Enjoying the Open Experience

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Im not a movie man. At least when it involves going to a theater. Theyre noisy, disruptive and uncomfortable. Cell phones ring; people chatter; its devoid of decorum and manner.
 
Or maybe Im just old.
 
Id much rather sit at home with my fiance, in peace and quiet, and simply watch the movie unfold ' unfettered to enjoy.
 
Of all the elements that comprise the cinematic movie experience, nothing is more irksome than sitting in the vicinity of a restless soul ' one who must know the Who, Why, What and How five minutes into the flick; one who cannot enjoy the Experience.
 
The best movies dont give everything away early. They establish the characters, but present plenty of plotlines and possible scenarios. You wonder ' to yourself ' what will unfold, but, if youre willing, you can sit back and suspended disbelief for a few hours and just enjoy the Experience.
 
Golf, at times, is good theater. The British Open, more often than not, is good television. When you wake up, the final few groups are nearing the first tee. Its not like, say, the PGA Championship, where the most exciting action over the first two hours of coverage is watching the top players on the leaderboard exiting their rental cars and traversing the parking lot to the clubhouse.
 
The 133rd British Open had all the makings of a classic drama. It had the setting: the true links of Royal Troon, perfect for a black-and-white noir. It had the cast: four of the top six players in the world within four shots of one another, and a few intriguing, shadowy figures. It had the payoff: winner gets the Maltese Falcon of golf (the gold and jewel-encrusted one, not the one made of lead).
 
Wake up, tune in, and enjoy the Experience.
 
It started slowly, allowing us to wipe away the sleep from our eyes and ease into the championship.
 
Then, Bang! Crank the dimmer to the right and shed some serious light on this baby.
 
Thomas Levet pitch-in eagle; Tiger Woods hole-out bunker birdie; Barry Lane eagle putt. All within minutes of one another.
 
Thank you, boys, weve got some Major G, as a buddy of mine likes to say.
 
The plotline was thicker than a Scottish fog. The scenarios were multiplying like Gremlins, bouncing around like a candy-eating kid without Ritalin.
 
Phil Mickelson chips-in for eagle on 4. Ernie Els birdies 3 and 4. Todd Hamilton birdies 4 and 5. Tiger adds another birdie at 6.
 
Major G! (The G stands for Golf, if you're wondering.)
 
A great movie doesnt continually add new characters to the mix. That gets too convoluted. Instead it narrows down the cast to the principal few. That allows you to maintain a focus while further developing the featured players.
 
As this drama unfolded, some of the cast was cast aside. Retief Goosen played only a small role this Sunday, and his character surprisingly exited early. It was like watching an actor who makes $10 million a movie catch a bullet a half-hour in. Woods played one of those Alec Baldwin roles, where he added some interest and excitement. But he proved to be just a supporting figure who didnt really affect the outcome.
 
Levet hung around until a bogey at 15; Lane disappeared and no one noticed.
 
In the end ' to write the ending ' there were three.
 
Here was the thing, though: the three principals were two A-list actors and a guy with only one staring role on his resume ' save for a handful of B-movies.
 
Hollywood might write this script ' its a good one ' but Tom Cruise and Denzel Washington dont get upstaged.
 
This isnt Hollywood, however; its Major G! Where reality TV is real and the players write the script themselves.
 
And we get to sit back and enjoy the Experience. And what an experience it was.
 
Mickelson with his multitude of pars, his birdie at 16, his near-flawless round.
 
Hamilton with his birdie at 11, his chip-in birdie at 14, his birdie at 16, his hold-your-breath missed opportunity at 18.
 
Els with his what-are-you-kidding-me? par from the bushes at 11, his 50-foot birdie at 13, his must-make birdie at 16, his must-make birdie at 17, his hold-your-breath missed opportunity at 18.
 
Final hole of regulation, no idea how the story is going to end ' and it doesnt end. It keeps going.
 
More Major G!
 
Sometimes movies tend to extend themselves a tad too long. A great 2-hour movie is stretched, and yet reduced to a pretty good 2-and-a-half hour version.
 
That's what happened here.
 
If Els makes birdie on 18 in regulation: Instant Classic! If Hamilton makes par on 18 in regulation: Instant Classic!
 
Instead, Hamilton makes four pars in the playoff; Els makes three pars and a bogey.
 
Not the greatest script ever written, or the most appealing visual ever witnessed. But, overall, well worth watching. And a pretty good exeperience.
 
Email your thoughts to Mercer Baggs
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - 133rd Open Championship
  • British Open Photo Gallery

  • Full Coverage - 133rd Open Championship