What I love about the British Open


I love the yellow scoreboards with black numbers, the brownish fairways and the whipping winds. It all makes you want to throw a bag over your shoulder, put a Hogan cap atop your head with an old cardigan and some corduroy trousers, and head to the Firth of Clyde with a fifth of gin and a nip of rye, because ay ‘tis the British Open.

I love Lee Westwood with his peerless tee-to-green talent and his improving mental toughness.

I love the thought of guys hitting driver at the par-3 11th – and coming up short.

I love the nasty pot bunkers, because if there’s one aspect of professional golf that just galls the amateurs it’s how cavalier the guys are in those cupcake American sand traps, where they splash the ball so softly to within a foot. In the pot bunkers the pros can look just as bad as anyone else. Ask Thomas Bjorn.

I love long stretches of Peter Alliss, who just turned 80 and is still going strong. I loved Alex Hay, his longtime, lyrical colleague who just passed away at 78.

I love that you can tune in and say, “I could shoot 200 in those conditions; I am happy to be in my boxers.”

I love Rory McIlroy’s British Open tune-up, even if others did not. He played nine holes Monday night at Royal County Down with his dad, sunset golf on the kind of long summer night they’ve enjoyed since Rory was a little boy.

I love Cabrera at 80-1.

I love when obscurity shows its face as it so often does, like 2003 at Royal St. George’s, when Hennie Otto threatened to become the most famous Hennie since Youngman, the most famous Otto since Preminger, but ultimately went the way of Florentino Molina and Billy Dunk, who also flirted with immortality at St. George’s in 1981 before fading.

I love that at the British Open you don’t aim for trees but maybe a steeple in the neighboring town.

I love that it’s over at 2 p.m. ET and you’re on the tee by 4, playing sunset golf on a British Open weekend.

David Feherty just stopped by my desk and announced that he loves that the galleries in foul weather look like the crew on the Time Bandit from “Dangerous Catch” with sealskins and parkas.

I love the creativity it takes because you have to skip it, bump it, chip it, bounce it, cut it, sting it, string it, rope it, hook it, deal with it and pray for it.

I love that it’s not always fair, that it’s a test of attitude as much as skill.

I love Phil Mickelson in the press room, in the role of American ambassador.

I love Luke Donald with his all-world short game and his newfound ruthlessness.

I love the fact that at times it looks like your average muni, where you would see guys putting from 80 yards off the green mainly because they’re afraid they’ll blade a wedge. You’ll see the same shot at the British, because it’s the right play. At a muni you’ll see four guys playing in crappy weather because it beats work. You’ll see it at the British because it beats work and for a million dollars you’d play in January in Saskatchewan.

I love Charl Schwarztel’s rhythm and tempo in windy conditions.

I love Darren Clarke’s action when flags are bending sideways.

Feherty loves that first-tee starter Ivor Robson’s bladder is the size of Wyoming.