Thought for the Day
Most of the stuff people worry about isn’t going to happen anyway
Random reflections on the Open
Perfection is boring. Louis Oosthuizen’s win was as deserved as it was unexpected but in truth his play over the final round was so precise and controlled that the event was filleted of all elements of drama. Monty made the observation that with Sunday pin placements at St Andrews being as uncompromising as they are, no-one could make a run at the leader and he was right.
Also, it was confirmed yet again that St Andrews is a terrible venue for spectators – they can pretty much only get to the right-hand side of holes and there aren’t many changes of elevation, so you invariably find yourself looking over the heads of people packed three, four or more deep.
During the practice rounds there were a couple of places where, thanks to the armband that got me inside the ropes, I could stand directly behind the advertising hoardings at the rear of the tee (always the best place to get an idea of how well someone is swinging). It was noticeable that Asian and American players, as they walk onto the tee, acknowledge whoever happens to be present, such as journalists and marshals. Europeans usually don’t.
It was also impossible not to contrast the attitude of the hot young talents in golf, strutting their stuff at St Andrews, with their senior counterparts last week at Carnoustie. The current crop of Tour stars often view the baggage that comes with being near the top of the heap – autograph-hunting fans and interview-seeking journalists to name but two – as a necessary irritant. The round bellies, in contrast – even some of the former grumpies, like Ian Woosnam, Mark James and Sam Torrance – seem to appreciate the attention so much more, now that it is a currency in decline. It was tempting to tell the young turks: ‘You needed and wanted us on the way up, and will need and want us again on the way down,’ but of course, I didn’t.
After Louis Oosthuizen the man no doubt happiest at the end of Open week was coach Pete Cowen, who works with the players who finished 1st, 2nd (Lee Westwood) and tied 3rd (Henrik Stenson). I hope he’s on a percentage.
The fifth Beatle?
It only recently occurred to me that Phil Mickelson is America’s Paul ‘Macca’ McCartney (sorry about the ‘Macca’ but as a member of the National Union of Journalists it is de rigeur to mention the nickname at least once in every piece about the man). They have an identical permanent grin and each appears to take the same delight in meeting fans, writers, commentators and anyone else who passes across their radar.
And now Phil has begun to adopt the obligatory Macca thumbs up whenever a photographer nears.
Getting the mojo working
For about three months now the golfing mojo has been working overtime and I have been in one of those phases where I seem able to consistently strike the ball well and score at, or below, my handicap (although of course, the putter has been playing up). Throughout this period I have played as often as I can, in order to milk every possible sub-par round available because I knew it wouldn’t last and lo, yesterday evening it came to pass that my form disappeared as inexplicably as it had arrived. To give you an indication of just how dramatic the turnaround is, I got trounced by my wife, who was herself playing like a donkey. The odd thing is, I was almost relieved, so my question is – does golf only appeal to pessimistic doomsayers, or is there something about the game that makes us always see the glass as half empty, because of its limitless capacity to bite us in the backside?
Golf Pride pride
In advance of the Ryder Cup, Golf Pride, makers of fine grips, has introduced two nationalistic putter grips to the V-RAD Rivalry line that, says the company: ‘Captures the intensity of the United States versus Europe golf competition.’
Be sure to wield yours with pride (ouch).
Quote of the week
Golf is a day spent in a round of strenuous idleness