|Is it British Open or the Open Championship? We dive right in. (Getty Images)|
Starting on Thursday the third major championship of the year kicks off. It's the oldest of the three and the only one that takes place outside of the United States. It is the world's major championship, and while we all know the name of the trophy (Thanks, Mackay Cunningham & Company) and the style of golf (links, named because the course links land to sea), there always seems to be a battle over the name.
Is it the British Open or the Open Championship? I've dived into this issue before, mostly because the whole debate can get time consuming and frankly, annoying. People across the pond call it the Open, and scold us Americans who put "British" before the word. Sports fans here have and will always know it as simply "the British Open" because we have an open, Canada has one, and heck, even Peru has one (the Peru Open was won by Benjamín Alvarado last year).
So who wins this argument?
This is the world's major, known all around the globe as the Open except in the States. We have put British before it mainly to drop confusion about the different majors. The U.S. Open takes place just a month before the British, and to say someone is the "Open champion" can get confusing to anyone not overly obsessed with this frustrating sport.
It's the "Open" because that's respectful. It was the first event of it's kind, and is so old a man with that word in his name won it four times (Thanks, Old Tom Morris). It's the Open because the event deserves that amount of respect, and while the Masters calls for good putting, the U.S. Open demands great patience and the PGA Championship forces birdies and lots of 'em, the British is truly an event that is Open. Look at some of the winners over the last decade. David Duval. Todd Hamilton. Ben Curtis. Darren Clarke?! It's Open for so many reasons other than the ability for you and I, if the putter is working, to get a chance to tee it up on the most famous links courses in the world. It's Open because depending on your side of the draw, the weather might knock you right out of competition (As it did to Tiger Woods in 2002 during the third round at Muirfield).
But the British Open makes more sense, right? Well, yes. People in Europe call it the U.S. Masters and the U.S. PGA Championship. It's a simple way to clarify just what the heck you're talking about, since while golf is full of creativity, coming up with names of events was never exactly the writing room at Saturday Night Live (Open, Championship, Tournament).
But the best suggestion I've had is this: For Americans, first mention of the event in a story or article can call the event the "British Open." Face it, in the business of golf writing, anyway we can tug readers our way is a win, and if people are searching for "Tiger Woods wins British Open," you better have that near the top of the story. After you mention the British Open once, you can call it the "Open Championship" for the remainder of the story. That way, no fights, no Twitter complaints, and hopefully a happy group of Brits, Americans and, yes, those golfers in Peru.
Cool? Cool. Let the Open begin.