Posts Tagged ‘Golf’
For those of you edified by the spectacle of top-level sportsmen being a bit crap you might be advised to tune into the Open at Royal St.Georges this week. Last time round at Sandwich Tiger Woods hit his first shot of the championship into the clag and lost his ball, wading into the jungle like a Sunday hacker and suffering multiple shin lacerations from the nasty thistles.
The word on the Kent street is that the course has been softened up for tomorrow, the committee mindful of the public desire for a noted champion rather than the vaguely bewildered journeyman that was Ben Curtis in 2003. Some major tournament administrators labour under the misapprehension that creating a tougher test sorts the men from boys. It does the opposite. It invites men and boys to play together as equal, if that doesn’t sound like a homosexual golf orgy.
But there is still this:
This is the bunker on the fourth hole at Royal St Georges. It’s the deepest bunker on the major circuit. It’s so massive you could ski down it. It might have a second use as an eco-home for a family of ethno-sloanes. There used to be a thriving medieval village at top but it has been long since laid waste to by voracious erosion. Look closely at the foot of this vast granulated mountain and there are the antique skulls of the poor souls who ventured in there with a sand wedge and never came out again.
Let’s hope at least one unfortunate wanders in there, there’ll be more hacking than a red-top newspaper (ooh topical).
And I can’t really take my eyes off its riveting awfulness. Yes, I know it’s a joke and it’s for a good cause but it brings to mind the most heinous excesses of the miscellaneous newsreaders and weatherpeople jigging arrhythmically about on Children in Need to sundry show tunes. But spiced with frathouse wackiness. At least it has given Rickie Fowler an excuse to dress more conservatively than usual.
Watching it there is a very real sense that Hunter Mahan is actually a confused llama who has ambled onto the fields of Woodstock. Which gives us a vague excuse to indulge in this once again:
I’ve woken up with my apologetic head on this morning.
Firstly I’d like to issue a notice of regret to Chris Tremlett. When he signed for Surrey last spring, I laughed a knowing ha and sentenced him to a permanent residence in the Oval sick bay. I’ve made balsa wood aeroplanes that are more robust than Chris Tremlett I thought to myself. When he was “rested” for the first game of the season the ha grew louder. He probably got injured posing for the team photo I chortled. Ha.
Well now the ha is on me. Chris Tremlett is not only fit. He’s also good. Really good. But I was right about him not being available for Surrey. Sort of.
I’d also like to apologise to Rory McIlroy for the unkind thoughts I’m having about him and his attempts to win the US Open. I genuinely admire McIlroy and the relaxed ebullience he showed after the Masters debacle while everybody else was punching themselves in the face on his behalf. But there is nothing more entertaining in golf than a major blow-out and I can’t help hoping that Rory has something breathtaking in the golfbag to reject this apparent position of impregnability.
To become the first player in US Open history to reach -13 is extraordinary, but the fact he then promptly double-boogered his last hole yesterday suggests that we could be in for some weekend treats. He blew his chances in last year’s British Open with a second round 80, and then repeated the score in the final round of this year’s Masters. Why not mix it up Rorsy? Third round 80. The complete set.
We all like songs about golf tournaments and here’s a particularly timely one, even though it appears to be about a course called Argasta National and somewhere called Amen’s Corner.
Colin Montgomerie is a riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a sturdy Gore-tex windcheater. For the large part of his career he has been perceived as just a big angry pair of tits who is a bit good at golf. The butt of a thousand ribald jokes on They Think It’s All Over. The Pringle-clad personification of a harrumph. A man who has systematically ticked off the major section of the golfing fraternity including future members of his European team, vice-captains and fans.
But now everybody loves Colin. Even before the Europeans won. Maybe we appreciated his serious-minded approach. Perhaps it’s the likeness to a haughty cartoon owl with dentures. Or the confounding array of pensive facial expressions. If they ever make a Montgomerie biopic, which they surely will now, then the Creature Comforts artists should be called for. Plasticene is the only substance known to man that could do justice to the extraordinary malleability of the Monty visage. Here’s to you and your face Colin.
Luke Donald: Neat player with a concise game that throws back to an era of persimmon woods and toothy coves in tweed plus fours. Sparkling Ryder Cup record and recent form elevates him to gun status.
Ross Fisher: Has an interview technique that could earn him long-term riches as a replacement for Ritalin. That’s all I have to say.
Peter Hanson: Hanson will be hoping that he won’t only be remembered in Ryder Cup lore as the man who pushed Paul Casey out of the team. We’d all be sitting more comfortably on our shooting sticks if he’d won the USPGA to qualify, and not the Czech Open. But beware the unheralded European. Remember David Gilford? No? He was amazing.
Padraig Harrington: Inclusion seems to have caused the most consternation of all the wild cards. Which is odd given that he only missed automatic qualification by a grand. And has won more majors than the rest of the team put together.
Martin Kaymer: His triumph at the recent USPGA Championship was so clinically and stereotypically German in its execution that he may as well as have stroked in the final putt with a bratwurst.
Miguel Angel Jimenez: One of the more exuberant members of team, he might be forgiven for feeling a little jaded given the amount of golf he played to qualify for the side as well as juggling a stint on the current series of the X Factor. If you haven’t seen Jimenez strut his eccentric moustachioed stuff, here he is:
Graeme McDowell: Gnomic presence whose eyebrows may never revert back to their original position after his surprise win at Pebble Beach. Like most golfers, looks wierd without a cap.
Rory McIlroy: Pull a tiger’s tail hard enough and it will inevitably turn round and chomp your head clean off. Don’t be surprised to see Woods picking little bits of Ulster perm from his teeth at some point this weekend.
Edoardo and Francesco Molinari: The Molinaris are the latest in a rich tradition of celebrated Italian brothers: mortal enemies of Steve Redgrave, the Abbagnales, electro-plumbers Mario and Luigi, miniature mobsters the Ant Hill Mob, and not forgetting the footballing Nevilli brothers, Garibaldi and Pippo.
Ian Poulter: Incorrigible twitterer who despite the headmasterly demands of his captain, will probably be providing tweets from tee to green to team room to the clubhouse toilet. Dresses like a twunt.
Lee Westwood: The Europeans will be praying that Westwood’s calf is sufficiently recovered in order to take the unique strain of walking around after a small ball for three days. Given his newly unsubstantial frame, there are high hopes that the Westwood pins are up to the job.
Stewart Cink: Wantonly destroyed the greatest story in sport by selfishly pinching the Claret Jug from Old Tom Watson last year. He then compounded this sickening crime by filling the venerable trophy with barbeque sauce. Which apart from anything else would have probably made his sauce taste funny, a bit like old spoons do.
Rickie Fowler: Owner of probably the most lustrous topcoat in golf. Could be mistaken for a Skittle-splashed Afghan hound. His wardrobe is so deranged he’ll be the only player on the American team looking more conservative than he usually does.
Jim Furyk: Won the Fed Ex Cup on Sunday using a putter bought for $39. My calculator informs me that Furyk could now buy 25,641 more putters with his winnings from the tournament. Which would be a bit excessive.
Dustin Johnson: Carving out a niche as a lovable loser, like a southern-fried Henman. Deserves kudos for inadvertently re-merchandising the window of a souvenir shop by the 18th at St.Andrews with an errant tee shot. Flak helmets are being issued at the entrance gates to Celtic Manor.
Zach Johnson: Have you ever been hustled on the golf course by a arthritic old duffer who bores you into submission by half-bunting the ball down the middle of the fairway and holing a surprising amount of putts? Extrapolate that forward to the Ryder Cup, and you’ve got Zach Johnson.
Matt Kuchar: Swings the club with the hunched grace of a sciatic penguin. Apple-cheeked smiler that is possibly underestimated because he seems so nice – like a balder Luke Donald.
Hunter Mahan: Once compared the Ryder Cup to slavery. We shouldn’t judge. Perhaps he heard the Tiger Woods had packed his pink fluffy manacles and got confused.
Phil Mickelson: Should be a behemoth of the Ryder Cup, but isn’t. That could be because the event is always held in the autumn by which time Big Phil has eaten enough Cheetos to lose his early season buffness and probably his edge. If you think I’m joking, then I’ll chuck this stat at you: 80% of all Mickelson’s career victories have come in the first half of the year.
Jeff Overton: What can you say about Jeff Overton that hasn’t been said already? Pretty much anything actually. There’s almost always one anonymous American competing, a player that is almost instantly forgotten after the event. Like Brett Wetterich. Or Wayne Levi. Or Jim Gallagher Jr. Okay, so I remember. But I’m wierd.
Steve Stricker: Once fired his wife as his caddy before the divorce lawyers were rung for. The same thing happened with my mum and dad. Except she was just doing a bit of filing at his office, which isn’t really the same thing.
Bubba Watson: Like Dustin Johnson, but less creative in how he loses major championships. Being edged out by a cold-blooded German in a play-off isn’t nearly as entertaining as mistaking a bunker for some builder’s rubble.
Tiger Woods: Has already represented his country in a team event in Wales, that being the 1995 Walker Cup at Royal Porthcawl. Which he lost. Tiger was still a teenager at time, probably forced to satisfy his dark carnal urges with a trip to see Sexy Barbara in Swansea. As an aside, I once saw ex-England cricket captain Tony Lewis naked in the clubhouse at Porthcawl. True story.
Part of the appeal of watching golf is that its ultimate aim is so absolute: get the ball in the hole. There is no requirement for endless high-motion replays or referrals to a man in a hut to ascertain whether it’s gone in or not. The regulations of the game are codified in similar categorical terms. The margin for doubt is so tiny that the players are charged with keeping their own score.
But when some berk creates a golf course with a over thousand bunkers designed simply for decorative purposes the issue can be clouded somewhat. Aesthetically speaking, a bunker isn’t really in the same league as a rhododendron bush at Augusta. And the selection at Whistling Straits pales in comparison to riveted parapets of a Scottish links trap or the clean white sand of a manicured Floridian course. They more resemble something that a shoddy builder has left behind in your back garden.
That said, Dustin Johnson should feel no sense of injustice and his ignorance of the local rules cannot be blamed on the course architect. This latest major misadventure has added to his reputation for haplessness, a feeling reinforced by a dopey Southern drawl and a vague resemblance to a proboscis monkey.
It seems that his tribulations at the 18th have overshadowed the achievement of Martin Kaymer, who should be applauded not only for securing his first major title but also cheerfully embracing every German stereotype that the Sky commentary team hurled at him. We should have known that he would have won in the play-off. The Germans always win in play-offs.
A Spanish man is being questioned on suspicion of murder following the discovery of the mutilated remains of a bunker by the shores of Lake Michigan in Wisconsin. The bunker was attacked as it innocently stood by a green on the Whistling Straits course. A wedge with traces of sand was found in a bush near the scene of the crime, and a detective from the Milwaukee homicide department has confirmed that the fingerprints match those of the arrested man.
Police have also released CCTV footage of the incident, which further incriminates the suspect. You may find these images upsetting.