Posts Tagged ‘British Open’

The Open is upon us, and I’m in Britain

Tomorrow shall be the advent of the advent of my first Open Championship (that’s what they call the British Open [the golf one] over here). Fittingly the weather has really turned it on for the players. The bunkers are full of water, something which, as a man who frequents Gordon golf club, I can sympathise with. The only difference between myself and the pros this weekend will be that they will get paid, where I play two bucks a hole to play. The rough has been so solidly watered by the continuous precipitation that the Tiger himself, the man who can tame any course, has labelled the Lytham long stuff “unplayable.”

So it might be, and I am looking forward to watching each and every drive, in particular the ones that skew off into the thicket like grass that have been left to flourish in the drizzle for the last month. I will watch these in anticipation, just to see the look on face of the first golfer to crack. Just give up. Walk off the course. Do a John Daly, pick up his clubs and never come back (don’t bother searching for the ball, you can’t play it out of flowering blackberry bushes) because he just can’t handle trying to hack his ball out of that infernal, juicy, rain soaked birds nest the Lytham people call rough one more time. When the golfer breaks. If it happens, I will write a blog describing, in super slow motion, (if that is possible in writing) the moment where the man breaks and succumbs to the weather, wind, course and that little white ball that really shouldn’t be so hard to hit straight. It will be so beautiful to see, and will make me feel so much better about my own game.

That will be joyous, but until that time comes I will just have to satisfy myself by talking about who I think is going to tackle the conditions best. They think it’s going to be tough, and I predict, really un-profoundly, that the man who hits the most fairways from the tee is going to do best in these conditions. That man is going to give himself the best chance to hit some greens in regulation, and therefore have a chance on those lumpy, humpy greens.

I’ve been watching a bit of golf in the past year, and this course looks to suit those who don’t miss fairways. It is also littered with bunkers, 206 of them in total, making good bunker play an essential quality in tackling this course.

I’m offering the Big Easy, Ernie Els, as one who I think will be there or there abouts when it comes to Sunday. Some of his clutch bunker play on the USPGA so far this year has been exceptional (like his work in the Zurich Classic in New Orleans earlier this year), and he might be called upon to make a few of those shots around the deep pot bunkers that litter this course. Otherwise, his swing looks as attractive as ever, and he is hitting the ball cleanly and straight. If he can land his approaches near the pin and get that belly putter knocking in birds I fancy him as a potential winner.

The man who beat Els at the Zurich was Jason Dufner, and he has been in my eyes one of the most consistent performers on tour this year. He and Hunter Mahan will lead the American charge, and if Jim Furyk can replicate some of the form he showed at the US Open then he will be around there as well. I like Jim’s game on this course because I think he can hit a good majority of the fairways which will be so crucial on a course that will heavily punish those who miss from the tea. I don’t think the Tiger will be up there this time, but I hope to goodness he is. Doesn’t he make golf exciting? The big muscly man, I believe, will make the cut but will have to manufacture too many shots from the rough to give himself a good enough chance at the title. I really do hope that he is up there though.

As for the Aussie contingent, I’m really unsure. I think Adam Scott is our best chance, and if he can tame the broomstick he may give himself a chance, but I don’t really see him winning here.

My smokie is my boy, ma boy, Tim Clark. This is a guy who battles around the course playing irons and hybrids, never driving a par four green, hardly ever hitting a par five in two. I love watching him play because he really breaks the mould of a professional golfer. He will lay up at every opportunity, and I hope he can show some of his genius short game. He will have to if he wants to win.

And who could forget the unluckiest golfer in the world, Lee Westwood. I thought Lee had a really good shot at the US Open last month, but when he hit his ball into a tree and it didn’t come down, it really stopped any momentum he could have had. Playing your third from the tee instead of your second from 200 from the hole tends to have that effect. Anyway, let’s all say a prayer for Lee, because I’d love to see him win.

So ma boy’s on the course, as is the defending champ Darren Clarke, so I’ll see ya’ll on the other side.

Stand, spray and deliver.

Critiques from the arm chair