Belfast Telegraph

It was a bit Rocky but Rose won just in time for Monty

By Billy Weir

They'll be dancing in the streets of Hampshire tonight was how Justin Rose’s last-gasp win in the US Open should have been marked as the clock ticked past the bewitching hour in Philadelphia on Sunday night.


Unfortunately the legendary Bill McLaren was unavoidably deceased and thus unable to mark the epic victory of Rose and maybe just as well as it turns out that the new hero of English golf is as English as Krugerrands, roast springbok and his heroic Nelson is more Mandela than Horatio.

But why let where people are born get in the way of the facts? After all, it didn’t stop Colin Montgomerie but he went one stage further (doesn’t he always?) on Sky Sports as he lauded the success.

“It has been a long, long wait for a British winner of the US Open,” he said, and presenter David Livingstone visibly stiffened as if Mr Stanley had just popped out of the undergrowth at Merion Golf Club.

Now, I’m not here to open a big can of wriggly political things, heaven knows there are enough eejits in this part of the world to do that, but by my reckoning, and my maths is pretty ropey, it has been a minimum of two years and a maximum of three since a British winner.

Yes, I can sense angry letters winging my way but in political terms, unless there were some pretty serious deals made at another golf club in Fermanagh where there’s some summit or something going on, Holywood and Portrush remain British, even if the two men involved sound like they’re from Orlando.

“It’s great to witness a Brit, an Englishman, win the US Open,” continued Monty, and I nearly threw my band pole and Big Boy’s Book of DUP Heroes at the telly.

Then again, it’s hard to take Monty seriously. He says he’s Scottish and yes he was born in Glasgow and yes he has a pair of tartan trousers but the accent makes me think he protests too much. He tried his best to convince, earlier in the week a shot by Angel Cabrera prompting Monty to comment ‘that like all Argentineans, he’s got great hands,” a clearly provocative anti-English reference to a Snr Maradona of Buenos Aries.

Thankfully Northern Ireland/the north/the occupied six/Ulster (delete as applicable if you can be bothered) triumvirate avoided adding to the political maelstrom by having the good grace not to threaten.

Well, with Obama in town it wouldn’t have been the done thing to rock the boat in the States while the President was getting tucked into a political statelet fry by Lough Erne, and Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke took this a stage further by having the good grace to surrender before day three.

Rory, dressed provocatively in a green shirt, carried on until the bitter end, and emphasised his Ulsterness by losing the bap and bending his club. It was just a shame that he wasn’t paired with Taiwan’s Cheng-Tsung Pan, a man who can get thick but has a great slice.

Rory’s defence that he’d spotted Uri Geller in the crowd couldn’t save him, while there was absolutely no defence for Rickie Fowler in an all-Orange outfit that Arlene Foster would baulk at.

The aptly-named Billy Horschel turned up in a natty red, white and blue number festooned with creatures from the deep, although unless King William III (no relation to Davis Love III) crossed the Boyne on a white octopus, his political affiliation remains to Uncle Sam and not Sammy Wilson.

“Look out for Billy Horschel today, he’s got some pair of trousers on him. He’ll hope they’re his lucky trousers,” said commentator Robert Lee, taking time off from pretending to be Rocky Balboa.

Every time it rained — and that was quite a lot — we cut to footage of him on the streets of Philadelphia, pretending to be the Italian Stallion.

Philadelphia has much more to offer, after all there’s the posh Dairylea (or Londondairylea if you’re that way inclined), Eagles and Tom Hanks. It’s akin to having the Open in Larne and Hazel Irvine coming on pretending to be Olivia Nash.

The rain would suggest it was more east Antrim than east coast, as Howard Clark went all Cecilia rather than John Daly, and told us all about it as the action began to hot up.

“It’s quite heavy and as you can imagine, very wet,” he said, as Horschel’s trousers began to twitch in alarming fashion, and Howard pointed out that ‘it’s not going to be easy at all, it’s going to be difficult,” and you felt that he was beginning to tire at the end of four hard days.

Thankfully there were no such problems for England’s Rose, despite his admission that he had a ‘couple of bogeys on the backside’ as he held his nerve to win and ensure they were dancing on the streets of Johannesburg. Just be thankful it wasn’t the Orange Free State or Monty would have exploded.

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