Bunker Mentality

Evans banned from Dunhill over dodgy handicap

Chris EvansChris Evans has been banned from defending his Dunhill Links pro-celebrity golf title at St Andrews this year over accusations that he's a golf bandit.

The Radio 2 DJ stormed to victory in the event last year with European Tour star Nick Dougherty his partner, beating off competition from A-list celebrity golf fans including Michael Douglas, Samuel L Jackson and Hugh Grant.

Dougherty was not the driving force behind the victory, however: the European Tour player had a mediocre tournament, missing the cut for the final round in the individual tournament.

Evans, however, put in a storming performance off his 10 handicap which helped him and Dougherty post an amazing best-ball score of -40.

The 'best ball' format means that the better of the two players' scores is taken on each hole, after taking handicaps into account, and low scores are rife.

But the Dougherty-Evans score - the lowest ever seen in the event - was so good that eyebrows were immediately raised. Dougherty's topsy-turvy performance across the three courses used - St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns - might have included 20 birdies, but he also threw in lots of dropped shots.

And it was Evan's exceptional play that turned also-rans into winners, with the DJ making pars when Dougherty made bogeys and picking up several eagles thanks to him birdieing holes where he was already getting a shot according to his handicap.

Now, it seems that Evans's performance has been deemed a little bit too good to be true: tournament organisers have banned the golf nut, who started playing as a teenager and plays several rounds a week, from taking part in the 2012 event after it emerged that they were suspicious of his 10 handicap.

Evans's banditry - the golfing term for a player using an artificially high high handicap in order to win competitions - has meant that he will never be allowed back.

"I've been barred for life," Evans wrote in his newspaper column, admitting that the first rumblings of dissent started as soon as his victory was complete last year.

"Along with congratulations, there were rumblings of dissent. The gloaming was dark with talk of my handicap being too high for my ability," he said, before launching a scathing attack on the organisers.

"If we were kids in the playground, the boy who owns the ball just took it home in a huff because his team didn't win."

Evans denied that he is bitter about the decision despite having already booked the week off from his job presenting a morning radio show, but admitted that he is toying with the idea of getting some revenge: "It crossed my mind to set up an alternative tournament on the exact same dates. I think I'll call it the Dung Hill Cup."