THE first smoking ban imposed on any professional or amateur golf circuit in the world has been enforced on the third-tier Alps Tour.
Before the circuit teed off its new season in Morocco yesterday, the organising committee announced it had banned smoking or chewing tobacco by players and caddies during any kind of play in its tournaments
Dedicated smoking areas have been created near practice areas to avoid seeing players with cigarettes on the practice greens or driving range.
“The Alps Tour committee has taken this courageous decision to uphold the reputation of the game of golf and the Alps Tour and to take care of the health of its young members,” said a statement.
“Golf will be an Olympic sport soon (in 2016) and the Alps Tour wants to become a role model. A breach of this rule will be a fine.”
It remains to be seen if other circuits follow the example but a number of leading players will be anxious for that not to happen.
Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez, for example, is always puffing on his favourite cigars while Darren Clarke regularly had a cigarette on the go when he won last year’s Open Championship at Royal St George’s.
Ryder Cup-winning captain Sam Torrance has also smoked cigarettes for most of his career while two other Scots, David Drysdale and Peter Whiteford, are among the current European Tour players who like a puff when they are out on the course.
The R&A declined to comment on the step taken by the Alps Tour while the SGU said the possibility of it introducing such a ban had “never been raised or considered”. A spokesman added: “Only if we feel there is an issue would it be considered.”