SLUMPED in front of a TV all Sunday naturally, watching Grand Prix (dull until the fire), Premiership climax (slightly exhilarating for those who view Man City with affection) and then the TPC (worryingly tedious).
I say worrying because (a) Matt Kuchar is never going to excite anybody, bless him and (b) Kevin Na is going not only to drive himself mad but everyone who plays with him.
You had to feel sorry for the wee man whose body tics, mental hurdles and all-round nuttiness when performing the arduouis task of standing over a golf ball dramatically underline the thought that eventually this game does indeed drive everybody somewhere dark and mysterious.
Ewan Murray’s repeated assertion that Na now needs to retreat for a while and “sort himself out” is spot on but it is also easier said than done. Mental illness is like that…swift to arrive and often very slow to leave.
And, yes, it is some form of mental illness that Na is suffering. You don’t need to be a psychiatrist to know that a vital part of his brain is not operating properly and that he needs some sort of therapy to repair it.
The extraordinary thing is that after stepping away from his shot several times and occasionally shouting at himself to “just pull the trigger” he more often than not then struck a very decent blow indeed. Kuchar deserves the highest praise for standing patiently alongside this freakish show for minutes at a time but managing to cocoon himself in his own world. Retaining focus alongside Na must be one of the hardest things in sport right now.
But while I hope that Na is sorted out sooner rather than later, I hope also that the feeble chorus each year for the TPC to be recognised as the “fifth Major” goes away forever. To put it bluntly, there is no chance of this happening.
Why not? Well, America already has one more Major than they deserve and if and when another Major is added then it must be sited somewhere in the southern hemisphere. Not only that, Sawgrass is an interesting course but it is interesting in a weird, can-you-believe-it sort of way. The 17th is a prime example of this thought, a candyfloss/barbed-wire hole that can make a mockery of any shot no matter how well judged and struck. There is surely simply too much luck involved at Sawgrass for it ever to play host to any Major, or is it me?
All this tangled lay-out does is encourage men who already play golf too slowly to grind down even more. This general slowness is hurting the game hugely, often reducing what should be a TV spectacle to something closer to a bucket of Horlicks. Played at a reasonable pace, pro golf offers reassuring time for reflection as well as the ability to make a cup of tea without missing too much action. But played at the pace of this latest TPC it is a public entertainment that spectacularly misses the entertainment bit.
Until, and if, the authorities start handing out stroke penalties rather than daft fines some self-absorbed players will continue to exasperate everyone. I first recall writing this 25 years ago and it is a lot worse now. For goodness sake get on with it.