The golfing year is now in full swing with one of the richest trophies on the European Tour – the Abu Dhabi Classic – and the USPGA Desert Classic. Shane Lowry and Phil Mickelson with opening rounds of 62 and 60 lead respectively.
Of interest is the implantation of a new rule book.
Golf, unlike cricket where you can stay your ground even if you know you’re out or football where you can take a dive, is self-policing which is why the penalties for erring are the greater.
However there are anomalies in the new rules: who can say if a ball was moved accidentally or not? Some of the changes are self-conflicting. You have 45 seconds to take a putt but “gardening” on the green has been extended to removal of spike marks.
Others, like 3 instead of 5 minutes to locate a lost ball, is a necessary measure to speed up play. The rule that professionals object to most is the flag remaining out of the pin but I can see this affecting the club player more.
It’s always hard to follow a really low round. Shane Lowry started with two bogeys but steadied the ship. He was especially adept in birdying the par threes (in nine out of twelve he carded two), normally it’s on the par fives you look to improve your card. Phil Mickelson was not on his a game too but did enough to maintain his lead in the second round.
On the advice of Jeremy Chapman I backed Lefty each way and Joe Rahm now in a tidy eighth place and with tickles on Tom Pieters and Lee Westwood each way the Pargie coffers should receive a necessary and welcome post Xmas boost.