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Golf and liberty

Adam Breeze emails us from Cheshire, one of England’s golfier counties, thus:

Following on from Brian’s comments on Tiger Woods and his views on freedom of association, I just wanted to draw fellow readers attention to David Duval – last year’s Open winner (and one of the best golfers in the world for the past few years) who cites The Fountainhead as his favourite book. See this feature at jacksonville.com.

Is there something intrinsically libertarian about Golf? The individual’s never ending struggle to conquer nature etc…

I suspect that there is something libertarian about golf, and that it’s not just the accident of it being the socialising and deal-making game of choice of the Chamber of Commerce types.

As Adam says, golf is the ultimate individual’s game, in which every predicament the player finds himself in is the consequence of his own previous actions. In golf, you make your choices and you deal with the results of your own choices. There’s no one else to blame.

There can be few greater tests in sport of an individual’s character than to have to play a very difficult golf shot immediately after – and as a direct result of – having just played a very bad shot. Ernie Els passed this kind of test during the final play-off hole that won him The Open last Sunday. I know it’s only a game and all that, but the statistics both of the money involved and of the numbers of folks watching, both at the course and on TV, were presumably vast. Els went into a bunker. But he got himself out to within three feet of the hole, and sank the putt. And all this having earlier lost what looked like a secure lead late in the final regular round, which caused him to have to compete in the play-off holes in the first place.

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