Almost forty players missed out on a practice round on Monday at this week’s Women’s British Open, after an unintentional error from Lexi Thompson.
According to Golf Channel, Ian Wright, who caddied for Seve Ballesteros during his career, was driving the van carrying 38 bags from last week’s Evian Championship in France to Woburn Golf Club outside London for this week’s major championship.
However, during this journey, Wright received a call and was told that Thompson had left her passport in her bag, which was in his van. Needing to fly out of Geneva, the former-caddie was instructed to pull over and wait while her caddie, Benji Thompson, grabbed a taxi to retrieve the passport.
The hold-up resulted in lengthy delays for both Wright and Thompson, as well as a frustrating wait for almost 40 players who were unable to play a practice round on Monday.
For Wright, the three-hour delay caused him to miss his ferry, and he then found himself stuck in rush hour traffic, while a British Airway’s strike led Thompson to fail to get to the course on Monday as she had planned.
An “exhausted” Wright was finally relieved when the ordeal came to an end, while Thompson’s agent, Bobby Kreusler. stated on the incident that
“Forgetting her passport, that was an honest mistake. And she had no idea retrieving it would cause the delay it did, or that it would impact other players the way it did. She would never have wanted that.”
Not everyone who suffered due to the mix-up was in a forgiving mood, however, with Ryann O’Toole criticizing the driver for accommodating Thompson and disrupting a third of the field’s preparation for this week.
“I don’t know why the driver would agree to accommodate one person knowing it would punish about a third of the field. The driver should have said, ‘Hey, I’ve got to get these clubs to Woburn. If you want the passport, somebody’s going to have to fly there to get it and bring it back.’”
This rookie’s exit from Augusta National is sure to make you smile
Will Zalatoris led the way of this year’s rookies at the Masters, but another man making his first appearance at Augusta went about his business under the radar and also very effectively.
Robert Macintyre had already finished T6 on his major debut at the 2019 Open Championship, and when he drove down Magnolia Lane last week, the Scot made sure it was an experience shared with his native land. As you can see from the following video.
— Robert MacIntyre (@robert1lefty) April 5, 2021
Rounds of 74,70, and 70 followed as Macintyre adjusted quickly to the test, and with the top-12 and ties receiving an invite to the 2022 Masters, all was to play for on the final day.
The 24-year-old made bogeys on 16 and 17 on Sunday at the Masters, meaning he needed a birdie on the last for a T12 finish. Macintyre knocked his approach to 12 feet and poured in his putt to ensure he’d be back next year.
Was he pleased? I think the following video from Macintyre driving out of the Augusta National premises tells you everything you need to know!
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Gary Player’s son ‘banned from the Masters’ for perceived guerrilla marketing
As the cameras focused on Lee Elder during last week’s honorary starter’s ceremony at Augusta, Gary Player’s son, Wayne, stood directly behind the 86-year-old displaying a sleeve of OnCore golf balls.
Golf fans on social media were outraged by what they had seen and accused Wayne Player of deliberate guerrilla marketing during a moment where the focus was on the first black man to play in the Masters.
According to Wayne’s estranged brother, Marc, Augusta National has since taken action and banned Player, Jr. for the incident.
During Thursday’s opening ceremony, Wayne Player was seen holding the OnCore balls, a company which his father Gary has been an ambassador for since 2018, in several shots during Elder’s introduction.
They’ve just shown the starters ceremony again on Sky. Heavens above that is undignified from Gary Player’s son. One of those like so many where I was wary of covering it, but now think I could have gone in harder. pic.twitter.com/gf7Z20mg3Y
— Nick Metcalfe (@Nick_Metcalfe) April 10, 2021
In response to the criticism, Wayne told Golf Digest that there was “zero intent” in his actions during the ceremony, saying:
“The only thought from that point was that it would be cool for fans to know what ball my dad was teeing off with. That’s where it ends. If I’ve hurt people’s feelings then I’m truly sorry and hope they will forgive me.”
OnCore also told the publication that they did not ask or instruct Wayne Player to visibly display a sleeve of balls next to Lee Elder.
Per Wayne’s brother, Marc Player, his sibling has since been banned from Augusta National and the Masters, who responded to a tweet from CBS’ Kyle Porter on social media saying:
“Agreed. Wayne has since correctly been banned from Augusta National and The Masters tournament. What a shame. What an embarrassment. What a bad decision to allow him on the first tee after years of similar shenanigans. My apologies to all.”
It’s yet another controversy for Wayne Player, who was arrested in 2019 on fraud charges surrounding a rental agreement for a house at the 2018 Masters.
Billy Horschel issues apology after slamming clubs at the Masters
Billy Horschel suffered an eventful weekend at Augusta National, twice finding Rae’s Creek on the 13th hole and twice deciding to play his shot from the water.
On Sunday, Horschel’s barefooted effort from the creek did not work out – failing to extricate himself from trouble after two attempts before racking up a triple-bogey 8 on the hole.
The frustration got the better of Billy, who was then filmed angrily slamming his clubs into his bag while also featuring in many hot mic moments on Sunday.
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The incident drew plenty of attention from golf fans, and on Sunday evening, Horschel addressed the subject on his social media sites, where he apologized to ANGC, the patrons and members for his conduct.
“I am and have always been a fiery competitor. That will never change. I try and conduct myself to the highest level everyday. I support and congratulate my fellow playing partners on a regular basis throughout the round. Unfortunately, the fire inside me sometimes runs hot when I’m not getting the most out of my game.
This leads to some instances (fewer as I get older) where my conduct is not what I wish to show, especially as a role model to the younger generation. As my fellows tour pros know, Augusta National can drive any sane person crazy with swirling winds and green complexes!
I apologize to Augusta National, the Members of the Club and to the patrons for any conduct that may have crossed the line. I am always trying to improve and do better; as a golfer, husband, father, or as a human being.
I am a perfectionist at heart, always striving for perfection, knowing that it is not truly attainable but understanding that striving for perfection will ultimately make me better in the long run. Hopefully, some runs are shorter than others!”
While the 34-year-old lost his cool on Sunday at the 13th, he did find the funny side of things when slipping down a slope in preparation for his next shot a day prior – an incident that also clearly amused Phil Mickelson!
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It’s worth noting that his shot from Rae’s creek on Saturday was spectacular and led to a par.
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