The Open coverage was strangely unexciting this year. It was great that the young South African with the nearly unpronounceable name won the prize. We can always just call him Louie Louie and forget the last name. He certainly deserved it, sort of walking it in on the final eighteen. When others were supposed to be making a charge, no one did. When he was supposed to be folding like a cheap umbrella on those final two rounds, he didn’t. Not even close. Good for him. And while the pros were universally gushing over St. Andrews, I kept thinking it was sort of stupid, especially the Road Hole, number 17. I’d probably like to play the course . . . once. But certainly not more than once.
Then there’s the matter of the folks doing the color commentary. Why in the world would the Golf Channel give a seat to Tom Weiskopf and Curtis Strange, two of the dumbest, most irritating, egocentric golfers ever to ungrace a broadcast booth? Weiskopf was always disliked by nearly all his peers, and nothing has changed today, and Strange still refuses to change his Virginia baked ham accent. If the young Jack Nicklaus were teeing off at 17 and Strange was doing the commentary, he’d say, “The young blond Nicklaus is hitting a blond shot over the hotel shed.” In contrast to their inanities, Paul Azinger can now join Johnny Miller as one of the most entertaining, most knowledgeable people with a mike in hand.
And how can I ignore the others, Phil and Tiger, that is? They both looked pretty averagely human this weekend, Phil once again letting his heart override his head, and Tiger having most uncharacteristic putting woes. The rest of his game looked on-target, but oh those many many putts. The good news is that most of the prurient interest in his sex life has diminished, almost disappeared. The bad news is that people are now suggesting his career is over. They’re saying he hasn’t won a major in two years now, so he must be at the end of his string. What nonsense. Jack had won twelve majors by Tiger’s current age (Tiger, fourteen), and six more to the end of his career. But Jack didn’t win every year: none in 1976-77, none in 1979, and none in 1981 through 1985. He won his last Masters when he was 46, eleven years older than Tiger is right now. For those of us who are eager to watch any tournament in which Tiger is playing, this past year has been painful to consider, for the rags at the grocery store counter, for his less than magical play on the course. But don’t give up on him just yet, folks. Like Arnold, “He’ll be bock!”