Bacon’s Bites: The Open is almost upon us, and I’m hoping for a bit of wind!

A general view of the Claret Jug during the media day at Royal Birkdale, Liverpool.

A general view of the Claret Jug during the media day at Royal Birkdale, Liverpool. - Credit: PA

In his latest Bacon’s Bites, Mike Bacon discusses The Open, the media storm surrounding Andy Murray’s correction of a journalist following his Wimbledon loss and brave Bradley Lowery.

The weather forecast for next week looks good.

I’m not sure if I’m happy or sad about that.

Of course, it’s nice to get down to Felixstowe, Clacton or Aldeburgh in your speedos for a bit of sun, swimming and fish and chips.

But, if like me you are as happy to see the world’s top golfers having to work extra hard for their money – and low scores – then perhaps you’ll understand my wish for the forecast to be a bit more ‘challenging’ by the end of the next week. What do you think?


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On Thursday the 146th Open begins at Royal Birkdale, on the north-west coast of England.

For us golfers and the many thousands of fans who attend, it’s a chance to see how the pros do it. For the pros it’s a chance to win one of the Majors in the golfing calendar and carve their name into the record books.

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We are in the peak of summer sport right now, Wimbledon, the British Grand Prix, the Open, Ipswich Witches are top of the table – it doesn’t get much better.

And while it’s nice to see the weather behaving, a naughty part of me would like to see a few ‘tricky conditions’ prevail at Birkdale.

Republic of Ireland's Padraig Harrington celebrates with the trophy after winning the Open Champions

Republic of Ireland's Padraig Harrington celebrates with the trophy after winning the Open Championship at the Royal Birkdale Golf Club. - Credit: PA

As much as I love to see great golf shots and incredible putts, a part of me always likes to see the golf course hit back.

Many golf tournaments these days are won by players carding outrageous scores for their four rounds – 22, 23 even 24 under par.

That’s crazy – of course I’m jealous!

But golf courses are supposed to offer challenges.

While I hope the sun shines, a bit of ‘Birkdale breeze’ coming off the Irish Sea would be in order to mix it up a bit and provide hopes of a tight finish.

Birkdale is actually the last course to provide an Open winner ‘over par’. Padraig Harrington in 2008 ended his four rounds on plus three, the only player to win an Open in the 2000s over par.

Anyhow! On with the golf.... ‘On the tee....’

PS: Bacon’s Birkdale Bet: Justin Rose – each way.

Johanna Konta during her match against Venus Williams on Thursday. Sadly, Konta lost to the American

Johanna Konta during her match against Venus Williams on Thursday. Sadly, Konta lost to the American. - Credit: PA

Well, Andy’s and Johanna’s Wimbledon dreams are over.

But they gave it a good shot.

I’m a great Andy Murray fan, as many of you who read this column, will know – and I will always remain so.

However, being a journalist, I was disappointed in the way he thought it fit to put down one journalist in his post-match press conference after his defeat to Sam Querrey on Wednesday.

The journalist in question said to Murray: “Sam is the first US player to reach a major semi-final since 2009”, only to be interrupted by Murray.

“Male player,” Murray said.

The journalist, not appearing to understand Murray’s retort, then said: “I beg your pardon?” before Murray reminded him that Querrey was the first male US player to reach a semi-final since 2009 – not the first US player.

How we all remember Bradley - with his best friend Jermain Defoe

How we all remember Bradley - with his best friend Jermain Defoe - Credit: PA

While I have no issues with Murray’s defence of women players, US or not, or any players for that matter, I do have issue with the way he felt the need to put down a journalist in that manner - possibly trying to detract from his failure in defeat.

It’s a trait among too many sports men and women these days.

I’ve been to plenty of press conferences in sport and I can tell you they can be daunting, especially post match.

Asking questions to a player/manager who has just won is easy, asking them of a losing player/manager not so.

Having the guts to put your head above the parapet to ask a question is something in itself, especially if the world’s press is in attendance, which would have been the case at Wimbledon.

I’ll bet my bottom dollar/pound coin, the journalist who asked that question was neither being deliberately ‘sexist’ nor rude.

Yes, he could have worded it better, done his homework more thoroughly, but sadly one doesn’t always get that amount of time – and Murray could have pointed out the ‘mistake’, rather than putting him down mid-question.

Still, Andy was an overnight Twitter sensation which in this day and age seems to be of huge importance to many.

I’m just sorry he wasn’t a bit sharper on the court than in the press conference – he might have beaten Querry if so.

The funeral of little Bradley Lowery has taken place.

Gosh, how the six-year-old brought so much joy into our lives, even though so few of us ever met him.

His love of Sunderland FC and his friendship with Jermaine Defoe touched us all.

It brings tears to my eyes just thinking of him... heaven has another angel.

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