Still Looking


Its an endless parade. And it is almost longer than the tournament itself. The press officials at the Open Championship march player after player after player into the interview room prior to the tournament.
And you sift through their pronouncements like a miner panning for a nugget of gold.
Tiger Woods is asked about a Toronto newspaper story reporting that a made-for-TV match pairing him with Annika Sorenstam against Canadians Mike Weir and Lorie Kane August 25. And he says thats the first hes heard of it. Oops.
But later Woods shows a contrarian side. Asked about the decision to change the difficult fourth hole from a long par 4 into a short par 5, Woods disagrees with almost everybody else, saying it was a good decision.
Its supposed to reward wedge shots in there, Woods says. So that was a good change. And he is spot on with his observation. One day Woods will make a terrific course designer if he so chooses.
You have to be patient with these players at these pressers. Not all of them have that much to say on the eve of a major championship. And not all the questions are worthy of thoughtful answers.
Like this one to Nick Faldo whose wife is due to deliver a child soon after the tournament:
Q: Is there a bigger chance for a fourth baby than a fourth title this week?
FALDO: Oh, you never know. I feel good at the moment. Ive played well this morning and dusted off the youngsters.
Not a very rich vein of verbal ore there.
Moving right along, PGA champion Rich Beem gives everybody hope. Anybody can do it, he says when asked about winning a first major. And Im proof of that. So I think I probably in some ways inspired some guys a little bit.
Did he, you wonder, inspire young Englishman Justin Rose?
More compelling was Beem on British suds: The beer is a little warm, but its not bad. After a couple'the first one, it goes down a little stiff, but after that'because its darker beer than Coors Light, which is 90 percent water.
Beems game is better than his syntax.
And you wince because you recall the trouble Beem got into with the local constables for swilling too freely the only other year he played in an Open Championship. Bottoms up, Beemer.
Padraig Harrington said this: I would suggest some familiarity with links golf is needed.
Ernie Els said this: I think the guys who have played here before definitely have a bit of an advantage.
Greg Norman, who won this tournament at this venue 10 years ago, said this: Past experience, yes, knowing the wind conditions.
You get the idea.
It is interesting to note that only six of the top 20 players in the world have played in an Open Championship at Royal St. Georges.
So you are tempted to say this golf tournament is wide open. But you dont because you saw Woods form with your own eyes at the Western Open, his last start.
Truth be told, almost every player in the field will be saying more compelling things once the tournament begins. The notable exception to this is Colin Montgomerie, the so-called best Wednesday interview in golf.
Monty can be positively erudite when he chooses to be so. And he can be positive churlish when he has just finished a round of golf that doesnt measure up to his enormous standards.
The bottom line is most of these guys are better players than they are speechifiers. The problem at the Open Championship is the practice rounds arent THAT compelling.
But the build-up is compelling. The tabloids need grist for their scurrilous mills. Legitimate broadcasters need sound bites and legitimate writers need quotes.
Im just not sure why they brought Phil Mickelson into the pressroom Monday. And Im not sure why Mickelson agreed to be interrogated, knowing most of the questions would either be about Woods or Mickelsons failure to have won a major at this relatively advanced stage of a brilliant career.
Phil Mickelson said this Monday when asked about Royal St. Georges: Its a wonderful, wonderful place.
No nuggets in this one, fill another pan...
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