Vousden on the Open

Thought for the Day
You are absolutely unique – just like everyone else

Thoughts on The Open
Well, it wasn’t a classic Open by any means but then, processions rarely are and once Brian Harman established control he never looked like faltering. The most disappointing element of the final round is that no-one seemed able, even temporarily, to put some pressure on the front runner so, although he did everything he had to, the rest of the potential contenders made his life rather too comfortable and his eventual win a formality. And thoroughly deserved. To hold your nerve the way Harman did, vying for your first major championship in your mid-30s and with only two PGA Tour titles to your name, was mightily impressive.

He also did it in pretty ropey conditions that were bad enough to mean virtually no Test Match cricket was possible over the weekend in Manchester, just 35 miles away from the golf, but perhaps the less said about that the better for my blood pressure. Brian Harman did golf generally a great favour by reminding the behemoths of the major tours that short and accurate, allied to an excellent game on and around the greens, can still get the job done. Of course, it helps if you have the temperament of a sloth and a resting pulse of 40 – rumours that he sleeps in a coffin have never been confirmed.

It is difficult to imagine or indeed remember a final round in which so few putts dropped. The Royal Liverpool greens are pretty straightforward in comparison to most other major championship putting surfaces – particularly Augusta National – so perhaps it was their subtlety that fooled everyone. You kept watching in the belief, or at least hope, that someone would eventually start finding the bottom of the cup but it never happened. After his first six holes it seemed as if Rory McIlroy was going to throw in one of his trademark blistering rounds but, as with so many of his recent majors, his effort just fizzled out.

Unhappily, it seems that the worst excesses of American galleries have now been imported to the UK. Inane screams of ‘Get in the hole’, ‘Baba booey’ and ‘Mashed potato’ could be heard with far too much frequency and volume. Perhaps this obnoxious, unnecessary and annoying habit is peculiar to a Liverpool audience; I certainly hope so. I cannot remember similar inanities, at least not to the same degree, at St Andrews last year.

For my money Nick Faldo, terrific champion that he was, does not cut the mustard in the commentary booth. He has a distinctly annoying habit of not finishing his sentences but rather lets his thoughts dribble away into the ether. He and the garrulously long-winded Nick Dougherty, who has never mastered the art of the reflective silence, are not a great combination. Dame Laura Davies sets the standard and is always insightful, sharp and worth listening to.

But when my patience with the commentary teams was running thin I always had the joy of an advertisement break, a sentence I never thought I would write. The Rolex ads continually brought a smile to my face with their preposterously pretentious and pompous voiceovers. If you doubt my word, try this for size, a real example.

‘This is a world where an ardent heart and a sharp mind can meet and reach a perfect balance. Serene, sovereign, with a beat of its own. Every moment foreseen, conceived, rehearsed to the very last detail, so that when the time is right, when the fickleness of the elements has been factored in, and the absolute focus of the mind instilled in every part of the body, that one shot is released.

‘It takes but one instant yet it perpetuates a tradition of nobility, deeply rooted in history and an iron-clad resolve, to improve the values of a discipline driven by passion and bound for perfection.’

Just imagine – someone was paid to write that, and presumably several senior members of Rolex staff had to approve it, before it could be aired. And it’s utter tosh.

And if my musings sound rather damp and depressed, it’s possibly a reflection of the weather at Hoylake, along with the knowledge that we now have to wait eight months before the next major comes around. Ho hum.

Quote of the Week
A tap-in is a putt that is short enough to be missed one-handed.
Henry Beard

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