Golf at its Purest

Tournament: The 147th Open Championship

Course: Carnoustie Golf Links

Defending Champion: Jordan Spieth

Last Open Championship: 2007 – Padraig Harrington

My hot take from my US Open article was that it was the best Major. I think I said that because of the grind players go through trying to win that thing and that the storylines are so juicy throughout the tournament and even after its wrapped up. We are all still talking about Phil’s circus display from Saturday on the 13th green. (Oh would you look at that a Phil story coming out of the US Open. Who would’ve thunk?)

But now we are in the birthplace of the sport. Where there isn’t controversy (ever) over course conditions. The browner the course looks the better. And if the weather acts up players just have to sack up and deal with it. Pot bunkers, fescue, gale force winds, hard fairways. This is how golf was designed to be played all those years ago and has me feeling all tingly about watching this week.

However I won’t lie I am getting tired of hearing the players say words like “creativity” or “imagination” and “flighting” in their press conferences and pre tournament interviews. You’re telling me a guy like Dustin Johnson actually has the brain capacity to think his way to a win? Or these same “skills” aren’t ever used during another tour event?

Now if they mentioned in their interviews that they prepared by hitting pot bunker shots with one leg out of the practice trap then I’d believe they were truly getting ready for an Open Championship.

Fast Facts:

Brought to you by Ryan’s Open Championship experiences. No I have never played in one or even watched one live. But here’s to one day doing either. Caddie and travel buddy applications can be left in the comments:

  1. I was very fortunate to visit St. Andrews when I was a wee lad (see, even my expressions are very British this week!) and it probably was one of the coolest experiences of my life. I stood on the Swilken bridge where some iconic photographs of the sport’s legends have waved good bye to the game. Yes, I am comparing myself to the likes of Jack, Nick, and Arnie.
  2. My favourite Open memory of recent years has to be the duel with Phil and the Iceman Henny Stenny. It was 5 straight hours of watching two guys that had already blown away the field and the course that ended up playing straight match play. For a Major Championship. Unreal!

Taming Car-Nasty

I hope the pro tracer on shots this week are so ridiculously wayward because of the conditions they’ll have to deal with and how “creative” they’ll need to be. Players bundled up in toques, umbrellas flying out of caddie’s hands, and balls not leaving pit bunkers for a couple swings. That’s must watch TV.

Are we going to get Van de Velde type of drama from 1999? Doubtful and quite frankly I wouldn’t even wish that kind of fortune on my worst enemy Dustin Johnson. Are we going to get torrential down pours and tornado like winds? Forecast for the Championship suggest we won’t. But if we can see a battle with 4 or 5 guys in the mix on the back nine and have to pull of a couple heroic shots to win, then I’d be quite happy.

#neilerknows he’s on the Hotseat

Alright so for those of you that have been following I am on a bit of a slide with my picks. Since a strong US Open prediction I have 2 MC’s and a MDF. Not ideal you’re right. But I’m not here to play it safe with a Dustin Johnson pick (I read somewhere he hasn’t finished lower than 20th in his last however many starts. God he sucks).

Lee Westwood has not won a major. In fact all of my picks in majors would be first time winners and there is a reason for that. In the last couple of years first time winners have broken through in a big way. 9 of the last 11 to be exact. And I think Lee is going to do just the same this week breaking his streak of 80 majors played without a win.

When I write it down and then read it back it does sound like DJ could be a better choice…

I’m picking Lee for a couple reasons:

  1. He’s English.
  2. He has old man strength.
  3. He’s playing in his 24th straight Open Championship.

In summary it’s because he’s a veteran with a lot of experience playing in familiar conditions. And this has been known to favour past Open Championship winners. He’s contended on Sundays at majors before, has dominated the European Tour with 32 wins, and owns a very successful Ryder Cup resume.

Okay this has me feeling much better about this pick.

I’m confident in my man Lee but we want to know who you have taking home the Claret Jug (also great name. Best trophy in sports?) and be crowned Champion Golfer of the Year this weekend! Interact with myself and Golf Life Alberta on Twitter at @GolfLifeAb and @10Neiler and let us know what you like best about the Open Championship. Is it the history and tradition? Links courses? Or the very trendy outerwear that the players will be wearing over the course of the week?

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