Lytham’s toughest test – Tangly Rough or Tabloideeze?

We’ve had it for days now. The rough’s “unplayable,” “if you’re not hitting it straight your golf game will be going home in an ambulance.”

How did one typically wet British Summer and some fast growing rough grass at Royal Lytham and St Anne’s Golf Club, Lancashire, suddenly become a British tabloid media sensation?

Is this true?

The rough is so thick and the bunkers so deep that the greatest golfers in the world are all facing humiliation at the tip of a Lytham lancing.

The truth about media at The Open
Following the media hullabaloo surrounding the playing of this year’s Open Championship with interest has convinced me of one of two truths – either Lytham has been invaded by a horde of tabloid scribblers who know very little about golf – or there really isn’t much to write about in the run-up to Britain’s only Major Championship.

Tiger’s remark that the rough is almost “unplayable,” in places has been blown out of all proportion to suggest that he’s already a defeated man, to use one particular pun that he will be “ROUGHED UP,” by the Lancashire Links. Cleverly, Lee Westwood is the “NEARLEE MAN,” of the Majors – doomed never to receive the rewards he deserves.

Yes, the pros have been talking about the rough.

It’s thick, it’s deep, it is The Open for heavens sake?

If someone doesn’t look windswept, weather worn and in serious need of a whisky come time for the winning putt on Sunday then we golf fans will be sorely disappointed.

Royal Lytham and St Anne’s Golf Clubhouse – Open 2012

The creators of these bold and racy headlines are the sub editors back on the news-desks of newspapers like The Sun, Daily Mirror, Daily Star and Daily Mail and so it may not be fair to blame those that file the copy back in the ultra-modern Open media village.

Reporting from the Bollinger, sorry, Media Tent
While it’s true that many excellent golf writers will be covering the moving and shaking on Lytham’s leaderboards – often without leaving either the media centre or the beer/ Bollinger tent – it’s also true that lots of everyday hacks have been sent in by editors demanding gossip, dirt and lurid yarns with little to do with golf.

Now that Tiger has had his treatment for sex-addiction and Bubba has made his gaffs about France (read “Big Tower Thing” for Eiffel Tower), it seems like there isn’t much for the hacks to write about – other than Lee and Luke keep coming up short and Tiger seems more focused on making birdies than bedding them.

Lytham’s toughest test
Tabloideeze (cleverly compiled use of Tabloid and Sleeze) may be the biggest challenge the Pro’s face this week at Royal Lytham, not the jungle-like rough, or Sahara desert like bunkers, but if you are interested here’s the no-nonsense headlines ahead of The Open starting tomorrow:

1) The course is longer

2) There are 206 deep bunkers

3) The rain has made the rough grow thick – you could lose a ball if you go in it

4) The winner will drive straight and putt well and be good from the sand

5) Blackpool is full of bars and nightclubs where pros missing the cut will no doubt end up drunk and stupefied on Friday night

6) Rickie Fowler’s driver is Orange his waterproofs are blue

7) Bubba is not that bright

8) American golfers have won the last two Opens at Lytham (Tom Lehman and David Duval)

Given the lack of sensationalism in any of the stories above, here’s to watching the best Championship in the world of Golf and listening to Peter Aliss flit between brilliant prose and baffling bumbling.

Most of all, here’s to watching some great golf and seeing the stories of supreme athletic effort unfold in person or on our small screens.

One thing is for sure, it’s easy to understand why Nick Faldo once thanked the press “from the heart of his bottom,” when he collected the Claret Jug at Muirfield in 1992.

 What do you think of the media coverage of this year’s Open?

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