Nothing But Balls
Sports From a Different Perspective…

The British Open: One Bitch of a Course

This year’s United States Open Golf Championship was played at one of the most difficult golf courses in the World. Oakmont Country Club held its record eighth Open in its many years. The star of the weekend was the course and its difficulty. It is not often that a major champion is crowned at five over par. Living in the Pittsburgh Area, I had tickets for the event which seemed wide open on Sunday when I attended. On 17, I thought that Tiger was going to birdie and send the tournament to a playoff. Unfortunately for him, he did not succeed and the “Duck”, Angel Cabrerra won the title, a relative unknown, but a more than solid golfer.

Similarly, the last time the British was held at Carnoustie, a Scottish course also considered one of the toughest in the world, an unknown won. Generally, the tougher the course, the more likely it is for the best in the world to win. This is proven in the former champions at Carnoustie. Tommy Armour, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, and Tom Watson have survived their four rounds to win. Interestingly, Armour and Hogan also won the U.S. Open at Oakmont along with Jack Nicklaus. In 1999 however, as at Oakmont this year, an unknown won.

Nick Lawrie, an above average Scottish golfer went home with the cup. He shot an amazing 67 on Sunday with a little help from Jean van de Velde, who on 18  triple bogeyed to send it to a playoff with Lawrie and Justin Leonard. Lawrie went on to birdie 17 and 18 in the playoff giving him his first and only major championship. The blame for the tough conditions went on the shoulders of the superintendent John Philp. Some claim he used speed fertilizer to grow the rough out. Philp is still the head greenskeeper and he claims that nobody will make an arse out of his course.

Some of the best in the world faired horrendously at the course last time around. Phil Mickelson, coming off his blowup at 18 in the Scottish Open, shot 79 in round one and then 76 the next round to miss the cut. Tiger Woods, the best golfer in the world and perhaps of all time, missed the cut prior to winning his third U.S. Amateur in the Scottish Open played at Carnoustie. He shot 81 on day one and then 75 not good en0ugh to make it. Vijay Singh, in the 1999 Open, manged to shoot 77 followed by an 84 to miss the cut. In the same fashion, Sergio Garcia shot an 89 in his first round and wept on his mother’s shoulder. Yes, this course officially makes people cry. It is said that to figure out what an average golfer would shoot is comparable to doubling the handicap and add three strokes, which means I would shoot about 310.

When I stood in the middle of the fairway on number 10 at Oakmont, I nearly wanted to cry. It was like walking on cement. That hole was the toughest I have ever seen. The Green is downhill from the tee and the fairway could only be possibly 20 yards wide at the most, but wait there is more. The fairway is full of humps and bumps making it nearly impossible to stop the ball in the fairway, and more still the green rolls from front to back sending balls rolling off the back. So, if Carnoustie plays nearly as difficult as Oakmont it will be fun to watch, and remember, at the British, weather is always a wild card.


5 Responses to “The British Open: One Bitch of a Course”

  1. I wish I cared about any of these posts. I guess I’m waiting for something of decent quality to argue, but all I see is constant garbage from wannabe SI writers who could never explain why Kobe Bryant is so popular.

  2. Thanks yappy Dave for the insightful analysis.

  3. Everybody’s favorite troll. David Irish!!! SO, why is Kobe Bryant so popular Dave?

  4. Because he can score.

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