Monday, July 21, 2008

The Sun Never Rises

Apparently last night Greg Norman lost the British Open. Yep, he lost again. Or was it that he failed again. Or perhaps he choked. Take your pick - Mark Beretta on Sunrise this morning did.

One of the problems with wanting to know the news each morning before work is that if you want to see it on TV you need to choose between Sunrise and The Today Show. There's a lot to dislike about both, and only a little to like.

Watching Karl Stefanovic on Today each morning trying to be just that little bit more obnoxious than he was the day before is always worth a minute or two just to see if he succeeds (invariably he does); and over on Sunrise there's always some burning issue for them to get people to email them about (what do you think of celebrity baby names? do you leave note when you dent someone's car in the car park? the Middle East problem - give us your solution).

One good thing about them both being on at the same time is that they are very easy to compare - a quick flick to the other channel generally sees the other program doing a story on exactly the same issue. One would almost think there was a cynical formula involved... This morning the choice of sport discussion was between Ken Sutcliffe on Today, and Sunrise "family member" Mark Beretta.

Now Sutcliffe could bore for Australia and he knows it, so to cover himself he makes sure he knows what he's talking about. Thus, he quite succinctly told the story of the British Open from the view point of someone who had actually watched the event.

The story is, sad to say, Padraig Harrington played great and Norman just couldn't stay with him. Too good, no choke, just that it's always going to be tough to beat a top line pro when you only play once in every while. Well done Norman; finishing third is amazing, and a sight better than Mickelson, Scott, Ogilvy, Singh et al etc.

Over on Sunrise, let's cross to Berrets for the sport, and Mark what happened to Greg Norman?? Well Nat, that's the 9 million dollar question [my memory might be a bit off, but I swear he said 9 million] as Greg Norman once again failed to win a major after going into the final round as the leader. Fail, choke, lost (not actually sure if he got around to mentioning who won - I know it didn't get a run on the scroll across the bottom of the screen) etc et al.

Now this was no surprise, as my decision on which program to watch is always made easy at around 6:50 when on Sunrise Berretta and Jim Wilson discuss the day's sporting issues. Both spend the next five minutes desperately trying to come across as the least knowledgeable about sport, and the most strident against whatever issue they can think of on the spot (there seems to be no evidence of preparation). The standard line, particularly from Wilson, is "Kochie, we have to stamp out this type of behaviour..."

As soon as I see those two appear I flick quickly to Today (or usually go and iron my shirt as I think Today at that point is crossing to some "insider" in LA for a Hollywood update that I could have given them two days ago when I read it on perezhilton).

Apart from Sunrise, most of the news reports on the British Open were balanced. Most mentioned the Norman history, but also acknowledged a 53 part time businessman coming third in the open was pretty amazing. The best article unsurprisingly was from an American organisation: Gene Wojciechowski focused on the fact the story may seem the same, but it isn't - Norman is different, sure he wanted to win (and let's be honest 95% of those watching did too) but now he knows it's just a game of golf.

So bad luck Greg I says, and also sorry, because have to admit I let the side down. I was able to stay up until the 13th hole whereupon my brain shut down and I needed sleep. At that point Norman was tied for the lead. His score after then was: Bogie, Par, Birdie, Par, Par, Bogie - so he shot 1 over when the heat was really on (yep big choke that). Unfortunately for Norman my going to sleep coincided with Harrington going on an absolute tear: Birdie, Par, Birdie, Par, Eagle, Par - 4 under (just great golf).

So if anyone choked it was me, after watching Simon Gerrans win the stage in the tour de France, channel surfing onto foxtel to watch Patrick Swayze kick ass in Road House (it's amazing how intelligent a script that contains the line "Pain don't hurt" can seem at 1:30am) and also enduring the replay of the Crows losing against Port, I gave up.

Six holes more and who knows, we might have got there. But nope, I flew the white flag and squibbed it when it mattered. No doubt Norman over at Royal Birkdale felt my absence, and lost all spark; Harrington also sensing this began to play with renewed confidence (or perhaps I'm taking this a bit to personally.... nah!).

Oh well, by coming third, Norman automatically qualifies to play at next year's US Masters. I'm setting my alarm already.

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