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Teed Off (17-07-2011)

Update: July, 19/2011 - 22:30

with Robert Bicknell

It's cold, wet and windy. Absolutely miserable golfing weather so, it's obvious we're talking about the Open Championship at Royal St. George's in the UK.

Where the USGA tricks up the courses to make them challenging, the Open Championship relies on Mother Nature providing the fun and, predictably, the weather is driving everyone slightly nuts. This is true Open golf.

Know what I really enjoy about the Open? You don't hear idiots yelling "You da man!" or the even more ridiculous "Get in the hole" which gets screamed out even on a Par 5 tee. You really have to question the intelligence level of the people who attend golf events in the US.

As the first round ended, an amateur, Tom Lewis, was tied for the lead at five-under par. Wouldn't it be amazing if an amateur won the whole thing? Might even be better than seeing Tom Watson win it for the sixth time.

Before the event, the pundits were, of course, jumping on the McIlroy bandwagon and making the usual comparisons to Tiger Woods, who is absent from the event to recover from his ACL surgery.

Paul Azinger was probably the most level-headed of all the commentators when he said that Rory isn't Tiger because Woods joined the Tour already mentally ready to dominate. He said Rory isn't Mickelson because Phil likes to know every possible detail before making a decision and Rory is more laid back than that. He also isn't Vijay Singh because Singh practically lives at the practice range and, as many stories mentioned, Rory relaxed as much as possible before the event.

So, as I said before, let Rory be Rory and stop trying to compare him to others. One major win is great, but it doesn't launch him into golf immortality. Give the kid some space and let him find himself. He could develop into a great player, but that takes time.

Two things that got my attention during the first round ESPN broadcast was that the announcers gave a shout out to the gang at Pacharan Bar in HCM City, who is having an Open weekend and that Prom Meesawat will be playing in the event and I am dying to see how he fares. The kid could have been one of the best to come out of Asia, but instead of going to college in the US on a golf scholarship and honing his game, he elected to turn pro a few years ago to capitalize on his amateur career. I wish him well, but still think he jumped the shark on that one.

Watching the first round coverage, I was on a bit of a roller coaster watching Tom Watson who looked like he was looking to take another charge at the title before falling back a bit. But never count out a five time Open champion. He's got more tricks in his bag.

I was not going to mention Phil Mickelson's pants which look like he forgot to take off his pajama bottoms, or he's bringing New York Yankees chic to the UK. Either way, I think I'd rather be dead than be caught wearing them. Heck, I'd even take John Dalywardrobe over those Yankee sliders.

It's gonna be a very interesting Open Championship, but then again, it always is.

In other news, a six-year-old girl named Reagan Kennedy was playing golf with her family at a course in Bloomington, Ill., when she aced the 85-yard par-3.

As opposed to what most people do, you know, scream and shout, little Reagan stayed quiet because her parents had taught her not to be too loud on the golf course and not to disturb others.

Imagine that, six years old and she already takes Golf Etiquette seriously. She could teach a lot of players here in Viet Nam something.

After Reagan walked calmly to the golf cart, her family explained this was the one time it was fine to yell all she wanted.

Reagan has been playing golf since she was two years old and hopes to become a professional someday. However, she said her main goal right now was to "beat daddy."

Somehow, I get the feeling that she will do that sooner than she expects. She's already ahead of most other players in terms of etiquette.

I love it. — VNS

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