The Far East – and by that I mean the countries of the Orient not Methil – has always intrigued and enticed with its sense of mysterious exoticism.

Where else, for instance, could you find a toilet so technologically advanced it automatically raises and lowers the seat the moment the sensors detect your shuffling, fidgeting, squirming presence in the cubicle?

In Methil, meanwhile, they are still muddling and footering on with the cutting edge complexities of the chamber pot.

I read something recently about the Restroom Cultural Park in Korea which is solely dedicated to the humble toilet and the, ahem, artefacts that dwell within.

There is also a sculpture garden decorated with a variety of ornate, squatting figures which, in many ways, will probably bear more than a passing resemblance to the sub-editors on The Herald sports desk as they take a quiet moment to attempt to fathom out just where the hell this meandering column is going?


In the grand scheme of the world’s ills, the notion that a golfer can get a three-year ban for giving a one-fingered salute to somebody in the crowd seems as unfathomable as a toilet bowl with a heated seat and in-built speaker system that blasts out the Ride of the Valkyries as your stint nestled in its hi-tech embrace builds to a rousing conclusion. But the world can be a funny place.

You may have heard about poor old Bio Kim, the Korean professional, who was distracted on the tee by a spectator’s phone during a tournament last week and delivered the gesture only to be hit with a staggering three-year ban by the Korean PGA.

Not long after the punishment was announced, Kim was filmed begging for forgiveness on his knees while clicking cameramen gleefully captured his humiliating mea culpa at close quarters.

And here’s us thinking Tiger Woods’s grovelling, public apology for his myriad “transgressions” was an excruciating spectacle?

To us lot in the west, who would probably think nothing of nonchalantly dishing out a Harvey Smith salute in the heat of various battles, a three-year ban would appear preposterous. In Korea, of course, where manners and obedience are paramount and are at the bedrock of society, flipping the bird is an affront to human dignity.

A huge upsurge of support is gathering for Kim, which is understandable, but there is also the notion that the draconian measures doled out by the Korean Tour could perhaps open the eyes of other governing bodies?

Let’s face it, the various tours around the world have tended to adopt a nothing to see here approach to bouts of misconduct.

The numerous, petulant and pitiful tantrums of Sergio Garcia down the years, for instance, have been treated with little more than a slap on the wrists.

READ MORE: Greens not only thing damaged by Garcia's antics

In the holier-than-thou world that golf likes to exist in, ungentlemanly behaviour can still be par for the course.

Club throwing, spitting, bouts of profanity? They are not new in golf but there is a tendency to sweep them under the carpet and any punishments can be modest and hush-hush.

Kim’s punishment, meanwhile, was mightily excessive. But taking firm decisive action and publicly admonishing bad behaviour, like the Korean PGA has done, could teach some other tours a lesson. It could teach serial offenders, like Garcia, some harsh, much-needed lessons too.


Four wheels good, two legs better, as they didn’t quite say in Animal Farm.

It was interesting to read that, due to the undulating terrain of Whistling Straits, the use of golf carts at next year’s Ryder Cup at the Wisconsin venue will be limited to the two team captains. The vice-captains, therefore, will have to career about on their feet.

Suddenly, being invited into the backroom team doesn’t sound so appealing does it? “Can you take a banana and some water out to Rory on the 12th?” “Sure thing skipper, I’ll just jump in the … oh for **** sake.”

Glasgow Times:

Purely from a spectating point of view, anything that reduces the amount of clutter inside the ropes at a major golf event is a good thing.

There are times when the amount of flotsam and jetsam clogging up the fairways at showpiece occasions is totally unacceptable and entirely unnecessary.

There are bountiful, lanyard-wearing hangers-on, for instance, whose sole purpose it seems is to obstruct the view of the stoic footsoldiers in the galleries who have actually forked out good money to watch golf.


The news that Martin Gilbert will be stepping away from Aberdeen Standard Investments (ASI) next September must have made a few folk in golf sit up and take notice.

Glasgow Times:

As a long-standing backer of the game at all levels in this country, Gilbert and his company – it was Aberdeen Asset Management prior to the merger with Standard Life – are vital cogs in Scotland’s amateur and professional machine.

The ASI deal to sponsor the Scottish Open ends in 2020. Will it be business as usual when Gilbert departs or will changes at the top lead to a shift in focus and investment?

Time will tell.