Tim will be covering his 26th Open Championship this year and he remembered when he covered the 1988 Open Championship at Royal Lytham where Seve won his 3rd Claret Jug. There was a push for Royal Lytham to dedicate a plaque to Seve in tribute to his success there and originally some wanted the plaque to be in the car park where he had his famous moment in 1979. Writer John Huggan disagreed with that idea and said that it should be at 18 where he hit an amazing chip shot to get up and down to clinch victory in 1988.
In 2001, Seve Ballesteros played at Royal Lytham and was struggling a great deal with his game at the time. He wanted to show his son that he could play and Duval finds himself in a similar phase in his career this week. Duval won the 2001 Open Championship at Royal Lytham but he has not won on the PGA TOUR since then. Duval reached the peak of his success with that win at Royal Lytham but it has been downhill from there.
Royal Lytham was also the place in 1996 where Tiger Woods showed his first signs of success in a Major Championship. Tiger shot a second round 66 on his way to making the cut and finishing in a tie for 22nd. Tiger had played in Major Championships prior to the 1996 Open Championship but that was the first time that he showed a level of success on that stage. Of course, he would turn pro later in 1996 and then win his next Major Championship start in the 1997 Masters.
Zach Johnson has had a very productive career and his win in the John Deere Classic marked his 9th on the PGA TOUR. He has proven many times that he is a tenacious player and he showed it again with his second shot from a fairway bunker during the playoff. Tim said that he really enjoys watching Zach compete and he definitely did that at TPC Deere Run. Zach is a player who drives the ball straight and that is what you need to do to win at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.
In his second visit to Monday’s Morning Drive, Rosaforte began by saying that when he thinks back to the 1988 Open Championship, Seve Ballesteros was playing terribly in some areas of his game that week. He could not drive the ball straight at all and he was almost entirely reliant on his short game. The fact that he won his 3rd Claret Jug without a long game was astounding and he agrees with writer John Huggan that there should be a plaque for Seve at the 18th green to commemorate the 1988 Open Championship. It is sad that Seve is no longer with us especially during this week.
It was not as though Fred Couples, Bernhard Langer, Tom Lehman, and Corey Pavin are not trying really hard to win Majors on the Champions Tour. Simply put, Roger Chapman is doing something very special with his two wins in the Senior PGA Championship and the U.S. Senior Open this year. Chapman was struggling in his career and even spent time as a rules official while his British peers such as Nick Faldo, Sandy Lyle, and Ian Woosnam were winning Majors. It is great to see Chapman experiencing this kind of success.
Steve Stricker is popular pretty much everywhere he goes but he was especially popular at the John Deere Classic where he finished T5 in his effort to win a fourth straight title. Stricker has a farm in Blanchardville, Wisconsin and when he is in town, he likes to eat at a place called Lady Dawn’s Sports Bar and Grill. He is well-liked by everyone and the Bar and Grill has an atmosphere similar to the Super Bowl when he is contention.