The U.S. Open played out this week just the way we hoped it wouldn’t, the way most other PGA golf tournaments have played out this year: One guy plays inspired golf, and the rest of the field scuffs about not making a charge. Hats off to Martin Kaymer; his game was transcendent. But again the weekend was free of thrills and compelling story lines.
Which is why the only golf story that drew our eye this morning was the one about commentator Roger Maltbie’s golf cart chauffeur getting busted for DWI after running over a state trooper's foot outside the ropes, then fleeing the scene.
“I’m supposed to get the cart to Roger!” driver Thomas Lineberry was heard to exclaim importantly as the trooper chased him down on a presumably sore foot, jumped the cart, and cuffed him. The scene had to be jarring in the sedate world of major golf tournament spectating, and had none of the goofy Caddyshack charm of Bill Murray’s midnight cart ride through downtown Stockholm, Sweden, a few years ago.
Still, with so little of interest happening on the course, the beer concessions must have done a particularly brisk business at Pinehurst No. 2. Why crowd five-deep outside the ropes to get a glimpse of the battle for second?
It was a tepid farewell for NBC, which after 20 years is losing the U.S. Open broadcast rights to Fox. Their 20 hours of live coverage yielded not a minute of drama. Certainly there were no fireworks in the ratings, which have been falling precipitously all year. The Players Championship last month (also won by Kaymer), for instance, saw its Sunday ratings drop 54 percent from last year. Of course, Tiger won that one over an imploding Sergio Garcia in dramatic fashion.
Anyway, it's getting harder these days to argue with people who say watching golf is boring. Next time we'll cut the lawn or go to the beach or play some golf instead.
Photos by Erik S. Lesser / Landov