Larry Canning: A weird but brilliant time to be a golf spectator

Larry Canning

By Larry Canning.

That’s the most confusing marathon of golf watching I’ve ever experienced. And when I say ever, for me that’s a long time!

It teed off with live coverage of the first LIV tournament live from the Centurion Club near London where 48 tour players performed “golf but louder”.  

I’m probably a bad example of a golf TV critic given I’ve been covering golf on radio for 20 years (doesn’t mean I’m brilliant at it). I have a soft spot for commentators who are constantly under the gun to keep talking at all costs. Even if that cost is blurting out something pretty lame when you just have to blurt something. Silence in radio and I expect the same in TV is like having an air-swing on the first tee at St Andrews. You may have just made an inciteful and entertaining point which doesn’t need another word tacked on but you better find something else to say quickly or its back to washing golf carts.

The LIV commentary team seem to have a good balance of anchor, knowledge and entertainment. I’d love to hear more from the on-course people though. Maybe a bit of informative humour?? And the course was brutal! Hard to keep positive and loud when no one’s getting it anywhere near the sticks and the only birdies are the occasional long-tailed tit chirping near a microphone. Charl Schwartzel outplayed everyone in a somewhat lacklustre finish prompting the ire of more big-name critics including this from Geoff Shackleford – LIV Golf in a nutshell: Big Game hunter anchoring his putter and Jerry Foltz screaming out “Money!” (followed by video of his point).

Maybe its time to stop hanging shit on this breakaway league and just support the tour you prefer more.

After three, what I thought were sleepless nights, I’m drawn to DP World Tours latest offering; the Volvo Car Scandinavian Mixed. It’s the final round and 22 year old rising star Linn Grant is 16 under and two in front of Aussie Jason Scrivener. Clearly this event needed birdies to help it succeed and it didn’t disappoint. The commentary team was again headed up by another one of our own the very polished Alison Whitaker. It did miss Radar Riley on course but Anthony Wall and Jamie Spence kept it flowing with the occasional funny line. Just like Australia’s brilliant “Players Series” events where Hanna Green created history by beating the blokes at Cobram earlier in the year this final round looked like it could present something special.

It was definitely just that! Linn Grant has burst onto the professional scene with two wins in her first 6 events but what she did in this round was flat out extraordinary. Poor old Scriv was left bobbing around in her wake as she didn’t miss a shot or a putt for that matter, posting 64 and winning by 9 shots. Keep an eye on this kid, readers, she has a great action and has “superstar” written all over her forehead!

If that tournament wasn’t enough for the golfing senses, then before I can make another Larry Latte up comes final round coverage of the RBC Canadian Open and its none other than one my favourite players (sorry Adam), Rory McIlroy battling against the guy I love to see beaten, Justin Thomas.

Apparently Canada hasn’t had a PGA Tour event for a couple of years due to Covid so there must have been 100,000 golf starved Canadian excited but well behaved punters following the final group. It had a brilliant vibe and I couldn’t take my eyes off the action…. God love the pause button, my prostate will be forever grateful!!

The usual CBS commentary team comprising another good balance of syrup – Jim Nantz, professionalism – Ian Baker Finch, and ego – Nick Faldo – were in charge with some help from Colt Knost on course who is becoming pretty funny and never short of that essential commentators ability to say something insightful when needed.

This event was like watching a major with the hero and the villain going great shot for great shot down the stretch. Rory finally got the better of the recent PGA Champ and hoisted the trophy in front of a Rory-ing crowd of appreciative Canadians… Kids it just doesn’t get much better than this years Canadian Open!

All politics aside – The LIV Golf team had a pretty good product and it was definitely intriguing to watch the new format of the game. Before this week began there was a fear from PGA Tour and DP World Tour people that LIV Golf would command the attention of the golfing world and draw attention away from their respective events….. With the help of Sweden’s new star, Linn Grant and Rory McIlroy who ironically has been LIV’s highest profile detractor, I think it was LIV who came out a close third on the list. Not to say they cant comeback with a flourish this month when they head to the States though. It’s certainly a weird but brilliant time to be a golf spectator, don’t you think?

British Open in a couple of weeks… I’d better grab some more supplies of Vottoria 100% Arabica and some Golden Bakery Crumpets. Might need some more honey to keep me awake.. Phew.

 

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