Dublin man fails in bid to sue golf club in 'handicap building' row

Dublin man fails in bid to sue golf club in 'handicap building' row

A Dublin pensioner has lost a Supreme Court appeal in which he alleged he was defamed by his golf club over his handicap as a player.

Thomas Talbot of Northern Cross sued the Hermitage Golf Club, its chairman Eddie Murphy and the Golfing Union of Ireland for damages, claiming they had conspired to destroy his good character.

Thomas Talbot was suspended from the Hermitage Golf Club in 2004 after a verbal confrontation with the chairman in the club car park.

The retired insurance official was annoyed because he believed a note from the club's handicap subcommittee implied he was cheating at golf by artificially inflating his handicap.

The note used the words "handicap building" - the Supreme Court has found the phrase could be construed as defamatory, but not in this instance as the words were used without malice and few people saw them.

The 77-year-old has spent 83 days in court and is likely to face a very large legal bill.

He is only the third member to be suspended from the Hermitage in 40 years – the other two members were sanctioned for abusing club property and for singing songs with inappropriate words 'in mixed company'.'

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