While the rest fo­cus on the World Cup, the Yanks are drool­ing over Peb­ble Beach

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

NO doubt the World Cup is a very big deal but we de­lude our­selves if we be­lieve the en­tire sport­ing planet is closely watch­ing our ev­ery move.

The North Amer­i­cans, for in­stance, are not en­gaged in the vu­vuzela de­bate nor do they care how much we spent on sta­di­ums nor will they even won­der where some­one found enough shiny grey ma­te­rial to make that vast suit for Diego Maradona (at least a mil­lion poor lit­tle polyesters died in that par­tic­u­lar cause).

As usual, the Yanks are in their own par­al­lel sport­ing uni­verse.

A few might have paid at­ten­tion to the US game yes­ter­day but most still think Slove­nia is a town in North Dakota be­cause they only had eyes for the cli­max to the bas­ket­ball sea­son as his­toric ri­vals the Bos­ton Celtics and the LA Lak­ers took the cham­pi­onship se­ries to a win­ner-takes-all sev­enth game.

When they got over that ex­cite­ment, they would choose be­tween the Yan­kees play­ing the Phillies in a reg­u­lar sea­son re-run of last year’s base­ball World Se­ries, this week­end’s NASCAR rac­ing from some­where called Sonoma or the US Open golf at Peb­ble Beach.

The lat­ter I can re­ally un­der­stand as Peb­ble Beach pro­vides one of the world’s great­est sport­ing back­drops.

As with the Monaco Grand Prix and the Tour de France, you spend as much time watch­ing the scenery as you do the com­peti­tors.

It’s an as­tound­ing place with no less than seven cour­ses in one tiny slice of a spec­tac­u­lar part of Cal­i­for­nian coast.

Even though the town it­self is en­tirely pri­vately owned by a com­pany whose main share­hold­ers in­clude Clint East­wood and Arnie Palmer, the cour­ses are all pub­lic.

Any­one can play them. Well, any­one who can af­ford the $495 green fee for the Open venue plus an oblig­a­tory two-night ho­tel stay at a min­i­mum of $1,200.

Those prices killed any thoughts I had of tak­ing on the sig­na­ture 17th hole dur­ing a visit there a long while ago but I did walk past that dra­matic cliff-top green where Tom Wat­son chipped in to steal the 1982 US Open from Jack Nick­laus – a grip­ping moment which is in my per­sonal kyk weer video bank (some­thing ev­ery sports ob­ses­sive pos­sessed in the days be­fore YouTube).

I was al­ways a Wat­son fan and rel­ished his oc­ca­sional tri­umphs over the Golden Bear.

Which begs the ques­tion, why? Loy­al­ties are weird things. Ob­vi­ously we sup­port Ernie and any­one else car­ry­ing our flag on their bag but why do I also want Mick­el­son, Harrington, McIlroy or Gar­cia to win this Open while hop­ing that Woods, Singh, Stricker and West­wood will miss the cut?

Ac­tu­ally I do know why I want Lee West­wood to fail.

As the leader go­ing into the fi­nal round of this year’s Masters, the English­man knew full well he would spend most of that Sun­day on my TV screen yet he chose to wear a nasty fire­man-red shirt matched with white trousers, white belt and white shoes.

That hor­ren­dous “Abba/ used-car sales­man” look cost him my sym­pa­thy for ever­more.

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