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The Open: The game as it was meant to be played

After its cancellation last year, the PGA Tour’s Jim McCabe welcomes the return of The Open Championship at Royal St George’s this week; watch all four days of The 149th Open exclusively live on Sky Sports The Open

Last Updated: 12/07/21 4:27pm

The 18th green at Royal St George's ahead of The 149th Open

The 18th green at Royal St George’s ahead of The 149th Open

After its cancellation last year, the PGA Tour’s Jim McCabe welcomes the return of The Open Championship at Royal St George’s this week – “the game as it was meant to be played”.

For all the gallant efforts and judicious decisions made to stage most of the marquee golf championships during the pandemic world of 2020, a massive piece remained missing.

The Open Championship.

Unlike the Masters, which moved its tournament from April to November; or the US Golf Association, which pushed the US Open back from June to September; or the PGA of America, which changed its PGA from May to August, the R&A was handcuffed with far stricter lockdown rules set by the British government. In the end, the only prudent decision was to cancel.

It was the first time since the days of WWII (1940-45, to be exact) that we went without an Open Championship. And in all due respect to the Masters, US Open, PGA, Players Championship and a host of other tournaments, the golf world was lesser for missing the venerable Open.

Its history is that revered, the respect for it universally spread.

Not that it was always like that, of course. In fact, given the nature of transportation in the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s, players were not exactly hopping on steamships to sail the ocean blue. Ben Hogan famously played just once in The Open – an epic victory, of course.

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Byron Nelson played in 1937, but never again until 1955, long after he had pretty much retired from the weekly grind of the PGA Tour.

Sam Snead never endeared himself to British fans. Not on his first visit (1937, T-11), nor on his second, when he won at St Andrews in 1946 and disparaged the course to any reporter who would quote him. In 1960, Snead and Arnold Palmer won the Canada Cup in Ireland, but ol’ Sammy could not help himself. When asked if he would play The Open Championship, he said no.

“Look, man, I can win $ 3,500 if I take the British Open,” he said. “But there’s $ 9,000 to the winner at the Buick. So, what would you do?”

Truthfully, who cares what the reporters would have done, but Snead played the Buick Open, finished ninth and earned $ 1,550. Palmer, who got nipped by Kel Nagle, earned $ 2,520 for second place in the British.

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Speaking of Palmer, his is another name that represents the peculiarities of that era. When he won the first of his four Masters in 1958, Palmer was a hot commodity, but not a chance he was going to play The Open. Instead, in late June and early July he was second in the Buick Open, won Long Island Open, then played well in the Rubber City Open and Insurance City Open.

All were played six time zones from Royal Lytham St Anne’s.

Not that Palmer was criticised. It was the way of the golf world back then. Even the defending champion had to qualify for the Open Championship, so your tournament began with a fight just to outplay the 350 to 400 who teed it up in qualifying rounds.

To his credit, Palmer in 1960 deemed it his rightful duty to play in The Open, given that he had won the Masters and US Open and had a chance to win the vaunted grand slam.

Arnold Palmer won The Open in 1961

Arnold Palmer won The Open in 1961

He did not in ’60, of course, but he won the Open in 1961 and ’62 and pretty much established it as a mandatory challenge to any global golfer. Jack Nicklaus went even further when he said: “Any golfer worth his salt has to cross the sea and try to win the British Open.”

Using that as a measuring stick, one could suggest that American golfers amount to a massive pile of salt; 21 of them have accounted for more than half (31, to be exact) of the 60 Open Championships since 1960.

Tom Watson (five), Jack Nicklaus (three), and Tiger Woods (three) account for a good chunk of those, but the roster of American winners includes some notable names – Lee Trevino, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, David Duval, Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth.

Phil Mickelson navigates his way around Royal St George's in Monday's practice round

Phil Mickelson navigates his way around Royal St George’s in Monday’s practice round

You want a decade to ignite your Open Championship fever? Nothing beats the 1970s, when Nicklaus, Trevino, and Watson each won twice, and Weiskopf and Miller made it eight of 10 wins for Americans. The only two they didn’t win? Gary Player and Seve Ballesteros prevailed.

You want a reason to embrace this championship? Consider how Peter Thomson and Bobby Locke, iconic champions from Australia and South Africa, respectively, would travel outrageous distances for weeks, just to be part of a competition that is considered by most parts of the globe to be the true “world championship”.

Golfers from Japan and South America have been competing here for years; so, too, the Spaniards and Swedes, and Koreans and Canadians, and golfers from virtually every port in the world.

Patrick Cantlay was also familiarising himself with Royal St George's on Monday

Patrick Cantlay was also familiarising himself with Royal St George’s on Monday

So rich in history, so flavourful in a style of play that is seen far too infrequently in pro golf. Links. It is easy to romanticise about the firm turf, the pot bunkers, the wind-swept land, large and flag greens, and the tantalising way in which the ball bounces – sometimes into brutal unplayable heather and gorse – because this is how the game was introduced.

But because there is not much prime links land in the world – Scotland, England, Ireland and Australia dominate – most of the world’s golf courses that host tournaments are inland and built in a parkland style: Trees, plush green grass, much of it left to grow high to stymie golfers, putting surfaces with slopes and speeds.

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Mid-July offers a break from the mundane stretch of parkland courses, so here is a heartfelt thank you to the return of The Open Championship, to links, and to the pleasing vision of brown grass. Royal St George’s, this year’s host, might be the least attractive venue in the Open Championship line-up, but do not dismiss it.

To say you are only the ninth or 10th best course in the Open Championship rota is akin to saying you are only the ninth or 10th richest person in the world. Who would turn away such an honour?

No one, of course. So, after being rudely interrupted in 2020, The Open Championship is back. The game as it was meant to be played. Let the passion flow forth.

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James Michael Tyler, 'Friends' actor who played Gunther, reveals cancer diagnosis

Tyler said his diagnosis kept him from appearing in person on the HBO Max reunion of “Friends” in late May.

WASHINGTON — The actor who played Gunther in the hit TV show “Friends,” James Michael Tyler, revealed on Monday that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

During an interview with the TODAY show, Tyler said he was diagnosed in September of 2018. After additional testing, the former actor learned that it has progressed and spread to stage 4.

“I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, which had spread to my bones,” Tyler told the TODAY show’s Craig Melvin. “I’ve been dealing with that diagnosis for almost the past three years. … It’s stage 4 (now). Late stage cancer. So eventually, you know, it’s gonna probably get me.”

Tyler said his diagnosis kept him from appearing in person on the HBO Max reunion of “Friends” in late May. He said it was his decision not to appear via  Zoom call rather than person, but said it was “bittersweet.”

RELATED: Review: Tear-filled ‘Friends’ reunion doesn’t offer much more than other TV reunions

He first learned of his diagnosis during an annual checkup. Tyler said that the cancer eventually spread just in time for the pandemic, despite hormone therapy.

He added that because of the coronavirus pandemic, he missed an appointment which “was not a good thing.” He said his cancer “decided to mutate at the time of the pandemic, and so it’s progressed.”

Right now, Tyler said he is undergoing chemotherapy, but he wanted to push the importance of getting screenings and tests to be diagnosed early.

RELATED: ‘Friends’ reunion special trailer released by HBO Max

The American Cancer Society recommends that men of average risk should be tested around the age of 50, while others with a higher risk — including African American men and those with a family history of prostate cancer — should be tested by 40 or 45. However, the organization urges patients to speak with their doctor before getting a screening.

“A lot of men, if they catch this early, it’s easily treatable,” Tyler stressed. “I don’t want people to have to go through what I’ve been going through. This is not … an easy process.”

This post originally appeared on CBS8 – Entertainment

Wimbledon finals to be played in front of full stadium after Boris Johnson announcement

The men’s and women’s finals at the 2021 Wimbledon Championships will have a full capacity crowd, the government has confirmed. Boris Johnson addressed the country on Monday evening to confirm that ‘Freedom Day’ on June 21 would now be delayed until July 19 over concerns of rising cases in the Delta variant of coronavirus.

But the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport have now confirmed that restrictions will be eased for Wimbledon this year.

The tournament, which was postponed last year, is scheduled to start on June 28 with the world’s best players in action.

The All England Club had originally announced plans to operate at 25 per cent capacity for the two-week Grand Slam.

But that will now be increased to 50 per cent, meaning 21,000 spectators will be able to attend every day.

It means 45,000 fans may be allowed to watch the Euro 2020 final and potentially England in the last-16.

Gareth Southgate’s side must win their group to play at Wembley in the first knockout stage match.

And if they top Group D, then England could face Portugal, France or Germany for a place in the quarter-finals.

It will be the largest sporting crowd in the UK in more than 15 months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

There are also discussions ongoing about increasing capacity at the British Grand Prix as well as The Open golf championships.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden announced the government had identified close to 20 pilot events for sport and entertainment.

“The expansion of trials of the NHS app and lateral flow testing will mean that bigger crowds will be able to attend a limited number of major sporting and cultural events early this summer as part of our events research programme.

“In the next few weeks, this means more fans enjoying the Euros and Wimbledon, and some of our biggest cultural and sports events.”

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

Community: Played A Great Switch Game That We Missed? Send Us Your Noms

Nintendo Question Box

Another month, another deluge of software hitting our favourite handheld hybrid console’s eShop. The flow of new games coming to Switch has varied over the first months of 2021, but in general there are still far too many games arriving for us to be able to review them all, and unfortunately some of the smaller ones inevitably fall through the cracks.

Last year we asked the Nintendo Life community to nominate Switch games you believed were worth highlighting — games that we’d missed which you felt deserved some love and recognition on these webpages. We did the same six months later when you nominated a further 12 titles, and recently we’ve been posting summaries of intriguing games that caught our eye. Now we think’s it’s the perfect time to look at another round of Switch eShop hidden gem nominations.

Just as we did previously, we’re asking you dear readers to send us your brief musings (no more than 100 words) on Switch games that flew under the Nintendo Life radar. We’ll collate and read all the responses and pick our favourites for a feature showcasing those games with a trailer and your positive comments.

Below are the guidelines on how to send your recommendations — please read them carefully if you want to see your entries included in the feature:

Submission guidelines

  • 100-word limit – Keep it brief! A history of the genre and deep-dive into every mechanic is unnecessary. Concentrate on what the game is about, what sets it apart from other games and why you enjoyed it.
  • One entry per game – Feel free to send your thoughts on multiple games, but there’s no need to duplicate.
  • Choose only games that we haven’t reviewed on the site – To check if a Nintendo Life review exists, simply type the name of the game into the search box at the very top of the page (look for the magnifying glass icon in the top left corner) and click on the game page that appears. If there’s no review, you’re good to go!

How to send a recommendation

  • Head to Nintendo Life’s Contact page and select the subject “Switch eShop Hidden Gems” from the drop down menu (it’s already done for you in the link above). Type your name, email and beautifully-crafted message into the appropriate box, hit send and Bob’s your uncle!

If you’ve got any questions on the format, feel free to ask in the comments section below. And if you don’t feel comfortable sending a full-blown recommendation, you can drop suggestions for games you’d like to see highlighted, too.

Remember, we won’t be reviewing these games, but we’re still eager to shine a light on some gems we’ve missed. We look forward to seeing what games you recommend.

This post originally appeared on Nintendo Life | Latest News

One Direction: Harry Styles played a touching role in his mother's wedding

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Entertainment Feed

Harry’s mother, Anne, tied the knot with her new husband, Robin Twist, in the summer of 2013.

She has always supported Harry and his illustrious career and was excited to have the star say a few words at a restaurant in Chesire to roughly 100 people after the nuptials.

Speaking about the speech’s content, Harry revealed how he didn’t want it to feel cliche.

He said: “When everyone thought it was going to be really emotional, I pulled the rug from under everyone’s feet and injected a bit of humour. It seemed to go well.”

Ex-Premier League ace who played in Messi exhibition game cops 11 years in jail for smuggling $29MN of cocaine from Colombia to US

Jhon Viafara, who played in the English Premier League and won 34 caps for Colombia, has been jailed for 11 years for his part in smuggling vast amounts of cocaine between his homeland and the States, US prosecutors have said.

Shamed ex-midfielder Viafara has been handed the sentence by a federal court in Texas after being found guilty last November of helping to import at least five kilograms of the Class A substance into the US, including some missions carried out by speedboats and planes via Mexico.

The haul co-organized by the 42-year-old, who was extradited following the trafficking verdict last year, is said to have been worth around $ 29 million.

“The defendant in this case had it all – worldwide fame, wealth, and stature,” said Acting US Attorney Nicholas Ganjei, describing disgraced Viafara’s role in the Gulf Cartel.

“Despite all of this, he chose to use his talents to advance the evil of the drug trade.

‘Traffickers should take note: no matter who you are, no matter where in the world you live, the United States will prosecute you if you join in a conspiracy to send drugs to our country.”

Viafara represented major clubs including Southampton, Real Sociedad and Portsmouth in Europe, although he spent most of his playing days, which spanned more than 500 appearances, in South America.

The arguable highlight of his career was helping Colombian side Once Caldes to win South America’s main club competition, the Copa Libertadores, in 2004.

Speaking when he was pictured being led on to a plane by police last year, Viafara seemed to voice his sorrow at his downfall following his illustrious playing career.

Viafara is said to have reminisced over his time on the pitch with Lionel Messi, who he once joined for a game between the striker and his friends and the rest of the world, playing with the likes of Fabio Cannavaro and James Rodriguez.
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