Belfast Telegraph

Nautical but nice for Jordan

By Billy Weir

Puget Sound provided a picture book backdrop to the US Open golf last week but little did Dustin Johnson know Chambers Bay would become a horror story by the end of a marathon stint on Sunday.

I say Sunday but for us it was well into Monday before Sky's coverage of the second Major of the season reached its amazing conclusion and much had come and gone in the preceding three days.

There was good and bad. Tiger Woods and Darren Clarke may as well have kicked the ball around, poor Jason Day's world turned upside down - literally - as he was struck down with vertigo and Colin Montgomerie's return to form meant that he wasn't able to spend as much time in the commentary box, so not all bad news then.

This, however, did open the door for Robert Lee, who was given the job of setting the scene from on board a boat docked in the bay and every conceivable aquatic pun you can imagine was launched as the good ship Sky set sail on eight and a bit hours of coverage.

"To continue the nautical theme, let's hand down from the bridge here to the engine room and join old sea salt Robert Lee and the man who is really at the helm, Ewen Murray," said presenter David Livingstone.

Murray clearly hadn't been listening and set off on a different course.

"It's a unique theatre but in the end chapter only one player will unlock the door to this chamber of secrets," he said as we crossed the international pun-line and found ourselves floating around lost, a bit like poor Jason, who was wandering around like an off course and confused Canadian Goose in thunder.

"It's the one game you can't play when you're dizzy," pointed out Captain Lee, which isn't technically true, but co-commentator Butch Harmon, who couldn't have been more excited had he just spotted land off the starboard bow, blurted "but it'll make you dizzy" although stopped short of calling him Jason Daze.

For a brief spell, a miracle looked to be on the cards as Rory McIlroy ripped across the bay like a ferociously fast fish, perhaps as he had his caddy with him it was a motorpike and sidecarp… I feel I've let you and myself down with that joke.

It wasn't to be though, and with the wake of his brief cameo subsiding, we were shown yet another glorious view of the bay.

"Lots of people enjoying a nautical afternoon, 500ft of water underneath those boats and jellyfish, I wouldn't go in there swimming, that's for sure," added Capt Lee, but the only man in danger of going overboard was Johnson.

At least he could count on the support of Harmon, his coach.

"You better look out DJ, you better look out DJ," he bellowed as another shot went awry and inwardly we all thanked Neptune that Butch didn't coach Victor Dubuisson otherwise things could have become a little unpleasant.

On the course, Sky's man on the scene Rich Beem tried to restore a little order and decorum.

"As calm and cool and collected as DJ is, Butch, you know he's still got his insides moving around pretty good," he said, which was potentially bad news for jellyfish everywhere.

"He needs something good to happen, he's just leaking oil like it's going out of style here," added Harmon, whose sympathy knew no bounds, while turning his attention to Jason, he concluded that "this poor guy has had a tough, tough day". Pun presumably intended, but at least he wasn't a danger to waterlife.

As DJ continued to list, Jordan Spieth took a seemingly unassailable lead on the 16th with a wonderful putt and then it slipped out of his hands like an oily jellyfish at the next and by the 18th had to wait in hope as Johnson somehow managed to get back into a position to win.

"Well, what do you think about it now?" enquired Murray.

"All those of you who have managed to stay up with two gallons of coffee in you trying to stay awake," he added as the waterline visibly rose on Lake Puget.

"It's all come down to Dustin Johnson. A putt that will give him his first Major, two putts will take us into Monday," he continued and we hadn't the heart to tell him that the caffeine-addicted on this side of the Atlantic were way ahead of him.

But DJ refused to play ball, taking three putts meaning Spieth, standing nervously outside the toilets, was champion.

"Jordan emerges from the Chamber of Horrors, three putts for Dustin Johnson and Spieth is America's champion, a most amazing Sunday afternoon (or Monday morning)," Murray continued, as JK Rowling took note of his growing blatant copyright infringements and made plans for Harry Potter and the Greens of Doom.

But just when you thought the good ship pun had room for no more, as we set sail for St Andrews, Livingstone hauled anchor with this parting shot about Spieth.

"In this part of the world he's made lots of people very, very happy," he said and even in our semi-comatose state we wondered where he was going with this.

"For that he deserves to have a big party and be sleepless in Seattle," he added, just as long as in the middle of the sleep deprivation they don't serve up ice cream and jellyfish.

The good, the bad and the ugly

The good: There’s been some cracking action on BT Sport with their coverage of the Caribbean Premier League cricket with great names such as the St Lucia Zouks and Jamaica Tallawahs, one a dance and the other, I am reliably informed, a stubborn person. I’m looking forward to the next game between the Trinidad Thrans and the Guyana Goombays.

The bad: And also on BT Sport the European Games continue and it’s nice at last to see that Ireland has managed to pick up a couple of medals at last, once again boxing coming to the rescue and helping bury any national stereotypes that might be floating about Baku.

The ugly: "Roald Amundsen, Edvard Grieg, Frida from Abba, the woman from Aqua, Henrik Ibsen, Morten Harket, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the cast of Borgen, we have beaten them all, can you hear. Trude Mostue, can you hear? Your girls took a hell of a beating." Jonathan Pearce gets a bit carried away on BBC3 after England's win over Norway in the Women's World Cup. He didn't say any of this, but you weren't sure, were you?

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