There was drama before the World Super 6 match play even got underway on Sunday with six players having putters stolen from their bags in the Lake Karrinyup Country Club locker room overnight.
Golf Australia magazine was made aware of the thefts early on the final day of the World Super 6 Perth after speaking with several players, who were understandably upset at the prospect of using borrowed clubs to contest the match play finals.
The extent of the thefts was confirmed after the final day's play with the PGA of Australia releasing the following statement to Golf Australia magazine.
“We can confirm that putters were reported missing from the bags of six players inside the locker room at Lake Karrinyup Country Club before the final round of the ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth,” the statement from PGA of Australia General Manager of Tournament and Event Operations, Natalie McIlroy said.
“The locker room is secured in line with our standard tournament arrangements and we are working with the club, the security team and the police to establish how this occurred.
“We deeply regret the inconvenience caused to the players involved and will review this situation to prevent it occurring again.
“It would be inappropriate to comment any further while the matter is being investigated.”
As the day progressed, with the action commencing on course,Golf Australia learnt of more players having items taken during the week and others noticing their bags tampered with while away from the course.
The players who lost putters included number one match play seed Per Langfors, Wade Ormsby, Andrew Martin and Connor Syme, as well as James Morrison and Adrien Saddier, who failed to qualify for the match play, while Zach Murray lost dozens of golf balls, gloves, hats and wine from his locker on Friday night. Aaron Pike was among the players to have his towel thrown from his bag and clubs rearranged after the second round, thinking nothing of it at the time beyond fellow players perhaps joking with his normally perfectly organised clubs.
Ormsby was the first player to alert the world to the incident that occurred at some stage between the match play draw held at Karrinyup on Saturday night and players arriving in the morning. The South Australian took to social media to ask for help locating his putter that helped him earn top-24 berth when he holed a 50 plus foot putt at the last during a sudden death playoff. The 38-year-old at one time discussed not teeing it up in his match with Scott Vincent.
Ormsby confirmed to Golf Australia that he also had his backup putter taken from his travel cover.
RIGHT: Syme was rattled by the loss of his favourite putter to the theft. PHOTO: Will Russell/Getty Images.
But it was Syme’s story that was the oddest of the lot.
The Scotsman arrived to find Aussie Harrison Endycott’s putter in his bag with his own putter cover placed on the club. Endycott had two putters in his bag when he left the club on Saturday night, one of which Syme used to survive the first round of match play.
Former Australian Amateur champion Syme was particularly upset at the loss of his flatstick, telling Golf Australia the Ping prototype has been unable to be replicated by the manufacturer for a backup. The chances of the club being sold are extremely low, with Syme’s name stamped on the head.
Langfors was forced to borrow a putter from fellow match play contestant Ben Campbell and had the benefit of a first round bye to familiarise himself with the putter he said “was quite similar, not quite the same”, while Andrew Martin was able to secure a loaned club from the Lake Karrinyup Pro Shop.
“Just got a text before I got here telling me someone had been in the locker room,” Langfors exclusively told Golf Australia.
“I mean in the beginning I didn’t feel too good about it, holed a putt on the first and second holes so there was no problem there.
“Put some extra time in on the putting green to get ready, so felt good having it out there. But of course it was a little bit disturbing, but was ok.”
The motive for the thefts, and how they were perpetrated, remains unclear, but whispers and theories were in great supply around the Lake Karrinyup clubhouse area, as all four players to have their clubs stolen dropped out of the tournament race by the conclusion of the second round.
It is understood police will examine CCTV footage from one of the clubhouse entrances as part of their investigation.