No Ifs, No Butts, Stub It Out

Both print and TV outlets routinely carry images of golf players and caddies with a nicotine-addition smoking openly at work. As Mike Wilson explains, this presents entirely the wrong image for a sport already with its issues and losing out to more vibrant, health-conscious and contemporary sports

Miguel Angel Jimenez smoking a cigar

Now here’s a sports trivia question to test the best. How many Olympic sports permit their participants to smoke during competition?

Could Usian Bolt take a quick drag on a fag before settling on his blocks for the Men’s World Championship100m final, or a leading goalkeeper having a puff to calm his nerves before a vital penalty shoot-out?

What about the cox in the Rowing 8 lighting-up as he steered his team to gold, or Roger Federer relaxing with a cigar in his chair at the change of ends?

Maybe a couple of young scoundrel ball-boys having a crafty fag behind the Wimbledon scoreboard, or Chris Froome lighting a tab to go with his celebratory glass of Champagne on the final stage of the Tour de France?

Of course not, don’t be so stupid. Even bar room ‘Sports’ such as snooker or darts no longer allow smoking during play, they packed that in decades ago.

Ah, but yes, there is one Olympic sport in which competitors can enjoy a fag, maybe even calm the nerves ahead of a pressure shot that could make the difference between gold and silver.

And it’s golf, the Royal and Ancient Game.

Royal, perhaps, Ancient, most definitely, when one considers the more antediluvian practices the game not only tolerates but, in some cases, actively supports.


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