R&A chief: More shame for bad behavior

Tiger Woods plays a shot during the last round of the Dubai Desert Classic golf tournament in the Gulf emirate on February 13, 2011. Spain's Alvaro Quiros won the Dubai Desert Classic.

Tiger Woods plays a shot during the last round of the Dubai Desert Classic golf tournament in the Gulf emirate on February 13, 2011. Spain's Alvaro Quiros won the Dubai Desert Classic.

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SANDWICH, England - R&A chief executive Peter Dawson wants to see players named and shamed for unsportsmanlike behaviour.

Dawson was reacting to questions about Tiger Woods’ spitting on the 12th green in the final round of this year’s Dubai Desert Classic. The European Tour fined Woods’ after Sky Sports commentator and former European Tour player Ewen Murray lambasted the former world number one on air. (The European Tour stuck to its policy of not disclosing the fine handed out to Woods.)

“You look at his work ethics and he is a credit to the game and an inspiration to all of those who are trying to become professional golfers,” Murray said. “But there are some parts of him that are just arrogant and petulant. Somebody now has to come behind him and maybe putt over his spit. It does not get much lower than that.”

Dawson is very much in the Murray camp on this issue. The R&A chief executive feels players should be taken to task when they step out of line.

“There is less and less room for players to hide these days,” Dawson said. “They are on the (TV) screens all the time.

“Because standards are so high these particular incidents get so much publicity, and it’s right that they should.”

When asked if he was in favor of professional tours being more forthcoming about sanctions applied to players, Dawson said:

“I am actually. I don’t see any harm in that at all. It probably strengthens the sanction.”

Dawson was more sanguine about the R&A’s decision to stage the 140th Open Championship at the all-male Royal St George’s. England’s most southerly Open Championship venue is one of three courses on the Open Rota held at all-male clubs. Muirfield and Royal Troon are the others.

“We’ve never been particularly concerned about a club’s (membership) policy,” Dawson said. “I don’t accept the argument that it seriously affects the game.

“Less than 1% of golf clubs are single-sex clubs. Single-sex clubs is perfectly legal under current law.

“From surveys I’ve seen it’s not a major issue with golfers.

“This club is quite welcoming to women as guests. The fact that it’s male members only is not something I’m overly concerned about. That’s perhaps not as correct as it might be. It’s a matter for the members and I do think it’s a generational issue.”

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