It has been quite a busy month in the exciting (yes, exciting) world of golf.
Former world number one and current world number three Rory McIlroy hit the golf course with none other than President Donald Trump at the end of February, teeing up a discussion of whether the Northern Irish star should have accepted the President’s invite for a game.
Criticism towards the three time major winner came immediately after his round ended, with McIlroy responding quite simply, “it wasn’t an endorsement nor a political statement of any kind.”
McIlroy certainly picked a capable playing partner is the recently elected President, with Trump’s handicap to be rumoured to be around 3, putting him well beyond the echelon of your causal amateur golfer. Indeed Trump, who criticised Obama on Twitter for playing too much golf during his tenure, has played nine rounds of golf in just seven weeks…I’ll just leave that information there.
Away from Trump’s hypocrisy, the McIlory-Trump story was the start of political month golf as a whole.
The first World Golf Championship of the PGA Tour season was held across the Southern border in Mexico City. The wholly successful tournament saw American world number one Dustin Johnson win, cementing his place as the world’s best at the sport. Few commentators decided to comment on the international relations between America and Mexico since Trump’s election, but the success of the tournament, turnout of fans and quantity of American golfers in the field suggests a different rhetoric to that of President Trump, although that’s easy to say from the upper-class comfort of the lush Mexican golf resort.
In the UK, members at Muirfield golf club in Scotland overturned their male only members policy with 80% of those who voted wanted to overturn the controversial ruling. The club, which is on the British Open roster of courses, was about to be ousted from ever hosting the event again after the club voted in 2016 not to allow female members. The out-dated rule however was re-addressed again last week, with the threat of the course losing its British Open status clearly enough for members to change their mind. Whilst congratulations have been flowing in for the club’s decision last week, we must note that this decision has been far too long coming.
For golf, headlines rarely exceed the mundane to the stupid so March has busy month indeed for golf fans everywhere, making sporting and political headlines.
The first major of the seasons, The Masters, starts in April and as a massive golf fan myself, I hope golf’s current media spotlight will mean you get watching too.