major of last year after a TV viewer saw an infringement
It is an important week for football with the Champions League quarter-finals and Manchester City having the chance to clinch the Premier League title against Manchester United.
But BBC 5 Live, in their wisdom, have sent football correspondent John Murray and commentator Alistair Bruce-Ball to the Masters.
The Manchester derby will be called by Alan Green in Murray’s absence, with the expectation that he will receive another contract next season despite refusing to go to Russia for the World Cup.
Meanwhile, Colin Montgomerie has priced himself out of an Augusta punditry role with Sky, who set stricter limits now on what they will pay for expert analysis… and Monty never won a major.
It’s the Manchester derby on Sunday but BBC 5 Live’s football correspondent is at the Masters
Augusta National, who have around 300 members, are yet to make Britain’s Peter Dawson one of their number despite his strong credentials.
These include 16 years as CEO of the R&A and being president of the International Golf Federation when it brought golf back to the Olympics. Dawson, 70 this year, believes he is now too old for an invite from golf’s most exclusive club, although Tim Finchem, former commissioner of the PGA Tour, received the call at a similar age.
Dawson is pleased the Rio course built from scratch for the Games is one of the few 2016 facilities still being regularly used.
There will be no troublesome golf build needed for Japan in 2020 with the competition being held at the established Kasumigaseki Country Club, which has recently voted to admit women as full members.
Augusta National have yet to make Britain’s Peter Dawson one of their number
Another demonstration that Tiger Woods is the only story at the 2018 Masters was that the press conference held by defending champion Sergio Garcia was attended by 43 journalists, while there were around 200 listening to Woods and every seat in the room was filled.
Has there ever been a more invisible former Masters champion than Britain’s Danny Willett who, in contrast to the huge crowds following Tiger Woods’s every step, can walk completely unnoticed around the Augusta property. Willett was at least on an equal footing with the previous winners at the Champions Dinner on Tuesday night.
Defending champion Sergio Garcia put plenty of effort into his choice of menu, as Willett did last year when he even visited the Henderson’s Relish factory. Garcia’s special Caesar Salad came with ingredients from 10 countries who have supplied Masters winners. His main dish was lobster rice, with tapas to start and a Spanish three-milks cake for dessert.
Tiger Woods has proved extremely popular with the press ahead of the Masters
Your Sports Agenda columnist may have seriously under-clubbed with his estimate that the new shop at Augusta will rake in $65million over the week.
Upon seeing the demand for anything Augusta-branded from American fans, who wear golf clothes 24/7, my guess is that the 64 cash registers will ring up $100m over the seven days. The average spend is $500, according to the over-worked cashiers.