Gambling on golf isn't just legal in England, it's encouraged. So it was a bit surprising to hear on Wednesday that all the participants at this year's British Open aren't allowed to gamble. The players, according to ESPN, were forced to sign waivers stating that they would not bet on the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool. The same report cited one player as saying "at least 30 guys" were already in violation and had placed their bets with one of the books, and the number would surely rise by Thursday.
With that edict in place on Wednesday, the R&A probably wasn't thrilled to see a pair of Northern Irishmen exchange some money in a very entertaining and public way. Granted, this wasn't tournament action and it was just a friendly wager during a practice round game. But Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy did little to hide the fact that they had some money on the line. The Ulstermen settled matters in full view of the the crowd and cameras, leading to this amusing frame-by-frame documentation. Here's how it played out, only in my head (photos via Ian Rutherford-USA Today and Matthew Lewis/Getty).
Rory anxiously watches Clarke on what appears to be the do-or-die putt.
A resigned Clarke misses! Both men react in the exact same way.
Ah well, good game Rors.
Clarke hands over the cash, and Rory, a little too happily, accepts.
"Oh, you're really going to make a show of this?"
Clarke got a nice view of Rory rubbing it in, but the junior wants to make sure the crowd is aware and further shows up the 2011 Open champion.
And back to embracing as couple of Ulster bros.
Both spoke to the BBC afterwards, and revealed the wager was for just a measly £20. Keegan Bradley, on the other hand, did business with Luke Donald in American dollars.
The PGA Tour and Euro Tours already prohibit players from gambling on their events, but this waiver requirement was a first for the R&A at the Open Championship. But these side games, which have become a legendary part of the sport, will remain so you'll continue to hear tales of Phil Mickelson fleecing unsuspecting younger players for hundreds and thousands of dollars.