It's the reality of the situation that makes Open week so special
This is enough the warm the cockles of an early-riser’s heart.
And that’s quite aside from it being one of the single best sports events on the calendar.
It’s The Open Championship week (that’s it’s name, it’s a tad pretentious but it shall forever be thus) and even for a guy whose interest in golf has waned considerably over the past few years, it’s a can’t-miss competition.
More than the U.S. Open, where they tend to trick up the course in an intentional attempt to make the best players struggle; more than The Masters, where the sap flows too incessantly, I get that azaleas are nice, I just don’t want to hear Jim Nance breathlessly tell me that 40 times an hour; and way more the PGA, which is pretty much just another Tour stop with a bunch of club pros providing some Thursday-Friday fodder.
So what is it about The Open?
I really think it’s the natural feel to it, it’s always on a golf course that’s “there” and not one that’s been “built”; it’s generally not a pretty track, it’s hard to follow the flow of the course, it’s golf reduced to what golf should be, in my opinion, a test of skill against the land with very limited messing around from humans.
It’s just got a more “real” feel to it than any other Tour event, the elements are always a factor, you’ve got these silly little bunker-potholes that pop up seemingly out nowhere and who can almost feel the wind and cold.
Because so many of us play golf, or purport to play something akin to golf, we want to see the best in the game battle real challenges presented by nature rather than some course architect.
We want holes in the ground rather than finger-shaped bunkers, we want windswept hay rather than six-inch rough. We don’t mind sideways rain and toques in July and argyle sweaters instead of logo-dominated shirts.
We, or at least I, appreciate The Open because it’s so damn unique; it’s not cookie-cutter and maybe that’s its greatest allure.
Plus, it’s on TV when I wake up, that’s never a bad thing.
Oh, one other thing: The Open always seems to have one or two guys you’ve never heard of stick around until late Saturday or Sunday. Some European Tour guy from some Scandinavian country who has some cool back story. It sure beats six hours of Tiger Woods walking from the carpark (I’m already into the British lingo, it would seem) to the clubhouse and then seeing every shot he strikes on the way to a 10th place finish.
Oh, and sometimes this happens:
So, John Lucas III?
Guess there’s worse third point guards – not sure anyone connected with the team thought Ben Uzoh really was a practical full-timer – because Lucas can shoot it, he’s been a third guard before (Chicago, behind Rose and Watson) and they can get him relatively cheap.
Not sure it does anything to tilt the balance of power in the East (or the Atlantic, for that matter) but a good pickup for what it is.
And I’m told by friends in Chicago that he’s a great kid and a good interview and you can’t have enough guys like that around, even if he might not have great impacts on too many games.
Plus, he’s got to be a bit familiar with the team and the organization seeing how his dad worked here for half a season or so trying to coax TJ Ford back to full health and confidence.
Now, for all you linear people out there who think one step leads to the next step without fail, you got James Johnson for a season and a half for what turned out to Norris Cole and then you dealt James Johnson for what turned out to be John Lucas III.
No, things aren’t linear but that’s how it breaks down. Discuss amongst yourselves.
Not sure why Super Son decided to find it on sale and pick it up with his Buggy Boy weekly salary but listening to him sit upstairs at 6 a.m. howling at one of the discs in Season 9 of Seinfeld does a father’s heart proud.
Raptors win in Vegas yesterday, I’m told; they’re 1-3, finish off the Summer League season this afternoon and life can get back to quasi-normal.
Could use a bit more, don’t be afraid to branch out, folks.
You know, at some point you just have to shake your head at the fates.
They’ve got the best pitcher on the staff on the shelf, the closer’s about to have surgery, the supposed ace is having a crisis of skill and apparently confidence that’s shocking and the best hitter and best defensive outfield on the team wrecks his wrist taking a freaking swing.
And now Hobbs goes down doing what Hobbs does, going all-out to make a play, unworried about any consequences despite the circumstances.
And if Brett Lawrie, who banged himself up tumbling into a photographer’s bay chasing a foul ball at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday is out for any length of time, it might be the one, final, crippling blow to a season that is not yet in the toilet, shockingly given the circumstances.
I love the way Lawrie plays the game, balls-out every play, every at-bat, every time he’s remotely involved in the action and his crash yesterday was just typical, given his intensity and effort.
I don’t know who pissed off the Baseball Gods but this is a season like we’ve never seen. Hitters, starters, relievers going down almost every day, a steady parade to the DL that’s entirely unexplainable. It’s not this guy’s fault, it’s not that guy’s fault; it’s one of those season of confluence that just cannot be described.
That they are some still within stiffing distance of that second wild card – and sure there are a handful of teams to leap over but they are definitely still in the race – might end up making this one of most interesting seasons in the last 15 or 20 years. For reasons good and bad, obviously.
I’m almost afraid to watch tomorrow or on the weekend for fear some other calamity will occur.
And if someone gets hurt or sick today on the off-day in Boston? Well, wouldn’t that be typical?