Russ Kent column: Bad weather makes British Open better


Russ Kent - Galion Inquirer



Summer is my favorite season, mostly because I’m a fan of beaches. Any beach, near any ocean.

I don’t get to the beach as much as I’d like, or as much as I used to.

But in spirit, I’m there right now.

I have a door next to my desk at work. It opens to Harding Way. If the weather is pleasant, the door is open. I love the fresh air, and the sound of the outside.

A few minutes ago someone walked by that open door. It was apparent to me they had recently applied coconut-scented suntan lotion, one of the greatest scents of all time.

It’s right up there with fresh-baked bread, bacon and this oldie from the past: Love’s Fresh Lemon perfume.

Back in the day — when I was a fifth- or sixth-grader — a bottle of that stuff cost maybe $1.99, and that was a big bottle. I just did an Internet search and learned Love’s Fresh Lemon perfume has been discontinued. But, if you can find a bottle, and it’s not rancid, it can go for up to $100 an ounce.

I should have kept a couple of those jugs I bought instead if giving them to my girlfriend.

But back to summer. To me, summer also means golf. And although I’m not good at it, I play when I can.

Someone smarter than me said once: “A bad day on the golf course is better than the greatest day in an office.”

It’s so true.

But even watching golf on TV is better than working in an office.

Which leads me to the U.S. Open and the British Open — two of the greatest TV spectacles of all time.

The U.S. Open — except for this year for some reason — is always the toughest test of the season for golfers. The rough is always long and thick and luscious, the greens are lightning fast and the fairways are a lot-less wide than they are in other tournaments.

That translates to a lot of golfers trying to hit a lot of balls out of a lot of bad places.

To a bad golfer, watching the best golfers in the world struggle to break par is fun.

This year’s U.S. Open was in Wisconsin, on a links style golf course with fairways about a mile wide. There was trouble for golfers with errant — really erran — ttee shots, but it wasn’t the fun I look forward to every year.

I was a bit disappointed.

For that reason, I’m hoping for snow and ice and 50 mph winds at the 146th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale next month.

Royal Birkdale is a links course. I has sand and wispy grass, tight fairways, difficult buners and less-than-easy greens.

This is how the course is described on www.theopen.com, the official website of the British Open.

“Situated in the North West coast of England, Royal Birkdale is one of the world’s most magnificent links. Fairways weave through the imposing sand dunes that tower over the course, providing wonderful vantage points for spectators at The Open. One of the most demanding opening holes of any of The Open’s host venues sets the stage for a true test of links golf, made more challenging when the unrelenting wind blows from the Irish sea.

Tight fairways require accurate ball-striking, with few consecutive holes playing in the same direction. The finishing hole plays toward Royal Birkdale’s distinctive white Art Deco clubhouse, overlooking the 18th green where the 2017 Champion Golfer of the Year will be crowned.”

That description sounds almost diabolical to a golfer with a handicap somewhere in excess of 20. But throw in 30-40 mph winds, a little rain and temperatures in the 50s and the course may get downright evil.

And that’s the kind of golf I like to watch.

The fact they start broadcasting in America at something like 4 a.m. is also great for an early-riser like myself.

It’s fun to see professional golfers struggling to find fairways and greens. That’s how I play golf.

Action tees off July 16th at Royal Birkdale. I hope bad weather arrives the same day.

Summer also is the season of Major League Baseball, but I think I’ve lost interest in America’s favorite sport.

Wake me in August, or September.

That leaves preseason NFL training camps and the NBA draft?

No thanks. Also too boring.

However, the NBA is trying to change that.

In the age of $200 million contracts and super teams, it’s been kind of fun hearing stories about the efforts of have-nots trying to become one of the chosen teams.

All the sniping and lying and fake news releases are actually kind of amusing.

In the past few days — since losing in the NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors — the Cavs seem to have imploded.

Or have they?

I don’t know what’s true anymore.

I’ve not heard coming from the Cavs’ players, but sports media and social media are having a great time speculating and pondering and drooling about the demise of the best team in the NBA’s Eastern Conference.

I don’t know how bad things really are in Cleveland, but all the speculation is fun.

Is this really just one more opportunity for the national media to bash LeBron James?

In the NFL it’s the season of mini camps and OTAs. I still don’t know what OTA stands for, and I really don’t care.

Just start the season already. That’s when I’ll learn whether I can spend the fall golfing on Sundays — as I have the past 20 years — or if it may be worth it to stay home and watch the Cleveland Browns.

Here’s a clue, I already purchased two boxes of extra white golf balls that are perfect for fall play.

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Russ Kent

Galion Inquirer

Russ Kent is editor of the Galion Inquirer, Morrow County Sentinel and Bellville Star. Email him at rkent@aimmediamidwest.com with comments or story ideas.

Russ Kent is editor of the Galion Inquirer, Morrow County Sentinel and Bellville Star. Email him at rkent@aimmediamidwest.com with comments or story ideas.