At least two of the five of us on this site are golf obsessives, so it’s a big week for us as it’s time for the 2008 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale in England. Yet, with Tiger at home recovering, many are wondering whether there’ll be anything interesting to watch this weekend, especially with a 7am EDT start for four days.
Fear not, brave reader! We have come up with five reasons you should watch the Open Championship (Lesson #1 it’s not the British Open, it’s The Open Championship) that should act as Viagra for your golf-watching interest this weekend.
Interesting fact: the oldest winner of the Open is ‘Old’ Tom Morris at age 46 in 1867. The youngest winner? Why, ‘Young’ Tom Morris, of course, the very next year at only 17 years old. What a country! (By the way, ‘Old’ Tom Morris was ‘Young’ Tom Morris’ father).
1. Tiger will be watching
It’s time we all got over the whole “O-M-G what are we going to do without Tiger?!?!” articles and bothering every other player about what it’s like having a tournament without Tiger Woods. I can practically hear Colin Cowherd saying “but the ratings. THE RATINGS! No one watches when Tiger Woods doesn’t play!” Well I only have one thing to say about this topic: Colin Cowherd, you’re an asshole.
First, no one cares about golf ratings. And second, not everyone’s job is ratings-dependent. These guys are out there to win a major championship and their place in history. That kind of motivation is not something a bunch of suits can quantify.
Also, Tiger Woods is totally kicking Elin and Sam out of the house this weekend, turning the cell phone off and watching all by himself, putter in hand. There should be a contest and the winner gets to watch all four days with him on the couch. Tiger will be sitting there all weekend hating every second of not being able to be out there. And he’s probably the only guy alive that can yell “how can you miss that?!” and be absolutely justified.
2. Making fun of Sergio and Phil
Since Tiger isn’t playing (he’s not?) some one has to be the favorite, and who better than two perennial major championship chokers? Sorry, it’s impolite in golf circles to use the word “choker,” so we’ll call them “gentlemen with Sunday issues.” At least Phil has won three majors, but we’re still waiting on Sergio Garcia to get it together. He was the next big thing like 10 fucking years ago. How about some results? Oh sorry, I forgot about his win at The Players’ Championship this year. In a playoff. Against some one named Goydos. Sergio’s Sunday Issues tend to occur in the following ways: he’s never in contention on Sunday. Look for a round in the high 70’s before Sunday.
And Phil. Poor, lovable, subcutaneous muscle-bound Phil. He’s got to be the only three-time major winner in any sport that is still an underdog in every major tournament he starts. No matter how well he’s playing, we’re always waiting for him to hit some bonehead shot that will surely make Tiger cackle from the couch in Windermere, FL. That nine Phil took at the US Open is coming to mind, and is still painful to watch.
3. Royal Birkdale
Speaking of that nine Phil took, the fun of watching major championship golf is watching the pros look like average hacks on the world’s toughest courses. Royal Birkdale is a 7,173 yard links-style course with a clubhouse that looks like a set-piece from Manhunter. Second interesting fact: “links” refers to courses built on land between bodies of water and the land further inland. In other words, this land “links” the beach and other land.
Frankly, Birkdale doesn’t look like much just based on the layout. It’s a links course, so there’s bunkers, oddly shaped fairways, mounds and tall grass to deal with, but most of the fairways are pretty flat and that could generate some pretty impressive drives. Nothing horribly scary. Hell, in 1998, Tiger went 65-73-77-66.
Why the two rounds in the 70’s for Tiger? At every major, there’s always one feature that makes the course more evil than the usual layouts the pros face. At the Masters it’s the greens and hills. At every US Open it’s the rough. At Royal Birkdale it’s the wind. If it’s at all windy at this tournament, this course becomes virtually impossible to score well on. Just look at the scores from the ’98 Open in the second and third rounds. Must have been windy those days.
4. Jeff Overton
You’ve gotta love any time it’s an American kid’s first major. Overton won the American qualifier at the TPC of Michigan to get into his first major. OK, OK, OK, the guy is an Indiana University grad and we’re all huge homers. In fact, we used to see him outside Upstairs Pub on most Thursday nights. Nice guy. You bet your ass I’ll be watching every shot of his rounds and singing the fight song after every birdie. Please God, hold off the wind until after Overton’s rounds. You owe me for the debacle of a season my Padres are having.
5. Because if you don’t watch,
the terrorists Kenny Perry wins
You may have noticed our (see? I can do the Will Leitch thing too!) strong feelings on this issue. He won again, so the media discussed the issue all week. Perry is almost as conspicuous an absence as Tiger this week at the Open.
After all, why would Kenny Perry want to play in a major championship? It would just expose him as the mediocre golfer he’s been his entire career. Instead, he’ll be in Milwaukee this week playing in some weak-ass PGA event opposite the Open. He might even win again, and we can all pretend how he’s just some guy trying to play the Ryder Cup in his home state. Isn’t that sweet?
What he’s doing is evil and against the spirit, if not the rule, of Ryder Cup qualifying. Golf does not reward cowardice on the course and the United States of America shouldn’t be any different. You’re not against America, are you?
Screw Kenny Perry. Watch the Open Championship.