Monday, July 21, 2014
The "Champion Golfer"
I haven't watched a whole lot of golf on TV this year because, face it, without Tiger Woods (more on him later) in the mix, and with Phil Mickelson now in his early forties, and throw in the fact that the US Open turned out to be a pretty boring cakewalk for Martin Kaymer last month, there hasn't been any compelling reason to watch every weekend.
The British Open, or excuse me, The Open Championship, was looking to be more of the same with Rory McIlroy opening up big leads through each of the first three rounds, but I tuned in yesterday morning anyway and was surprised to see that McIlroy, who started the final round with a six shot lead, had come back to the field a bit, and that after seven holes, Sergio Garcia was three back and Ricky Fowler was four back, so maybe this was going to be interesting after all.
At one point early on the back nine, Garcia had gotten to within two of McIlroy, and the tournament ended with Garcia and Fowler tied for second, two shots behind McIlroy, but in point of fact, it never really was all that close, and when all was said and done, Rory had laid a fairly methodical beat-down on both Sergio, Ricky, and the entire field.
Very impressive, and at age 25, McIlroy now finds himself only one green jacket short of a career Grand Slam. Very impressive indeed.
One disappointment was the weather. I like watching the British Open when the conditions are wretched - wind, rain, sleet - but it was beautiful for all four days in Liverpool. Oh, well, maybe next year in St. Andrews.
Oh, yeah. Tiger Woods. He finished six over par, twenty-tree shots behind McIlroy, and only four spots from the bottom of the scoreboard. He had major back surgery on March 31. I, myself, have had two major back surgeries in my life, and they take a long time from which to recover, and I am not someone who relies on his physicality in my life as does Woods, or any other professional athlete. Anyone who expected Woods to contend at the Open this week, much less win it, was severely deluding themselves.
That said, Tiger is now 38 years old, and his body is breaking down on him. When he is fully recovered physically, he will win again on the Tour, he may even win another Major sometime, but Jack Nicklaus's record of 18 Majors is safe. Tiger isn't going to win four or five more Majors.