Welcome to Teeing Off, where Devil Ball editor Shane Bacon and national columnist Jay Busbee take a day's topic and smack it all over the course. Suggest a future topic by hitting us on Twitter at@shanebacon and @jaybusbee. Today we discuss the terminology of the oldest major championship in golf.
Busbee: Here we are again at the third major of the year. And, like clockwork, the first time each year I refer to it as the British Open, I get a barrage of testy emails from across the pond: "OI! YANK! IT'S THE BLOODY OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP, WOT! PIP PIP CHEERIO!" Or something like that. So what, sir, is your preference? British Open or Open Championship?
Bacon: Now this is one of those situations I'm very torn on. On the British Open hand, I understand why we Americans don't go out of our way to call it the OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP! We have an Open, Australian has one, even France hosts a national championship, and while the British has been around much longer, there is another Open that is considered a major championship and the distinction between the two is helpful for fans and readers.
On the other hand, I'm a Brit golfer at heart, a man that would rather walk 18 dumpy holes on a links course than play the finest manicured golf course in the United States, so a part of me likes it being The Open. I'm torn. Which one makes the most sense?
Busbee: From a practical perspective, "British Open" makes the most sense. But then again, other locales around the world use the designation "US Masters" for that little tournament in April, and that's just silly. (Note: Tiger Woods is already a 5/1 favorite NEXT year.) As a result, I'm starting to like the poetry of "The Open Championship." I'm sure I'll use both interchangeably, but maybe those mouthy Brits got to me this year.
But let's zero in on your love of links golf. For those of us who've never had the glory of playing in Scotland, what's it really like? What are the true differences between golf's ancestral home and your local muni?
Bacon: Well, part of it is the fact that golf's ancestral home looks like your local muni, and that is part of the reason why you love it.
I think links golf is simply the purest form of the golf, a way to play golf by having to find that creative button internally for all 18 holes, putting from 50 yards off the green and hitting clubs you'd never pull while playing a tree-line golf course. It's a beautiful change of pace to the game of golf, like when tennis goes through the clay court season, and it doesn't hurt that all the courses across the pond have more history on a single green than most courses here have in their entire existence.
Busbee: Yes, yes, that's all well and good, but give us the real story, sir: who has the better after-round beer selection, us or them?
Bacon: As I always say, the best post-round beer is the one you have after making a birdie on the 18th. Everything else tastes the same, no matter the country.
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