ALMATY, July 25 (Reuters) - The Kazakhstan Open will debut on the European Tour next year, elevating the first professional golf tournament in the oil-rich Central Asian country to main-tour status after three seasons on the junior circuit.
"Next year the tournament will be co-sanctioned by the Challenge and European Tours," tournament director Konstantin Lifanov told Reuters on Wednesday.
"But staring from 2009, we will be part of the main European Tour with total prize money of over 2 million euros ($2.76 million)."
Held at the picturesque Nurtau golf course near the commercial capital Almaty, the Kazakhstan Open made its professional debut in 2005 as the richest event on the Challenge Tour with 250,000 euros in prize money, increasing each year.
Good play is, on the whole, the product of good courses. How fortunate it would be if that were believed and born in mind by the more indifferent golfers when they are inclined to oppose those seeking to improve our courses! ROBERT HUNTER
The U.S. golf publications posted the best of their Open coverage much faster than usual.
John Hawkins, with this fun anecdote in his Golf World game story:
"When we first started working together, he said, 'Everything has always come hard for me,' " said sports psychologist Bob Rotella, whom Harrington has been seeing for five years. "Then on the putting green [between the end of regulation and the playoff], he reminded me. He said, 'See? I told you. Nothing comes easy for me.' "
Brett Avery's stat package (PDF file) is now posted and though I prefer to savor this in print, I snuck a peak at his "Cool Stat" and "Fast Facts" and thought this probably explained why the bookies had Padraig at a surprisingly high 24-to-1:
Padraig Harrington had missed the cut in seven of his last 11 starts in major championships.
There is also an interesting chart of recent World Ranking positions of major winners. Though Avery didn't include an average for each major and I think I know why: Ben Curtis's win from the 396th spot severely skews the numbers.
Jaime Diaz not surprisingly refuses to do a standard goodbye to Seve piece, and instead juxtaposes the young Seve with the young Sergio.
Ballesteros -- sometimes petty in his battles with the PGA and European tours, often arrogant in his bearing -- has somehow always possessed dignity, all the more because he has suffered. It was the enduring image of his farewell British Open performance last year at Hoylake. Battling his way to scores of 74-77, Ballesteros' uncomplaining intensity in the face of overwhelming obstacles, as his 16-year-old son, Baldomero, carried his bag, was a father's stoic lesson in character.
Garcia, 27, who is winless on any tour since 2005, is now learning in earnest all about the suffering the game can impose, and his dignity is in development. The two men certainly possess some things in common. Both were prodigies. Both have wonderful artistry and flair.
Tim Rosaforte takes time away from this television work to pen a nice summary of No. 18's various antics.
Bill Fields pens another of his enjoyable essays, though I stopped reading after page one because as with the stat foldout, I prefer to read this in print. Still, this note about Ernie Els's wife Liezl caught my eye.
He drove poorly at the second but recovered to save par. Routine pars at Nos. 4 and 5 were followed by a birdie at the par-5 sixth. Recording every shot was Els' wife, Liezl, who I first noticed by the fourth green. Most partners are constant presences watching their men play golf, but Liezl does more than watch. A tall, sandy-haired woman who married Ernie in 1998, she has been plotting the details of Ernie's major-championship rounds since the 1996 PGA Championship at Valhalla CC in Louisville.
Using a mechanical pencil on a 5-by-8-inch notebook, she records every shot played by her husband and his fellow competitors on diagrams of the holes that she has sketched earlier.
Liezl got the idea from the British artist Harold Riley when Els and Nick Faldo were playing a match at Leopard Creek in South Africa in the mid-1990s. "He told us -- it was Brenna [Cepelak] and me -- that it would be a fun job for us to record every round they played," Liezl explained.
Did Harold also suggest that Brenna try taking a 9-iron to Nick's Porsche? Pathetic, I know, but it was just there...
"I knew I couldn't do it every tournament, so I decided to do it at the majors. It's still quite a stack, spread over three houses. I'm trying to get them all in one place."
She downplayed her efforts -- "Harold's work is beautiful; mine is just a record," she said -- and volunteered that Ernie never looks at the notebooks. When I suggested they might fetch a nice sum for a favorite charity some day, she said she would keep the archive in the family. "It's a keepsake, something I'll pass on to my children [Samantha, 8, and Ben, 4]. I'm a little worried about them fading away, since they're in pencil, but somebody told me there is something I can spray on them to preserve them."
King of the obvious, master of the cliche, spinner of swing jargon — Jed Clampett would be better.
In light of Carnoustie's recent Open Championship where apparently the course wasn't hard enough those times the wind died down and temperatues rose enough players were assure that frost bite wouldn't be an issue, Peter Kostis observes:
When the wind is calm, good players can shoot low scores, but on foul-weather days (which are frequent along the coast of the North Sea) the course can be a real brute. The design flexibility of links courses is often limited because designers have to factor in worst-case scenarios with regard to weather so the golf course remains playable. But when the weather is not there, the golf is less demanding.
Ah the flaws of links golf. Amazing the game survived those less demanding dogtracks!
Roberts Deems Faldo An Instant Open Threat; Three Writers Hospitalized With Injuries Induced By Extreme Eye Rolling
I guess Loren Roberts thought it would be rude to tell the assembled inkslingers at Muirfield that Nick Faldo hasn't got a bloody chance since he's spent most of the year in the booth.
Well, he sort of did.
"We all expect him to be instantly competitive, especially here. But he's doing 44 weeks of television now, so that will limit his practice time."
It sounds promising...
Stanley Thompson is one of golf's most acclaimed course architects. Almost a half-century after his death, Thompson's genius is still recognized by the notable position of the courses he crafted in the list of Canada's top-100 courses. He still has more of designs on the list than any other architect.
In honoring Canada's most famous golf course architect, Photoscape Publishing has just released a 192-page, full-color, coffee table-style book. The stories and pictures in "The Golf Courses of Stanley Thompson" provide insight into the methods, techniques and genius of the fabled designer.
Thompson is responsible for four of Canada's top-10 golf courses, twice as many as the next architect. The book provides details on 25 of his courses, including: St. Georges, Highland Links, Jasper Park, Banff Springs, Capilano and Westmount. Each course is showcased in a six-page layout with stories by noted Canadian golf writers and the photography of Mike Bell.
In addition, the book contains a series of 11 two-page mini-essays on the eccentricities of Thompson and the timelessness of his work as described by industry writers. The book is a must for any golf aficionado's library.
Secure at 84th in the FedEx Cup standings, Davis Love only has to secure six top-8 six finishes (or the top 6 eight times), or win twice, or give Senior VP Ric Clarson a ride on his camper to accumulate enough points to get in the Tour Championship. Therefore he has opted not to enter this week's Canadian Open, even though he just finished a design redo of host site Angus Glen's North Course.
Since the first week of May, Bill Paul has been expecting Davis Love III to be playing in this week's Canadian Open. But not having him in the field, on a course he was paid handsomely to tweak, represents the biggest disappointment of the year to the tournament director.Just look how that 144-man cut off is making guys add events!
"Every time we talked from The Players Championship on, he was going to play," Paul said yesterday of Love. "He is the biggest disappointment ... obviously, he should be here."
Love, who missed the cut last week at the British Open, is the name behind the design company that made several subtle changes to the 7,320-yard Angus Glen North Course.
When he was in Markham to discuss the changes he made in early June, Love was noncommittal about his plans for the $5 million (all figures U.S.) championship that begins Thursday.
He said one factor in the decision would be his form heading into the final few weeks of the PGA Tour season; if he needed to crowd his schedule to make enough points to qualify for the season-ending FedEx Cup playoff, he said he'd give the Canadian Open serious consideration.
Of course, getting to Toronto from Carnoustie was very, very, err...easy.
Ken Schofield and John Huggan talk about the Open Championship over at golfalot.com and Huggan takes a nice jab at USGA President Walter Driver.
They also have an interesting give and take on the issue of drug testing.
SI's Michael Bamberger notes that Sergio Garcia's post Open Championship comments put Jean Van De Velde's collapse and post-'99 perspective into, well, perspective.
Garcia blamed his bogey finish at the 72nd hole on bad luck, slow play and a greater plan. ("It wasn't meant to be," he said.) Eight years ago Van de Velde, who is not playing now because of an undisclosed illness, told reporters, "Don't look so sad."And he offers this, which ought to be well received in Ponte Vedra.
On Sunday night Garcia sarcastically told the throng, "I'm thrilled." His pain was perhaps understandable. He had been a king for three days.
Phil Mickelson used to have the damn-me-with-faint-praise title as the best golfer never to have won a major, and then he went on a Tigeresque tear, winning three majors in two years. (He missed the cut at Carnoustie, and don't be surprised if he shuts down his season after the PGA Championship next month, skipping the Presidents Cup and all the season — ending FedEx Cup events to fully rest his strained left wrist.)
Even with the allure of links golf outside their windows, golf's finest scribblers produced some excellent reflections Monday. Though they still missed one major, huge, enormous, earth-shattering story (I'll get to that in a moment).
"We went to bed about 4am and I woke up about six, just wide awake," explained her husband. "I woke up my wife and said, 'I actually did it - I am the Open champion'. The trophy was at the end of the bed and both of us were just looking at it in awe. Caroline was kind of, 'Yeah, I can't believe there's the trophy and everything, but can we go back to sleep now?'" She was not allowed to.
There was just so much to take in for Padraig and the rest of the Harringtons as the scale of his triumph became apparent. In Ireland, their first major champion in 60 years - indeed, only their second major champion ever - was already being crowned their biggest sports star. By extension, Harrington's thrilling play-off victory over Sergio Garcia was being voted on radio shows as the finest individual achievement in the history of Irish sport.
This is amazing...
"You know, I just can't wait to watch this tournament on TV as I had no concept of some of the things that went on," he said. "For a start I didn't realise until 11.30 last night that Andres Romero had a two-shot lead with two to play. No idea at all. That just shows how in the zone I was and what a good place I was in."
"Portrush is a fantastic course and I looked at it in great detail about five or six years ago. It would be a fantastic venue, but only for about 15,000 people a day."
More than twice than figure watched Harrington beat Sergio Garcia in a play-off at Carnoustie on Sunday.
The K Club near Dublin was the first Irish venue to stage the Ryder Cup last September. However, Hill added: "It's also referred to as the Open Championship played in Great Britain. That's where it lies at the moment, but it's never a closed book."
Well, I think we can close the book on the K Club.
Uh, has anyone ever heard of it referred to as the Open Championship played in Great Britain? Should that be in all caps?
The Principal clips some of the best photos from Sunday and offers profound captions.
USA Today's Michael Hiestand loved ABC's British Open telecast, though he fails to acknowledge that it was actually ESPN on ABC. Shameful. And as Chris Lewis noticed that readers at golf.com weren't so enamored. Did Mike Tirico quietly confirm at the end of Sunday's telecast that
ABC err ESPN on ABC's Faldo-Azinger would not be back next year by suggesting the next time we'll see them is the 2008 Ryder Cup?
Okay, and completely missed was the news that Sergio jumped from 22nd to 11th and Padraig from 79th to 19th in Fed Ex Cup points.
Now this is an important delineation because we know that in the simulations, the top 3 seeds will need a win, two “mid-pack” finishes and a week off to win the FedEx Cup, the 4-8 seeds will need a win and a top 5, while the 8-15's must win once, record a second and listen to Rush Limbaugh regularly. And for Padraig and the other 16-30's, he must win a playoff event, register a 2nd and a top 5 that really needs to be a top 3. And the seeds at 31 and over need two wins, a drug-free physical exam and 40 hours of time served at Tour Bible Study.
The excitement is contagious!
Finally, Lawrence Donegan reminds us that while the Open highlighted a great setup on a fantastic course, the old chaps running the show still have a ways to go.
The response of the players to the challenge laid before them was universally positive, as must have been the reaction of the wider public watching at home on television. In stark contrast to this year's Masters and US Open, both of which fell victim to the misplaced belief in some quarters that watching great players struggle to make par is somehow great golf, the 136th Open was a truly uplifting sporting spectacle, with great golfers able to show off their skills.
Off the course, the tournament was played out against a steady diet of controversy and cock-up. Much was made of a succession of rules problems and, while some of the coverage was overblown, it was notable that the majority of the mistakes were made by "amateur" officials who had been drafted in for the week, rather than by professional referees from the various tours who have both the experience and knowledge to handle the pressure of officiating at major championships.
By far the most insightful contribution on the subject came from the Ryder Cup player Niclas Fasth who, when asked if the game's most high-profile players received favourable treatment from referees, replied: "It happens frequently." This rather gave the lie to that old chestnut about golf being the last sporting bastion of fair play for all.
And thanks to Lawrence for reminding us about the positive test results in France...
Gary Player's intervention on the subject of drug use in the game was also instructive, if only in the sense that it highlighted the continuing failure of the game's governing body to tackle the issue. For years, the R&A has insisted not only that there are no drug users in golf but that drugs would not improve a golfer's game. There is a queue of experienced physicians who would argue otherwise, just as the available evidence, notably in France, where drug testing in golf has been in place for some time and has thrown up several positive results, suggest the problem is real and ongoing.
And on our old chap Graham Brown, who is in day 4 of his race rehab work...
Brown, it was said, was not representing the views of the R&A when he made his ill-judged speech. No doubt this is true. But as the golfing caravan moved on and the gentlemen in blazers returned to their sanctuary in St Andrews, one was left to wonder where on earth he picked up his despicable views or, more to point, where he came to believe that uttering such bile in a public forum was somehow acceptable behaviour.
And I wonder why they can't do anything about the ball!
Uh, she's 15 and she did it at the U.S. Girls Junior, tying a USGA scoring record held by Christina Kim.
And of course Kimberly already has a U.S. Women's Amateur trophy on the shelf.
"He then reached the 71st tee with nine strokes left to win but proceeded to top a 4 iron into the burn and take 6."
Buenos Aires native José Jurado (1899-1971) was a golfing pioneer in the truest sense, for while early British professionals ventured out to parts unknown with the psychological might of the world’s biggest empire (both golfing and otherwise) behind them, Jurado traveled thousands of miles to challenge the British golf monolith on its own turf. He was not, however, without ammunition for as his homeland’s first great player, Jurado won the Argentine Open seven times and was, in Longhurst’s summation, “a brilliant golfer.”
Jurado contended several times at the Open Championship beginning in 1928 at Royal St George’s, where he trailed two-time winner Walter Hagen by one through 54 holes, then blew up with a closing 80 to finish joint sixth. His golden opportunity, however, came three years later at Carnoustie where rounds of 76-71-73 in difficult conditions stood him three ahead of the pack through 54. He then reached the 71st tee with nine strokes left to win but proceeded to top a 4 iron into the burn and take 6. Then, even more sadly, he laid up at the par-5 72nd in the erroneous belief that par would still put him in a playoff when, in fact, a birdie was needed and there he was, alone in second, one behind the victorious Tommy Armour.
A few more items I didn't pick up last night worth your time.
Scott Michaux says "it's impossible to feel sorrier for Garcia than Garcia feels for himself."
Jim McCabe thinks Sergio's post round complaints about the slow bunker raking at 18 were "petulant." Of course, it didn't help that the raker paused to wave to the crowd after completing the second bunker!
Ewan Murray and Lawrence Donegan catch up with Bob Torrance, Padraig Harrington's longtime teacher.
John Huggan on Andres Romero's round:
The statistics are startling. Romero, a 26-year-old Argentinian in only his second full season on the European Tour, made 10 birdies, two bogeys, two double bogeys and only four pars in 18 holes of topsy-turvy golf that will live long in the memory. Remarkably, until he agonisingly made the second of those bogeys at the final hole, he had recorded neither a par nor a bogey on the back nine. His last par figure of the day came on the 7th.
Brian Hewitt sheds more light on Padraig's work habits.
This unbylined BBC report quotes Peter Dawson as saying that Carnoustie is firmly in the Open rota (and miraculously, Dawson's next sentence did not totally contradict his previous statement!)
And he also commented on the drug issue...
"Let me say first of all that it is very easy to say that people may be taking drugs and that no-one can refute a statement like that," said Dawson.
"But there is absolutely no evidence or anything for these remarks in the game and I think most of the top players in the game today have backed that view."
Amazing they have such wisdom without testing!
Owen Slot features Dick Pounds's quotes from his BBC appearance.
“The PGA has resisted any acknowledgement that there may be a problem,” Pound said. “We would be happy to sit down and help golf come together with a significant and robust programme. I have said [to the PGA], ‘Look, this is your opportunity to lead, not to be forced to follow, so get on with it. The time is now. “ ‘You should do this while you still have the initiative, rather than being forced into it as the result of a scandal. Then you are going to have the whole of golf regarded with suspicion. Do it now before there’s a big public problem.’ ” The tardiness of the PGA to respond to drugs-testing is in contrast to the European Tour, which is to start testing in the new year.
Pound said that his “suspicion” was that there are professional golfers who are using drugs. “Gary Player says he knows, so that’s fairly powerful medicine from somebody who has only the integrity of the game at heart,” he said.
“It comes from one of the icons of golf who has no particular axe to grind other than to try to maintain the integrity of the sport. It’s a wake-up call that has not come in such stark terms to date from the golf community.”
Asked what he had been told to arouse his suspicions, Pound said: “Some say they know, others say they strongly suspect, but it’s really not the point.”
And finally, Lynn Truss isn't afraid to explain that they are growing a wee bit bored with Americans from the flyover states winning.
Yesterday morning, we winced collectively at the possibility that the event might be won, yet again, by a neat, upright Midwesterner of whom many golf fans had basically never heard. Take nothing away from Stricker’s great third round, of course. Take nothing away from Ben Curtis, from Ohio (winner, 2003, Royal St George’s) or Todd Hamilton, from Illinois (winner, 2004, Royal Troon), either. Whoever wins on the day is self-evidently the best player of the championship and should be respected accordingly.
But it remains true that the event is somehow undermined by every additional obscure, generic-looking, “run that name past me again, squire” champion – all the more so (one regrets to say) if he hails from a flat middle bit of the United States.
First, the game stories from an epic Open Championship.
Lawrence Donegan in The Guardian says Carnoustie "reaffirmed its status as golf's greatest and most demanding theatre."
James Corrigan in the Independent writes that this was "one of the most nerve-racking, most action-packed and, yes, most glorious final days in the history of golf."
Doug Ferguson insists that "the final hour was golf theater at its best."
Damon Hack in the New York Times works his lede around the bizarre meeting between Sergio and Harrington on the 18th hole bridge.
Now the photos.
Golf Channel offers up a nice mix of photos here.
GolfDigest.com features, well, uh, let's hope this is the best of what they are not running in Golf World.
And golf.com has several fine shots, though no one seems to have captured the surreal bridge scene when Sergio and Padraig passed each other during regulation. Yes, I wanted to have some photo caption fun! Think of the possibilities!
Now, the players.
Padraig Harrington's interview transcript is here.
Chris Lewis offers this perspective of Padraig.
Sergio Garcia's rough interview is here...go easy on him boys!
Hugh MacDonald says this one will haunt Sergio forever...
Garcia played smart. An iron from the tee left him a 3-iron to the green. He had to wait an unconscionably long time for the green to clear and for two bunkers to be raked. One could have smoothed the Sahara quicker.
The 3-iron found a bunker. Garcia found a way out. And then a way to lose. A missed putt such as that on the 18th is a blow that produces a haemorrhage of confidence. The Spaniard could not find a putt all day. He was unlikely to find one in the four extra holes.
And so he sat in front of the world's press at 8.20pm, cursing the fates that conspired to deprive him of his shot at glory. "The week is over," he said with a voice tinged with tiredness and seeped in disappointment. In seven hours, hope had turned to despair. Top-class sport inflicts its hurt with the skill of a diabolical torturer. This will hurt Garcia forever.
Jim Litke was much less sympathetic:
Sergio Garcia didn't cry this time, at least not where anyone could see.
Maybe he expected the rest of us to do that for him.
Martin Johnson was in his usual rare form, though maybe a tad harsh on the young lad.
It was so wet yesterday that the groundstaff were using buckets to bail rainwater out of the bunkers, but, for the second consecutive time in a Carnoustie Open, the squeegees had an even more serious moisture disposal task to perform. Drying out the shoulder pads on Consuela Garcia's jacket.
Sergio fell sobbing into his mother's arms after a round of 89 here in 1999, and it would be a surprise if the Kleenex didn't come out again yesterday following the even more emotionally draining experience of blowing a three-shot lead and eventually losing in a play-off to Padraig Harrington.
Somewhere among the hard-luck messages, Garcia might find one of congratulation from Colin Montgomerie after the Spaniard sconed a photographer on the 17th hole on Saturday. Monty has been wanting to do this for years, but it's been a bit like his 63 attempts to win a major. Close, but no cigar.
Garcia not only failed to become the first man to win a major using a belly putter, but also the player with the weakest bladder to win one. He was off to the Portaloo as early as the third hole yesterday, and by the time he burst into a sprint to find one at the 10th, the nerves were such that this one might have involved putting the seat down.
And okay, I admit I agreed with this sentiment...
Just as last year, the golfing gods were not going to allow someone to win the Open dressed like a canary, then this year they weren't going to allow the Claret Jug to be won by someone using a contraption as alien to the spirit of the game as a belly putter.
Allan Pattullo has the best summary of Tiger Woods's week and the first evidence that fatherhood has affected Tiger's game.
Walking with Tiger yesterday was surreal. Normally, following his fortunes amounts to a campaign. In St Andrews in 2000, he performed in a cloud of dust kicked up by the heels of thousands. Within the ropes clumps of press and television reporters grouped, watched carefully by a line of police officers. To be there felt like being at the centre of the sporting world.
Yet yesterday was different. A drama was unfolding, just not here. Cheers would suddenly erupt, and heads would turn to another green, another fairway. Woods, too, had his thoughts elsewhere, and made some surprising errors. At the eighth hole, a bogey saw his name drop completely from the leaderboard.
A missed birdie putt at the next prompted a very un-Tiger like "f***" curse. Normally, this emerges from his mouth as the less trenchant "frick". But the Anglo-Saxon version came clear as a bell yesterday.
It was at the 15th hole that he as good as handed back the Claret Jug. Woods planted a tee shot into the right-side bunker on the way to a bogey that was, in essence, his surrender.
He probably wished to call it a day, hop on the private jet there and then. But enough competitive spirit remained for him to play the last three holes in par for a 70, which saw him finish at two under par for the tournament.
Afterwards, he sounded like someone who couldn't wait to get home to Florida, and to a waiting bundle who cares not a whit for his troubles on a damp east coast stretch of Scotland. "It's been a week, and it's hard to believe you can miss something that's only been gone for a week," he smiled. "But I certainly do miss them [Sam and Erin, his wife]."
Robert Millward looks at Andres Romero's improbable run that earns him spots in the PGA, Masters and U.S. Open.
"I feel very pleased, but the pressure suddenly caught up with me, especially the pressure at the last two holes in such a big event," Romero said through an interpreter.
His troubles began when he drove into the rough at the 17th and wavered between which club to use. Finally deciding on a 2-iron, he hit a sharp hook that dove into the wall of the Barry Burn, which sent the ball ricocheting straight right toward the 18th fairway.
The ball stayed dry, but it sailed past the out-of-bounds line between the two closing holes. Romero had to take a drop and switched to a 3-wood to reach the green. He missed the putt and staggered off with a double bogey, his lead suddenly gone, a weak smile about all he could manage.
"I hit a very bad second shot at the 17th," Romero said, "but I also had a lot of very bad luck."
Graham Spiers thinks he has the answer to the question of why the galleries were so subdued. It was bloody cold and wet.
It is nobody’s fault, but something in the air has been missing from this Open Championship. You felt it again following Woods yesterday, beneath grey skies, in front of quite a few empty seats and with accompanying galleries that were faithful in their pursuit, but not heaving or jostling for space.
Nobody can control the weather, but what has been missing this week has been that classic Open ambience of a hot, dry summer, thundering hooves and crackling excitement. Woods has the global fame that Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe and Muhammad Ali once possessed, but you would not have known it from this Sabbath calm on the Angus coast.
And finally, Claire Middleton offers several notes, including this on merchandise activities...
Rhod McEwan, whose marvellous antiquities add a touch of class to what is basically a marketplace, saw his dream customer arrive yesterday. "I've got £2,000 so show me the most expensive items first," said a Canadian collector who selected a boxful of books.
There has also been a decrease in shoplifting, though the folk at Callaway refused to give a description of the person who legged it with one of their £300 square-headed drivers. Apparently, nobody less elevated than the marketing director can talk to the press.
Pondering today's events, I'm trying to think of something about Carnoustie and the 2007 Open Championship that was less than ideal (besides ESPN on ABC's relentless commercial breaks and that poorly timed Van De Velde flashback as Sergio was walking up to 18 green).
I suppose the out-of-bounds left of 18 green could be moved back and the hole would not be negatively impacted, and there appeared to be boundary issues around the 1st and 18th that seem borderline excessive. Otherwise, consider this:
- We saw a course vulnerable to hot rounds and yet overall, forgive me Golf Gods, proved "resistant" to scoring with only 19 players finishing under par for the week and playoff combatants finishing at 7-under. A look at the scoring shows a nice separation of the field.
- The leaderboard featured a variety of players from around the world playing the game with somewhat different styles. Reward for power, accuracy and short game seemed balanced, whereas Augusta and Oakmont seemed to put quite a bit of emphasis on putting, conservative play and chance.
- Wider playing corridors and short grass around the greens did not unduly reward sloppy driving or excessively benefit players with great short games, but instead seemed to highlight Carnoustie's best architectural elements while tempting the field into the occasional risky shot, adding excitement and fun for those of us viewing at home.
- Hole locations seemed surprisingly generous on the weekend and yet, scoring was not adversely impacted for those concerned about the Open being "too easy" (like any round in any major will ever be easy!). It seemed in many instances that the kind hole locations tempted players into bold shots that only caused them more trouble when they miscalculated.
- Pace of play wasn't great, but four hours for the leaders on the weekend in cold and sometimes wet conditions on a course with several long waits wasn't bad either.
- And because I'm an unabashed star%$#@&!, the best players in the world rose to the top and many had a chance to win going into Sunday.
Add it all up and it seemed to me that for the second year in a row, the Open Championship was about as close to perfect as a major can be, defined mostly by the concept of letting the architecture and players decide the event, instead of the committee.
All times Pacific, where it's bloody early.
6:03 - Woke for the start but lost consciousness during the Van de Velde segment, then woke up during Peter Dawson's appearance. After all, it's just so fascinating to hear someone say so many things at once. The improved setup at Carnoustie is "party and mainly" due to Mother Nature. Partly because Mother Nature didn't fertilize the rough, or mainly?
And on the steroid/Gary Player accusation front, "Gary appeared to have information that no one else had" and "it's hard to imagine drugs that will actually help you in golf." Ah, but the R&A "supports drug testing."
But my favorite remark was this about the women playing St. Andrews in two weeks: "But to see them play perhaps slightly longer irons into the greens and so on and have to bump and bounce it in off the humps and hollows I think will be really interesting." Oh, you mean how we'd like to see the men play it if they weren't hitting it so far?
6:05 - Faldo breaks down talking about the emotion of turning the Claret Jug in. "You're going to show this? What is it about this blimmen (?) trophy?" Great stuff.
6:09 - Ben Curtis and Tiger Woods making moves, both to -3, six back of Sergio.
6:12 - Tiger has 172 yards into 6. Azinger: "Why do you think at this point in the championship he would lay up off the tee. Shocking decision to me."
6:14 - Els moves to -4...
6:18 - Sergio arrives at the first tee podium, tries to buy a pairing sheet from Ivor Robson who congratulates Sergio on wearing the ugliest shade of green he's ever seen.
6:21 - Sergio calmly stripes it down the middle and looks incredibly calm. Must be the calming presence of Walter Driver who is trailing close behind again today.
6:33 - Garcia -9, Stricker -6, Els -5, DiMarco -4, Choi -4
6:36 - Tiger bogies 8 to drop to -2, here come the "what's wrong with Tiger" columns!
6:39 - Our first Cialis ad appearance...what's with the dual bathtubs though?
6:43 - Richard Green's eagle on 14 moves him to 7-under on the day, 5-under for the championship. One more and he can tie the all time low round in a major, two more and they'll have to lock John Philp in a room without sharp objects.
6:46 - McGinley holes out from a bunker, our UK eyes and ears having told us it happened about 6 minutes ago...while we were away.
6:50 - Those newly added grass mounds look ridiculous on No. 3.
6:51 - Nice "God dammit" from Tiger on 9; "we hear and see his frustration" - Tirico...before we race to commercial break 5 of the hour.
6:53 - How much money did they pay Jenkins and Feherty to do these Crowne Plaza ads? Brutal.
6:57 - The assistant trainer for the Miami Dolphins has sat down for a chat with Tom Rinaldi. Wait, no, it's Ben Curtis, fresh off a 65.
6:59 - Sergio birdies No. 3, makes his second straight putt of decent length, moves to -10 and a four shot lead before Stricker misses a short birdie try. Oh, time to see what Tiger's doing at -2! Meanwhile Richard Green, playing thanks to Woody Austin, pars 16 from the gunch to remain in contention for a 63.
7:08 - Richard Green! Birdie on 17. Par on 18 will post a 63 and -6. Carnoustie's integrity...remains completely in tact.
7:11 - Peter Alliss is in the booth, must be time for a commercial break! Els goes to -6 with a birdie on 6 and his 8 there yesterday looms even more.
7:13 - Sergio hits driver on 5, ball hangs on edge of bunker. Alliss: "Moments like this make you wish you'd taken up the game lefthanded."
7:22 - Green's par putt on 18 slips by, will post 64.
7:23 - Sergio bogies No. 5. Andy North: "only his fourth birdie of the week, which is incredible on a golf course setup like this." Azinger comes to the rescue and clarifies it's a bogey.
7:32: ABC's GolfTrak on 6 yesterday: Segio's clubhead speed was 11 miles an hour faster than Stricker, and his ball speed was 15 mph faster, but their balls were only 6 yards apart. Toda, Garcia's ball speed was 21 mph faster, carry was 280 vs. Stricker (3 wood) at 251 yards. Azinger: "it's almost become a science to optimize your distance and part of the reason guys are bombing it this day and age is because of technology, not steroids."
7:40 - Sergio salvages par on 6, Stricker misses birdie putt to get within two shots, remains at -6. Els three back at -6 through 8, Romero -6 through 10.
7:42 - This just in from TNT: Bobby Clampett on Sergio Garcia: “(Sergio Garcia) is an emotional player. He wears his heart on his sleeve and with the crowd pulling for him like they are, this is big for Sergio.”
7:43 - More deep, deep, deep insights from TNT's press department: Clampett on golfers’ approach: “(Golfers) can only control what (they) do. (They) can never control anything else and that is where all the focus needs to be. (A golfer’s) mindset needs to be, ‘If I go out and shoot a 65 or 64 today and see what happens.’”
Clampett’s advice for golfing in the rain: “You need to have a rain glove, not many people put a rain glove in their golf bag. You’re going to get wet unless you have a caddy who can keep you dry all the time and (you have) seven dry towels in the bag.”
7:55 - Sergio bogies 7 with a short iron into the green. "Things changing rapidly" - Alliss. I'll say. Romero holes bunker shot. to move within 1!!!!
8:00 - Sergio -8, Romero -7, Els -6, Harrington -6, Stricker -6
8:02 - Judy Rankin: "the conditions have really changed" as Romero loses 2-iron right on 12. Sergio bogies 8. Romero now tied for the lead, looking for his ball in the gorse.
8:05 - Time to say goodbye to Peter Alliss. He got in at least 10 sentences during his hour.
8:10 - Tom Meeks called in for explanation of Romero options. Keeps referring to his ball and the "ho."
8:12 - Romero makes double on 12, Gannon and Faldo questioning why he didn't try to get a yardage for his recovery play. I'm not sure it would have made much difference since he hit a pretty impressive recovery shot.
8:21 - Sergio's clubhead speed 122 off 10 tee, Stricker at 108. Leaderboard update: Sergio -7, Els -6, Harrington -6, Stricker -5, Romero -5.
8:39 - Romero birdies 13 and 14! Three way tie at the top: Garcia, Harrington, Romero with Els one back.
8:43 - Romero is playing in just his third major. Here's his play summary from Yahoo...
8:45 - Tiger lips out on 18 for birdie. Tirico: Tiger this week...fairways hit 46th, GIR 31st, Putting 20th, 1 for 8 from sand. Faldo: "he's seriously stuck with his golf swing right now."
8:50 - Our UK eyes report Romero makes his third birdie in a row after his double. Meanwhile, we were at commercial and now doing a Tiger interview.
8:53 - Romero takes the lead...in America! His ninth birdie! 6-under on the round.
8:56 - Romero sticks it 15 feet right of the hole on 16! Let's go to 14 to see Ernie's...eh, no, commercial break.
8:58 - Romero birdies 16! At least, according to our UK eyes! Oh here it comes at 8:59! No pars since the 7th hole! 10 birdies on the day! Here's his Euro Tour bio page.
9:02 - He's got a website, in English!!
9:07 - Coming back from commercial, Romero is in the hay, Azinger lets out a "Jeeeeese"
9:08 - Romero's 2 iron careens off the wall, goes left, past 18 tee, out of bounds! Wow. We need a crane or blimp shot, the BBC has nothing.
9:09 - Sergio drains birdie on 13! Romero hits epic recovery after the OB shot with a hybrid. Still smiling.
9:10 - Harrington tight for eagle on 14, makes it! Moves to -9!!! We need a commercial break!
9:13 - Judy Rankin on Romero's shot going OB on 17: some of the "worst luck I've ever seen."
9:18 - We're busy plugging the advertisers whose ads we just watched. Oh and time for Dell's driving solutions with Andy North. Oh joy!
9:20 - Sergio flies it to the back of 14 green, Tirico estimates 265 as an iron.
9:23 - Romero on 18, okay, yanks it but we've got Garcia on 14 and Els on 16 and Harrington on 15 so let's go to...commercial!
9:27 - Harrington lags on 15...well a few minutes ago. Garcia lags on 14 to about 8 feet, drains the birdie putt!
9:29 - Romero chips up not very well on 18, but we have Harrington moving to 16 tee and Sergio on 15, so what better time than to watch...a commercial!
9:30 - Our UK eyes report that Romero's in with bogey on 18, leader in the clubhouse at -6. Instead, we're seeing Lee Trevino tell Dan Jenkins and Alice Cooper that he never uses a yellow tee.
9:32 - Harrington sticks it on 16, oh and we see Romero finishing up at 9:33. Thanks.
9:35 - Harrington's birdie putt takes a long look at the bottom of the cup and passes. Sergio has 268 into 15, is just short of the front left bunker, Faldo says it's probably "a big break for him." I think that makes it an ideal time to hear yet more words from our sponsors!
9:42 - Sergio hits fine shot from tough stance on 15 where he's on cusp of the bunker. Harrington tees off on 17, hits the fairway. The excitement is building, and...NO WAY. Another commercial break!
9:45 - Garcia misses his par putt on 15, we're watching a promo for some lousy looking new show called Dirty Sexy Money.
9:46 - "Awful, no chance" -Azinger on Sergio's missed par putt.
9:47 - 212-yard 7-iron by Harrington on 17. No wind. 52 degrees. It's the grooves!
9:51 - Harrington makes 4 on 17, BBC cameraman leaves us dizzy. Garcia using the putter from off green on 16, hits it 2-3 feet. Very impressive shot.
10:02 - This just in, more people are standing in the fairway observing and working than are standing behind the ropes!
9:53 - Harrington in the burn off 18 tee, almost makes it across the bridge. Garcia makes stellar par on 16. He's only 100 yards away notes Terry Gannon, nice BBC crane shot pans out and gives us the scene. Faldo says "it's like the first night on a camping holiday with your girlfriend, the excitement's intense!"
9:58 - Harrington is dropping right in front of Garcia on 17 tee. Surreal. Wait, even more surreal, Sergio and Harrington cross each other on the bridge. Wild! The fans give it a "whooooa" and Tirico says it's one of the great shots you'll ever see.
10:02 - This just in, there are more people inside the ropes on 17 and 18 than outside the ropes!
10:04 - "Nice five iron" for Sergio on 17.
10:04 - "Double burn." -Tirico. Harrington hits it fat, bounces in burn on 18 green. Unbelievable tension! : "Van de Velde is going to look good." -Faldo The tension is too thick, please give us a commercial break. Oh thank you ESPN on ABC!
10:07 - In lieu of Harrington's walk up 18, we got a Bridgestone tire ad followed by Titleist. Thanks. Oh, we're back, Sergio on 17 for birdie. Nice speed, tap in. Andy North, does Sergio know what is going on? North says Sergio had his head down, paying attention to the hole at hand.
10:09 - Harrington sticks his wedge, double looks promising. Sergio comes to 18 tee. They have to wait on McGinley and DiMarco. Andy North: "he's going to have 10 minutes to wait." Faldo whistles.
10:13 - Harrington makes it, cut to Sergio taking a deep breath on 18 tee. Cut to commercial. How much longer is
ABC on ESPN ESPN on ABC's contract with the R&A? Faldo and Azinger and Tirico are great, but not great enough to make up for this disaster.
10:15 - Sergio hits iron off tee, 245 to hole according to our BBC eyes. We're watching a Cadillac ad here in the US!
10:17 - Now we see it...live on tape!
10:21 - If you took over 6:18 for the proverbial shot of the trophy engraver, you win!
10:21 - Sergio has to wait on the bunker raker according to Bill Kratzert. The guy is taking his sweet time Sergio has the club pulled, waiting. The guy is waving to the crowd. Faldo: "You're not ___ marble at the Sistine Chapel mate." What did Faldo say?
10:22 - Left bunker. Not bad. His mom is starting to breath again. Sister looks just like him!
10:25 - Sergio is walking up 18...and we're getting a bloody Van De Velde flashback! Unreal.
10:26 - We go from Sergio walking on 18 to his bunker shot, just enough time for Andy North to tell us the lie is good. He knocks it about 8 feet past the hole, pretty good shot in the circumstances.
10:27 - Stricker tries to get out of Sergio's way quickly. We have the ESPN logo at the top of the screen in addition to the ABC. Sergio just misses. Playoff is 1-16-17-18.
10:40 - From our UK eyes and ears, Mark James: "I don't know who designed the course, but for the first 15 holes it's fine, but then it seems like the guy went through a messy divorce."
10:42 - They were unable to find the flagstick for the first! Mark James again from our BBC viewer: "We could get that chap who gave a speech at the writers dinner to stand next to the hole"
10:44 - Playoff, Padraig goes with 3 or 4 wood off tee. Sergio hits iron, backs off for laugher, stripes it, just trickles in first cut.
10:50 - Garcia, 172 out, hits in front bunker, Andy North says it's plugged. Harrington sticks approach. Garcia's bunker shot stops short. He's still away. Bogey five, Harrington drains his. Leads by 2.
11:00 - Garcia's ball hit the flagstick on 16. Harrington left of the green where Garcia was in regulation. Harrington hits nice recovery putt, makes 3 footer for par, Garcia leaves birdie putt short.
11:07 - Azinger: "There's no strategy here," talking about the 17th. No advantage for driver or iron off tee in his view. Both down the right side, Harrington hits first from 225, sticks it 6 feet? Big smile. Garcia has 218 yards, had 219 earlier according to Andy North. Garcia hits it 15 feet left of the hole, just misses.
11:18 - Harrington's putt snaps! Wow did that break hard. He goes to 18 two up.
11:20 - Padraig pulls hybrid, trying to pick a line, stripes it, no run, "that's way back" - Faldo.
11:22 - Sergio hits driver down the left, "perfect lie and perfect angle" - Azinger "Perfect angle" -Tirico...it's right outside their booth...and in the rough. Perfect angle, from the rough. Ugh. Judy Rankin says that Padraig might not even be able to get home in two. Meanwhile the engraver has Harrington stenciled in!! He's 268 to the hole, does he lay up? Has to...
11:27 - Harrington lays up with 7 iron, has full wedge left. Sergio's lie is good. 233 yards, slight upslope, will affect shot according to Andy North. "If I hit five and it comes out hot I'm going to hit the clock." -Garcia Hitting big 6, sticks it 18 feet left of hole! Great shot.
11:30 - Harrington hits it outside Sergio, appears he's going to give him the line. Harrington gulps as he walks up 18, Sergio's already there.
11:34 - Harrington's putt slides by an uncomfortable distance. So does Sergio's birdie putt. Sergio drains. Padraig, just over 3 feet to win the Open. ESPN logo on the screen please...he makes it! 11:37. BBC cameras don't know what to shoot..anything but the right thing!
11:40 - They're dancing in the streets of Dublin by now. Never again will we have to read about Europe's winless drought in the majors. Well, not for a while anyway.
11:46 - These ESPN microphones are really letting the ABC brand down! Padraig's first 20 seconds are silent in his interview with Tom Rinaldi.
11:48 - Martin Kippax is hosting the R&A ceremony. We've found the cure for insomnia. He's reading from his notes in slow motion, right? Uh Martin, we have affiliates waiting for us to switch over the Indy race here. Might we pick up the pace lad?
11:51 - Low amateur Rory McIlroy is wearing Puma's fall line for the awards ceremony. Ah amateur golf.
11:52 - Sergio picks up his silver plate. He'll be slipping that under his Maserati to collect leaking oil.
11:56 - Ah, he's thanking his pit crew now. That's it, ESPN on ABC has heard enough. Time to say goodbye. Tirico: "this has been like riding a bike." See you guys at the Ryder Cup in 2008. Does that mean they won't be back at the 2008 Open? Oh well, over and out.
When ABC wrapped up Sergio's round, Paul Azinger noted that he believed it was a good thing Sergio missed his last birdie putt, reasoning that he would be just a bit less likely to take Sunday for granted. When I heard Azinger say it, I wasn't so sure, but now I'm thinking he has a point. We'll know soon enough.
Garcia showed no signs of flinching, especially on the final hole. He hit a 5-iron from 220 yards that was so pure he chased after it, screaming out instructions with an intensity that showed he already knew the outcome.
“Oh, be good,” he said. “BE GOOD!”
It hopped onto the green and stopped 12 feet left the flag, and the only disappointment was having to settle for par.
“I wanted to make the putt on 18 just for them, and to hear the roar, that would have been just out of this world,” said Garcia, who was at 9-under 204 and holding the 54-hole lead in a major for the first time.
Huggan also looks at Tiger's position.
The putting, too, needs some work, despite his apparent contentment with his stroke. An average of 29 this week is but average for a leading professional. Then again, maybe we should not be too surprised. This would not be the first major title Woods has failed to win because of shoddy work on and around the greens. While we have all marvelled at his ability to hole out where other, lesser, players would be succumbing to the pressure of the moment, his short game, statistically at least, does not live up to that stellar reputation. This year he lies 100th in scrambling on the PGA Tour.
But I don't know about this...
Woods is a better player tee-to-green than he was back in 2000, when he won three of the four major championships. But he did so almost without missing a putt of any consequence. The swing he used at that time wasn't effective enough for him to win without making more than his fair share with the shortest club in his bag. Now Woods can win even when his putting is no better than average.
Mark Reason says it's not over until they've played 18, so he looks at its design evolution and various horror stories.
A BBC report captures Tiger's suggestion that since Paul Lawrie came back from 10 the final day in 1999, anything is possible Sunday.
Frank Hannigan signed up for the LiveUKTV site that afforded BBC access and serves up several gems...typos corrected:
No commercials obviously is a blessing. The American carriers TNT and ABC-ESPN sell the British Open to death. The audience is "away" from golf about ll minutes an hour. The R&A should be ashamed of itself for allowing a contract permitting such excesses.
Full disclosure insists I reveal that Mr. Alliss is a close friend. That doesn't mean he is not the greatest ever to do golf talking. Why? Another day.
The decision by the small bore minds who run ESPN to hire young Alliss, age 76, to do some of their weekend television was made only at the last minute and, undoubtedly, under pressure from the R&A and its secretary Peter Dawson.
Steve Elling looks at Steve Stricker's epic 64:
Longtime caddie Tom Mitchell leaned up against a metal rail, his head down, as he tried to organize his thoughts and describe the amazing metamorphosis of his boss.
Then, something clicked and his eyes brightened.
“If you change the things you think about,” he said, all Yogi Berra-like, “the things you think about will change. Does that make sense?”
Does it ever. Nobody has walked that home-made talk more than Steve Stricker, who reinvented his work ethic, readjusted his goals and his flagging attitude, then resurrected his career.
A mere 1½ years after he flopped at PGA Tour Qualifying School in an attempt to resuscitate his game, Stricker shot a 7-under 64 to match a course record at fabled Carnoustie Golf Links, leaping into second place, three shots behind 54-hole leader Sergio Garcia.
Ferguson also files this focusing on Chris DiMarco and his resurgence, though I feel less sympathetic about his shoulder injury after reading this...
There was an injury last year when he slipped during a ski vacation, and a flask in his back pack jabbed him in the ribs. He has taken a cortisone shot for his left shoulder, which might need surgery at one point.
Damon Hack zeroes in on Jim Furyk, who had this to say about his links preparation:
“When I came over, I didn’t do a good job of adjusting, and a good player should,” he said. “You should be able to adjust both ways and be able to play. A good player will come over and adjust in any conditions and play well. I just didn’t do a good job of it.”
Jim Litke hopes this is the beginning of a Tiger-Sergio feud rivalry.
AP's Paul Newberry ponders Ernie Els's devastating triple on the 6th hole, an 8 that marred an otherwise excellent card.
Newberry also reports on John Senden's wacky 18th hole approach shot. Naturally it's not on YouTube.
Golf.com supplies the best of SI's Saturday photos, including the woman hit by an errant Tiger shot...
David Davies in the Sunday Telegraph files a diary of observations, including a note about Peter Dawson outdriving Vijay three times in a pre-Open round.
Tim Glover files a similar diary.
Graham Otway says Paul McGinley believes he still has a shot.
Gary Van Sickle picks the five he believes still have a chance. McGinley isn't one of them and he says Tiger's going to need a 61 or 62.
Rex Hoggard thinks it's got the makings of a classic Sunday, I think and hope Sergio makes it a fun stroll because A) he's due, (B) golf needs him to take it to the next level and (C) we really need a major where the course is set up decently and where it separates the field organically. So far so good.
Tom English points out the absurdity of all the player insistence that golf could not possibly be impacted by performance-enhancing drugs...
PHIL Mickelson feels certain that golf has not been touched by the scourge of performance-enhancing drugs, so much so that when asked last week what the punishment might be if one of his fellow players was caught taking something he shouldn't be taking, the world No.2 dismissed it with a wave of his hand. "I don't know what the punishment should be," he said, "but I don't think there's even a remote chance that [doping] will happen."
Nick Faldo said the same thing yesterday. "Bottom line, nothing helps golf," he announced, emphatically.
Nothing, Nick? Not even a remote chance, Phil? One question here, chaps. How the hell would you know? Have you studied the possible benefits of steroids or Human Growth Hormone and concluded that there is absolutely no advantage to be gained by taking them? Have you done a quickie course in endocrinology while we weren't looking? How can you be so definite? What research have you done? Name the expert who says that golf has nothing to fear from performance-enhancing drugs and we'll say no more about it. Just one expert. Bet you can't.
And finally, semi-Open related, Dan Manoyan catches up with Bob Rosburg.
Rossie can be heard on Golf Channel's broadcast from Milwaukee and also during
ABC ESPN on ABC's memorable and oddly emotional (at least for me) segment on Jean Van De Velde's collapse.
Q: What are some of your most memorable moments as a broadcaster?
A: Probably three things stand out. No. 1 was the first time I covered the British Open in '77, (Tom) Watson and (Jack) Nicklaus had the great duel that year. They were one shot apart but 10 ahead of everybody else. It was unbelievable golf. Another time was Watson pitching in at No. 17 on Pebble Beach (1982 U.S. Open) to beat Nicklaus. The other was the whole (Jean) Van de Velde thing (at the 1999 British Open). I was there and it took 45 minutes to play the hole. I was thinking to myself, this will be nice. I can go home, have a couple drinks, get some dinner and be on the plane the next day. Two hours later, I'm still out there and it's raining.
Q: What was your most embarrassing moment as a broadcaster?
A: Oh, I don't know. A lot of times I have said something like "he's got no chance" and then he'll knock it stiff. I have felt you have to say something before the shot, not second-guess after. I'm out there to give my opinion before the shot. Sure, I've made mistakes, but I've never had a player come up to me and get mad at what I said. You have to have an opinion or there is no sense being out there.
Geoff Ogilvy pens a Scotland On Sunday guest column about rough.
Rough is golf's most boring hazard and too much of it on any course can only lead to less interesting play. Rough misses the point of golf.Fast forward...
It's commonsense really. Golf has to be more interesting if we can stand on tees and decide for ourselves what club to hit and where to hit it.And...
Take the fourth hole here at Carnoustie. In the first round last Thursday, the pin was tucked away behind the bunker on the left side of the green. So the ideal spot for the drive was actually ten yards or so into the rough on the right. Which was where I chose to hit. I was prepared to accept a less-good lie in order to create a better angle for myself. In the end, I pushed my drive a bit and ended up on the 15th fairway, which gave me an even better line in. But the fun part of the whole process was the standing on the tee and working it out.
Don't get me wrong though. I'm not anti-rough necessarily. Rough like we have here this week gives the talented player a chance to recover.
Which is great and as it should be. The recovery shot might be the most exciting thing to watch at this level. But it disappears completely when the set up is overly penal. When that is the case, there is no point in being good at recovery shots; you'll never get to try one.
Look also at the 69 Tiger Woods shot in the third round of the US Open at what was almost a rough-covered Oakmont last month. We had the best golfer in the world - one of the two best ever - playing close to his best and he could manage only one under par? All that proves is that there is something wrong with the course.
Happily, none of the above has been the case here at Carnoustie, even if I did miss the cut. Take a close look at the way this great links has been set up this week.
This is the way your own course should be presented for the club championship. The rough is an annoyance but not the end of the world.
You have to hit two good shots on any hole to make a birdie. The greens are running at a speed where you can put the pin in almost any spot on almost every green. It has been a fascinating test.
Why, who is that bitter man tailing Sergio? Oh why, no...is that USGA President (thankfully not for much longer) Walter Driver? I'm bet Walter thinks the gallery is clapping for him. Captured by SI's Bob Martin and posted at golf.com: