At the end of today’s Impromptus, I have a sprinkling of remarks about the Masters — about the TV coverage of the Masters, actually. And these remarks are complaints: crotchety complaints. By the evidence of my mail, readers are feeling a little crotchety along with me.
They share two complaints in particular: First, the Ryder Cup-ization of events such as the Masters. (Would you prefer an alternative spelling? “Ryder Cuppization”?) TV commentators pay ridiculous attention to nationality. One said, this past weekend, “There’s no American on the first page of the leaderboard!” Well, who cared? These were golfers, individuals all. And they were doing an intensely individual thing: competing in the Masters. Nationality has nothing to do with it, and the commentators were obsessed.
“Angel Cabrera is representing South America.” I heard that this weekend. Like hell, he was. He was representing Angel Cabrera — and ain’t nothing wrong with that. When Phil Mickelson wins, do I think it’s some great reflection on me, as an American? Heavens no. I sometimes even root for furriners. Do I get my citizenship revoked?
A reader puts it well: “The Masters is not supposed to be the Olympics, okay?” Okay!
Complaint No. 2: American commentators have adopted the British conceit, or habit, or practice, of calling the U.S. Open the “U.S. Open” and the British Open merely the “Open,” or “Open Championship.” That’s fine for Brits. I’d do it myself. But Americans need not comply. In context, either tournament is referred to as the “Open.” Otherwise, the modifier is in order. When Venturi holed out at Congressional, he threw up his tired arms and said, “My God, I’ve won the Open.” He did not say, “. . . I’ve won the U.S. Open.” (My grandfather was a marshal that year, just FYI — 1964.)
A reader says, “Yeah, kind of like when an American soccer announcer says, ‘Ireland have pulled ahead.’” Exactly.