Skip to content

Siem: Good golfer, great attitude

Columnist Bruce Penton writes about golfer Marcel Siem
sports collage stock
(Shutterstock)

No one is even sure what to call it — the ‘British Open’ is apparently offensive to those living in the UK; the ‘Open Championship’ seems pretentious, as if it’s the only Open of consequence in the world; and the plain ‘Open’ offends many Americans, who rightly say, ‘hey, we have an Open, too’ — but the tournament held in mid-July in Sandwich, England, was a beauty.

However, we’re not here to talk about Collin Morikawa, who won the event, or Louis Oosthuizen, who lost it; or Brooks Koepka, who thinks he should always win these majors; or Bryson DeChambeau, who wants to grab all the headlines, or Jordan Spieth, whose putting is about as dependable as a six-month-old trying to put porridge into his mouth with an oversized spoon.

No, we’re here to talk about the comparatively unknown Marcel Siem, who played in the Open Championship and was so grateful for the opportunity.

Siem, you see, was in 2012-14 a top-50 player in the world. But he fell victim to a golfer’s common malady — changing his swing to try to find another 20 yards off the tee — and his game plummeted so badly he soon found himself on Europe’s Challenge Tour.

The Challenge Tour is the equivalent to the minor league Korn Ferry Tour in the U.S., where up-and-coming stars, or aging veterans still trying to ‘find it’, grind it out on bad courses, in small towns, with few fans, for small purses, in an attempt to get back to the big leagues, the PGA Tour, home to great courses, big cities, huge purses and major media coverage.

On the Challenge Tour, Siem was in that ‘aging veteran’ class, but the golfer with the man-bun and the enthusiastic fist pumps who became a fan favourite at St. George’s knows the reality of his existence, and accepts it with dogged determination.

Golf Digest reporter Daniel Rapaport told Siem’s story, and it was heart-warming. “There’s a lot of guys my age going back to the Challenge Tour,” Siem told Rapaport. “If you don’t accept that you lost your card, and (believe) you’re still a European Tour player …. and you should play for (millions), you cannot compete on the Challenge Tour. There’s no chance. You’re grumpy. You’re upset all the time. Once… you accept that’s where I am, that’s the only way forward. I’m so happy to understand that. You have to show the Challenge Tour some respect.”

That attitude of acceptance has obviously led Siem to some better golf and now, thanks to his 15th-place showing at the Open Championship, he has earned the right, again, to compete on the European Tour. You don’t have a heart if you don’t wish for many good days ahead for the German.

  • RJ Currie of sportsdeke.com: “According to Orange New, some tourists in Portugal were charged with gambling after playing bingo for drinks. Closer to home, the RCMP suspect CFL teams in 2021 will be playing for peanuts.”
  • Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg: “Tom Brady played the whole season, and won the Super Bowl for Tampa Bay, with a torn ACL. Yes, Tom is incredibly tough. But he is also so slow he could play a year with a torn ACL and nobody could tell.”
  • Broadcaster and former PGA tour player Colt Knost, after Collin Morikawa won the Open Championship, taking the Claret Jug away from 2019 winner, Irishman Shane Lowry: “I think the Claret Jug will get a lot more sleep this year.”
  • Patti Dawn Swansson, on Twitter: “Adam Larsson defects from the Edmonton Oilers to the Seattle Kraken. Looks like every Oil win next season will have to be a 10-9 score.”
  • Alex Kaseberg again: “The Cleveland Indians will be named the Guardians. So does this mean they're in charge of Britney Spears' estate?”
  • Comedy writer Brad Dickson of Omaha: “It's getting bad in Tokyo. The Olympic Torch just tested positive for Covid.”
  • Dickson again: “The Cleveland Indians have dropped ‘Indians’ to improve their image. Good start. Now they just need to drop ‘Cleveland.’”
  • Greg Cote of the Miami Herald:  “The Stanley Cup got dented during Tampa Bay's boat parade. Gotta be a way to blame Tom Brady, no?”
  • RJ Currie of sportsdeke.com: “There's a reason Milwaukee won the NBA championship. After falling behind  2-0 in the series to the Suns, the Bucks upped the Ante-tokounmpo.”
  • Headlines at theonion.com: 1. “Giannis Criticized For Poor Footwork While Hoisting Finals MVP Trophy.”; 2. Lone Wheel From Pileup Rolls Across Finish Line In Tour De France Victory.”
  • From fark.com: “Algerian forfeits from judo because of Covid. Nah, just kidding, he didn’t want to fight an Israeli.”
  • Another fark.com headline: “Bear breaks into Olympic softball facility TWICE. This bear’s repeating.”

Care to comment? Email brucepenton2003@yahoo.ca

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.