While it might be a bit late to open this can of worms, I can’t believe I’ve only just heard about this story now!
On the final day of the Ryder Cup, Jeff Overton (and his dad) managed to get into an argument with former European Ryder Cup captain and on-course commentator Bernard Gallacher. How could this come to pass, you might ask? Well, on the eighth hole, with the match tilting the direction of a Fisher victory, the Englishman was granted relief from an embedded lie. This in turn prompted a skeptical Overton to query the decision.
It’s at this point that things go all David Lynch, with Bernard Gallacher, wearing a greatcoat and headphones, thrusting himself into the scene and telling Overton to cut out the gamesmanship, even going so far as to utter that dreaded slur: ‘Typical American.’ Overton’s father, Ron, witnessing the weirdness, then proceeds to up the ante and very publicly confront Gallacher. Needless to say, Fisher’s form evaporated nearly instantly, clearing the way for an Overton victory.
Afterwards, Gallacher was unapologetic: “It was a fair ruling, no question. I told Overton’s father that if his son knew the rules, I wouldn’t have to get involved.” Smooth, Bernie, smooth.
The Daily Mail (so trashy) had the story last week and eventually succeeded in provoking a very strange response from the BBC: “During a tense conclusion to the Ryder Cup, highly respected former Ryder Cup player and captain Bernard Gallacher, spoke to American player Jeff Overton and his father regarding a referee ruling. The comment was made off air and didn’t interfere with play or the referee’s ruling, no offense was intended or taken.”
It seems the broadcaster has refused the mea culpa, gambling on the story being lost in the post-Ryder Cup static. And on this side of the pond at least, it’s a gamble that seems to have paid off. The statement itself, let alone mention of its hilarious inadequacy, has failed to surface anywhere of note.
It’s pretty much the exact opposite of what happened after the Ryder Cup in 2008, when Ian Poulter claimed he’d been ‘body-checked’ by knee-high Anthony Kim. And while it might not be surprising that a former Ryder Cup captain, especially one for whom the cup was the career highlight, should prove unable to resist a very public partisan outburst, the BBC’s response is a little disappointing. Maybe it has something to do with the victim in this case being responsible for the ‘BOOM, BABY!’ outrage?
Incidentally, Bernard’s daughter Kirsty was the British TV presenter suspected of having an illicit encounter or two with Tiger Woods.