Hooks cuts from Birkdale

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Open ChampionshipSOUTHPORT, England -- Rich Lerner is at Royal Birkdale this week for the 137th edition of the Open Championship. Enjoy Rich's insights and perspectives from the season's third major:
 
  • Bought a beautiful Pickering argyle sweater that I like so much Im prepared to wear it all week. I might have to because the luggage still hasnt arrived.
     
  • Mickelson doesnt need anything else on his resume to make the Hall of Fame, but he does need to prove his game travels across the Atlantic if he wants to be in the same category as Trevino, Palmer and Watson. And he knows it.
     
  • Americans generally think first of Scotland and even Ireland before England when considering golf on this side of the Atlantic. But the courses here on the Northwest coast stack up to those in any region of the world. From Birkdale to Hillside to Formby to Hoylake to Lytham and St. Annes, the tracks here are stunning and pure.
     
  • Sitting on the tarmac for an hour waiting to take off I amused myself with the on screen survey. The airline wanted to know if my tray table was clean. I took the full hour to examine it, plus another 45 minutes once we landed and were blocked from pulling into our gate, to determine that the tray table was satisfactorily sanitized.
     
  • England does a few things that the states do not: prawn cocktail potato chips, fish and chips AND Chinese food from the same restaurant, betting shops where you can get Obama over McCain at 2-5 odds.
     
  • Im for quaint and traditional, but, by the same token, I wouldnt mind seeing England upgrade some of its hotel bathrooms. I was attacked this morning by a runaway showerhead.
     
  • Jack Nicklaus got his first taste of British golf as a professional in the Picadilly Medal Tournament in 1962 at Hillside. It was so cold he was forced to borrow a hat from a woman! Jack shot 78, saying he learned that you cant just pop over to Britain without a period of preparation and expect to perform well. A month later he won the U.S. Open.
     
  • John Paramor, chief referee of the European Tour, told me today Englands Ross Fisher, recent winner of the European Open, is on the verge of big things, with what Paramor calls, a big game.
     
  • Sergio is the betting favorite at 10-1. Rich Beems 500-1 with a promise to the GOLF CHANNEL crew of a private plane ride home with drinks out of the jug if he wins. Most of us are rooting for Beemer. Me? I want to complete another airline survey in my argyle sweater. Go Sergio!
     
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