Outstanding finish to The Open Championship, complete with the the resurrection of Ernie Els after the Big Easy came so close earlier in the year at Transitions and the Zurich Classic, and dealt with his own crushing disappointment along with a missed opportunity to play in The Masters. As sweet as this was for Els, you’ve got to feel for Adam Scott and the way he went down. Major golf is such a mental grind and it definitely benefits those who try and fail and fail and fail, as the battle hardening and lessons learned can be used to toughen the resolve of the defeated. Scott was tested and failed. Hopefully he can bank the experience and benefit from it. Oddly enough, Els wasn’t subject to the pressure of defending the lead, played solid and let the championship fall into his lap. He seemed almost as surprised to win as Scott was shocked to lose.
I had Tiger Woods winning this event and Ernie finishing third so their top performances were expected but I totally missed on Lee Westwood (my runner up pick). On Woods, I was surprised he tried that play in the bunker on #6 (the first one) because his approach had been totally mastery-based to that point, and suddenly turned ego-based as the challenge of showing off his skills to pull off the shot became irresistible. I much preferred Graeme McDowell’s approach of spending a shot on a sensible play in the bunker and giving himself a better look on an easier out. The triple bogey effectively ended Tiger’s chances. No idea what happened to Westwood other than he probably tried too hard to win one ala Colin Montgomery.
The Open is a very cool event to watch because the uniqueness of links golf brings the players who embrace the style to the forefront every year. Often it’s age defying and was again at Lytham & St. Annes as seniors Tom Watson and Mark Calcavecchia both made the cut. Greg Norman seriously contended at 53 years old in 2008, and the way the round bellies continually show up for this event is amazing. It’s simply not possible in the three other majors (or is highly improbable), and is a pleasure to watch.
So congratulations to Ernie Els, and we’ll see you at Augusta in April!