A British to remember

By Brian HewittJuly 16, 2008, 4:00 pm
The elephant in the room is the absence of Tiger Woods, the best player in the world, and, to a lesser extent, the absence of Kenny Perry, the hottest player in the world.
 
However, the shrills are wondering, will the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale survive?
 
The answer is simple: What has to happen to get the entire sporting worlds eyeballs on this event is something compelling.
 
Like weather gone crazy.
 
Or an eight-way playoff.
 
Or a good, old head-scratching contentious rules controversy.
 
Or a player throwing up on his shoes ' thats figurative golfspeak ' at the worst possible moment.
 
Or a player shooting a Sunday 59 to win by a shot.
 
One way or another, the 137th British Open needs something compelling to save itself from being remembered as the 'Asterisk Open Championship, i.e. the one that Tiger missed because he was recovering from knee surgery.
 
On the other hand, if, say, Oliver Wilson wins by three on a drama-less final day, this one will indeed be remembered as the Tigerless Open. Asterisks will appear out of nowhere.
 
Not to pick on Wilson. Hes an up and coming 20-something Englishman who has finished second four times on the European Tour this year. But very few people outside of the U.K. can tell you very much about him.
 

MORE ABSENCES AND ASTERISKS: Woods wasnt around for the weekend two years ago at U.S. Open at Winged Foot. He was still grieving over the passing of his father and he missed the cut.
 
That was also the U.S. Open at which Phil Mickelson made a hash of the 72nd hole and immediately labeled himself an idiot.
 
Geoff Ogilvy, meanwhile, made a difficult and pressure-filled par putt on the final hole to win the championship.
 
I havent heard anybody lately use the word asterisk whenever Ogilvys victory at Winged Foot comes up in conversation. To paraphrase author Gertrude Stein, a major is a major is a major.
 

LOCAL FAVORITE: A lot of the smart money is on Englands Lee Westwood, who has worked his way up to No. 19 in the world rankings and was one makeable putt shy of getting into the playoff at the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in June.
 
Birkdale, Westwood said, is a good drivers golf course, and I consider myself a very good driver of the golf ball.
 
Westwoods answers at press conferences usually arent long. But if you pay attention, you will usually learn something from him.
 
He was quite outspoken about the 17th green which controversially has been redone since the Open Championship last visited Birkdale in 1998.
 
Westwood said he first saw the new green a few weeks ago.
 
Im assuming its not changed since then, he added. Nobody has dug it upI think eventually they will. I think everybody has accepted that something has gone wrong with it. Its just out of character with the rest of the golf course.Its not to the standard of the rest of the greens. The rest of them are brilliant.
 

GRAEMES EDGE: Many Irishman like to celebrate and they are proud if you know it. But Northern Irelands Graeme McDowell, who won at Loch Lomond Sunday, has held the full party mode in abeyance.
 
He said there were a few glasses of champagne Sunday night but he has a birthday coming up and he wants to wait until after this weeks British Open to pop more corks.
 
Hopefully punch in a good week this week and really have something to celebrate next week, he said.
 
McDowell was brought up in Portrush, Northern Ireland, which boasts Royal Portrush, one of the best links golf courses in the world. Links golf, he said, has always been a little bit in my blood.
 

MILWAUKEE TALK: Perry is now the oldest player in PGA TOUR history to win three times in the same season. In 1967, Julius Boros was 47 years, three months and eight days old when he won his third event that year. Perry was 47 years, 11 months and three days old when he captured the John Deere Classic for his third 2008 victory.
 
Meanwhile the last 10 winners of the U.S. Bank Championship, at which Perry is the pre-tournament favorite, have all shot four rounds in the 60s.
 
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - 137th Open Championship
  • Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

    By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

    Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

    Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

    Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

    Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

    It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

    The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

    Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

    Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

    ''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

    They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

    ''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

    Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

    ''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

    Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

    Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

    Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

    Getty Images

    Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

    Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

    Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

    Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

    Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

    The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

    Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

    Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

    Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.