The good ol' boys at the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews will allow U.S. Golf Association president Judy Bell to eat in their men-only dining room and are busy making plans to honor her "in recognition of her achievements" as the first woman to hold the USGA's highest office. But don't get any crazy ideas: Bell has no shot at becoming a member of the R&A, an honor granted to the last 10 USGA presidents.
"It was a matter of some debate by the policy committee, but it was decided that it would be wrong to make her a member," says George Wilson, deputy secretary of the R&A. The R&A concluded that if Bell were invited, it would create a bad precedent. After all, even Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom isn't a member. Not that being a woman has anything to do with it, the R&A would have you believe.
"There's nothing in the rules that says there shan't be lady members," Wilson says. "I'm afraid that's the way the club has evolved. I don't believe a woman would want to be a member, and I'm sure Judy feels the same way."
In fact, she does. A traditionalist, Bell is a member of two all-women golf clubs in Scotland, one in St. Andrews and another at Royal Troon. She says she has an excellent working relationship with the R&A and points out that her predecessors at the USGA were all R&A members before taking office.
"I'm not bothered by it at all," she says. "And this isn't contrived. It's the way I feel."
Appearance fees are verboten on the PGA Tour, but there's nothing in the rules against giving a player a long-distance lift. When Raymond Floyd decided that he would have to skip last week's Bruno's Classic in Birmingham to see his sons play in the NCAA Championships outside Chattanooga, Bruno's officials suggested an alternative. Would Floyd play if he were shuttled back and forth to the NCAAs? When he answered in the affirmative, an anonymous "friend of the tournament" donated a helicopter, and Floyd commuted the 120 miles to watch Raymond Jr. ( Wake Forest) and Robert ( Florida) play for the national title. Having the helicopter was worth $28,875 to Dad, who won that much for tying for eighth. He didn't get to see a whole lot of Ray Jr., whose team missed the cut, but Robert shot 305 to place 35th and help Florida tie for sixth.
Ladies in Waiting
There are certain things you can count on at any U.S. Open: ankle-high rough, long layouts and, especially at the Women's Opens, numbingly slow play during the first two rounds. At Colonial in Fort Worth in 1991, the waiting game got so bad during the first day that, just to make a point, Lori Garbacz ordered a pizza on the 14th hole, and it was delivered while she waited on the 17th tee.
So while the traffic jams last Thursday at Pine Needles were hardly appreciated, they were not unexpected. "The course changed a lot during the day," Beth Daniel said after her round, "which I guess is not atypical for a five-hour-and-20-minute round of golf."
The delays stem from the fact that all players go off from the 1st tee in most USGA events. Kendra Graham, the USGA's director of women's competitions, says split tees (groups beginning rounds on both the 10th and 1st holes) is not an option because "the course architect intended golf to be played from 1 to 18, with everyone playing the same holes in the same sequence."