Chip Shots from the Open Championship

by Jeff Skinnerrory claret jug

Rory McIlroy: three quarters of the way to the career grand slam. Only Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have reached that point any quicker than Rory. That tells you what kind of company this kid is in.

Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garcia did just about all they could to pressure Rory. They needed some help from Rory but he wasn’t in a cooperative mood. When he needed to he made all the shots he had to. It was his Open for sure.

The look on Rory’s face when they introduced him as “Champion Golfer of the Year” said it all.  He cherishes this major like no other.

If you notice there was no Beatle music played all week on ESPN. A bit odd considering the Beatles were Liverpool’s most famous citizens. The issue was money. Supposedly the Michael Jackson estate that owns the Beatles Library wanted serious bucks, like half a million to release any tunes to ESPN. That’s just crazy money.

Just in case you haven’t heard Caroline Wozniacki wins in Turkey on the same day Rory wins the Open. I guess we call that ironic.

Talk about having confidence in your kid. Rory’s dad, Gerry and three friends put down $700 on Rory about ten years ago. The bet: Rory will win the Open before he was 26. The odds? 500-1. Gerry and the boys stand to cash in for about $340,000. Now that’s believing in your kid.

sergio n rickie plates2Surprisingly David Howell shoots 68 to finish T15 and finishes as Low Englishman at the Open. I bet he wasn’t on anyone’s radar going in.

We had heard that the wind and the bunkers were Royal Liverpool’s main defense. But with little wind the bunkers were left to challenge the pros. Those bunkers gather in shots that came within five yards of them. The only thing that impressed me more about the depth and difficulty of those bunkers was the amazing skills the pros displayed when they got out of them. That is some serious game.

Three cheers for Robert Karlsson who two years ago pulled out of the Open because of a case of the “Full Swing Yips.” He couldn’t even pull the club back to start a swing. He shot 69 today and finished T12. Bravo Robert.

I may be a bit too old school but what is it with that neon stuff those players were wearing all week. Nike had Rory and Tiger with plenty of neon pink, red and yellow. Puma had Rickie rocking the neon too. For me it’s a bit much. Bright I can handle but neon? Not my cup of tea.

Four players all shot 65 today to tie the course record. Shane Lowry, Chris Wood, Marc Leishman and Jim Furyk. That’s great shooting but all were way too far off the lead to have any chance at catching Rory.

Everyone wanted some drama on Sunday and Rory accommodated, well a little bit anyway. But I will say this: It’s amazing to watch a player play so well. I saw it with Martin Kaymer sergio matador 2at the U.S. Open and this week with Rory. A pro playing with all aspects of his game under control is a beautiful thing to watch.

Sergio Garcia’s welcome by the fans as he walked up eighteen today was heartwarming. I think it’s their way of saying they approve of the New Sergio and find him an easy player to cheer for now. It wasn’t always that way. Sergio was gracious in his acknowledgement of the fans show of affection.

Speaking of that walk up eighteen they say those stands hold over 7,000 fans. That’s some stadium effect and has to really get to those players.

Tom Watson got a great sendoff by the fans as he birdied the last to shoot 68 and finish T51. Tom’s career at the Open: 37 Opens, 15 top 25’s, 11 missed cuts, 5 wins and the most heartbreaking playoff loss in Open history. In Scotland they call him “Our Tom.” Enough said.

You know Tiger Woods is upset at his finish, 69th and 23 strokes off Rory’s winning total. But do you think it bothers him that his 64 year old (potential) Ryder Cup Captain whipped his ass this week?

Watching the three main combatants today was wonderful. Rory, Rickie and Sergio all represented the Open and the game well. The level of play was high and the mutual respect each player had for the others was impressive. Simply put, it was a great day for golf.



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