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Was that really a "major" golf event?

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Column by Jim Clark

No one can ever accuse me of being a golfer. I have played one round of golf in my life, and shot a 103. Oh, did I mention it was a nine-hole course?
That was back when I was 16 and my dad tried to teach me on a simple little course at a place called Mystic Islands, New Jersey. My dad was good at a lot of things, but he didn’t succeed at this one, although it probably wasn’t his fault.
That’s why I’ve grown up rarely watching golf on television, except for the majors and the TPC at Sawgrass, which I personally attended once.
Last weekend we had a “major,” the U.S. Open, played somewhere near San Francisco on the West Coast.
The way the golfers played, it didn’t seem like a major. No one was under par.
If I want to watch a bunch of golfers who can’t break par, I can go sit out near the 18th hole at the Municipal Golf Course in Ocala.
Turning on the U.S. Open this year was like turning on the Super Bowl, and instead getting a Pop Warner game. I could just envision golfers all over the country saying, “I can do that.”
This tournament ends on Father’s Day, the third Sunday in June. What’s the matter? Couldn’t they find a place where June means summer weather? Players were wearing sweatshirts and other paraphernalia to keep warm. On Sunday, a “sea fog” was rolling in off the Pacific to give the golfers just another distraction.
Of course, when I bothered to listen, the commentators were gushing positives about the course, but I would imagine the USGA would make sure they were never heard from again if they dared to criticize anything.
There also seems to be some sort of controversy surrounding Johnny Miller, who was commenting for NBC. I’m not sure why, but then again I try not to listen too much to the analysts, who are usually wrong.
One of the big stories over the weekend was about a 17-year-old kid from California, wearing a University of Texas shirt, who was actually in contention. He faded on Sunday and didn’t even end up as the low amateur.
Then there was Tiger Woods, who was in the lead briefly during the first two days, then crashed and burned on the weekend. When they interviewed Woods after Sunday’s round, he said that there were a lot of positives he could take away from his failure to win another major. Could have fooled me.
Some guy named Webb Simpson won the tournament. It finished on Sunday after 10 p.m., and, well, when you get up before sunrise that’s well past bedtime. I saw a tape Monday of the post-tournament interview, which was crashed by someone. As the intruder was being hauled away, Simpson commented, “Hope you enjoy the jail cell, buddy.” At least this guy Simpson had a good sense of humor.
So what comes next? Why, it’s the British Open, which is usually played on a course that’s a code enforcement officer’s dream, one with knee-high weeds. Would it be too much to ask that the Brits play this tourney on a course that owns a lawn mower?
Jim Clark is the editor of the South Marion Citizen. He can be reached at editor@smcitizen.com or at 352-854-3986.

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