A peek at golf, tennis and basketball
By Al S. Mendoza
GOLF, tennis and Philippine basketball grabbed sporting headlines this week.
Tiger Woods is back in golf’s big league, entering the British Open that is famously known simply as The Open.
To those not in the know, The Open is the oldest golf tournament in world.
First played at Prestwick on Scotland’s west course in 1860, it was played for the first time in 1873 at St. Andrews.
The Open is held alternately in four courses in Scotland and England, with Prestwick hosting it for the last time in 1925.
St. Andrews, which is hosting The Open that ends July 18, has hosted it more than the rest of the three other sites.
So illustrious is St. Andrews that many refer to it as the birthplace of golf.
I almost played the course in 1994, but a schedule mix-up aborted the historic attempt. From Glasgow, I hurriedly took a flight to London and, soaked in grief, repaired at a bar at Heathrow Airport. Hic!
Many legends of the game, both present and gone, have won at St. Andrews.
“If you are going to be a player that’s going to be remembered, you must win at St. Andrews,” said Jack Nicklaus in 2005.
In the list of the Honor Roll there, aside from Nicklaus, the owner of the all-time best of 18 majors, are Bobby Jones, Sam Snead, Peter Thompson, Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, John Daly and, of course, Tiger Woods, who won there in 2000 and 2005.
Nicklaus was a bit selfish in his assessment as golf greats like Walter Hagen, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Tom Watson and Phil Mickelson didn’t win at St. Andrews.
But that does not detract from the fact that the five are legends in their own right.
Of the five, only Mickelson, the 50-year-old lefty, remains active.
But Mickelson is in the same boat now as former fellow Open champions Greg Norman and Louis Oosthuizen for not being invited in the prestigious Dinner of Champions for Open winners on the eve of the event on July 14.
That’s because they joined the LIV Golf Series, a rival tournament financed by Saudi money.
Launched only last month—with Norman as the spearhead in poaching stars from the PGA Tour—winners in each of the eight legs will pocket a record $4 million.
Snubbing the LIV Golf Tour was Woods, who is in The Open after figuring in the single car crash in February last year that almost killed him, surviving amputation of his badly damaged right leg.
In tennis, Novak Djokovic, recent Wimbledon winner, has rejected the COVID-19 vaccine anew, threatening his stint in the US Open set next month in Flushing Meadows, New York.
He was deported from Australia last January for the same “offense” of entering the country unvaccinated, botching his defense of his Australian Open title won by Rafael Nadal.
And in the Philippine Basketball Association, rising star Paul Desiderio of Blackwater is under PBA investigation over his partner’s (Agatha Uvero) allegation of being a victim of domestic violence.
I pray it isn’t true. PBA players are looked up to by our youth as models of good manners and right conduct at all times.
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