Just one week away from the tournament known simply as The Open. But before we go any farther, let me make one point. Does anybody remember the topic of our last post? That’s right, it was about The Other Guy and how he usually doesn’t show up. And now that seems sadly prophetic in the wake of Rory’s ankle injury…Meanwhile, over at Wimbledon, it’s Djokovic v. Federer in the finals. Just sayin’.
This year’s Open feels a bit like a redo in the wake of last month’s US Open, which looked like and appeared to play like a British tournament during a particularly dry year. For those of us in California it was a bit like a glimpse into a dystopian version of golf’s future: a game banished to the site of a former toxic landfill and played on browned out fairways and sun blasted greens; freight trains rumbled by, trees were scarce and the fairways were marked by dried out fescue and hulking industrial ruins…
One of the things I like the most about The Open is the scheduling. And my wife totally agrees. There’s nothing she likes better than coming downstairs in the morning and having a golf tournament on the telly at six in the morning…Another favorite feature? The four hole playoff. Sudden death is too abrupt and too contingent on one errant swing, and that whole day thing on a Monday that the USGA thinks is the right way to settle matters? Screw that….In fact, as far as that goes, the 18-hole playoff strikes me as a bit of an elitist leftover for an organization that is supposedly all about growing the game. It smacks of an attitude that says, “Why of course the gentlemen will return on Monday to determine the championship, and besides the club would ordinarily be closed that day so this won’t inconvenience the members any further.”
But among the things I am not looking forward to are the cliches and trite phrases that American sportscasters and writers feel compelled to put in their bags and then employ when covering an event like The Open: “across the pond” (yuck), “birthplace of the game,” “the coveted (it’s always coveted) claret jug.” And this year, Jordan Speith’s remarkable play in the majors provides a chance off to dust off “historic quest”, “third leg” and the rest.