Those of you who regularly tune in to the live golf on the television have probably noticed those titillating adverts for a variety of amorously adventurous accoutrements.

Aimed at those sprightly viewers who clearly have more on their minds during the interval than a cup of tea and a Custard Cream, the passionate promotions offer up a spectacularly absurd and saucy juxtaposition that should be accompanied by a Sid James cackle.

One minute, for instance, you could be watching Kevin Streelman sizing up a tricky eight-footer down the slope. The next, you’re being encouraged to purchase some whips and blindfolds for the bedroom. 

This correspondent, of course, is far too professional to be distracted by such adverts for arousing apparatus. And anyway, I always thought an erogenous zone was the spot where you took relief after duffing your ball into the water hazard. All of which brings us awkwardly into these weekly musings.

If some of you think glimpsing those aforementioned commercials makes for uncomfortable viewing, then Lexi Thompson’s collapse at the US Women’s Open on Sunday was as excruciating as using one of those bloomin’ mail order whips. Or so I’m led to believe.

With a four shot lead on the back nine of the Lake Course at the Olympic Club, Thompson’s assault on a second major title endured a grisly unravelling as she spluttered to the finishing line and didn’t even make the play-off.

It was hands-over-the-eyes, yet compelling, stuff. The on-going and wearying social media piffle involving Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau may be generating internet hits and giggles but the conclusion of the US Women’s Open was genuine content worth watching.

That 19-year-old Yuka Saso recovered from two early double-bogeys to eventually win spoke volumes for her unwavering mental fortitude and the enduring reliability of her swing under intolerable pressure. On the other hand, Thompson’s game, technically and mentally, seemed to get so loose it was if someone had untightened the various fixtures and fittings with an Allen Key. Sound familiar?

Her crumble at least put her in a shimmering pantheon. Back in the 1966 US Open at the same venue, Arnold Palmer saw a seven-shot lead evaporate on the back-nine. It was a sore one to stomach but he already had seven majors on his glory-laden resume to soften the blow. Thompson has just the one. She knows how to win a major but that was seven years ago, she was only 19 at the time and with six top-three finishes and various, agonising near misses since then, the painful passing of each opportunity must deepen the old wounds.

The phrase ‘choker’ is one of sport’s run-of-the-mill epithets and poor old Lexi, not for the first time, was labelled with this dreaded ‘c’ word even though she is a proven winner. In golf, of course, lapses – and occasional collapses – are almost woven into the very fabric of this mystifying, unpredictable and cruel game.

The best thing about it? “I have a tournament next week, so we'll take it from there,” said a hurting yet philosophical Thompson of her search for swift redemption.

Saso, meanwhile, was the second teenage winner at the weekend, with 17-year-old Pia Babnik conquering on the Ladies European Tour in France, seven days after 18-year-old Lucie Malchirand won on the same circuit in Italy.

The 50-year-old Phil Mickelson may have struck a blow for golf’s golden oldies recently, but, on the female front, it’s a young woman’s game just now.


If you are in the vicinity of Hampden Park then you’ll have noticed the ring of protective steel around its perimeter ahead of the European Championships, which makes it all look about as welcoming as the walls of Barlinnie.

Those actually going to the matches will be in for, quite literally, a sanitised experience of rigid, joyless protocols.

But that’s the way of the Covid world. The reaction, then, that greeted Jon Rahm’s removal from The Memorial tournament at the weekend was all rather ridiculous.

The Spaniard was leading by six when informed after round three that he had returned a positive test for Covid-19 and, as a result, had to be withdrawn. The news was broken to Rahm very publicly live on air, which at least made for terrific breaking news footage and probably gave his Player Impact Program rating a huge boost.

It later transpired that Rahm had not been vaccinated while, as he was asymptomatic, many roared that he should have been allowed to play on as a single in the final round. Jimmy Walker, the 2016 US PGA champion, was a loud advocate, saying: “Jon should play Sunday. By himself if need be. Period. I can’t get behind this decision.”

Such a robust reaction, though, was simply at odds with the real world and made some in golf look like a bunch of blinkered, foot stamping brats. It was not a good image.

Golf’s strict, effective and expensive Covid procedures allowed the main tours to continue playing while everything around them crashed to a standstill. At the drop of a hat, though, Walker and others seemingly wanted to bin the very rules and regulations that have kept them safe and allowed them to do their jobs. They would do well to remember that.