British Open Semi-Live Blog

Tuesday, July 12

  1. Read this.
  2. Never again doubt my influence.

Monday, July 11

Below is a photo I stole from Graeme McDowell’s Twitter account.  It was taken at Royal Troon last week when he was there practicing.

Two things jumped out at me, both linked by a single theme:

  1. His aloneness.
  2. The clouds.

Yes, I’m aware there are two people in the background, and that on this side of the camera, there are even more people.  But the immense, empty stands, along with the clouds, are the story.

There was a period of four or five years when my life revolved around golf.  I had a very convenient (and nice) practice range at a nearby golf course, and I went every chance I got.  In the early spring, it was not uncommon for me to spend my lunch hour at the range, then return after work and practice until dark.

When we look back, we tend to remember times as happier than they were.  Rosy Remembrance, it is labeled.  I don’t recall what my life was like during those years, but I can honestly say the time I spent at the range was always good.

There was a time in spring when the course and range became a madhouse.  A few weeks earlier, however, when winter and spring were still locked in battle, I practically had the range to myself.

Looking at Graeme in front of the empty stands and seeing those clouds in the background puts me back in that place.

There are two new-to-me words which come to mind: saudade and sehnsucht.  They are deeper than nostalgia, but I can’t really define them any further.  I was reminded of them as I looked at Graeme’s photo.  (Someone posted his or her thoughts about those words online.  Those musings are not a bad place to start.)

There is a beautiful solitariness about golf.  There is a beautiful camaraderie about golf, with its trash-talking foursomes and 19th holes.  This is not a contradiction.

The photo reminds me of those long-ago late-autumn and early-spring days, when the clouds were signaling a change in the weather, and the range was almost empty.  Take away the grandstands — and thirty strokes a round — and Graeme is me fifteen years ago, hoping there is enough light left to chip and putt before heading home.

GTroon

Sunday, July 10

Graeme McDowell is in contention at the Scottish Open.  He tweeted something recently that I’ll write about tomorrow.  Something that reminded me there’s a purity about golf that not even Tim Finchem and NBC can foul.

Saturday, July 9

Tim Finchem and NBC have pretty much done everything possible to ruin this golf year.  And they’ve had great success.

Olympics golf sucks.  Everyone knows Olympics golf sucks.  And everyone knows everyone knows Olympics golf sucks.

Seven years ago when this ill-conceived idea was hatched, Finchem and NBC envisioned a Tiger Woods circle jerk to end all circle jerks.  It’s pretty hilarious if you think about it.  Finchem and NBC would have juxtaposed photos of Woods with Jesse Owens and Muhammad Ali and Michael Phelps and Brave Caitlyn Jenner.  These days, most mentally juxtapose Woods with the Baby Ruth bar in Caddyshack.

Instead of a meaningless, made-for-TV non-event touted as the greatest tournament in golf history, we have today’s top pros, one-by-one, saying via words and deeds: I don’t give a shit about Olympics golf.  Instead of lies, we have honesty.  Well, that’s one positive about golf in 2016.

Finchem can’t get the top players to play in the Olympics, and Woods can’t get the top players to play in his tournament.  Payback is hell, isn’t it, fellas?

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23 Responses to British Open Semi-Live Blog

  1. Jaybird77 says:

    The only one who had the balls to flat out say, “I don’t care about the Olympics” was Adam Scott. Everyone else is hiding behind the Zika Virus.

    • Sports-realist. says:

      in-grown toe nail was the back up plan excuse…..I love it that NBC screwed up….This could be the ONE and only appearance of golf in the olympics…….I rarely watch NBC, so the olympics could come and go, and I wouldn’t know, besides seeing highlights on another network….
      The 345 stories about olympic athletes, which is half their coverage is such a yawner, and doesn’t really fit todays ‘fast paced’ stuff….

      • Speedy says:

        2nd appearance of Olympics golf.

      • Jaybird77 says:

        How exactly did NBC screw this up? Did they create the Zika Virus? Did they create the unsanitary conditions in Rio? Did they allow for the unsafe environment?

      • Sports-realist. says:

        This is the first time, where the PROS are playing golf in the olympics, and because the schedule is strange, the pros will probably continue to stay away, and favor the golf MAJORS over a golf medal…….The pros don’t REALLY care about the olympics over any of their regular events AND especially the Majors…..NBC, as Lanny has pointed out several times, thought of this as a way to put a patriotic camera on Eldrick’s olympic azz, and follow him around for hours on end….
        NBC overestimated the golfers caring about a gold medal, beyond the bs statements of how they would love being in olympian…
        Again, this is SO different than when the USA basketball team begged for pros, after losing…Golf is just another individual sport….Perhaps, if it was SOME sort of RYDER CUP format, it COULD be more interesting, but it has NO tradition and means nothing…
        And yes–NBC created the Zika virus–darn you nbc, darn you….

      • Jaybird77 says:

        I guess I just don’t understand NBC’s role in bringing golf to the Olympics. I mean, I do understand that NBC televises the Olympics, so there’s that, but, did NBC go to the Olympic folk and say, “Dammit, we need golf in the Olympics!!”

      • lannyh says:

        There was absolutely lobbying to include golf in the Olympics. And do you really think Golf Channel played no role in that?

      • Ken says:

        Golf isn’t exactly a ratings winner. Even if Tiger Woods brings in higher ratings for tournaments, those rating are higher only in relative terms. The raw numbers on golf are never that great. The networks put golf on TV because the right people – people with higher income – watch. I don’t know that it will add anything to the Olympics ratings.

    • Jaybird77 says:

      I guess so. No real surprise though. Politics are politics and the entire world is a shady POS. I guess that’s why I just don’t get to caught up in all the BS.

  2. Sports-realist. says:

    The olympics just do not matter anymore…The Soviet Union/America ‘Cold War’ stuff, made the olympics……..The ‘wave’ of OH NO WE LOST IN BASKETBALL, NOW LETS HAVE THE NBA PROS WIN THE GOLD, doesn’t seem to matter anymore..
    Now it’s more interesting to only allow AMATEURS to play from ALL countries….NBA players should NO longer be allowed to play in the olympics, and international pro leagues should follow suit…….
    The Olympics, which I think RE started around 1896 after the Greeks had started the idea centuries before, has played its course……Satellite/Cable, which is saturated with sports, makes the Olympics feel like just another entertainment venue, and certainly nothing too special anymore…

  3. Jaybird77 says:

    Re Pro’s not carrying about the Olympics, saw a story where a South African, Van Zyl, is skipping The Open and The PGA to focus on The Olympics since the 4-6 players ahead of him all bailed.

    • Sports-realist. says:

      Van Zyl, now there’s a household name…

      • lannyh says:

        Uh, oh. I know who he is…

        I agree with all your comments regarding the Olympics. That U.S. basketball loss seems to have changed everything. It’s almost like Ireland lost the U.S. Boy’s Amateur to England, so Ireland puts Rory and Graeme on the team the next time. Distorts and ruins everything.

        Also, those upsets were one of the coolest parts of the Olympics, such as The Miracle on Ice.

        There was talk of removing wrestling from the Olympics. Wrestling dates to the ancient Greeks, and the Olympics is their ultimate goal. Imagine jettisoning wrestling to include golf.

  4. Ken says:

    I also like the solitary nature of golf. Just yesterday, as I often do, I went out late in the day to a course that’s in a fairly rural area. I’m almost always alone out there this time of day. I play one ball as my official ball to record a score. But I’ll also drop balls here and there to try some different shots. Practice my putting on a lot of greens. Play with sand shots, lob wedges. No one around, no noise. Just you and golf and nature. If it was lighted, I could stay out there all night.

    • Jaybird77 says:

      Indeed. When I was in college I worked at a golf course and during the summer months, when not in school, I’d go out several times a week late in the evening (7ish) for a quick 9 holes. No one was ever on the course so I always had it to myself. Sometimes I’d walk, sometimes I’d even play in sandals, just a relaxing environment.

      Prior to that, my family spend a little over a year in North Carolina when I was in high school and we had a lighted driving range with an 18 hole par 3 course that was open until midnight nearby. It was not uncommon to find me on the range or playing a quick round at 9, 10, or even 11pm with hardly a soul around.

    • Ken says:

      It’s also great to walk on nights like this. Quiet. Good exercise. I don’t often walk 18 anymore, but when I play 9 I’m usually out there with my bag on my shoulder.

      Amazes me how few people walk anymore. Even young guys in their 20s will take a cart to play 9. God forbid you actually got some exercise.

  5. Speedy says:

    “He who travels alone, travels farthest.”

    • lannyh says:

      Just heard that on the radio. I’m with you. This whole Olympics golf thing should have been dismissed the second it was suggested. Greedy, pointless, idiotic, and I’m so glad Rory said what he did.

      Holy cow! I just read the details in your link! I’m going to have to make a Special Edition post!

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