with Robert Bicknell
Ah, there is just something about sports on TV here in Viet Nam that sets my heart racing. We get to see such thrilling events as MMA, motorcycle racing, Formula 1, football, more football and even more football, plus rugby, English Rules football and golf.
As an American, I occasionally get to see baseball, college basketball and, if really lucky darts and curling... Yes, there is nothing which can get the heart racing like good darts commentary. It's only beat by curling in terms of utter excitement. Granted, some of the girls on the Russian or Swede team are pretty cute, but you simply cannot beat darts commentary for pure hubris.
Of course, I cannot truly fault the English commentators because I have seen them get equally excited when talking about gardening, the proper way to steep your tea and, of course, chess.
It almost seems like a Monty Python skit, but the reality is stranger than fiction. So be it.
The above actually came about because there was curling on TV the other night and it was riveting. Well, OK, it was as interesting as watching paint dry, but considering there was nothing else to watch, I kept it on in the background for entertainment.
Slide... release the "stone" (yes they call it that) watch it glide slowly down the ice (on land I believe they would call it "trundling" or something like that) and there are two girls with brooms who wait and wait and wait before whipping into furious scrubbing action as if they were trying to get the very stain of Satan off the ice.
Breathtaking… These people had better NEVER say golf is boring again. At least golf commentators have the good taste to whisper instead of breathlessly bloviating about the gentle spin on the stone... Peter Allis was/is, as far as I am concerned, the best commentator who ever lived. I can listen to him all day – and sometimes do. My other favourite would have to be Tim Low on Fox Sport Asia, but that is only because he dresses crazier than I do, dyes his hair blonde on occasion and hits the ball further than I used to on my best day. Yes, the latter pisses me off considerably.
He's also an acquaintance, but be it as it may (or may not as the case may be, or may not be. It might not even be a case. It could be a keg. Hmm, is that where "To be or not to be" came from?) the kid is an excellent talent on the course and in the studio, so he's worth listening to.
He's also gonna be at the US$1.5 million Asian Tour Ho Tram Open next week (3-6 December) and I'll be watching to see if he can put up a great score against the likes of Sergio Garcia, Darren Clarke, Geoff Ogilvy, YE Yang, Robert Rock and Viet Nam's number one, Michael (Nhat) Tran, as well as many of the other Asian Tour elite.
Hey, when a single sponsor puts up $1.5 million bucks in prizes, the best players take notice and The Bluffs has consistently shown they are willing to put their money where their mouth is in terms of building the best course and working to put Viet Nam on the world golfing map.
For this alone they get a lot of credit.
This will also allow many local players to see how the best in the world actually play the game in ways that TV doesn't really show. You know, like John Daly smoking a cigarette... Bluffs Superintendent Ali McFayden and the Asian Tour agronomy wizards have been working their tails off to get the course in fantastic condition for the event (fantastic is just one step up from "normal" conditions at The Bluffs) and I think the players are in for a treat (or a double Maalox on the rocks if the greens stay at 12+).
Anyway you look at it, we can say that Viet Nam's golf industry has reached the next level of development due to this event.
I'm so excited I might just dust off my clubs for a few holes during the practice round before the event. I haven't played in half a year due to my legs, but how often does an opportunity like this come around? We shall see. — VNS