Monday, July 24, 2006

British Open Ups and Downs

Up until almost two years ago when I started playing golf myself, watching golf on TV for me was like watching paint dry. Now that I am a golfer and I understand the challenge I'm watching, I still find myself falling asleep with the Tivo remote in my hand. Now it's more like watching someone paint: sometimes it's a masterpiece and sometimes it's a white wall. The Open Championship had a bit of both for me.

Getting up

Watching Tiger Woods play a nearly flawless round (or four) is pretty amazing. He made some exciting shots even though his game was really safe. The final round had plenty of drama and intensity, especially if you were rooting for Chris DiMarco like I was. Having Ernie Els in the mix was fun and made things interesting, too. And watching Tiger's emotional floodgates breaking down on the last hole was delicious. You could almost see his composure seeping out as he walked to the green and finished the hole. Then, when it finally broke, it was a dramatic demonstration of how impressive his focus really is. He wore that competitive golf robot persona for the entire tournament and wow, was it heavy. His emotional display brought tears to several people's eyes and almost had me as well. Good for him. Nice win.

A little privacy, please? I guess the price you pay for being the best golfer in the world and earning all the money that goes with it is having your intimate moments in public. But could that camera guy get any closer? Photo from Golfweb.com.

Getting down

Having said that, 18 under at a major? Seven players were double digits below par. What a dull course! I know it's probably like golf blasphemy to criticize such a historic golf course, but come on! Boring. And ugly. Have these guys ever heard of watering a course? The announcers kept talking about the lack of rain there. There's this thing called irrigation. Blech.

Looking at the course from the air is actually quite nice. From the ground it's another story.
Photo from Golf Digest.

Tiger was smart to just play it safe and keep the ball in the fairway. Sure, he's more of a machine than other players and can make more of those longer approach shots, but it was a pretty easy course for most of those guys anyway. And if more of them played that safe strategy, the Royal would have been an even duller dullsville.

Moving on

I often sit around and ponder... how can I be more like Michael Bamberger? But who doesn't, am I right? I said earlier it was a "nice win" for Tiger. Or was it?

In the Conditions section on the entry form for the Open, it states that caddies must wear the Open Championship bib during all practice rounds and the championship. It also states that players are responsible for the conduct of their caddies as well as their adherence to the conditions. Steve Williams removed his bib on the 18th hole before play was concluded. On the 18th hole! Of course Tiger and Steve had gaggles of cameras on them for the whole tournament, but the most visible spot and seen by more people than anything is the 18th green and the winner. People who don't watch or care to watch golf will see it in the newspapers and on TV without trying. And Steve wasn't in the correct attire.

Without Steve's bib, how are we to know which winning Sunday this is for Tiger?
Photo from Golfweb.com.

So, should that have been a two stroke penalty? Or a DQ? The Conditions also state that the championship committee can amend and interpret the conditions, so I guess it's up to them. Taking the win away from Tiger for such a technicality would be scandalous, for sure. But when it comes to golf, rules are usually rules.

Next post.


Tom Gov said...

Watch closly on future Tiger victories, except for the Masters, and I think you will see his caddie will also take off his bib. Might it have something to with the logo on his shirt?


Golfchick said...

So you mean if a caddie has a contract with, say, Valvoline, that contract overrides the rules or conditions of the tournament? I would think the committee would find it offensive that a caddie would toss aside the conditions for his personal gain to display a commercial logo during the most aired moments when he should be displaying the Open Championship bib.

Or maybe if he does it every time, the "that's how I roll" excuse excludes him from compliance?

Tom Gov said...

I suppose the event is over when Tiger makes his last putt. So technically he isn't breaking a rule. But your point is well taken. I never thought anyone on Tiger's "team" would feel they are above the rules.

Cal said...

Tom, isn't the event over after the scorecards are signed and handed in? As you can be DQ'd for signing an incorrect scorecard.

What happens if the logo is on the caddys' sleve? Is a caddy allowed to cary sponsorship logos?

Anonymous said...

Water restrictions- they weren't allowed to water.

Anonymous said...

You have obviously have never played 'proper' golf as it was intended/ invented on the links of the UK.

Typical American – always wanting the easy way. Never happy when ypou have to work really hard to achieve credibility.

Links golf is the ultimate golfing test. No lush fairways or perfectly manicured greens. Just a golfer and his/ her skill.

Irrigation indeed. You blethering fool.

Golfchick said...

We have links courses in America and we work hard. We just make it look easy.

Easy way vs. hard way? Did you miss all the incredibly low scores?

I may be a blithering fool, but not blethering.

Anonymous said...


But anyone who considers the links of the UK to be 'ugly' must be chastised at the very least.

Golfchick said...

True. Like I said - my comments were probably somewhat blasphemous in the golf world. I just started golfing two years ago and have become spoiled on some beautiful (and GREEN) courses. It doesn't take away my appreciation for the history and challenge.

Thanks for your comments.