In this year of mad cows and romping royals, an amateur golf tournament has become the focus of an unlikely media blitz in Great Britain, as papers from the Times to the tabs have followed the plight of a mother-and-son twosome from West Kirby in Cheshire. The good news is that—thanks to all the attention—the grand British tradition of decency and fair play has won out once again over the grand British tradition of snobbery and discrimination.
In August, Audrey Briggs and her 13-year-old son, Laurie, entered a father-daughter/mother-son tournament at the Burhill Golf Club in Walton-on-Thames. Audrey, a four-time Welsh ladies' champion, and Laurie, a 15 handicapper, performed well enough to reach the third round. But their tournament ended suddenly when a competitor wrote anonymously to Burhill's club secretary, Dick Richards, saying that the Briggses should be disqualified because Laurie is adopted. Richards agreed, telling the Briggses that the competition "is open only to mothers and fathers with natural sons and daughters."
Audrey said that no restriction was mentioned beforehand. Richards replied that while the disappointment of the family "touched" him, the decision stood. According to Audrey, Laurie, who was adopted as an infant in Brazil, handled the ouster fairly well, putting it down to "grown-ups behaving very oddly."
The rest of the nation was not so forgiving. BURHILL BAN BREACHES SPIRIT OF GAME headlined The Daily Telegraph, which also parodied snobbish golfers (above), while the Evening Standard shouted WHY THE WORLD WOULD BE A BETTER PLACE WITHOUT GOLF, above an editorial decrying the incident. In the face of the storm, club captain Vince Dean announced Burhill's retreat (MEANIES IN GOLF U-TURN whooped the Daily Record), saying that "fresh rules and regulations are going to be drawn up and our priority will be to ask Audrey Briggs and her son to come back and play next year." Audrey said the Briggses would return in 1997. As for Laurie, the whole fuss still seemed pointless. "My mum," he said, "is my mum."