Chris Baldwin This Week at WorldGolf.com: June 22, 2005

Harmony in foreigner finally
winning the U.S. Open

The most ridiculous comment at the U.S. Open had to be the yahoo in the gallery who shouted out, "USA! USA!" as Tiger Woods walked down a fairway in full duel with Michael Campbell. Easily heard over the fake bird chirps piped into the NBC telecast (seriously, they’re fake), it almost made you want to root for New Zealand’s own.

I’m as red, white and blue, apple-pie loving as the next guy, but let’s face it, sometimes as Americans we’re insular and so certain of our sports superiority. This isn’t about one Budweiser-fueled dork who decided a golf tournament was a referendum on national allegiance. It’s about the kind of attitude that many foreign players perceive and Englishman Paul Casey clumsily but bravely articulated with his rant last winter about how he "properly hates" the conceited superstars on the U.S. Ryder Cup team and thinks American fans can be "bloody annoying."

In a related note, we checked and there’s no concrete evidence that our Paul Casey bashing obsessed National Golf Editor Tim McDonald was that yahoo chanting U.S.A. at Pinehurst No. 2.

No matter your view on Casey, though, it’s always good to be reminded that there’s a lot more to golf than what the 50 states have to offer. Sometimes it’s all about a Maori from New Zealand who keeps hitting gutty pressure shot after gutty pressure shot as everyone else succumbs to the USGA’s interpretation of an old Donald Ross layout. Campbell really did the unthinkable. He turned Tiger Woods’ professional grouch caddy Steve Williams, a fellow Kiwi, into a blubbering human.

"I think that," Williams told reporters at Pinehurst, "was the single greatest sports moment in New Zealand history."

And really who could argue? (Outside of maybe a few rich yachtsmen, and who really considers those guys athletes, anyways?) The greatest ever for an entire country. That’s pretty cool. No matter how much Tiger Woods breaks Jack Nicklaus’ majors win record by -- and he’s breaking it -- he’ll likely never be able to say that for his country.

Fittingly in this eye-opening U.S. Open, a South African pulled off a collapse for the ages as well. Retief Goosen lost his game and maybe his status as the fifth beetle in the supposed Big Five. It says here that Goosen is done as a major player after his Pinehurst meltdown, no matter if he follows the Rebel Blogger’s inspirational pep talk or not.

Just something else to think over from this Open that brought in the world. At WorldGolf.com, we’ve always appreciated golf outside the U.S. borders, whether it’s a great bear-beloved mountain course in Whistler, British Columbia, a brand new P.B. Dye in Cancun or a slow golf train through South Africa.

Heck, we’ve even put our favorite rude American in Italy.

As always your comments are welcome on any subject, including what this U.S. Open meant in your world.

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Paul CaseyPaul Casey shows
true colors at U.S. Open

Paul Casey, the Brit who has made disparaging comments about Americans, withdrew from last week's U.S. Open after shooting an 85. Casey didn't deign to give an explanation for his withdrawal, but blogger Tim McDonald says we can pretty much assume it was because of his bad golf. "Bad manners, bad golf, bad judgment," he writes. "This guy is getting to be more and more of a head case. Why doesn't he just move back to England." Other bloggers disagree, including reader Billy Millar, who writes, "Paul Casey deserves a little space to work it all out. It's always easy to be the critic from afar."
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In the past 10 years since, the Czech Republic and Prague in particular have enjoyed a renaissance fueled by a market-driven economy and a fortuitous location in the heart of Europe. What's more, even as Prague continues to polish itself, with many new hotels and restaurants sprouting up, it has remained significantly more affordable to visit than other European capitals. Of course, visitors to Prague should also save a little time on their itineraries in order to hit a quality golf course or two nearby.
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