The US and England are two countries separated by a common language. This was evident earlier this year when after his final round at the Masters Tiger Woods inadvertently riled British reporters when he referred to himself as a "spaz." Headlines in the Scotsman read "Woods sure to regret remark" while the Telegraph went so far as to say that America's lack of coverage on the utterance was an utter media conspiracy.
When all was said and done it appears it was just another case of something getting lost in translation. While Woods sputtering putter made him feel like he should have had a golfing handicap he obviously didn't mean to refer to the handicapped. As it turns out "spaz" is a derogatory term used abroad to describe someone who is physically challenged and upon realizing his faux pas Tiger quickly apologized. Before an inquistion could be launched (by the likes of Nancy Burpee defenders Simmons, Jannace & Stagg) the Brits begrudgingly began to acquiesce, "I don't think he meant to be that offensive but it's something nobody in his position should be saying," pointed out Paralympian Dame Tanni Grey Thompson to the BBC. For more on the derivation and variation of the term "spaz" click here for a interesting paper posted by the University of Pennslyvania.
So a we head into the 135th openchampionship theWadeBlogs thought to provide viewers with this cheat sheet on British golf slang so you too can avoid any confusion while cathcing this year's golf coverage from across the pond on your "teles."
Buggy - Golf Cart
Coventry Box - Broadcasting Booth
Presenter - Anchor
"Broke the Duck" - term for a golfer gaining their "maiden" or inaugural win. Example: It will be interesting to see if Colin Montgomerie or Sergio Garcia can finally break the duck and win their first major. Note: The closest colloquialism in the American vernacular would probably be "popped their cherry."
Bird - the term is not just for a -1 under par score on a hole but abroad it commonly refers to a lady. Example: Did you check out that bird on Monte's wing at Wimbledon?.. even Hasselhoff had to admire those headlights.
I.O.B. - Internal Out of Bounds. Not to be confused with a British birth control device, this term will be bandied about all weekend because the Hoylake course had to accommodate tents being pitched around their driving range so they had to create this large penalty area within the course.
Have a Row - a fight. Not just a term referring to the old Oxford and Cambridge rivalry or where people will be seated in the Open grandstands, but it is also a term used frequently used for a fight. Example: Believe it or not British bookmakers have odds set at 25-1 that Tiger "Wheelhouse" Woods and Nick "Fisticuff" Faldo will have a row in the opening rounds of the Open.
Brassie - The historical name for the club that was the closest equivalent to today's 2-woods. But in loft, appearance and use, the brassie is the antique club that is most related to a 2-wood. Example: Evidently Tiger put a 2 iron in his bag and like previous players of 1800s he will be reaching for his brassie at Open.
Baffie - The historical club used in the 1800's and early 1900s whose appearance, loft and use match best with today's 4-wood. Example: It still baffles everyone why Phil didn't use his baffie off the 18th tee at last month's U.S. Open.
Cleek - not to be confused with the Wonder Twins pet monkey (gleek). Among historical (wooden-shafted, pre-20th Century) golf clubs, the cleek was an iron with a very narrow face and little loft most commonly associated with today's 1-irons. Example: Evidently Tom Lehman will be using his "cleek" a lot this week.
Mid Mashie (3 iron) , Mashie Iron (4) , Mashie (5), Spade Mashie (6), Mashie Niblick (7) - The "mashie" was the historical golf club (wooden-shafted, mostly pre-20th Century) that most closely resembled today's 5-iron and the rest of the mashie's in loft and use would be close to modern irons as listed. Example: Not to be confused with the British "Bangers & Mash" (slang for a favorite dish of mashed potatoes and sausage), if you were to bang out 18, mashies would make up the meat of your club selection.
Niblick & Pitching Niblick - Among the wooden-shafted historical golf clubs in use prior to the 20th Century, the "niblick," in its use, was most equivalent to a modern 9-iron and the "Pitching Niblick" would equate to today's wedges. Example: I wouldn't mind giving Natlie Gulbis her niblick.... as her caddie (come on, where is your head at?)
Comment here if you hear if any more interesting golf terms or British slang bandied about during the Open broadcast over the weekend.