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By Drew Markol, TSN Contributor - Archive - Email
Nobody asked me, but...
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Maybe one of these years I'll get the British Open. Maybe not.

Oops, did I say British Open? It's just the Open Championship for a large chunk of the world, pardon me for that.

For me, though, it will always be the British Open. And from this corner of the globe, it's the worst of the majors for a couple of reasons.

Let's start with what we see, or, in the case of the "Open", what we don't see. Perhaps it's poor camera work, but trying to see the ball on television is next to impossible.

The bump-and-run shot is always a popular one for players in the tournament. The problem is, it's not a good one for cameramen.

The ball just gets lost on the fairways, not a good thing in any sport. Add in the sometimes brown course conditions, well, sometimes its a little off. We'll just call them always brown. Not a good look.

Also, another problem is the wide open courses. (The Open layouts are links style, meaning few trees). And perhaps the biggest problem, what we see from the British Open, is not what we're used to seeing from tournaments here.

In general, the British Open is just all so confusing.

Yes, yes, I know what you're thinking. It's just another ugly American complaining about things not being perfect.

We want green everything and true bounces. And we want to see the ball at every instant. And let's not forget about all of those cool overhead shots provided by the MetLife blimp.

Yes, we need all of that. And I don't think it's too much to ask. Call me anything you like.

But wait, like they say on those loud TV commercials, there's more.

The weather: Sweaters one day, rain gear the next, short sleeves another day and sometimes all three in one round. It just doesn't look like much fun and is not much for the chamber of commerce to work with.

The field: I watch a lot of golf, you watch a lot of golf. Tell me, honestly, do you know half the guys who play in the Open? I'd be lying if I said I did. It's the old "you can't tell the players without a program" thing. I don't want to have to have a program to watch a golf tournament.

The Claret Jug: Maybe it's just me,(again), but trophies for winning need to be big. The Claret Jug looks like something you'd get for winning your local club championship.

It reminds me of the trophy they give to the team that wins the World Cup. That thing is about the size of a half gallon of milk. You'd expect more from both.

The crowds: Where are they? Somebody could get shot in the gallery and there wouldn't be a witness to the crime. I'm just amazed at how few people actually go out and watch the "Open." Maybe they're cold, I don't know.

I do like those pot bunkers, though. Watching the best players trying to get out of them is fun.

I do love the game of golf.

I thank the Scots for inventing the game so long ago.

I enjoy seeing players from all over the world competing against one another, making it a truly international game. (Not that long ago, many Americans didn't even bother to make the trip overseas because playing in the Open, and getting to it, was not worth the hassle. But that was then).

The bottom line: What I don't like is, that for one four-day stretch a year, when so much is at stake in a tournament, it's simply hard to watch and hard to enjoy.



Drew Markol has been a sportswriter and columnist for several newspapers in the Philadelphia area for more than 25 years.

Copyright 2012