Rich Galen

I don't watch golf very much unless it's nap time and there's nothing good on Turner Classic Movies. But I watched the British Open golf tournament -- which the Brits call The Open Championship -- over the weekend.

I am not a good watcher of events like golf tournaments. I tend to root for whoever's leading and, if they stumble, it takes me a while to cheer for whomever has taken over the lead.

That's why I used to be such at Tiger Woods fan. He won a lot, and most times when he broke into the lead he stayed there, so I expended very little emotional energy. Then he got clocked in the head with a nine iron, and his victories became less frequent.

I am not that way with local teams. I stopped rooting for the Redskins when they were purchased by Dan Snyder even though I've never met him. Nor had I ever met previous owner Jack Kent Cooke.

The Redskins have been mostly bad (96-112) since Snyder bought the team, but they did win the division with a 10-6 record last year with Robert Griffin III under center, so I may be softening on them.

I have rooted for the Washington Nationals since they came to town even though they were the worst team in baseball. I did not root for them two seasons ago after the geniuses in the communications office decided I wasn't worthy of retaining my press credentials, but I took them off my personal suspension list last year because I like having Major League Baseball in town, and I didn't want them to go to Dallas and become the Rangers or to Minneapolis and become the Twins like the last two MLB teams that played here.

I don't understand hockey, and I don't like pro basketball, so I am indifferent to the Capitals and the Wizards.

So, golf.

I was rooting for Lee Westwood through most of the final round because he was leading by as many as three strokes, and he's a local lad from Britain and all that.

Then he started missing puts and, like the leading bike rider in a stage of the Tour de France, got drawn back to the peloton (which is the main body of riders), and I knew I had to find a new person to root for.

Anyway, as Westwood began to make bogies, American Phil Mickelson began to make birdies, and soon he was leading and I had to decide whether to take the emotional step of hoping he would win.

He made more birdies, and it became obvious that he would win, so I started rooting for him.

The Brits claim that golf was invented there -- specifically at the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews in Scotland -- but it's not clear to me how they knew to name the place a "Golf Club" before golf was invented.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at