Monday, July 18, 2011

Open Championship Review

The Open Championship, held last week at Royal St. George's in Sandwich, England was the third of the 4 Majors on the PGA Tour. However, the only thing major about the tournament was that it was a major disappointment.

Sure we had the sentimental winner in Darren Clarke - another Major winner from Northern Ireland - who lost his wife to cancer a number of years ago, and has been a good golfer for a while now but never hoisted a Major championship trophy. Clarke battled through stretches of bad weather all week to come out on top.

His was a nice storyline, but to me it wasn't the biggest story of the week. Two big stories emerged as the week wore on. The first is that golf has become increasingly boring as Tiger's absence from the tour continues. His lack of presence was the elephant in the room all week. Golf just doesn't feel the same. No matter how much the people behind the curtain at the PGA Tour try to get me pumped up about guys like Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Hunter Mahan and the like, I just can't do it. At some point these guys have to do something for me to get excited about. Truth be told, Fowler had a nice week and finished in the top 5. But Johnson had another choke job in the final holes of a major as he dumped his 2nd shot out of bounds on 14. I don't even know where the others finished - which isn't a good sign.

Mickelson made a late charge but then reverted back to his usual Open Championship style and after getting to -6 and sharing the lead, finished the rest of his round +4 to end at -2 and T3. Even a Mickelson win, though, would not have saved this tournament for me. It would have been a better outcome for American golf, obviously. But it still wouldn't drive ratings. There's still only one guy that can do that.

The other story line from this week was what a whiny bitch Rory McIlroy turned into on Sunday. He struggled all week in the bad weather, and his shot selection was very questionable. Coming off his big win at the U.S. Open, everyone - himself included - expected more. But it was his remarks after the tournament that were disheartening for Rory fans.

"I'm not a fan of golf tournaments where the outcome is predicted so much by the weather. It's not my sort of golf."

"...there's no point in changing your game for one week a year."

"My game is suited basically for every golf course and most conditions but I don't enjoy playing in these conditions, really. I'd rather play when it's 80 degrees and sunny and there's not much wind."

Wow. You can't have your cake and eat it too, Rors. Those comments just come off as petty and spoiled and quite frankly remind me of something Sergio Garcia would have said in his younger years. He was pampered and protected and look where that got him. McIlroy is too good to have that kind of attitude. Does it suck that some guys get stuck in the bad weather and other guys get some calm conditions? Yes. But can you dig down deep and compete? Yes. And how about how those comments sort of throw his fellow countryman and winner Darren Clarke under the bus? He competed in the bad weather and won. So what are you saying? He just "lucked out"?

McIlroy, who already passed on a number of big tournaments in the U.S. - including TPC Sawgrass - isn't doing himself any favors with the U.S. fans. If this guy is supposed to fill Tiger's shoes I think we're all in trouble. If there's one thing Americans don't appreciate it is a whiny European. McIlroy is in need of an attitude adjustment - and I for one am hoping that Tiger returns to give it to him. Something tells me he's sitting at home rehabbing and just licking his chops at getting a shot at this kid.

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