Wednesday, July 15, 2009

How Dare You Ian Poulter!!!

English golfer Ian Poulter, when interviewed this week about the upcoming Open Championship at Turnberry, referred to the tournament as the "British Open," which is a big no-no.

A bit of background for you non-golfers. The Open Championship, a.k.a. the British Open, is the oldest major tournament in golf, having first been played in 1860. In other words, it was well-established as an important "open" tournament long before the US Open came into existence.

In the UK, and basically everywhere except the United States, for this very reason the tournament is known and referred to as the Open Championship. In the US, golfers tend to call it the British Open, which started off as a harmless way to differentiate it from the US Open.

It seems acceptable for US golfers to do this, though in the past it was frowned upon. But Poulter, born in Hitchin, a town in Hertfordshire, England, ruffled a lot of feathers for referring to the tournament as the British Open, not just once, but five times during an interview. He was later called out on it by another reporter, and he apologized and said it wouldn't happen again.

I'm not sure exactly where I stand on this. Usually, I tend to respect tradition, and I know I'd be annoyed if I held a tournament and people didn't call it by its proper name. But on the other hand, some of this smacks of elitism, i.e. the Open Championship has been around longer, is a more important tournament, and should be held in higher regard than the US Open.

Either way, I'll be tuning in this week to see if Paddy Harrington can do the unthinkable and win his third straight Brit--er, Open Championship.

14 comments:

Phil Stiefel said...

Hasnt Paddy been struggling this year???? And how come the odds makers have Tiger as the favorite(I understand that of course) and Sergio as the second best chance.... I dont know if he ever will win a major.

Brian O'Rourke said...

Paddy's had a rough year. Though he is the only player in the field capable of three-peating.

Sergio as the second favorite? If I were gambling man, I'd take the field against Sergio. He's very talented, and a great ball striker, but his putter has let him down repeatedly. As for his mental game, I don't think he's quite ready yet to win a major.

Though he hasn't played too many Open Championships, I'd say watch out for Kenny Perry.

seanag said...

Well, this dilemma is way too intricate for me.

However, I do have a golf anecdote. Last night, I was watching a PBS retrospective of Mike Douglas, the talk show host--no, I do not know why, although he seemed like a decent enough guy--and suddenly there was footage of a very young Tiger Woods making a guest appearance. When I say very young, I mean just slightly over the toddler phase. Tiny Tiger was adorable of course, but I would never have guessed where he was headed based on the 'talent' portion of the show.

Brian O'Rourke said...

Seana,

That's a great clip. I think good ole Eldritch was a mere three years old when it was filmed, and if I recall correctly, he sinks the putt, right?

I seriously just sat here for a few minutes trying to think of a way to work "satrap" into my response.

Phil Stiefel said...

about tom watson shoting a first round 65 at a ripe old aage of 59

Brian O'Rourke said...

Philly,

I saw that. He's done that a few times in recent years, gone out and scored a great first round at a major. It's not surprising, considering he's won FIVE Open Championships. It would be something if he won the tournament.

seanag said...

Actually,it looked like after a failed first attempt, tiny Tiger just picked the ball up and threw it in the cup. Although that may not have been the full clip. From such beginnings, eh?

As to satrap--no, it's not as easy as you'd think, is it?

Brian O'Rourke said...

Seana,

No doubt my mind's playing tricks on me - since I've seen Tiger hole so many nerve-racking, winner-take-all putts, I probably remember the clip incorrectly.

This reminds me of that post Adrian did a few months back about the nature of genius and talent.

seanag said...

No, your mind may not be playing tricks--it's equally possible that I wasn't quite understanding the clip.

Strangely enough, I thought of the same blog post, although I don't know that that one film clip tips the balance in either direction, especially since we have two different 'eye witness' accounts of it. But here's the link on genius vs. hard work, for anyone who is curious.

Brian O'Rourke said...

Philly,

Tom Watson is finishing his second round off strong. This could get interesting...

Peter Rozovsky said...

There is some social history to this. A collection of sports writing compiled by Herbert Warren Wind some years ago called The Realm of Sport includes a funny piece that pokes fun at Americans' tendency to believe that they discovered everything. The piece's fictional interview subject waxes enhusiastic about golf. "I hear they even play it over in England now," he says.

I think this piece dates from the 1960s. That would mean that before Americans decided that Tiger Woods had invented golf, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer had invented the ancient game.
==============
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"
http://detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com/

Brian O'Rourke said...

Peter,

Few people know that Americans actually invented golf, it's true. But even fewer know that we also invented the English language, the Internet, and fire as well.

Peter Rozovsky said...

Now that Tiger Woods missed the cut, ESPN will have to find a new story -- oops, I mean a new story line -- for its coverage.

Oh, wait: Tom Watson.
==============
Detectives Beyond Borders
“Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home”
http://detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com/

Brian O'Rourke said...

And they won't even have to switch the initials they use for the story - great economies of scale.