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Archive for the ‘British Open’ Category

Tiger takes advantage of generous conditions at St. Andrews

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If you would have asked Tiger Woods prior to Thursday’s opening round if he would have taken 5-under 67 in the opening round of this week’s British Open, chances are you would have received an emphatic “yes” as a response.

Like the rest of the field, Tiger Woods figured the blustery conditions on Wednesday would have turned Thursday into a battle for survival — and even par. Instead, players were left to feast on a helpless Old Course.

Woods was one of number of players to take advantage of the scoring conditions. The Open Champion at St. Andrews in 2000 and ’05 started the week off with a round that normally would have been good enough for first or second place under normal course conditions.

But Thursday’s course conditions were anything but normal. Woods’ round went from great start to good start after seven players managed to best the World No.1’s first round score.

But Tiger shouldn’t be too worried about being T-8. His sheer dominance at St. Andrews means he’s well within striking distance of the leaders; and he’s got more than enough history on the course to make up a couple of shots.

Written by Jonathan Wall

07/15/2010 at 3:43 pm

Old Course drops its guard on Thursday

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If Wednesday was supposed to be a precursor of the weather that was to come this week, then golfers in the field at the 150th edition of the Open Championship were in for a real treat.

Winds and stinging rain pelted the Old Course at St. Andrews on Wednesday, sending most of the field scurrying around the course in an attempt to get in as many holes as possible. The weather washed out the four hole exhibition that was supposed to be a curtain call of sorts for some of the game’s best players.

The forecast called for similar weather on Thursday. But that weather never arrived. Instead, players awoke to calm conditions and an overnight rain that left the Old Course with soft conditions and very little wind — also known as perfect scoring conditions.

As expected, the field took advantage of those conditions on Thursday. They didn’t just beat the course into submission; they chewed it up, spit it out, and then ran it through a wood chipper for good measure.

“The old lady had no clothes on today,” said Tom Watson, referencing the benign conditions on the course. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jonathan Wall

07/15/2010 at 12:47 pm

Lee Westwood’s British Open hopes have an air of uncertainty

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Next to fellow Englishman Justin Rose, Lee Westwood is probably the most in-form golfer on the planet going into the British Open at St Andrews, which happens to start in just under two weeks. His victory at the St. Jude Classic less than a month ago put the rest of the sport on notice that he was going to be a player to watch during the major championships.

Westwood attributed his recent success on the course to one thing, and that’s his ability to get in the fitness trailer and work tirelessly when most players were trying to rest and recuperate. In a Golf World article by John Huggans, Westwood detailed the training regimen he’s gone through to transform his body from a doughy physique to his current athletic build that allowed him to shed 22 pounds.

Given the work he’s put into turning his golf game — and his health — around, the news that Westwood had to withdraw from the JP McManus Pro-Am on Monday had to leave many wondering if a recent leg injury could derail the British Open hopes for one of the game’s hottest players. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jonathan Wall

07/07/2010 at 1:01 pm

Mark Chaney is the qualifier kiss of death

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Considering the idea of qualifying for a major championship in the near future? If so, you probably don’t want Mark Chaney on your bag. Chaney, who happens to be Bo Van Pelt’s caddie, is what many in the golf industry would call ‘the kiss of death.’

Given how superstitious golfers can be, the thought of having a cursed caddie on the bag is not something you want in the back of your mind when you’re teeing it up for the chance to play in a major championship at, say, Pebble Beach or St. Andrew.

The major championships are where relative no-names like Ben Crane and Shaun Micheel made their mark. For a guy like Van Pelt, there’s always a chance he could be the next guy to breakout. That’s the main reason why you just can’t take a chance with a caddie like Chaney at the end of the day.

Thankfully, his bad luck only extends to major championship qualifiers. Golf Digest’s Dave Shedloski has the story on the looper’s troubles: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jonathan Wall

05/27/2010 at 1:27 pm

R&A’s Peter Dawson to Tiger Woods: There’s nowhere to hide at the British Open

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The R&A’s big announcement on Tuesday was supposed to be the unveiling of some major changes to the 17th hole, also known as the Road Hole, at St. Andrews’ famed Old Course. But you wouldn’t have known it from comments coming from R&A’s chief executive, Peter Dawson.

Just like Billy Payne did during his Masters press conference, Dawson made it a point to discuss Tiger Woods, pre- and post-scandal, as well as the security measures that will be put into place when Woods makes his way to the Old Course for this year’s British Open.

As opposed to August National’s ultra-tight security, Dawson will forgo the same route and keep the tournament as-is. What does that mean? It means Dawson is fine with people saying whatever “they like” to the game’s number one player. This should be fun. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jonathan Wall

04/27/2010 at 12:01 pm

Open Championship announces venue for 2014; Tiger will be happy

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If there’s one thing Tiger Woods likes more than anything else, it’s a home course advantage. Sure, St. Andrews wasn’t the course he grew up playing during his younger years, but you’d swear that was the case given his complete and utter domination of the Open Championship when it’s played on golf’s most hallowed track.

While Royal Liverpool might not fall into that category, Mr. Woods’ most recent win at the course back in 2006 added further credence to the thought that the Liverpool course is one that could soon enough be on Tiger’s home course advantage list. Anytime you thoroughly dominate a course like he did, pulling the driver out on only one occasion through 72 holes, it becomes obvious the course is tailored to his game.

Tiger will get another shot at Royal Liverpool in 2014, after the R&A announced that the course would be hosting the Open Championship in five years. That’s good new for Tiger; bad news for the rest of the field.

Written by Jonathan Wall

02/16/2010 at 4:30 pm

Road Hole at St. Andrews gets longer

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The 17th hole at the Old Course at St. Andrews will be undergoing some major changes later this year in an effort to get the hole ready for the 2010 British Open. The Royal and Ancient announced earlier today that the course will be adding an additional 35 yards to the hole, stretching it to a beefy 490 yards.

“The 17th was played at the same yardage in 1900 as it was in 2005 and this fueled our belief that the formidable challenge of this iconic hole should be returned for the Open Championship,” Dawson told the BBC. “Over the years, we have seen the threat from the road behind the green, and to a lesser extent the Road Bunker, diminished as players have been hitting shorter irons for their approach shots, allowing them to avoid these hazards more easily. This change will ensure that the hole plays as it was originally intended.”

It’s been more than 100 years since the hole has been lengthened, according to Peter Dawson, chief executive of the R&A.

Written by Jonathan Wall

10/16/2009 at 8:47 pm