State of The Rcok

State of The Rcok
NFL News and Commentary

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Humorous History of Open Championships

If I ever actually take a vacation, it will be to a sunny tropical island. I would like to visit Ireland though, not for the golf, for the people. I’m sure they have more to offer than the stiffs playing video poker at the bar here in Vegas. The idea of having a pint at a local pub sounds intriguing, for the storytelling alone. Plus you can make bets at the pub. But with my luck - it would be soccer season, that would be on the TV in the bar. No matter how much I enjoyed the villagers, I’d drop a cyanide tab a half hour into the game.

That’s the problem with golf in Ireland and Opens Championships in general. Low scoring. Dirty Americans do not want to watch 5 hour scoreless soccer matches. “Wow, 4 days of golf and the leader just pulled away from the field at 1 under.” The record low score at the Irish Open is (-5).

Opens are low scoring. They are played on shitty courses in shitty weather. Undulating tracks that look like an unfinished roller coaster. 

If you miss the fairway or green in high winds and rain – no problem. There are bunkers deep and wide enough to hide in. 

Bring a flask, because they are better suited for tossing a grenade at oncoming infantry than hitting a golf ball out of. You may be there for a while. 

If you miss the bunker - your ball will likely land in a giant monster weed they call Fescue. “Fescue” is Irish for "F*ck You" I think those were planted by an angry farmer during the potato famine.

Open Tournaments have a less than auspicious, even humorous history. The first Open was played in Scotland in 1860. Eight players participated. The trophy was a red leather belt with a silver buckle, yeah, like a boxing belt. Young Tom Morris - now referred to as Old Tom Morris in the Golf Now commercials, (the guy with the chicken) won three years in a row. After his 3rd win - they just let him keep the belt. The tournament was cancelled for 1871 and 1872 because they didn’t have a trophy. Tom had it. He did come back and win for a 4th time and was awarded the belt he was wearing. The belt was later replaced by the Claret Jug. 

Once golf became popular in the states, pros here had no interest in flying half way around the world to play shitty courses in shitty weather. They had to start referring to them as prestigious Open Championships, offer bigger prize money and fancy trophies to get people to play them. “Hey, let’s make the trophy better, maybe they’ll show their friends and someone will show up next year.

Now, if you want your course to host an Open Championship in the United States -  "You’ll have to make it shittier" (Sounds like  something Lewis Black would say). Let the greens dry out - so perfect approach shots bounce off, roll down the shaved rough and land 20 yards off target in a giant weed.  Give the Europeans credit, we not only fell for this Open Championship malarkey - we copied it.

The “Luck of the Irish” comes in handy on these courses. A good or bad bounce can determine the champion. Personally I like scoring. I’d rather watch a perfect approach shot stick a few feet from the hole. I get it though. It’s a manly pursuit, best enjoyed over a fifth of Irish whiskey and reminisced afterward over a pint at that pub. 

BTW I’m part Irish myself. So no offense intended. In fact, I salute the Irish for selling the Open Championship idea to the gullible yanks across the pond. Our US Open will be played here in a month. We’ll all be watching, and can thank the Irish, Scottish and English for the privilege.

- Rick Jansen