It’s that time of year again, the time when I get super annoyed by ESPN’s refusal to call the British Open the British Open. When I was a young golf fan in the 80s and 90s, golf had four major tournaments: the Masters, the U.S. Open, the British Open, and the PGA. The British Open was then known as the British Open because, unlike the U.S. Open, it was played in Great Britain. Calling the British Open the British Open made a lot of sense and seemed to work quite well for a lot of years. Here is what the television coverage looked like in 1995:
Somewhere along the line, somebody decided that we have to stop calling the British Open the British Open and instead call it the Open Championship, because that’s what the Brits call it. So now when you watch the television coverage, you hear the phrase “Open Championship” approximately every twelve seconds.
Why does this bother me so much? Probably because it shows how damn insecure we are as a nation. Yeah, we have our johnny-come-lately U.S. Open–which has been contested for 120 years–but it’s not the real Open.
As Bill Maher recently pointed out, we’re also insecure about the way we talk. We think everything sounds better if it’s said in a British accent. And so the baby on Family Guy, born and living in Rhode Island, has a British accent, as does one of the leading conservative talk radio hosts (even though he’s Canadian!). We lavish praise and Oscar nominations on utterly unremarkable movies just because they’re British. And on it goes.
Maher thinks it’s because on some level, we recognize that we are a fundamentally unserious country. Maybe he’s right. We do live in a country where millions of people believe, or at least claim to believe, that Donald Trump should be President of the United States. Maybe our country really isn’t as good as their country, and our Open isn’t as good as their Open. But I kind of miss the days when we at least pretended that we were capable of producing stuff as good as the stuff over there.
Anyway, enjoy the
British Open Open Championship, everyone!