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What a thrilling finish it was. The 2017 British Open Golf Tournament ranks up there in the history books as one of the most compelling demonstration of perseverance, courage and skills at the highest level in a sport that wasn’t supposed to show action-pact excitement.

Jordan Speith won the third leg of the golf grand slam by righting a sinking ship, rising after falling flat on the canvass and summoning from his heart every ounce of courage to grab victory from the jaws of defeat. After starting the fourth round three strokes ahead of Matt Kuchar, he played the first thirteen holes like the ghost of his 2015 Masters collapse was sitting on his shoulders. He lost the lead, until he played like a possessed demon bang, bang, bang in the last five holes, ending up as the last man standing.

He now joins the rarefied company of two with living legend Jack Nicklaus as the only players who have won the Masters, U.S. Open and the British Open before age 24.

What makes golf tick?

Those who play the game know the air-conditioned feeling even on a steamy day. For those who want to find out what drives many people to hit a small white ball, follow it wherever and hit it again and again, here’s golf 101.

Golf originated in Scotland. It started as a late afternoon game among men after work was done for the day. The term G-O-L-F is an abbreviation of Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden. At that time, there were bra-burning women to demand equal opportunity, and the men did not want their women to whack their balls.

It is supposed to be a game for gentlemen, a game that demands respect and integrity. Respect, because every stroke requires one’s full concentration. If something itches here and there, endure it. You are not supposed to move while a player is about to swing or putt, or you will disrupt his game. If you feel like blowing behind your pants, be sure you don’t whistle. Silence is golden. It is mandatory in the heat of a stroke.

Golfers are members of the mutual admiration society. This is not to boast their ego, but a sign of respect. You have to learn how to say, “good shot” or “nice shot”. Be careful not to overdo your complement. Don’t say “good shot” if you see someone’s ball zoom like a misguided missile into the woods or in the water. Don’t mispronounce and sound like you are saying “Good Shit”.

If you hit an errant shot toward the direction of people, don’t say- “Take cover”, only war veterans understand that. You must yell- “Fore!” And to be sure that your Filipino verbal warning is understood, do not pronounce it with a P. Mendicants don’t play this game.

Golf develops character and mathematical skills. You must know how to count, especially at times when even a calculator cannot keep track of your numerous strokes while trying to escape a deep bunker. Amnesia is no defense to wrong addition. Always remember that God and the trees are witnesses to your real score.

There is such thing as a “bad lie” in golf. When your ball lands on tall grass that makes club contact difficult, that’s a bad lie. When you write par on your score card when you actually got a bogey, that’s also a bad lie. In golf we trust, honesty is the best policy.

Golf makes better husbands. But it has nothing to do with the mythical erotic feelings in the chase for a hole-in-one. It provides a compelling incentive to mow the lawn, vacuum the floors, fix the trash and do this and do that before one gets away from sunrise to sunset.

Do good putters make good lovers? I don’t know about that. I keep my own score. I would believe that if Viagra will come out with a new putter on the market.

No matter what your skill-level is, you will get to enjoy golf. And if somebody asks you about your game and you score over a hundred, just be honest and say, “I’m an all-around player.” You are not lying if you really hit yours balls all around.

Fore!

 

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