The 12th green at Royal St. George's; Photo By: Pet_r
It’s that time of year again…time to set the alarm for an obnoxiously early rise, pre-make the coffee the night before, and groggily enjoy the BBC’s bumbling video coverage of one of golf’s most important/prestigious tournaments…The Open Championship (or I supposed one could simply set their DVR and sleep in). This year, the Royal St. George’s Golf Club in southeastern England plays host to its’ 14th Open Championship (coverage begins Thursday morning at 4am EST on ESPN and on Direct TV’s channel’s 701-705). The course was the was the first to host the Open Championship outside of Scotland in 1894 and last hosted the tournament in 2003 when Ben Curtis, the 396th ranked player in the world at the time, came out of nowhere to win the Claret Jug.
The 2011 version of Royal St. George’s is largely recognizable as the same course players faced in 2003, but there are some notable changes. The 1st fairway, where only 30% of the players Continue reading
Photo By: Keith Allison
To state the obvious Tiger Woods’ career is in limbo. After 18 plus months of turmoil in his private and professional life, the second greatest golfer ever is in critical condition both physically and mentally. First, the exposure of his private life resulted in his divorce from Elin Nordegren, which in turn led to the obvious deterioration in Woods’ mental prowess on the golf course in 2010. Second, Tiger’s injury to his knee at Augusta this year, a Grade 1 mild MCL sprain to his left knee and a mild strain to his left Achilles tendon, prevented Woods from playing in the U.S. Open and in his own tournament, the AT&T National, this weekend. Woods says he will return to the game when his body is physically fit enough to handle the stress his golf swing, but it remains uncertain whether or not Tiger will be ready for the British Open, the PGA Championship or any other tournament this season. Thus analysts and commentators have been left to speculate as to what the future holds for the once immortal Woods and it is entirely possible that Tiger himself is uncertain of how his career will finish.
At this point the pressure that Woods must be feeling to not only win another major, but simply contend at any PGA tournament must be a tremendous weight on the golfer’s shoulders. In fact it’s more likely become the two ton elephant in the corner. Growing up Tiger made it his life’s goal to best Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors and become the greatest golfer the world has ever known…not the second greatest. Certainly Tiger’s premature attempt to return from his latest knee injury and play in The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in May speaks to the outside and personal pressures Woods is feeling.
Woods sense of urgency to return to golf is understandable. Since returning to the game in 2010, Tiger has shown only that he is mortal and lacking the ability to close out tournaments like he once possessed. Even though his desire to prove himself must be incredible (after winning the 2008 U.S. Open, who would have ever thought those words would ever be uttered about Woods?), the last thing Tiger should be doing Continue reading
Congressional Country Club's 18th hole & Clubhouse; Photo By: Keith Allison
Thursday marks the beginning of America’s national golf championship, the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland. It also marks the first time in recent memory the almighty golf prognosticators of the world have no clear cut “favorite” to win the Open. Gone is Tiger Woods who is still limping both physically and mentally through life. None of the flashy promising young guns like Rory McIlroy or Rickie Fowler have shown the ability to take their game to the next level on a consistent basis. Potential American heroes such as Nick Watney and Dustin Johnson have fallen short in recent majors, while no one seems willing to bet the farm Bubba Watson’s “Bubba Ball” nor the consistently brilliant, but boring Matt Kuchar. And heaven forbid an American prognosticator predicts any foreign player like Luke Donald, Ian Poulter, or K.J. Choi to win.
Therefore the mass media reports that the tournament is wide open and that a winner could come from anywhere in the field. Finally(!), words of wisdom coming for the golf prognosticators gallery (read my post on yearly golf predictions and you’ll understand my reaction).
Not being a believer in golf predictions here are a few tidbits to contemplate while enjoying the 111th U.S. Open (coverage begins at 10am EST on ESPN and Direct TV 701-705):
- Congressional has been home to four PGA Tour events; the Booz Allen Classic in 2005 and the AT&T National from 2007-2009. Of the players who competed in these tournaments and are playing in the U.S. Open, only Continue reading