The Open Championship: Day One


Newsweek has declared the 18-35 demographic as “Generation Screwed”—which I believe not only encapsulates just about everyone at ChatSports, but maybe everyone I’ve met or known or befriended over the last 5-10 years—so that’s a bit of a bummer; but, no worries mate, for I know just the right kind of pick-me-up…


Steve McQueen: The coolest man to have ever lived; that’s inarguable. (Not to be confused with the recent British director of such great works as Hunger and Shame, even though he’s probably more relevant to the current generation of cinephiles.)

McQueen stared in some of the ultimate guy’s guys movies like The Great Escape and Bullitt; he got an Oscar nod for his work during a three-hour flick about being onboard a naval vessel in and around China circa the 1920’s entitled The Sand Pebbles; and he even out staged the late-great Paul Newman while portraying a firefighter in The Towering Inferno.

People should know this…(And they should watch the recent McQueen’s films, as well.)

As should they know the happenings of the 141st British Open, at Royal Lytham and St. Annes for the eleventh time. So: Let’s get right to it.

Tiger Watch

If you missed watching every stroke of Mr. Woods, don’t feel bad; I missed it too. He teed off somewhere between 4-5 a.m. east coast time, and I turned on the tube a little before half past six this morning in Pennsylvania. Tiger had the early lead; therefore, I was quite excited.

Tiger’s been my pick for this thing for as long as I can remember; the only other guys on my radar heading into this thing don’t look so hot, however, yet they should be noted before I berate you with my Woods ramblings: Padraig Harrington and Lee Westwood; who’ve shot opening rounds of (E) and (+3) respectively. These guys shouldn’t feel too terrible, though, because Hunter Mahan shot (E) and Phil Mickelson posted (+3), so…

Back to Tiger—he shot nothing but irons off the tees, and with them, he never missed the fairway—until, of course, he reached for a wood. Instantly into the high stuff, for not just one shot, but two, back-to-back; followed by a bogey put, putting him at (-3) where he stayed.

Puts weren’t falling for Mr. Woods, so if he straightens out his finishing club, he’ll take the whole thing for certain.

Onto the rest…

Bubba Watson and Adam Scott came out of the gate firing, among the early tee times. Watson finished at (-3) with Tiger and six others; Scott posted the low round of the day at (-6), so we’ll see how that goes; I’d say he shoots over par tomorrow, and he fades as the weekend progresses.

Other early birds doing well were Zach Johnson (last week’s winner at the John Deere in Illinois) and Graeme McDowell. Johnson is only a shot back of the lead—that’s dangerous on a course like this—and McDowell is with Tiger and Bubba.

The afternoon yielded less low scores—except for Nicolas Colsaerts and Rory McIlroy. Colsaerts is merely a shot back, in the same position as Johnson in almost every way; either one of those guys could be in the hunt for the duration. McIlroy shot (-3) despite hitting a ball out of bounds for double bogey on the back nine, so watch out for him if he does well tomorrow and gains much needed confidence, yet if the wheels fall off, don’t say I didn’t tell you so…

The Course

Royal Lytham and St. Annes is a par-70, 7100-something yard course that plays way shorter than that. It ends with six straight par fours, has only two par fives, rewards placement over distance—and it has some 205 bunkers. Yeah: You read that right: 205…

[caption id="attachment_79" align="alignleft" width="245" caption="Photo Credit: Andrew Redington/Getty Images"][/caption]

And they’re British; take one look at them, and you’ll see what I mean.

Big hitters get punished; missing any direction is never good because the rough is brutal; the course is right on the coast, so the wind’ll be changing on you constantly, and it could start raining at any moment. (Is anyone else glad they’re watching this thing on TV?)

This place is unforgiving, but beatable if you’re accurate, and don’t mess with the fairway bunkers—or the rough.

On that note, Sheryl Crow…


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