We all know that golf is a ridiculous sport, filled with self-important, rule-obsessed gobshites, but still. Who could have imagined anyone taking a case the whole way to the Supreme Court because he felt defamed by his handicap?
Well, that’s exactly what 65-year-old Thomas Talbot did when he got a letter from Hermitage Golf Club in Lucan, County Dublin, telling him that his handicap was 13. It wasn’t so much the number that annoyed him as the accompanying words: General Play (Handicap Building).
Thomas took this as an extreme slur, a suggestion that he was cheating in some way, and he wasn’t having that sort of suggestion hanging over him, so he went to law, claiming defamation and conspiracy against the golf club, against one of its officials and also against the Golfing Union of Ireland.
Ah come on. Please. What is this?
No, it’s true. This golfer got so annoyed at his club that he sued them for setting his handicap, but it’s not even that simple. Not only did he sue them, but when his case was thrown out on its ear, he appealed to the Supreme Court.
The case went on for 83 court-days in total, over 11 years, with Thomas representing himself the whole time, until eventually the Supreme Court also told him to forget it, he was pissing up a rope, and that’s when the matter of costs arose.
Now here’s the thing. When Thomas started all these shenanigans, he was 65, but now he’s 76, fair play to him, and I hope he has a long and happy life ahead of him. However, the statistics are there and they tell us all about life expectancy, so what I’m thinking is this. Maybe Thomas took on this whole thing as a form of entertainment. Maybe he’s just laughing at the lawyers who want €500,000 for whatever they did on this case, and perhaps he’s thinking, Good luck with that.
25 lawyers sitting on a wire, waiting to get paid.
I hope so anyway. It would be be a lot better than him thinking, Jesus, maybe I’ll have another go at clearing my name.