There are signs that there is a growing diplomatic row between the US and Russia over energy and trade. The Times has reported how “American oil companies Chevron and ConocoPhillips could be shut out of a massive Arctic gas project in a sharp chilling of trade relations between Moscow and Washington”.

“Substantial volumes of liquefied gas from Shtokmanovskoye in the Barents Sea, originally earmarked for export to the United States, could be redirected to Europe, President Putin said”.

The shift in policy will be a blow to efforts by American energy companies to secure access to one of the world’s largest gasfields. Chevron and Conoco are each angling to be selected as one of three partners to Gazprom in developing Shtokman. Costing more than $20 billion (£10.5 billion), the huge development will take place within floating pack ice in the Arctic Circle, beyond the reach of helicopters.

The Russian President indicated that the proposal that Shtokman gas be shipped to Europe had come from Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor. “Gazprom is reviewing this possibility,” Mr Putin said. “Such a decision might be made in the very near future.”

That could boost the fortunes of three European energy firms that are competing for a piece of Shtokman — Norsk Hydro and Statoil, of Norway, and Total, of France.

So it looks that its not just golf that Europe has just beaten America at, its energy policy too.