Sam Newman slams Victorian Premier for lifting golf bans

Sam Newman has slammed Victorian premier Daniel Andrews over the state's golf bans. Pic: Twitter/Getty

Sam Newman has teed off on the Victorian Premier, accusing Daniel Andrews of hypocrisy after Monday's announcement that the state's golf bans would be lifted.

The controversial footy figure has been an outspoken critic of Victoria's blanket closure of golf courses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Courses in other states remained open, although safety protocols such as closed clubhouses and restrictions on player numbers were imposed in response to the virus crisis.

On Monday, the Victorian Premier announced that the state’s courses would be reopened in conjunction with a wider relaxation of coronavirus rules, including groups of up to 10 people being allowed to participate in outdoor activities.

Last month, Newman famously marched on Victorian parliament decked in colourful golf gear to demand a lifting of the bans around the state.

Despite welcoming Monday's announcement, Newman still reserved plenty of criticism for the state government, saying golf courses never should have been closed in the first place.

“You’d be hard pressed to find a more contrived, hypocritical decision, it’s extraordinary,” Newman said on 3AW radio station.

“There’s no conventional wisdom, there’s no empirical evidence that says responsible self-distancing out in the open air that is golf... it’s about as harmless as you can get when you look at people in supermarkets, hardware stores, shopping centres going about their daily business.

“It is about as naive and, I was almost going to say corrupt but it’s probably not corrupt, but it is a shallow and hollow execution of someone or a government that is power-driven by stupidity and incompetence, it’s extraordinary.

“Why couldn't you do it (play golf) now? Why couldn’t you say you’re free to play golf as of now, or last week or the week before.

“There is no data, I don’t care what any... the people who advise him, the health advisers, there is no data that says it is any more dangerous, it is probably the least dangerous thing you can do is get out in the open air as opposed to huddling together in your house having been out amongst the community with everyone doing everything.

Newman not even able to play golf himself

Incredibly, Newman's fierce lobbying for golf's return to Victoria comes during a period where he isn't physically able to play the game himself.

“I can’t actually play, I’ve got tendinitis in one of my arms,” he said.

“I actually don’t think I can play, but this was never about me per say and if I have to hear one more of the (inaudible) who say I’m a white privileged male and there are far more important things and there’s peoples in hospitals, ICUs, what has that got to do with it?

“People just go to a different level because they have no arguments to give you why we were ever stopped from playing golf, ever. They just move on to all that contrived crap that they speak about there’s people trying to put food on the table, what has all that got to do with it?

“What evidence does this government have that the rest of Australia doesn’t have that they are allowed to play golf but we are not here.

“You’ve just got to see this for what it is, it is absolutely hypocritical, contrived nonsense.

“I hope people see this for what it is, that is a power-drunk government who on most levels make very mediocre decisions and probably have very many mediator people running the joint.”