First day in England serves up tame tabs

SOUTHPORT, England – I’m on headline watch. Every year, on the Monday before the Open Championship, I wander over to the press tent lounge – which is just a couple of couches and a coffee table – and go through the British papers. It’s my way of coping with “sensation lag” – my term for the adjustment a Yank has to make when switching from low-octane American broadsheets to high-octane British tabloids.

Today, I have to say, the pickings are slim. ROCCO HAS ‘EM ROLLING blares The Sun, a tab famous for it’s page 3 photos of topless lassies. The story explains that Rocco Mediate, while playing a Sunday practice round at Royal Birkdale, lay down in the tenth fairway so his physical therapist, Cindy Hilfman, could perform some chiropractic moves on his aching sacroiliac. “You should see her when she really gets to work on me!” said Rocco, serving up the obligatory double-entendre.

But that’s about as lurid as it gets. The Daily Record’s headline, GREAT SHAKES, has nothing to do with frozen desserts (or killer earthquakes) and everything to do with Graeme McDowell’s weekend victory in the Scottish Open. (He was nervous, you see.) Another DR offering, PRESSURE BEING CHAMP WON’T MAKE ME A CHUMP, details the challenges faced by last year’s Open winner, Padraig Harrington.

The Daily Express also weighs in on Harrington, but in nursery rhyme fashion: I PLAN TO BE SNUG AS A BUG IN A JUG. I had to read the story to be reminded that Harrington, upon being presented with the Claret Jug last year at Carnoustie, had promised his then-3-year-old son Paddy that he could keep ladybugs in the trophy. Only, it turns out, the British and Irish call them “ladybirds.”

“The ladybirds went in,” Harrington assures the Express. In fact, the replica Claret Jug that Padraig gets to keep has engraved ladybugs fluttering around his name.

The Sun, by the way, leads its version of the Harrington story with a very lame LADY AND THE CHAMP.

It’s bad enough, Tiger not being here. Tame tabs, too?

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by Kevin Cunningham