YEARS FROM NOW, someone might ask Greg Norman what he did on his second honeymoon.
“Let’s see, we traveled, did some sightseeing, shopped a little, I almost won the British Open, stuff like that.”
So Norman didn’t win The Open Championship today at Royal Birkdale. I’m not surprised. The Shark winning would have been like a Disney movie ending. And major championship golf is rarely like a Disney movie. It’s more like a horror flick.
Greg hiccupped through the first three holes: bogey, bogey, bogey. No amount of baling wire or duct tape could hold his game together during the final round, especially with Padraig Harrington hitting one solid shot after another.
Beware of a tour pro who knows how to close out a major. Harrington has that look, at least at the British Open.
Englishman Ian Poulter, who posted a splendid 69 on his way to his best finish in a major, thought he had a chance. Then Harrington found a new gear, finishing birdie, par, birdie, par, eagle, par on his way to a back-nine 32 and a four-shot win.
Take that. I think I’ll hang on to the Claret Jug, thank you very much.
(Does the engraver get paid the same if the defending champion repeats? It’s not like he has to spell and engrave a new name.)
As for the rest, many of the favorites did not have a good Open Championship: Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia (44 strokes over the final nine holes) and Justin Rose, to name a few.
K.J. Choi, the 36-hole leader, had a disappointing weekend, shooting 75-79. After opening with an 80, Ernie Els tied for seventh, not bad. Part of that seventh-place logjam, Anthony Kim had a successful British debut. Finishing fifth, Jim Furyk was the top American.
Phil Mickelson tied for 19th with Masters champion Trevor Immelman, Scottish Open champion Graeme McDowell, Rocco Mediate, Davis Love, Simon Wakefield, Jean Van de Velde and a few others.
Finally, after blowing to an 83 in the third round, David Duval closed with a 71, a pretty gutsy performance. He certainly didn’t mail it in after shooting himself out of contention.
Maybe we haven’t heard the last of David Duval.
−The Armchair Golfer