Note: This is the first of a 3-part walk through of The Old Course at St. Andrews by my good friend and Old Course caddy John Boyne (Boynie). I asked John to give us these hole by hole descriptions for this week’s British Open and he kindly obliged because, well, he’s a hell of a good guy. Tomorrow I’ll post part two, and Wednesday will be part three. Many thanks to Boynie for doing this special piece just for Hooked On Golf Blog and The Golf Space ~Tony Korologos
The descriptions for the holes that I summarise on the Old Course at St. Andrews will be as if the golfer has found the perfect day for golf on the links – no wind!
1st, Burn, 376 yards, Par4
Should be a relatively straight forward par 4 with the tee shot heading down the widest fairway in golf – 143 yds across the walkway Granny Clarks Wynd – No excuses for missing it really!
John Deere Classic
Thursday 7/8 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM ET GOLF
Friday 7/9 8:30 PM – 11:30 PM ET GOLF
Saturday 7/10 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM ET CBS
Sunday 7/11 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM ET CBS
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WE’VE HAD SOME TIME TO LET THINGS MARINATE FOR A BIT: WHAT ARE THE IMPRESSIONS FROM THE US OPEN THAT YOU THINK WILL STAY WITH YOU THE LONGEST?
Stefan – Pebble continues to be one of the most beautiful places in all of golf. Great win for McDowell. I’ve liked him since watching him with Rory in the World Cup last year. I go back and forth on that 14:th hole, whether it’s fair or if now and then professional golfers can just stop the whining and play the thing. Tom Watson walking up 18 was very memorable. I still maintain Tiger is not far away from being his usual world-beating self.
Jack – I thought it was a pretty memorable US Open. I love Pebble to death and, no matter how much players whinge about it, I still feel the same: you just can’t beat that place as a Major Championship venue. Woods is not himself, but I love the fact that he still has the ability to put the spark and electricity back into a tournament and its galleries with one round. Anyway, this one was all about McDowell for me. He left himself enough breathing room to make a few mistakes on Sunday, and walked away the worthy winner.
Jeff – I think this year’s US Open was great. You can’t get a better venue than Pebble Beach, and having Tom Watson there made it that much more memorable. It was great to see him not only be there because of his history at Pebble/US Open, but because he deserved to be and played quite well, all things considered.
That 14th hole is insane and I’m up in the air if it’s fair or not. I’ve heard fom Tour players that they say while it’s unbelievably difficult, it’s also very fair. But maybe it’s those guys just not wanting to make waves! I also thought the little 7th hole added some excitement. Nowhere else in the world do you see a 100 yard par 3 give the best players in the world such a headache. It was great to see Graeme McDowell play well and hold off the big guns of Woods, Mickelson, and Els. He’s been knocking on the door for a while and it was nice to see him break through. Hopefully the 2010 Open will be remembered more for his steady play under pressure, than Dustin Johnson’s complete meltdown.
Tony – I thought it was a good open but not a great one. I loved how the USGA had Pebble prepared, with the long grass around the bunkers and the difficulty level of the greens. The cool thing about this course’s length and setup was that it brought the whole field into play, not just the bombers. That being said a bomber (Dustin Johnson) was on the brink of winning the thing until he realized he was leading the US OPEN on Sunday and completely lost it. When he hit that shank/flop on #2 I knew he was toast. I almost fell out of my chair.
Regarding 14, I’m of the belief that it was fine. If all the players play the same hole in the same conditions that is fair. I personally like US OPEN golf and seeing the big boys struggle. It makes me feel like they’re actually human. I wonder how much easier 14 would have been if the players could have played it with square grooved wedges?
What I thought was most notable on Sunday was that everyone at the top of the leaderboard, including McDowell, gagged. Nobody within reach made a run at it. It was just that McDowell gagged the least and calmed himself down enough to pull it off on the back nine. Tiger, Phil and especially Ernie all had good chances to win the thing but they all made mistakes. Both Tiger and Phil had terrible putting days. It sounds like a broken record, but Tiger’s putting was “not Tiger like.” Phil has been hot and cold in US OPEN with his putting historically so it wasn’t as big of a surprise to me.
The one person who didn’t gag and was very impressive was Gregory Havret, who shot the best final round of those on page one of the leaderboard. His swing looked as good as any I’ve seen. I wonder if that was a flash in the pan or if we’ll see more of him.
I love Tom Watson. I followed Tom around on Tuesday at this year’s Masters practice round. He was so cool and nice. I think it is amazing that he made the cut in a US OPEN at that age and it shows how much of a stud he is.
WHERE DO YOU THINK TIGER’S GAME IS AT THIS TIME, AND HOW DO YOU THINK HE’LL DO THIS YEAR AND IN THE FUTURE?
I’ve toyed with the thought of starting some nutty rumor about Tiger Woods’ divorce just to see how many outlets pick it up. A few days ago the rumor was that the Tiger/Elin divorce would be the largest in history money wise. Elin was going to get $750 million. My golf pals and I wondered how that was possible, except we thought perhaps that was over about 15-16 years until his kids turned 18.
A couple of days later that number was floating around at $700m and then $600m. The latest word is that the number is $100mil and Elin would not be able to speak about anything on TV, do books or interviews etc. No talk shows.
The word is also that TW wants this thing to settle and not go to trial. Wise move. A trial would bring out all the nasty things which have gone on and would certainly be a PR nightmare for Tiger.
Tiger and Greg Norman Contests
Tiger and Greg Norman have seemingly had some contests in the past. Who would have the biggest yacht? How many weeks at #1? Now the contest is apparently who would have the biggest divorce settlement. Back in 2008 GN’s settlement brought is ex $103mil. If Elin ends up with $100mil, I guess that means Greg will have topped Tiger on that one but a few million bucks.
It was looking slim that Tiger Woods would make the AT&T cut at Aronomink but he made it by one shot. Not sure he can make up all that ground as far back as he is at 10 shots from the lead.
They’re toughening up the course and the greens at “The Mink” are drying up. Having played that course I can attest to the severity of the greens. If they got hard and fast we could see some high numbers.