Golf Tangent

This blog is supposed to be about soccer, but I can’t resist writing about other sports sometimes, particularly on issues in other sports that I feel are under-covered.  But I think I can always find a way to work soccer in, so I’ll write it anyway.

The US Open golf tournament was just staged in San Francisco this past weekend, and though I normally never follow golf I read a lot of coverage to see what it had to say about the course over by Lake Merced, the atmosphere in San Francisco, etc.  And it turns out the guy who won the tournament actually finished his round an hour before he actually won.  Webb Simpson played a solid final round, but because he wasn’t in the leader pack to start the day, he finished earlier than that group.  Then everyone in that group melted down and Simpson was left standing.  Shane Ryan here echoes what I was thinking as I read about the weirdness of this victory:

But it was a strange win. Golf is unique in the sense that a winner can, theoretically, emerge from any group on the course. The eventual champ can finish hours ahead of the final pairing and watch as they fail to match his total. Simpson, in the fourth-to-last group, saved his par on 18 more than an hour before the snail-like Furyk and the charging McDowell made things official, and was reduced to watching from the clubhouse. Unlike every other sport I can think of, when someone from the winning side has to be on the field of play at the final moment, a deferred triumph is possible in golf.

This strikes me as quite anti-climactic, but I don’t know what else golf can do about it.

The soccer angle: Italy beat Ireland 2-0 today, but there was no celebrating at the final whistle because they were awaiting the outcome of the Spain-Croatia game.  The celebration was delayed a few minutes for the other game to end.  It just goes to show you can’t always script the ideal ending in sports.  Sometimes you get a seventh game, sometimes you get a four-game sweep.  Sometimes you get a winning goal in extra-time, sometimes you get a 0-0 draw.  Such is life, and I think the lousy endings make the climactic ones all the more special.

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