In just a few hours, they’ll be out on the practice range at Torrey Pines tuning up for the start of the 2008 U.S. Open.
Part of the beauty of this year’s Open is that it will be eminently viewable for those of us on the East Coast who happen to consider golf a superb spectator sport. NBC and ESPN will be taking advantage of the Pacific Time lag to provide many hours of prime time coverage. And why not? Prime time, Thurs-Sunday, in mid-June, is generally no great shakes.
Thursday and Friday will present a fantastic subplot (or subplots), with the number 1 group of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott playing together at the end of each day, and Woods coming off a nearly two-month break since undergoing arthroscopic surgery. Will Woods be rusty – and will that matter at the San Diego course which he has dominated for most of this decade? Will this provide a psychological opening for Mickelson, whose pairings with Woods have usually provided enjoyable drama?
It will be interesting to watch, for everyone lucky enough to be home the next few evenings. As it turns out, that group will not include me because I am facing a number of uncharacteristically busy nights the entire weekend. The only way I would be able to see this great drama unfold would be to DVR the telecast and watch after I get home from my various commitments, staying up into the wee hours of the morning – and as regular NVTH readers know, I would never do such a thing.
If you don’t watch golf, I feel sorry for you. And if you actually play golf, I feel sorrier for you still. Because I consider golf the perfect spectator sport. Not only does a major golf tournament provide an unmatched battle of wits and sheer skill, tailor made for the sports enthusiast, but to play the game at any level approaching competence requires such a gargantuan investment of time and money that the pure spectator gets the added boost of remembering how much time and money he has saved by staying off the links entirely. I hoist a cold one to celebrate Tiger’s fabulous wins. I hoist a second to celebrate the fact I’ve never paid a greens fee, but instead have gone fishing and shooting, read books, done some writing and recording, rabble-roused, spent time with the wife and kids, that my entire recreational wardrobe has never been near an iron or dry cleaners, and that’s the way it’ll be until the day I die.
So it should be fun to watch this weekend.