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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The Home of Golf

St Andrews. The name alone seems to invoke memories of Golf’s glorious past.
When I visited St Andrews in 1994, I was awed by the ghosts that surround you. From my perspective Bobby Jones, Walter Hagan and Old Tom Morris were right around the corner. The visit to this medieval Scottish town was among the most enjoyable experiences of my young life.

This year’s Open Championship could be among the most memorable of our lifetime. Jack Nicklaus, the greatest golfer of all time is biding farewell to Major Championship golf this weekend. Nicklaus chose the home of golf as the appropriate place for his exit. While American fans often times look at Scottish seaside courses as cow pastures, the ability to understand and play links golf is a talent all its own. Each major championship has a distinct feel: The Masters with its beautiful landscape and wide open fairways along with tricked up greens. The US Open is the toughest test of Golf imaginable with deep rough, narrow fairways and sometimes it has been claimed by many a tour pro, doctored greens which are used to maximize high scoring. The British Open is classic links golf, and the PGA Championship is often times a last desperate attempt to qualify for the Ryder or Presidents Cup.

Tiger Woods is a clear favorite this week. He won the last Open at St. Andrews by 9 shots. Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson have slumped this year in majors, but the course sets itself up well for Mickelson. In 1995, when John Daly won the Open at St. Andrews, reigning U.S. Open Champion Michael Campbell finished a stroke back with both Vijay Singh and Ernie Els, both years away from their prime finishing 2 shots back. Davis Love III is a dark horse: He has finished no worse than a tie for 14th in the last 8 British Opens, easily the most consistent play in the open of any golfer. This week anybody could win, despite Woods being a 3 to 1 favorite in London’s betting parlours. That’s why they call it an open.


Matt said...

A great first round for Tiger. He's setting the pace which usually means he wins.

Matt said...

I disagree with you on one point. Te PGA has no distinct feel. It is hardly a major. It's just a built up event which gives golfers who didn't win one of the 3 real majors a chance to pad their resume. Last year at a links course in Wisconsin was the exception. It was like a second British Open on US soil. I believe if the PGA is to be truly meaningful, they need to pick more venues like last year's and less like most seasons where they play on former US Open courses where the rough isn't grown high and the greens not as firm.

Anonymous said...

The British people have shown their resilience by hosting this championship just a week after the bombings. This speaks highly about the nation, Tony Blair and all the citizens.

Matt said...

Vijay came on strong at the days end. Tiger may not run away with this as I had originaly thought.

egcanes said...

I gotta tell you. Golf coverage has no place on a board that caters to Democratic politics. Every last PGA golfer -- almost without exception -- worships at the altar of this corrupt administration. This is no place for blogs that cater to the Chardonnay sipping golf crowd.

Anonymous said...

Well some of the European golfers are more liberal.

egcanes said...

The European golfers worship at the altar of Margaret Thatcher.

egcanes said...

The European golfers worship at the altar of Margaret Thatcher.

Kartik said...

Strangely American golfers are not only conservative Republicans but nativists as well. For years and years the average tour pro would not travel to Scotland because of the different type of golf that was played there and the differences in players luxury/pampering across the pond. The truly top American players have always traveled to the British Open. But still many American players snicker and make comments about European courses, players and fans.

Personaly, I like the Scottish game and courses better. It's not like these American courses where you just smash the ball down a wide fairway and take a second shot over water and try and make birdie on a soft green. Golf in Scotland requires imigination, shot making, dealing with the elements and very often laying up from hazards and thnking out a golf course rather than just smashing the ball down a fairway.

Joe said...

What is just amazing this morning is yet again if Vijay Singh could put at all, he'd be running away with this Championship just like he would have run away with the U.S. Open.

Vijay is clearly the best golfer in the world tee to green. Last year when he dominated the PGA Tour he was an average putter. Right now he is one of the worst putters on tour and yet is the tour's second best player.

Kind a scary, huh?

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I am the host of the Major League Soccer Talk and EPL Talk Podcasts and am frequent guest on other (world) football shows. I am also the publisher of various other websites including this one. I work in public/government relations in addition to my soccer work and have a keen interest in history, politics, aviation, travel,and the world around us.