In Which We Attempt To Translate British Journalism

If the English language isn't yet universal, then the verse of sports should be. I've never understood, then, why it is that I can't comprehend a word of 19th-century British newspapers.

The Wall Street Journal tackled this exact topic today — or at least gave me reason to — by waxing rhapsodic about golf's founding fathers, like Tom Morris, who was referenced in news reports containing words like "betwixt." Fortunately, the Journal combed through coverage of the first British Open and emerged with some literary gems. It's just too bad the language appears to be an incomprehensible dialect of English.

Take a look for thyself, and make sure you plow through the opening clauses, since the headline is indicative of just about nothing. You may stop when you reach the climax — "The excitement at this stage became very intense." — because you can read all the Hemingway in the world, but you won't find a more declarative sentence.

In Which We Attempt To Translate British Journalism

In fairness to this unnamed and long-deceased scribe, it seems not much has changed in the Queen's land. Take, for example, the subhead of this story from today's Daily Telegraph, headlined "Jimenez just pips Watson":

"Ol' Tom Watson just keeps rolling along, as timeless as the Mississippi river. The 59 year-old from Kansas blazed round Turnberry in 65 strokes as the years tumbled back."

If that's not enough to get you to read the lede, then newspapers really are wading up the creek without a paddle.

The Founding Fathers of Golf
[WSJ]
Jimenez just pips Watson [Daily Telegraph]