Brendon Goddard could be forgiven for having nightmares about Tom Papley. For the second time this year the former Essendon captain allowed the cheeky Sydney Swans small forward to embarrass him – this time on a golf course at the Emirates Australian Open.
The pair duelled as part of a ‘Play 9’ promotion just minutes after Jason Day secured the third-round lead at The Australian Golf Club. They were joined by former Test cricketer Stuart Clark and 24 club golfers, who had qualified through nine-hole competitions across six states.
Goddard, an accomplished low single-figure golfer, posted 16 Stableford points on the back-nine holes. Papley, a 23-handicapper with an A-grade swing, stitched him up with 20 points despite wiping the par-5 14th.
“I think he’s haunting me,” conceded Goddard, acknowledging Papley’s role in the Swans’ after-the-siren victory at the SCG five months ago when he smothered a kick in by Goddard that forced a boundary throw that led to the match-winning goal by Gary Rohan.
The pair’s battle marked the launch of a new campaign by Golf Australia to show how the sport can be ‘Fast and Fun’ and fit into busy lives. It’s supported by The R&A, which provided a grant to fly teams to Sydney for the promotion. Two years ago the R&A introduced a Play 9 initiative on the Sunday preceding the British Open.
The 5pm starting siren at The Australian marked the start of a new marketing campaign to inspire club members and social golfers to #Play9 over the Australian summer. Golf Australia aims to educate club members who aren’t yet aware that nine-hole cards can now be submitted for handicap purposes. It wants to emphasis that nine-hole golf is a great way to keep your skills sharp and handicap up to date.
Increasingly, golf’s stakeholders are concerned about the length of time it takes to play the game. The fear is that slow play is forcing people away from golf. There is a widespread belief – here and abroad – that nine-hole golf has a significant role to play in growing the game.
Meanwhile, the team event was closely fought and won by Victoria. The individual winners were Christine Wakefield (19 points) from the Northern Territory and Lachlan Bath (21 points) from Victoria.