By Larry Canning
IT’S akin to racing in the Dakar Rally…on a moped… naked.
Or facing my mother in law after sleeping with her daughter… naked
That reminds me… a couple of years ago I was standing on the 1st tee with this young bloke who was clearly feeling pretty cocky and confident that he was about to give me an absolute towelling. I had a bad feeling he was right, so I did what every middle aged golf pro would do and attempted to insult this upstart and get under his skin. I sidled up to him and said – “Hey Mate, You might hit it 40 yards past me and shoot something pretty low today, but I slept with your mother last night!”
To which he replied: “Don’t be a wanker, Dad”
The “It’s” I’m referring to of course is The US Open.
As tradition demands, The US Open is always played on a course set up on the edge of unplayable with some of the best golfers in the world stumbling off the 36th green with new found twitches and speech impediments. Greens harder than the WACA, rough that resembles Donald Trump’s hair in a strong wind and par fours narrower than the runway he lands his jet on seem to be the perfect formula as seen by the USGA Suits. And this year’s venue appears to be no exception.
The revered and feared Oakmont Country Club [pictured above, with a tiny enhancement] has hosted America’s most sought after golf title a record nine times with the last being 2007 when Angel Cabrera’s 5 over par total was good enough to edge out Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk by 1 stroke.
Wonder kid Jorden Spieth played a not so secretive practice round recently and had this to say to the media who weren’t supposed to know he was playing:
“I know that if you win a U.S. Open at Oakmont, you can go ahead and say that you’ve conquered the hardest test in all of golf,” Spieth said. “Because this is arguably the hardest course in America day to day.”
This has to beg the question, how the hell do the members go? Imagine being at the presentation after a Saturday Stableford – “The winner was Judge Smails with 5 points. Runner up was Hootie Johnson with 3”… “The last ball went to Sandy Greenback with none on a count back. Just a reminder members, we still have no-one booked in for next week’s monthly medal”
Call me sick, twisted maybe, even a tad masochistic but instead of feeling some kind of empathy watching my professional colleagues being physically and mentally tortured during those four days between June 16th and 19th, I’m going to love every second of it! There’s something really quite captivating watching a player celebrating a par like it’s some rare Egyptian relic he’s just spent 3 months digging up. To me, viewing the US Open is like watching a movie with Indiana Jones battling evil villains, massive rolling rocks and a pit full of deadly venomous snakes to capture one of the rarest artefacts on the golfing planet… A US Open Birdie!
Then there’s the sub-plot which always sees Phil Mickelson holding the golden statue worth millions in his hands only to have it ripped out by the evil, rich opportunistic philanthropist played by… well just about anyone who has won the US Open since 1999.
The Aussie contingent, which wasn’t finalised when this was written, will be headed up by Jason Day and, according the four time Olympic Champion Dawn Fraser, the “Evil Anti-Australian” Adam Scott. I’m a huge fan of our Dawny and I see the work she does for women’s professional golf in this country but her criticism of Adam Scott and his decision to not play in the Olympics is way off base.
Adam has done more for golf and sport for that matter, in this country than just about anyone else since Greg Norman back in the 1980’s. What he did to promote our game during the Australian golf season 2013 was nothing short of remarkable and clearly physically taxing although he didn’t let on to his fans or media. Then to cap it off by partnering Jason Day to take Australia to our first World Cup win in 25 years has apparently all been forgotten by Dawn. The Olympics might be the pinnacle for some sports but unfortunately golf isn’t one of them.
It’ll do me, when one of our golfing stars playing in a major Championship across the other side of the world holes a winning putt and in that moment of passion and emotion, instinctively screams out “C’mon Aussie!!!”.