By Robert Bicknell
Congratulations to Shane Lowry for his victory at the 148th Open Championship. He hung on through some absolutely horrible weather and made Ireland proud.
I was wondering where to place this item in the column this week, so let’s go with it first and move on. Tiger Woods…
He made many comments afterwards, but his most poignant was a very simple “I want to go home” because it said so much in so few words. As I said, he’s got nothing to prove to anyone. He’s Tiger Woods. Let this year be his victory lap. Let him fulfill his contractual obligations, then open a few more restaurants, or the ultimate Pro Shop or something. He’s earned the right to do things his own way.
My only advice to Tiger would be to stop trying to throw the fastball like a 20-year old, and throw darts instead. Play with your head, not your heart.
Now, on to another elephant in the room…
The media already had their stories typed up, the headline’s written and it would be a weekend of watching great golf, until Rory McIlroy messed it all up for them by hitting an iron OB on the very first hole. Goodbye local hero, hello evil internal OB stories…
While internal OB’s suck, I will remind you that there is no OB in the middle of the fairway. End of subject.
Xander Souffle , shuffle, whatever… complained about the unfairness of having his Driver tested for conformity – and getting caught, Funny, Tiger’s driver was tested and he didn’t quack.
Was his club intentionally illegal? No.
When they manufacture driver clubheads nowadays, they are already pushing up against the legal limits and all it takes is a mistake of a hair (or less) to cross over into “non-conforming”.
No, now, shut up Xander.
Ah, Phil Mickelson, the Wile E Coyote of golf, had the brilliant idea to drop 6.8 kg right before the tournament on a diet of air and water. This is a genius at work.
What could possibly go wrong?
Despite all the ridiculousness, a few Open participants showed some class, and professionalism, as well.
David Duval (remember him?) started his opening round birdie / birdie, then made a 14 due to two lost balls and playing a wrong ball. Did he quack? Nope. He just accepted it as being part of the game. He also submitted his score card with a big “90” on it. He said “If you play, you submit.” Pity more players didn’t do that. It seems that some “reverse sandbaggers” always lose their card on the way from the 18th tee to the clubhouse.
Speaking of Old Goats…It was great to see Darren Clarke out there. I met him at the Asian Tour / Ho Tram Open a few years back. The guy is a madman and I say that in the nicest possible way. Very funny guy. He has a great career in the broadcast booth when he’s ready to hang up the sticks.
Lee Westwood rose in my eyes a bit when he intentionally told the truth to an official. Quick version: His drive came to rest inside a thick bush, but the ball was imbedded in the turf. Imbedded balls get relief. So the official asked him, “Would you normally play a ball from a bush like this?”
Westwood knew where this was going, looked at the bush, thought about it and said “Nope”. Because “intent” counts for a lot in rules, he got no relief. He took an unplayable and made a bogey. But at least he can look at himself in the mirror when shaving every morning.
Golf in Scotland, Ireland and the UK (OK, maybe not the UK as much as before) is quite different than in the US. It was quite enjoyable to watch the broadcast without having to hear drunken idiots screaming “Get in the hole!” when the player is hitting a tee shot on a Par 5.
Or shouts of “Mashed potatoes, and the ultimate in assclowndom “Babalooie”.
European galleries are usually more well-behaved and aren’t looking for 15 minutes of shame. But then again, you don’t read about Europeans falling to their death while searching for the “ultimate selfie”.VNS