JULY 16, 2012
F They have to ban the belly
putter, especially now that they
are wedging it under their arms.
I actually thought about banning them at Leopard Creek
but then I saw the chairman of
Augusta National and Michael
(Bonallack) using them so I shut
up immediately. I’m like Ernie.
Whilst it’s legal, I’ll cheat as
well. I went to the belly putter because I could not get any
partners because my stroke
was so terrible. They said to me:
You are either going to have to
give up the game or use a belly
putter. Now my stroke is back,
I am happy and am thinking
of getting rid of the belly putter. I also think we should go
to three different types of ball.
We have to pull the ball back
because it is making golf take
too long and too expensive. It
needs somebody like Augusta
National to say here is the Masters ball and if you don’t like it
then don’t come. No pro is not
going to show up at Augusta but
you need to be as powerful as
Augusta National to say it.
be bifurcation. However, they
have different tennis balls. I am
not sure that three balls is the
idea but I think it should not be
dismissed. It should at least be
discussed. Ernie has just given
me the new Callaway ball and it
is wonderful. It doesn’t go any
further but the ball flight is good
in the wind. Amateurs can still
play with a hard ball into the
wind and a soft ball downwind.
they fine these guys or penalise
them two shots? We all know
who they are. To me the technology must be used and the
slow play must be stopped.
THE POST: How well do you get
on with Tim Finchem?
RUPERT: I think he has done
a remarkable job for his constituents. But his constituency
is number 25 to 150 on the Tour.
He has to increase their purses.
The better he is at that the worse
it is for our golf (in South Africa).
He arranged The Presidents Cup
to kill the one thing that we had
created, which was Australasia
playing South Africa. He said he
didn’t want to give Mark McCormack another date. I admire what
he has done for the PGA Tour and
the U.S. pros but he mortally
wounded the Australian tour. I
cannot develop golf in South Africa without the kids seeing Ernie
and Retief and these guys live but
ultimately there is a conflict and it
is called dates. Asia has to play in
their winter, which is our summer. In the end there will have to
be some form of world tour.
Rupert once played to a 5 handicap but now plays off an 11.
am a member and because it’s
a links Ernie and I can have a
heckuva match because he can’t
hit driver on every hole. It’s a
second-shot golf course. Pebble
Beach and Cypress are spectacular. The atmosphere at Augusta
is something else. Shinnecock.
The National. I have never
played Royal Melbourne but
Ernie has threatened me with it.
That is on my bucket list.
“I admire what he has
done for the PGA Tour
and the U.S. pros but
he mortally wounded
the Australian tour.”
—Johann Rupert on Tim Finchem
THE POST: Who are these three
RUPERT: I agree with the R&A
and the USGA that you cannot
have pros playing with vastly
different balls and implements
to the ones we use. That would
THE POST: What about increasing the size of the hole?
RUPERT: The good putters
are still going to out-putt me. I
would do something about the
speed of play. The problem is
its selfish. I don’t watch golf
live unless it is the Open or The
Masters. The others I record and
fast forward through. Especially when you get someone
like Jason Day, who last year
proudly said in the World Match
Play that he was going to slow
play someone. They were like
two holes or 1½ behind and he
doesn’t get fined? Why don’t
THE POST: What are your favourite courses?
RUPERT: The Old Course. I
thought I had played a pretty
good round, a 74 or 75, and I said
to Michael (Bonallack, the R&A
secretary) this is bloody unfair
and Michael looked at me and
said: Johann, golf is not meant
to be fair. It is meant to be a test.
Golf is supposed to reflect life.
It is how you deal with what is
given to you. Royal County Down
is spectacular. Sunningdale Old
and New. There are so many
great courses in the UK.
THE POST: All the courses in
the U.S. you mentioned were
built before 1930. You sound
as though old golf courses are
absolutely your thing.
RUPERT: They are. As one wise
guy said: We used to have golf
courses designed by Donald
Ross. Now we have golf courses
designed by Donald Trump. If you
ask your friends to name their
favourite golf hole it is never a par
3 over 200 yards and it is never a
par 4 that is 480 or 500 yards. It
is always a par 3 under 160 yards
or a reachable par 5 or a little
dogleg par 4.
THE POST: You could say that
Tim Finchem is doing what he is
paid to do.
RUPERT: That is what I am saying. In doing it, he wrecks our
business, our tour.
THE POST: You haven’t mentioned one in the U.S.?
RUPERT: Seminole is where I
THE POST: Why is the locker
room at Seminole so good?
RUPERT: It is the best locker
room in the world. It’s the size of
a basketball court but you have
all these boards with the names
of past winners. It is just the nicest locker room in the world. A