AUSTRALIA produces some of the world's best golfers -- and some decidedly provincial tournaments. Big stars need to be dragged out here, often with a hefty dollop of taxpayer cash as an inducement, and the standard of their play is often less than inspiring. The weekend just past, though, no complaints. It was worth quitting the blogface for a few days to follow the action at Kingston Heath, which was a verdant testament to the skills and dedication of the grounds staff.
The final day's round was nothing short of inspiring. Adam Scott drove like a demon, sank putts that defied belief and made mockery of bunkers that are some of the most formidable sources of misery ever dropped on a course anywhere in the world. He won, as we all know, and what made his victory even more laudable, apart from overcoming the lead Ian Poulter took into the final day, was that the Englishman was in tournament-winning form himself.
For those not interested in golf, a little bit of intelligence of a more specific nature: While chatting this afternoon with the president of the club where The Professor plays most often, the poor fellow became quite defensive when it was noted that the fairways are in worse nick than at any time in recent human memory.
"Don't blame me," he retorted, immediately fingering Tim Flannery as the culprit.
It seems that all the talk of Australia being plunged into perpetual drought inspired a decision some years ago to seed the fairways with a variety of kikuyu grass which does well in the heat. Unfortunately we have not had too much of that over the last few years.
As the president explained it, this particular grass needs a ground temperature of 22 degrees in order to thrive. So far, the highest reading has been 18 degrees, and this has meant divots aren't repairing themselves, growth is slow and the course looking very sad indeed.
Flannery! You wouldn't shout "fore!" if he ambled in front of your tee. No way.