Skip to main content

Open and shut

It's Monday once again, friends, so I hope everyone had a good weekend.  And if your dad is still with us, I hope you had the chance to visit with him for Father's Day!

I had a great Father's Day weekend, thanks.  I didn't play golf for the first weekend in the past four, but my back and psyche probably appreciated the break.  But I did take in a Reds game in Cincinnati with my son (the only one of the three this weekend that they lost, but that matters less than the stellar company).  And my wife and I joined him and his family late yesterday for a carryout picnic of chicken wings and fixings that was very good.

The evening was punctuated by some of the U.S. Open golf championship, which was played in the Pacific Northwest for the first time and televised (also for the first time) by Fox in prime time.  The leaders going into the final round didn't tee off until 6:00 PM Eastern, so that way the entire round could be viewed by the majority of the country on Sunday evening.  I watched a considerable amount of this tournament on television (little on Saturday, since I was traveling to and from Cincinnati) but have some impressions that I want to share.

First, regarding the golf course itself:  Chambers Bay was designed by the golf course design legend Robert Trent Jones, author of the Robert Trend Jones Golf Trail in Alabama and countless courses throughout the country and elsewhere.  So it was conceived and executed by someone who knows a little something about course layout and design elements.  I know that one of the courses of his that I played in the past contains elements of an old quarry that were left in place and are in play.

The land where this course resides is a former sand and gravel quarry with major elevation changes and continual views of Puget Sound.  So far as I could tell the layout was not as friendly to spectators as some have been in the past, as some holes didn't allow a defined area for galleries to stand or to follow their favorite players.  Large grandstands help, but because the hilly terrain claimed some victims among players and caddies during the practice rounds, I would think that spectators were encouraged to view play from flatter areas.

The course contains a lot of native grasses and has a much more natural look than traditional courses do, which I imagine requires less water and fewer chemicals to maintain.  More courses should move in this direction from an environmental standpoint, as I've read numerous pieces over the years of how a piece of land is effectively ruined if overtreated by pesticides and other greenscaping products.  It reminded me more of a course where you'd see the British Open played (sorry, Royal and Ancient, I will always think of it as that and not the "Open Championship," as you insist).  Brownish and difficult to discern the greens from the fairways, but not at all hard to see where the rough is.  The course included exactly one tree.

The competitors in this event were all pretty opinionated about the course and conditions, but I always think that it's fair for all competitors, they all have to play in generally the same conditions.  And that's a good test of skill and creativity and the ability to execute shots under pressure, in my opinion.  Complaints aside, many of them also complained about Shinnecock Hills a few years ago, saying that the greens were too fast, etc.  But the USGA keeps moving play back to that course as it will again host the Open in 2018.

I like the winner, Jordan Spieth.  All-American boy from Texas.  Solid family.  Devoted to a sister with a neurological disorder, if memory serves.  You can almost imagine him saying "gee, whiz" on occasion.  This kid won the Masters this year, and he's only 21.  Others have appeared to be the "next big thing" but I think he's it.  And he appears to be pretty humble while he's at it.  As fascinating to watch as Tiger Woods was when he burst onto the scene by winning the Masters going away in 1997 and for the next ten years, there was so often an inevitability about his success, that he was somehow destined to win, etc.  And it seems that his time may have passed.

So the pros play a few more events and then go across the Atlantic in July and to St. Andrews, the nominal birthplace of golf, for the Open Championship (I did that for you, R&A).  Let's see if this young Texan has what it takes on such a legendary stage.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Oscar Magico!

Good Monday morning to everyone!  If you're like me, and stayed up to watch the Oscars last night, you're a little sleep deprived.  I mean, after all, how often does an awards show end with a major twist in the ending?

If you didn't watch and have not watched or read the news, then you don't know about the colossal screw-up that ended what was a pretty entertaining Academy Awards show last night.  The final and biggest award, for the Best Picture, was being presented by Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, selected apparently because 2017 represents the fiftieth anniversary year of their vehicle "Bonnie and Clyde."

In any case, after a brief political statement, the pair got down to business and introduced the nine nominees, then Beatty appeared a bit flummoxed by the contents of the envelope.  Dunaway laughed and said "you're impossible" and announced "La La Land," the odds-on favorite, as the winner.

In the midst of acceptance speeches b…

Learning opportunities

Good Monday morning to you.

Perhaps I should state up front that it's a bit of a blue Monday here in the Big Blue Nation, as our beloved Kentucky Wildcats went down in defeat to the arch-rival North Carolina Tar Heels last night in a wild and highly competitive game.  Kentucky's team never really got going in the first half, owing to foul trouble for three starters, and that foul trouble and lack of rhythm carried over for the rest of the game.  Somewhat miraculous that Kentucky had the lead at a couple of points late, but Carolina's depth and experience won out.

Though my wife doesn't agree, that's pretty much the end of basketball for me this year.  I don't watch much other college basketball except to see who Kentucky might end up playing, so if they're done, I probably am, too.

My company is getting into a new aspect of business that you've probably seen and heard about, but because I don't talk in detail about work in this space, I won't el…

Stunningly apathetic

Good afternoon to everyone.  Unusual day and time to post, but my schedule got a little fouled up this week.

Are you planning to watch the Super Bowl?  For a number of years, starting when our kids were, well, kids, we really made a big deal of the day of the big game, buying special snacks, planning a menu appropriate to the site of the game or the participating teams' cities, and so forth.

Last year was great, since the Denver Broncos won and our daughter and her family are season ticket holders!

But this year?  Hard to get excited about the New England Patriots (again) and the Atlanta Falcons.  Admittedly, the Falcons have a Kentucky native and UK grad on the roster, tight end Jacob Tamme, but he was injured mid-season and won't play.  But otherwise, the Falcons don't have any players who command a high level of attention from me.

And then there's the Patriots.  Sorry to my friends in the northeast, but I don't care for the team owner, the head coach, the offens…