- they're not taking the tournament sufficiently, or
- they're taking it too seriously, or (most likely)
- neither, and the only person taking this too seriously is the present writer
The Modern never looked like this when Ray played it. This version's not so much an Irregular Opening as an opening from a parallel universe where no such thing as regularity exists. By comparison Claridge-Hansen v Pleasants (all the pinkish diagrams are from here) was relatively sensible
1. c4 e5 2. g3 h5 3. h4
in so far as I could work out why the moves were played. It was, however, even more brief [1-0, 21] than the effort above.
Simons v Brown wasn't irregular in so far as the Blackmar-Diemer possesses a name
1. d4 Nf6 2. f3 d5 3. e4
but I can't say that I was surprised to see it knocked over in short order [0-1, 21].
Modi v Mason's opening not only has a name, the Portuguese Gambit, I've actually gone so far as to play it -
1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Nf6 3. 3. d4 Bg4
and to be fair, [1/2, 17] was better than I did.