July 21, 2008

An Irishman and shark are playing golf when…

To some, the British Open, or the Open Championship when in the presence of proper company, is not only the finest golf tournament, but also the year’s greatest sporting event.

This year we tip one to Irishman Padraig Harrington, whose intellect played a big part in winning his second in a row. Sentimental favorite, 53 year old Greg Norman, who was accompanied by his new bride, tennis legend, and still middle-aged America’s sweetheart Chris Evert, found his daring and dashing style coming up a tad short. In his storied career, the Shark was never known to run and hide. Unfortunately, this aggressive style found him taking it on the chin a number of times, and, and developing a reputation, from those who need their heroes perfect, of someone who failed to uphold many fan’s thirst for someone to dominate every major tournament. Even so, his popularity has led many to say that Norman was Tiger Woods before there was a Tiger Woods.

The features that make this golf outing so special are the unique conditions combined with the refined tradition found among this hosting country and its inhabitants.

The weather is usually windy, cold, and if we are lucky, misting or drizzling.

The links golf courses, often very old (some are centuries ago) and set among coastal areas, blend into the natural environment with uneven terrain, high natural seaside grasses, and numerous sand bunkers that resemble foxholes. The landscape rarely has trees and the fairways rarely watered.

Those golfers who keep their composure and wit are usually victorious because the demanding environment of course, climate and pressure has a maddening way of deflating the ambitions of the greatest golfers in the world.
All things being equal, the players who have developed great course management skills have a leg up on the competition. In other words, the tournament puts the humanity back into the game.

Professional golf tournaments on this side of the pond have become mechanical and boring. The golf courses mirror the typical American professional – over-manicured, watered down, and devoid of personality. The television ratings when Woods is not playing are abysmal. The evolution of professional golf in the United States has gone from a creative entrepreneurial spirit to corporate blandness. When commercials on golf broadcasts once touted working class brands Chevy and Timex, the current batch dulls our senses with elitist Hummer and Rolex.

Posted by Captain Kroc at July 21, 2008 10:50 PM

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