It’s British Open time once more.
The Open Championships are the third of the four major golf tournaments on the American golfing calendar, and one of my favorites. It lacks the southern stuffiness of the Masters, where fans aren’t called fans, but are called patrons, and if an announcer makes an off color remark about how tough the greens are, that commentator is banished forevermore, ala Gary McCord.
The US Open is, as Kevin Costner’s character says in the 1996 movie Tin Cup, the most democratic tournament. Anyone who can go through a regionally based qualifying process can compete in the Open. Doesn’t always make for good quality golf once you get past the top 50 or so, but everyone gets a chance.
The Open is different. It’s more like a world championship of golf, not necessarily a field dominated by Americans. The courses are different. You don’t have to worry about trees, but you do have to worry more about where your ball lies.
And there are also two distinct characters that make the British Open interesting to watch.
One of those men is Peter Aliss. Aliss is to British televised sports what Pat Summerall was for many decades on FOX and on CBS. Summerall always struck me as what the voice of God might sound like. Both are former athletes who had longer careers behind the microphones.
If God is a Britisher, I wonder if he’d sound like Peter. The BBC loans him out to ESPN for about an hour to 90 minutes during the morning coverage here stateside, and he always seems to provide a unique persecptive as to what’s going on.
Then there’s Ivor Robson. The guy who announces each golfer as they start their round. For example:
“On the tee from the U-S-A, Tiger Woods!”
Because of the broad field the Open Championships has, this takes ten hours from start to finish for each golfer to tee off. He drinks very little water, and doesn’t go to the restroom from when he begins his announcements to when he ends them.
Either he has a strong bladder, or wears a catheter. Don’t know which.
Anyways, good luck to all the golfers, and may the best man win.