Wow! After watching the happenings at Turnberry yesterday I can emphatically state that the Open Championship (and not the 'British Open' as we Americans prefer to call it!) is the greatest golf event in the world! At what other championship would a 16 year old, an almost 60 year old and a champion all be involved in the awards ceremony? From the history, to the ever changing weather, to the golf courses, to the true international 'openness' of the event I love everything about it. Stewart Cink:
- All the other contenders (Watson, Westwood, Wood and Els) bogeyed the final hole while Stewart made birdie. A great recipe for winning major champioships - get in contention and then birdie the last!
- While I felt bad for Old Tom, Stewart played beautifully in the playoff; getting it up and down from a pot bunker from 35 yards; parring a par three that played all of 230 yards; and making simple birdies on the final two holes. Flawless!
- Did you notice how far short of the hole he landed his ball on the 72nd green? It looked like 35 yards and finished beautifully. The other contenders who bogeyed all landed their shots in the 15-20 yards range short and we know where they ended up.
- Did Cink have anything to do with his handsome young sons? They look like exact, albeit male, replicas of their mom.
- I am sure the Cink family will enjoy their vacation in Montana over the next two weeks. Hopefully Dad's cell phone will not have service as he might be getting a few calls!
Old Tom Watson: (and I call him that with admiration!)
- What an amazing performance! Perhaps the greatest tournament ever played by a golfer over fifty? This Open week will always be remembered as the year of Tom Watson.
- I spent a few hours with Mr. Watson on a charter plane a few years ago and was amazed at the toughness I sensed in the man. Toughness in a positive way. That toughness came out this week in his play on the back nine and even in his final swing in regulation. In his press conference he indicated that he struck an 8 iron to the 72nd green and said, "I like it!" when the ball was in the air. If only it was a nine iron!
- What a gentleman! Tom Watson should be applauded not only for his stellar play, but also for his self control, lack of emotional outburst and sportsmanship. Young golfers can learn so much from Tom Watson and his demeanour on the course this week. In fact all golfers, Tiger Woods included, can learn from him.
- I never once saw him speak to his ball in flight or grimace at a poor strike or result. Sergio, I hope you were watching and learning!
- I love the way Tom gets into a shot - two waggles of the club and bang! Every time! He is a good one to emulate when it comes to a pre-shot routine.
The Golf Course:
- Why can modern golf course designers not build golf courses like Turnberry today? I cannot understand why not. The course is simple without any trickery or manufactured hazards.
- I love links golf as it incorporates the two greatest hazards of all - wind and undulation! All a golf course needs is a little exposure to wind, firm turf and a few well thought out humps and hollows and you have a gem.
- While Turnberry looked green due to all the rain they have had this year, the course is not irrigated. What is wrong with a little browning in a fairway? It makes for firm ground conditions, allows the ball to roll and ultimately plays a whole lot better than the always fashionable plush green fairways.
As you can tell I like old school. I like old school championships, golfers, courtesy and courses! What do you like?