SOUTHPORT, England-- I don't pretend to have any answers for what ails American newspapers, but one possible approach is obvious when you come over here: make the papers really good. The Guardian, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, The Times (to a lesser extent)--you can get hours of reading pleasure from all these sheets. It's not the photography, the typeface or the graphics that make them good. It's the writing: witty, informed, insightful, sometimes newsy, but that's not the most important thing. They put out papers for people who like to read. What a concept.
Reading their coverage of the Open is like watching a soap opera. You seldom get that feeling reading American newspapers. Here the coverage is, "What will they do today?" The leading characters are Padraig Harrington, Sergio Garcia, Greg Norman, Colin Montgomerie, Nick Faldo, and, as my colleague Michael Walker pointed out, George Clooney.
In The Independent, there's been a daily report about Tiger Woods at home "as imagined" by a writer named Nick Harris. In the Saturday installment, Elin asks, "Tiger, honey? Is it mandatory to have an animal in the lead if you are not there?" The reference, of course, is to Shark.
I'm guessing in the Monday installment, writer Harris will make the point that few have made: if Tiger played this week, he wins by several. Who else has the head and the body to go 72 holes in these conditions?
Whatever's in the Monday papers here, it'll be a pleasure to read.