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Thursday, August 13, 2009

US takes swing at Chavez golf remarks

US takes swing at Chavez golf remarks

By Barbara Miller for The World Today

Posted 8 hours 5 minutes ago

'Out of bounds': Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez dismissed golf as a bourgeois sport.

'Out of bounds': Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez dismissed golf as a bourgeois sport. (Reuters: Jorge Silva)

Venezuela's outspoken president, Hugo Chavez, has said that capitalism leads society straight to hell. Now apparently so does golf.

Mr Chavez has launched a stinging attack on the game which he says is bourgeois and for the lazy.

Golf, said Mr Chavez on national television, is a bourgeois sport and his government is reported to be moving to close down some of Venezuela's best-known courses.

It is probably not entirely a coincidence that some of the courses in question are on prime land.

Mr Chavez has asked why the courses should be kept open so a small group of bourgeois and petit-bourgeois can play golf.

Golf-lovers around the world, however, are outraged.

"As the Department of State's self-appointed ambassador at large for golf, I wish to protest the unwarranted attack by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on the game of golf," said Philip J Crowley, the US State Department spokesman.

"The suggestion by Mr Chavez that golf, a truly global sport, is bourgeois is a mulligan.

"And once again Mr Chavez, one of the hemisphere's most divisive figures, finds himself out of bounds."

In his television broadcast, Mr Chavez also mocked the use by some golfers of carts to get them around the course.

This, he said, represented the laziness of players.

Jake Adams, a trainee professional at Manly Golf Club in Sydney, says he disagrees.

"If you're 70-years-old and you're playing three times a week, I think it's a great goal to be able to go out and play 18 holes at that age," he said.

"At Manly, it's quite flat so we have a lot of older guys that do walk. But in saying that if you can go out and socialise and if it means you're in a cart, I wouldn't say you're lazy.

"You're out and about. You're enjoying yourself, whether you're walking or in a cart. I don't think it makes a big difference.

"I use them to practice. I can double my time in practice and do it twice as fast in about two hours.

"I train three days a week on the beach in soft sand so I wouldn't say I'm lazy."

Tags: world-politics, golf, olympics-organising-committee, australia, nsw, manly-2095, united-states,venezuela

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