It’s the strangest golf tournament of the year. From checkered pants to insane fans to playing conditions that make people cringe, the British Open is one weird time. That’s why it’s such a great tournament to watch.
This year’s tournament was as quirky as it was it always is. Here’s a few notes from the four days at Royal Lytham:
- Without any question, my favorite player in the field was Thorbjorn Olsesen. As soon as he appeared on the screen I was sold on just about everything he did. Why, you ask? Because his name is Thorbjorn. It’s as if his family wanted to make him the most Nordic person alive. “No, no, Thor won’t do. It’s not NORSE enough.. Hell, people might even think he’s Asian or something with a name like Thor.” “We could throw a Bjorn on the end? Make him Thorbjorn?”“Yes! Thorbjorn! Get him a hammer to carry around at all times, too, and teach all about the life of Lief Erikson. This is going to be special.”I haven’t decided if I should go by Thorkevin of Kevinbjorn from here on out, but both are in play. Also, Thorbjorn considers Tiger his idol, so we have something in common.
- I feel like that always happens at the British – obscure Europeans wind up on the leaderboard. Every year I can remember watching, there is some guy I’ve never heard of who is somehow in the top 5 despite being ranked No. 200 in the world and playing in his first major. Louis Oosthuizen comes to mind (yes, I know he’s South African, but you get the gist).
- For the majority of the time I was watching the tournament, I thought Scott Van Pelt was just being pretentious when he kept calling the pairings “games,” as in: “Adam Scott and Brandt Snedeker are in the final game on Sunday.”Then I found out that in the UK, that’s what they call them. Pairings is a non-existent word. Granted, I can’t find anything online to actually back that statement up, but that’s what Van Pelt said on air so I guess I’ll believe him. Still a touch pretentious, no?
- I love how the winner is known as the “Champion Golfer of the Year.” Apparently you just win that one tournament and you are the champion golfer. No other questions asked. Screw the Masters, U.S. Open and PGA Championship. You could win all three, but if you don’t win the British you are no more than a peasant. Ernie Els could miss every single cut for the rest of the season and he will still be known as the “Champion Golfer of the Year.” I feel like there might be an inflated sense of how they view themselves over there at the British…
- What the hell is the name of the tournament? Is it the British Open or the Open Championship? Why can’t it just be cut and dry? I was raised to always call it the British Open, but every time you turn on a television when it’s on you’re told you’re watching the Open Championship. Well shit, I mean we already had the U.S. Open. That’s an Open, isn’t it? But it’s not the Open Championship? My head hurts.
- On Sunday, Tiger hit an iron shot on the sixth hole maybe two yards off-line and it ended up nearly pressed against a four-foot face of a sand trap. It really wasn’t that bad of an iron shot. Yet, Tiger didn’t have a play, screwed up the hole and ended up with a triple-bogey. He lost by four shots. That effectively ended his tournament, crushing my and Thorbjorn’s dream of having Tiger raise the Claret Jug. But it was also a perfect snapshot of how a round can come completely unraveled by just one ill-advised shot on a windy British Open course, which Lytham certainly was on Sunday. Links-style golf at its finest? Or worst?
- Or, you could slowly watch your round unravel by bogeying the final four holes – i.e. Adam Scott. He, too, can look at just a couple of shots as the difference as to why he went from having complete control of the tournament to losing by a stroke. He hit only a decent first putt from the back of the green on 16, leaving him three-feet for par. He missed the par putt – which is inexcusable – but he wouldn’t have been in that spot if he hit a better lag initially.His second shot on 17, from the middle of the fairway, was horrible. It never had any chance of staying on the green. From there, it was nearly impossible to get up and down.His tee shot on 18, when all he needed to do was find the fairway, ended up at the face of a bunker, causing him to have to go out sideways. Then, he hit a great shot in and had a 7-footer for par to send the Open Championship to a playoff. And he missed the putt.By my count, that’s five shots that he messed up. Two putts on 16, the iron on 17, the drive on 18 and the final putt on 18. That’s a slow, twisted way to lose a major, especially when it looked like a foregone conclusion for most of the day that he would win.
- I was a little disappointed in the outfits this year. Usually we get some serious matching issues, where guys where like nine different colors and none of them go together. This year, the best we got was John Daly looking like a lesbian and wearing flag pants.
- Should we be happier for Ernie Els winning the event, or should we feel worse for Scott losing it? I mean, Ernie did play great, and he vehemently praised Nelson Mandela in his post-tournament speech, which was hilarious. On the other hand, Scott is one of the best players in the world and has been plagued by never winning a major. He had his best chance, and absolutely threw it away. Even with Ernie’s flurry on the back nine, Scott still should have cruised to the win. I think I feel worse for Scott. When he just collapsed to his knees after missing the putt on 18, it was sad. He might never recover. Or, maybe he’ll win the PGA. Either way, he’ll finish his career with one less major then he should have had, that’s for sure.
- At the end of the day, we learned that there’s a man named Thorbjorn in the world. He’s the real winner here.