Today we had the completion of the third of pro golf’s major tournaments, the British Open. Rather, that’s what it used to be called. In recent times it has unshackled reference to its host nation, and now is generally, simply referred to as ‘the Open’.
I don’t recall a vote among international tournament officials sanctioning this change. The reality is that a number of years ago the U.S. broadcast media, primarily responsible for the live feeds to North America, was persuaded to alter identifying this specific tournament from ‘the British Open’ to simply ‘the Open’. Logically, this makes no sense, given that there are many tour events around the world called Open, including the U.S. and Canadian Opens. Apparently the right to this I.D. was propelled by traditionalists in the U.K., based at least in part on its being the oldest of the four majors (the others being the Masters, the U.S. Open, and the PGA championship). It reeks, speaking kindly as nostalgia, speaking unkindly as arrogance.
One is reminded of one of the late, great comedian George Carlin’s latter years’ diatribe about golf. His opinion was that the sport smacks of unbridled elitism, especially due to the amount of physical space golf courses take up. The book end to his point is the limited access to this space, coupled with its extravagance compared to many other outdoor activities. You could say in his view the sport reeks of arrogance. Of course, one could argue that to a large extent green space is being exchanged for green space.
Perhaps if this usurpation by the (British) Open of the ‘open-ended’ name is defensible, we should consider others eligible for similar presumption. The oldest hockey series, wherever it is, could be simply referred to as ‘the Series’. The oldest gas station in a city could become simply ‘the Station’; however, radio and television stations might get their ire up, so an additional acronym might be required. The oldest farm in a county could become simply ‘the Farm’. The undiplomatic, confusing opportunities are almost endless.