The annual high-water mark of intrigue in equipment-related golf stories is usually something along the lines of a player switching drivers and winning a tournament.
This year, however, we were treated to two bits of equipment/apparel related madness in the same week, with an episode on the PGA Tour and European Tour, respectively.
First, Sung Kang’s bit of silliness at the Quicken Loans National. Kang prepared for his final round with the knowledge that “it [the weather forecast] said zero percent chance of rain all day” (as he said after the round). As such, he didn’t pack his umbrella nor his rain gear.
Amateur students of meteorology that all golfers are, you know what happened next: it rained. Kang was standing over a potential lead-tying birdie putt on the 16th green when the skies opened up, drenching the golfer.
He missed the birdie putt, and after a five-minute rain delay, stepped to the par-3 7th tee looking more like a drowned rat than a man trying to win a golf tournament. Appropriately, his tee shot found a water hazard, and Kang found himself on the outside looking in at the tournament deciding playoff.
From soggy Sung to sabotage on the European Tour. Here’s a caper that tops anything we’ve seen in golf recently, and were it not for multiple pros reporting the same thing, it’d be impossible to believe.
First, a bit of background information. Most pros at most tournament venues store their clubs in the locker room or another secure location. The host club’s staff sometimes cleans the clubs, but even when they don’t, most bags are usually left at the course and picked up by the caddie prior to play. Thus, most players are separated from their bags when they leave the course.
After the second round of the Open de France at Le Golf National, Bernd Wiesberger took to Facebook to report that his driver’s settings had been tampered with and that he knew of others whose gear was similarly screwed up.
Another pro, Duncan Stewart, told Bunkered.com the same thing.
“I asked one of the Callaway reps to have a look at my driver because it wasn’t going as well as normal. He put it back to what should’ve been neutral and the grip was around the wrong way — and it had only been re-gripped two or three weeks ago.”
What in the world? Could there really have been a renegade saboteur in the bag room at Le Golf National? And who? A meddler? One of the hard-charging pros chasing the lead.
Stewart confirmed what Wiesberger suggested: clubhouse chatter indicated multiple pros were affected.
“I’m not one of those that tweaks my driver every week and when I saw Bernd’s tweet, it convinced me more that someone had changed it. The more people you speak to, the more it seems to have been going on.”
The European Tour is yet to make any statement on the matter, but the allegations are serious indeed. Surely, we haven’t heard the last of this alleged bit of monkeywrenching .