Seely: Looking Back at A Classic British Open and Other Thoughts

Just when we had hopes that the addition of Mike Tirico and the solemnity of the British Open …

They just won’t shut up, will they?

Television networks spend a lot of money on on-course microphones, not only the equipment but on the people who trudge around holding that stuff. Today’s technology can pick up a fly’s buzzing from 50 yards and a fairway conversation between two male adults comes across like they’re on the next sofa.

There was plenty of good on-course conversation during the terrific final 18 at Troon but what we heard was non-interesting yakking among the too-many NBC talents who were competing for air time as much as Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson were competing for the Claret Jug (Quiz: what’s a “claret jug?” Answer later.)

Did we hear Mickelson discussion strategy with caddie Jim Mackay?

No, even though the microphone clearly picked up their conversation, it was drowned out by Gary Koch predicting that Mickelson was going to try and “chase” the ball down the fairway (Mickelson didn’t, as we would have known had we heard the fairway conversation rather than Koch.)

Maybe it’s the nature of beast.

Golf leaves so much dead time that the networks and their announcers feel that they need to fill this vacuum. That’s where we get non-funny people like Gary McCord and Peter Jacobsen being presented as being funny, Johnny Miller asking Roger Maltbie how much break there will be on the putt (“Inside right, Johnny,”) and post-round interviews that sound like those you hear from the sideline bimbos at football games (“What does this win mean for you?”)

• Looks like Russia is on the same level as San Francisco, Denver and Seattle when it comes to ingesting things you shouldn’t be ingesting. The world now knows the depth of their drugginess, reaching deep into their Olympic team, their most recognizable athlete (ohh, do we miss Maria Sharapova when tennis tournaments come on TV!) and whatever passes as their country’s sports leadership.

Maybe someone important should ask this question: what about those Russians in the National Hockey League?

• Might be politically incorrect to mention that the two big Texas football programs have black coaches who don’t seem to be very good. Both Charlie Strong (Texas) and Kevin Sumlin (Texas A&M) will get the gate if they don’t hit at least nine wins this season. Sumlin, for sure, is almost a dead man walking due to a mediocre record, discontent on his teams and bundles of booster dollars not making a difference. That’s why Larry Fedora, who was born in College Station and now coaches North Carolina, probably has his bags packed.

• A little insight on why the U.S. Women’s soccer team gets paid less than the men despite having approximately a thousand times more success: the competition. Until perhaps 15 years ago, world soccer was a man’s sport. Women didn’t play, women didn’t go to games. So, the national teams weren’t much, and in most cases they didn’t exist. In many cases today, they still don’t exist. Our ladies can stomp Third World teams while our men get throttled but that’s all going to shake out in a few years, particularly as Asia young girls grow up.

• Answer, and we’ll bet that those commentators who drop the phrase couldn’t answer it, either: back in the day … way back … claret wine was popular but was sold in container that easily identified the make and quality. So, the buyer would transfer the wine in an unmarked container, usually an earthen jug, so his guests could only guess at the type claret they were drinking. Thus, a claret jug.

Comments? I’m at [email protected].

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