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.