What on earth were the R&A doing suspending the second round of the British Open yesterday just because there was a bit of wind? Isn’t battling the elements the whole point of golf?
For the uninitiated it was the Scots who invented the game 400 years ago, using the unfarmable stretches of land next to the sea, known as links, to aimlessly hit small spherical objects towards a pre-arranged target with long wooden sticks for shits and giggles. In those days players hit the ball by aiming their bodies to the right of the target, positioning the ball well back in the stance, and whipping the club around their bodies on a horizontal plane. This guaranteed low ball flight that avoided the buffeting gales and the fact that you looked like a complete twat while doing so.
This is how golf began folks. Obviously it has changed a fair bit since – I don’t think they had rescue clubs, R7 drivers, Pro V1s or bunker babes in those days but the fundamentals were essentially the same as they are today. Namely, hit the ball and not too often. And if the wind blows – tough titties, wee lad.
Oliver Wilson came off the course yesterday, saying, “it was unplayable – it was a joke out there.” This was a particularly disappointing conclusion coming from a northerner. Sounds like he’s spent too much time wintering in Dubai to me. Someone should remind him that those of us living in this neck of the woods don’t always get to play under clear blue skies, with caddies carrying our bags and marshals to find our ball. Some people don’t know they’re born. Or in Wilson’s case least where they were born (it was Mansfield, Oliver, not Manly Beach).
Some golfers complained that they got to play in rougher conditions than others due to the draw, but that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. Since when was golf supposed to be fair? If it was fair, you would be allowed to replace your ball when it lands in a divot on the fairway, take a Mulligan when your ball ricochets off a tree into the shit, or own up when you tread on your playing partner’s ball while pretending to look for it. Golf is about taking the rough with the smooth. In most amateurs’ cases, more rough than smooth. And in any case, Louis Oosthuizen had the brown end of the stick on Thursday, and he still massacred the course.
As Tiger Woods explained, “You just have to go out there and deal with it, whether you’re on the good end of the draw or not the good end,” Woods said. “You just have to go out there and play and gut it out.” See, you don’t hear Tiger whingeing – and this is a man who is still in the hunt after weathering the worst of it.
If anything the suspension of the second round wronged those golfers like Martin Kaymer who had to play through the blizzard only to learn that those playing behind them were given a time-out. Now that was poor form.
So if there is a lesson to be learned from all of this it’s that golf, like life, just ain’t fair sometimes. It’s why golf fans love it. And if you don’t like it, lump it. Or better still lump on Luis Oosthuizen.