Controversy Shows No Sign of Abating
By: Datzit Indaruf, Flem Cup Correspondent
MYRTLE BEACH, Oct 25, 2001 – In a devastating discovery, Captain Ian Jennings of Team England has been found conspiring to use a non-conforming club in the upcoming Flem Cup, sparking controversy on an unprecedented scale since the rule requiring USGA compliance was implemented in 1997. Curiously (or perhaps brashly), Captain Jennings freely offered the information during a conference call with Team U.S. Captain Scott Dow two days ago. Despite the clear breach of rules, there has been no official acknowledgment of a rules violation or any indication the England captain will abandon use of the illegal club – quite the contrary.
Reached for comment, Jennings said:
“Well, I thought I’d let [Dow] know as a courtesy. Then, if he had a problem, I’d use it anyway.”
Dow, not surprisingly, had a different take on the issue.
“It’s not the club that bothers us – Lord knows he needs the help. It’s the attitude. He has basically said ‘screw you, you low-life American bastards. We’re going to beat you like the rented mules you so closely resemble – even if we have to cheat.’ Well, that attitude is not quite as gentlemanly as we would like.”
Manufactured at an undisclosed location in the English Midlands by a shadowy outfit named “Integro”, the driver’s name – “Victory” – may well betray the company’s apparent “win at all cost – rules be damned” mentality. When our undercover reporter, Iva Tufshot, attempted to phone up the company for comment, she got a only disconnect signal. Checking the USGA website, Tufshot found the Integro driver not listed at all, either as a conforming or non-conforming club. Inquiring further, she found that the USGA’s senior equipment rules official, Doanbee A. Cheetur, was quite familiar with the manufacturer and the driver.
“Ah yes, the Integro Victory. We know of the club but haven’t been able to obtain one for testing. I can tell you that the last driver they manufactured was made of some secretive space-age material that had a spring-effect like a cannon. The first ball we hit went right through the side of our building, leaving a hole the size of my fist. We sent them a bill along with the non-conforming ruling and that was the last we heard from them. Apparently, they seem to cater to people who simply do not respect the integrity of the game of golf”
The Americans find it highly suspicious that Jennings, after using only name-brand clubs such as Ping and Calloway for years, suddenly switched to this little known manufacturer – a switch that suspiciously coincided with the end of a nearly 2 year golfing slump, a slump brought on by Jennings’ last known public attempt at any physical exertion: a brief but disastrous tennis match during his 1999 Majorca golf trip that not only ruptured his Achilles tendon but also caused incredibly far reaching consequences. Although a full accounting of those consequences would require more space than this web site can possibly afford, the Cliff Notes version includes (1) ramming his 17-meter luxury yacht directly into a 30-foot high cement wall in Oostende, Belgium (providing unforgettable entertainment for hundreds of vacationers), (2) forcing American Captain Dow into several years of intensive psychotherapy, and (3) being a leading factor in the wound dressing bull-market of ’99.
What is undeniable is that with the acquisition of the Integro Victory driver, Jennings’ drives suddenly became straighter and longer, enabling his game to revert to its pre-injury level of excellence. The Americans suspect it is more than a coincidence, even voicing concern that the foul play runs even deeper. Unsubstantiated rumors from disgruntled partners and opponents alike accuse the England Captain of carrying undersized balls in his bag, yet another serious rules infraction. Speaking on condition of anonymity, a source close to the matter had this to say:
“Naturally, Ian wants everyone to think he has regulation-sized balls in his bag but they are actually undersized. No one has ever been able to check because he never leaves them lying about. He only takes them out when he is ready to play with them so he gets away with it but one night, while he was asleep, I measured one and I can assure you: it was quite undersized.”
The American side, reluctant to turn the controversy into an international incident, is considering requesting a full, independent inspection of Jennings’ balls upon arrival. When asked about this development, Jennings’ response was both diplomatic and revealing.
“It really depends on who they choose to inspect them. I’ve no problem complying with USGA standards but I’m not going to let just any American go inspecting my balls. It has to be someone with some level of authority – preferably wearing a spiffy uniform, dark sunglasses and carrying a big nightstick.”
With uncertainty on so many levels, the question remains: does Jennings have the balls – and driver – to be in compliance with USGA standards. For its part, the USGA continues to try to defuse the international issue by obtaining an Integro Victory driver for testing. The closest they’ve come was a few nights ago when a USGA official was approached on a dark street by a man in a trench coat.
“Psssst, buddy – you need a watch? . . some jewelry? . . an Integro Victory Driver? I got the good stuff!”
Unfortunately, the deal was nixed when a voice from the shadows yelled “Cheese it . . . it’s da golf feds” and the mysterious man disappeared into the night like a wraith.
If the USGA is successful, the whole issue may well blow away like the fall leaves before the teams arrive in Myrtle Beach on November 1. If not, temperatures may be running a bit hot in South Carolina next week.