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Archaic rules leave professional golfers in the rough

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Date Published: {J}

PROFESSIONAL golf has always been a game governed by the highest standards of sportsmanship. Players calling penalties on themselves for what seem even petty rule offences are par for the course (if you pardon the pun) while several competitors in recent big tournaments have either been disqualified or suffered critical two-shot penalties for minor infringements.

Remember the US PGA last August, the final golfing Major of 2010? American Dustin Johnson stood on the final tee at Whistling Straits needing only a par to clinch victory only to become a victim of the strictest rule book in sport. His tee shot sailed right of the fairway and into the gallery on a course which contained a whopping 1,200 bunkers.

Johnson ended up in one of them on the 18th, but didn’t know it. Trampled by fans walking the grounds throughout the tournament, the American assumed that his ball had settled on a worn-out area of land and he grounded his club as he prepared to take his second shot. Johnson said afterwards that it never crossed his mind that he was standing in a bunker and TV images of the incident underlined why he came to that conclusion – it didn’t look like his ball was in a sand trap.

As it transpired, Johnson went on to make, what he thought, was a bogey at the last which would have resulted in a three-way play-off with Germany’s Martin Kaymer and fellow US tour member, Bubba Watson. However, American tour officials quickly informed Johnson that he was being issued with a two-stroke penalty for grounding his club in the bunker on the 18th which turned his bogey into a triple bogey.

As a consequence, instead

of Johnson preparing for a play-off and the chance to win his first Major, he was relegated to a tie for fifth. It was a cruel penalty for what was an innocent mistake. Understandably, he was distraught after the news, especially as the 26-year-old had carried a three shot lead into the final of the US Open at Pebble Beach back in June only to end up shooting a disastrous 11 over 82 to plunge down the field.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago and a US tour event in Hawaii where the talented Columbian player Camilo Vilegas was disqualified for moving a divot out of the way of his rolling ball. How could his tournament come to an end for something so trivial, but professional golfers continue to be policed by an ancient rule book which is doing the modern game a disservice. High definition television coverage and slow motion replays are picking up the tiniest of ball movements with the result that players are suffering penalties for infringements that they didn’t even know they had committed.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

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A photo of Galway city centre from the county council's archives

People’s living conditions less than 100 years ago were frightening. We have come a long way. We talk about water charges today, but back then the local District Councils were erecting pumps for local communities and the lovely town of Mountbellew, according to Council minutes, had open sewers,” says Galway County Council archivist Patria McWalter.

Patria believes we “need to take pride in our history, and we should take the same pride in our historical records as we do in our built heritage”. When you see the wealth of material in her care, this belief makes sense.

She is in charge of caring for the rich collection of administrative records owned by Galway County Council and says “these records are as much part of our history as the Rock of Cashel is. They document our lives and our ancestors’ lives. And nobody can plan for the future unless you learn from the past, what worked and what didn’t”.

Archivists and librarians are often unfairly regarded as being dry, academic types, but that’s certainly not true of Patria. Her enthusiasm is infectious as she turns the pages of several minute books from Galway’s Rural District Councils, all of them at least 100 years old.

Part of her role involved cataloguing all the records of the Councils – Ballinasloe, Clifden, Galway, Gort, Loughrea, Mountbellew, Portumna and Tuam. These records mostly consisted of minutes of various meetings.

When she was cataloguing them she realised their worth to local historians and researchers, so she decided to compile a guide to their content. The result is For the Record: The Archives of Galway’s Rural District Councils, which will be a valuable asset to anybody with an interest in history.

Many representatives on these Councils were local personalities and several were arrested during the political upheaval of the era, she explains.

And, ushering in a new era in history, women were allowed to sit on these Rural District Councils – at the time they were not allowed to sit on County Councils.

All of this information is included in Patria’s introductory essay to the attractively produced A4 size guide, which gives a glimpse into how these Rural Councils operated and the way political thinking changed in Ireland during a short 26-year period. In the early 1900s, these Councils supported Home Rule, but by 1920, they were calling for full independence and refusing to recognise the British administration.

“I love the tone,” says Patria of the minutes from meetings. “The language was very emotive.”

That was certainly true of the Gort Rural District Council. At a meeting in 1907, following riots in Dublin at the premiere of JM Synge’s play, The Playboy of the Western World the councillors’ response was vehement. They recorded their decision to “protest most emphatically against the libellous comedy, The Playboy of the Western World, that was belched forth during the past week in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, under the fostering care of Lady Gregory and Mr Yeats. We congratulate the good people of Dublin in howling down the gross buffoonery and immoral suggestions that are scattered throughout this scandalous performance.

 

For more from the archives see this week’s Tribunes here

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Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

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Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup

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Date Published: 29-Jan-2013

Athenry FC 1

Kilbarrack United 2

(After extra time)

For the second year in succession Athenry were done in extra time in the FAI Junior Cup as last season’s beaten finalist’s came from behind to snatch an excellent game in Moanbawn on Sunday afternoon.

On a heavy pitch that was only playable following extensive groundwork by club officials all morning, the home side were by far the better side in the opening half, but failed to take advantage of a number of opportunities that came their way.

An Alan O’Donovan penalty gave them a merited advantage just after the restart, but thereafter were on the back foot as Kilbarrack took over, but for all their pressing, the home rearguard were dealing comfortably with their forays.

However they were struck a body blow just six minutes from time, as big striker Keith Kirwan was left all alone at the far post to head the equaliser and from that point on the Dubliners were the better side.

They started off the extra time in the ascendancy and enjoying all the momentum before striking for a good winning goal on 104 minutes. A strong bench allowed them to make some necessary changes and it was not a facility that was available to Athenry manager Gabriel Glavin.

With Gary Forde and Gary Delaney out through suspension following their sending off against OLBC in the previous round, and Seamie Crowe injured, it left their bench rather threadbare with just a number of young squad players available.

Playing with the aid of the slight incline and any wind advantage going, the home side had a Connor Cannon effort on target in the opening minute, while John Meleady was just over with a flick at the other end.

Meleady then tested Andrew Walsh who saved comfortably, before the goalkeeper pulled off a brilliant double save on 14 minutes.

Firstly he went full length to push away a Meleady shot and was then back on his feet to parry David Jackson’s close-range rebound.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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