Friday, April 19, 2013

Sssshhh...Australia Won A Sporting Competition

We have a winner, finally. Adam Scott has broken through the final glass ceiling of golf and won the American Masters. In his generous acceptance speech he praised and thanked Greg Norman arguably Australia’s greatest golfer who famously lost the Masters in playoffs or just making a complete dogs breakfast of crucial shots in the final round of tournaments which also makes him one of Australia’s greatest sporting “chokers”. He is right up there in his ability to snare defeat from the jaws of victory with the Collingwood Football Club, which managed to lose 8 Grand Finals in the 1970s in an era known colloquially as the Colliwobbles.

There is no question about the difficulty of the game, but why does the crowd have to be silent? I could understand the level of concentration needed if a ball of that size was being hurled at the player by the opposition like baseball. But is not. The ball is sitting still on a tee, just like t-ball and then on the ground like croquette. In each of these games the crowd can cheer in fact participants even talk to each other. And there is no opposition.

It is only tennis that seems to frown on spectators actually getting involved in the activity. But I am too busy trying to work out how the scoring system was devised to worry about tennis crowds. 15, 30, 40, the intervals are not even equal...

Basketball the crowd jump up and down behind the transparent backboard whilst the player is trying to shoot a basket. In football (soccer) there are songs, chants, fights and flares in the crowd and the game continues unheeded. Sure nothing really happens during the game and it could be argued that if the crowd was a bit quieter that the teams might be able to concentrate more and the game would become higher scoring. It could equally be argued that if the players did more on the field there would be less need for the spectators to entertain themselves by rioting.

Ice hockey the spectators are right up banging on the glass while the puck moves across the ice at up to 190kph. Cricket fielders have to concentrate on balls coming at them at similar speeds of the bat or from great heights to take a catch. They have to concentrate on the ball as it moves across the colourful moving and loud back drop of spectators. And they do time after time after time.

In darts they have to throw a weapon at a designated area on a circle of cork that is hung nearly 2.5m away. The spectators are loud, drunk and occasionally yobbish. Heck the players are sometimes seen competing with a beer in their hand.

And yet in golf...quiet please.


Earlier I said that there was no opposition, technically that is misleading as there are other competitors in a game of golf, and the winner is ultimately the player with the overall lowest score. However the competition is really between the individual and the course, as the game’s of the other players do not directly impact on anybody else’s game. It would be a much more interesting game if there was an opposing player trying to stop the ball from entering the cup. Like a goalie. The defender would not be allowed to leave the green and would have to knock the ball back using a club either on the full or after only one bounce from the approach shot. If the ball gets through and stops on the green then the attacking player gets one shot at the hole, like a penalty shot in so many other sports.

What did Adam Scott win for his efforts? US $1.4 million, a trophy (name on the real one and a replica to keep) and a green jacket. Keeping with golfing traditions I think it more appropriate that is they are awarding garments that the winner should be given a pair of tartan knickerbockers.

That would shut everyone up!

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