Bingo Hall Terroristby Richard Asher / 25.07.2009
I can’t believe I devoted the whole of Sunday watching a sicko who preys on the elderly. I’m talking about a callous brute of a Yank who’d rob a pensioner at home and then run over their poodle on the way out. An Alabama billy who obviously never got taught basic respect for his elders. The hoodlum in question is the self-indulgent, thoughtless Stewart Cink.
If you’re on of those weirdos who do active, sociable or productive things on Sunday afternoons rather than watch golf, then let me fill you in on why I’m spluttering. This past weekend saw the 138th edition of the British Open – golf’s biggest tournament. Now at the British Open they keep inviting former champions back to compete, even decades after they triumph. It’s done mainly to recognise their past contributions, but also because everyone likes watching the old ballies in action. It couldn’t happen in many other sports. It’d be nice, would it not, to slot Mannetjies Roux into Saturday’s Bok team. But you’d have to be a nutcase of a coach to do it. Entirely possible with Div in the hot seat, then, but still likely to backfire. In golf, though, you can let a few of the old-timers into the field – just for a laugh. They’re only playing for themselves, after all, and they won’t hurt anyone.
But this year a funny thing happened. One of those ballies, five-time champion Tom Watson, led into the final day. If he won, the story would be so unbelievable that if you told someone about it afterwards, they’d require video evidence. Victory for the 59-year-old, Watson, hip replacement et al, who had won on the same Turnberry course in 1977 (you read right, nineteen seventy-seven), would be rather like Jody Scheckter rocking up and winning the next Grand Prix. It would smash every age record in sport, never mind golf.
So everyone wanted him to win. Nationality didn’t come into it. Watson was a legend of the game about to perform a miracle, and he had that dignified granddad quality to boot. You simply had to root for him.
But then, at the last moment, this young American lout called Stewart Cink came and ruined it for everyone. He beat Watson.
You just don’t do that kind of thing to the elderly. Especially one of your own countrymen. It’s cowardly abuse. Just as you give up your seat on the bus, so you should have the courtesy not to roll in birdies in the last hole in order to muscle senior citizens into compromising positions – or exhausting playoffs. It’s a thing called decency.
Had it been Tiger, or Ernie, or Retief, who denied us this incredible result, I wouldn’t be quite so outraged. But Stewart Cink? Come on. He’s got a stupid name, for a start. He’s got a strange family, too. Did anyone else notice that his wife and children (male, I think) have exactly the same haircut? They’re indistinguishable, which must make for awkward situations at home. What’s more, these three – the only people on earth backing Cink – didn’t seem to know quite where they were or what was going on. They probably weren’t yet used to Pops being out of jail following his last raid on the local bowls club. They looked a little scared. I don’t blame them.
Then there’s the fact that he was sporting an Outsurance hat on his unpopular victory march. It was eerie – exactly the right shade of green, with purple and white lettering. Trust an insurance salesman to be involved in the mugging of the aged. And it got even freakier yesterday, when I relived the horror on SuperSport’s highlights channel. Right after an interview with our alien-green-clad winner, on came an Outsurance advert. I kid you not.
It didn’t get much better when the hat came off, either. Cink’s pretty much bald, and obviously wears hats a lot, which means he’s got a delightful sock-tan around his ears. It looks weird. He obviously didn’t think he’d be on TV so much when he dressed for the day. As things came to a head though, it’s clear that real embarrassment about his day job (calculating premiums) set in, because he kept taking the hat off. Ugh.
I’ll give you all one last reason to dislike Stewart Cink. He has a habit of popping up and trying to win majors that our boys are chasing. Like this one, when Retief was in the thick of the fight. Or Augusta last year, when Cink was one of those trying to stop Trevor Immelman winning the Masters. Want more? Guess who finished third behind Retief in the 2001 US Open… this guy clearly doesn’t like South Africans. So let’s not like him, I say. And if you do get him on the line next time you’re shopping for car insurance, ask to speak to his manager. And log a whopping complaint about his attitude.
Richard Asher is Features Editor at Golf Punk SA