Golf: Feherty's take-away honed on hamburgers: Tim Glover at Wentworth on the game of golf's vast appetite for sponsorship

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The Independent Online
GOLF may be an exceedingly slow game but it is now associated with fast food. The European Tour is not short of sponsors - it even has an official champagne - and at the Volvo PGA Championship which starts here tomorrow, McDonald's makes its debut. Goodness only knows what the good burghers of the Wentworth estate will make of this.

For double-bogey read double burger. In the case of the Irishman, David Feherty, who was bitten by a snake here on the course 12 months ago, this is far nearer to the truth than can possibly be imagined.

He needs no introduction to the humble hamburger and nor does his gallery. Feherty, who acquitted himself well in the Ryder Cup at Kiawah Island in 1991, is almost certainly the first player in the history of the game to drive his ball off a slab of processed meat stuck between a bun. Liberally seasoned with brown sauce and pepper.

In the last round of the Benson and Hedges International tournament at St Mellion a couple of weeks ago Feherty, on a course he once described as looking as if it had been designed by Mrs Nicklaus instead of Jack, felt peckish. As he walked off the 15th green he dispatched his caddie, Rod Wooler, to get him a hamburger. Wooler took it back to the 16th tee where Feherty was about to drive.

Feherty did not trust his caddie not to eat it so he placed it on the tee, inserted a tee peg into the bun, put his ball on top and drove it 260 yards. Then he picked up the hamburger and ate it. He took six. Unique, perhaps, but not illegal. Rule 11-1 states: the ball may be placed on the ground, on an irregularity of surface created by the player or on a tee, sand or other substance in order to raise it off the ground.

Wooler, meanwhile, has hit on an ingenious method of making his job less arduous. It could be called the divot in the pocket ploy. From the practice ground he takes possession of a large divot.

It comes into play on the course when Feherty takes a divot. Instead of advancing and then returning to the spot with the fresh sod, Wooler taps into place the divot already in his possession. When he moves on he picks up the fresh divot which will then be used for the next occasion, and so the process is repeated. 'I reckon it saves me about 150 yards a round,' Wooler said.

In the first round tomorrow Feherty, who has had a lean season and who needs a good finish in this pounds 700,000 championship to move up the Ryder Cup points table, plays with Per-Ulrik Johansson and Peter Mitchell. The Masters champion, Bernhard Langer, who yesterday won the Canon Shoot-Out here, is partnered with the Welshman, Ian Woosnam, and Paul Broadhurst.

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