Sam Newman has staged a bizarre protest on the steps of Victorian parliament to rally against the state’s ban on playing golf.
All golf courses around Victoria have been closed as the state tries to battle the spread of coronavirus.
‘REALLY BAD’: Eddie McGuire's shock claims of player 'mutiny'
‘NOT POSSIBLE’: Brisbane captain shuts down radical proposal
However the blanket closure has left AFL icon Newman fuming, especially after NSW decided to re-open courses to the public two weeks ago.
Courses in Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania also remain open - albeit with strict social-distancing measures in place.
The former AFL Footy Show host marched to state parliament on Thursday afternoon decked out in his most colourful golf gear and with clubs in toe.
The 71-year-old demanded an audience with Premier Daniel Andrews, documenting his stunt on Twitter and labelling the closure ‘absolute nonsense’.
“Victorians, unlike their interstate counterparts, can’t play golf,” he said in a video posted online.
“So I’m going to the seat of government, where Daniel Andrews might be in the house, and I’m going to respectfully ask him why in god’s name can’t we go on to a golf course, social distance, and play golf?
“I’m going to stand here for an hour or so and if he hears that I’m here, I’ll put a ball marker down.
“I’ve got a GPS for social distancing, and we’ll ask him - why in god’s name can’t Victorians play golf? So here we go.”
Newman’s stunt received support from some high-profile Aussie sports star, including Shane Warne and AFL players Nick Riewoldt and Dale Thomas.
“Go on Sammy!!!!!!! I must admit, that you have a very good point,” Warne responded to Newman’s video on Twitter.
“When I went to the supermarket a few days ago, there were 20 people in a confined space, plenty of room in the open space of a golf course.”
Played golf in the sensible state of NSW yesterday Sam. Socially isolated the whole way ... often 50m away from the nearest person. Didn't touch anything, or anyone. Three hours of exercise ... perfect.— Ross Greenwood (@Ross_Greenwood) April 16, 2020
Go on Sammy !!!!!!! I must admit, that you have a very good piont - when I went to the supermarket a few days ago, there were 20 people in a confined space, plenty of room in the open space of a golf course ❤️ ! Agree with my friend @Origsmartassam ? https://t.co/Ik6SRKgDzz— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) April 16, 2020
Go get me Sammy!!— Bernie Vince (@bvince23) April 16, 2020
Apart from the outfit a brilliant protest and so sensible just pleased Sam didn’t take his Driver out and launch one down Bourke St like he did off Uluru🙈— Steve Price (@StevePriceMedia) April 16, 2020
However there were many more who thought Newman was wasting his time and needed a dose of reality.
Some even called for Newman to be fined for breaking isolation rules.
If anyone needs to know what a snowflake dressed as a clown looks like, it’s standing on the steps of the Victorian Parliament. Go home Sam.— Troy Dignon (@troydignon) April 16, 2020
Man I hope this buffoon gets fined. Protesting to be able to play golf is not a necessary activity.— Adam 🔴⚪️⚫️ (@Adam_Goldman) April 16, 2020
Grand standing again.— Anna Coronina (@TKYC) April 16, 2020
Golf courses have golf clubs attached to them, with restaurants and bars in them... you know those places where people can gather, meet and socialise.
Do I need to explain further why they are shut?
I have crayons if this is not clear.
While others are stressed trying to find out how they are going to put food on the table and pay for rent this clown is upset he can't get 18 holes in to pass the time. Have some perspective.— Elliot S (@ElliotSinJin) April 16, 2020
Some people worry about their rent food money jobs kids. Sam Newman is irate about his back 9.— Mr Ives (@real_MrIves) April 16, 2020
If protesters can be fined for protesting refugees locked in the Mantra Preston hotel. Surely Sam Newman is going to be fined for being out and about protesting closed golf courses? 🤔 @VictoriaPolice last time I checked we were only allowed out for essentials? @DanielAndrewsMP pic.twitter.com/fGRIGgvyYY— Adski (@RedVespa) April 16, 2020
Of all the things Dan Andrews has to deal with atm, with where do you think the likes Sam Newman and his desire to play golf come on that list?— 𝙳𝚊𝚗𝚒𝚎𝚕 𝙹𝚊𝚖𝚎𝚜 (@MrDTJames) April 16, 2020
There are so many families trying to figure out how they'll put dinner on the table because they've lost their jobs.— AJ Back 🏏🏏 (@itsArnaBack) April 16, 2020
There are so many families grieving the loss of a loved one.
And then there's Sam Newman. https://t.co/AHHHT0sza8
Golf Australia defends conflicting advice
Golf Australia is standing by its recommendation that courses should be closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, despite confusion and anger around the country over the position.
The national body has reiterated its statement advising clubs to shut down their courses, saying they are following federal government guidelines.
However only Victoria followed that edict, with courses in all other states and territories remaining open for play, stating that they are following their own government advice.
Adding to the confusion, PGA of Australia's chief executive Gavin Kirkman also circulated a memo to its members saying golf can continue under the right social-distancing practices.
Golf Australia said it was still of the view that golf was a “non-essential activity”.
“Golf Australia remains of the view that golf is a non-essential activity, a view which sits comfortably with the current Federal Government directive and rules to ‘stay at home’ unless absolutely necessary,” GA said in a statement.
“Of course, Golf Australia is merely recommending that position to all clubs around Australia and ultimately we respect the right of the clubs to act in the way they see fit while complying with all social distancing requirements.
“Golf Australia has adopted - and will continue to adopt - a prudent position of respecting and heeding Government advice on all matters pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic.”