Friday, July 16, 2010
I KNOW THEY INVENTED THE GAME BUT SCOTLAND IS A DUMB PLACE TO GOLF
You don't have to be a golfer to appreciate that the British Open is steeped in tradition, but it's always struck me as a bit off that one of the sport's most prestigious tournaments is often held on terrain better-suited for tank manoeuvres, or in weather that would test the resolve of the hardiest storm chaser. I tuned in tape-delayed coverage of the 2010 Open last night and saw the usual spectacle of golfers in head-to-toe rain gear standing under umbrellas or hunched against a cold wind and driving rain in front of empty stands at the Old Course in St. Andrews, and wondered how in the name of Sam Snead first round leader Rory McIlroy tied a major championship record with a nine under par 63. Well, it turns out McIlroy was among the fortunate players who teed off early in the day, when the weather was merely gloomy and hadn't yet turned nasty. That kind of unpredictabilty may be part of the Open's charm, but it doesn't exactly make for a level playing field. It's a bit like having NASCAR drivers draw straws at the Daytona 500 to see who gets the 865 horsepower Dodge Charger and who gets the 1970 Ford Country Squire station wagon with wood grain paneling. Far be it from me to mess with golf's heritage, but considering that what's left of the British Empire includes Bermuda and no fewer than five islands or island groups in the Caribbean, it occurs to me that they could hold the event where the sun actually shines without compromising its geographical integrity as the British Open. Just a suggestion from a guy who's not a golf traditionalist but knows a logical alternative who he sees one.