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The WEEI Country Club
07.25.12
The Brutish Open

By: Pro From Dover

There’s something in the air around professional golf tournaments this season. We touched on it in our last post. Tournaments lost or given away by established and not so established players at an astonishing rate.

And now appears The Open played at Royal Lytham and St. Anne’s. Coughed up by a veteran Aussie, Adam Scott, who bogied the last four holes on the final day.

It was a bitter sweet ending because the beneficiary was one of the wonderful people in the game, Ernie Els, who shot one of the handful of sub par rounds Sunday, capping it with a 12 foot birdie putt on the 18th. Then he watched or rather listened (since he declined the offer to watch the finish in the clubhouse and opted to remain on the practice green) as Scott let it slip away.

Among other flubs, Scott missed a three foot putt on 16 and then, inexplicably to some, hit a three wood on the 413 yard 18th that found a deep bunker. As it was, the bunker was only 156 yards from the green so he could have hit a long iron off the tee and then maybe a five iron to the green. Sounds as if some bad thinking came into play. Jean Van de Velde, deux?

Schadenfreude: a German word meaning glee at another’s misfortune. Who? Moi? Mais non.

Amateurs like us often choke under the pressure of a two dollar nassau. Not long ago, a pal of mine who is a five handicap, was two under par in the middle of the 17th fairway 140 yards out. With nothing at stake other than his pride, he ended the round double, double.

Which reminds us of the old joke about the  player who had such a dismal round he sat in front of his locker and slashed his wrists. As he watched his life pour from his arteries a buddy rounded the corner and said, “We need a fourth for tomorrow.” The player pressed his wrists against one another to stop the blood flow and said, “I’m in; what time?”

We’ve written often about the attraction of this maddening game. At its core, it’s a game against ones self. A battle to summon the calm and presence of the moment to do what we know we can do with a golf ball. We fail often. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons we are so engaged watching the professionals because we can relate to the calamities they confront. Even the very best fail from time to time.

Els, in his acceptance speech, showed great empathy for his good friend, Scott. Els commented that just about everything bad that can happen in a tournament has happened to him and he knew exactly what Scott was feeling.

There’s an old sports locker room adage:

“Pain, agony, grief and sorrow; here today, gone tomorrow.”