Shop a wide variety of Callaway Golf accessories at Callaway's official online store! Eyewear, bags, gloves, and much more. Click Here!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Open Championship Proves Depth of Professional Golf

For the past month, nearly every sports and golf publication has run at least one article about how professional golf is going to be boring until the return of Tiger Woods, which will presumably be at Augusta next spring. Some writers have gone so far as to say that there should be an asterisk next to a major victory when Tiger is not in the field. Only a handful of writers, like Golfweek's Rex Hoggard, have brushed off Tiger's absence with more positive articles like this one.

Well, here we are in the middle of the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, and memories of Tiger are fading fast. It's impossible to predict how everything will end up by Sunday, but to this point, it couldn't have been scripted any better.

Fifty-three year old Greg Norman is in cruising along at even par, one shot behind K.J. Choi (a very likeable player). David Duval is showing signs of a resurrection, finishing Friday only three shots back. And Rocco Mediate is back again, battling to grab the glory stolen by Woods in La Jolla.

Hot shot Camillo Villegas threw up a 65 today to vault himself into contention, and fan favorite Paddy Harrington is positioning himself well to defend his title. If we were to believe the press, the Tour is loaded with robots, but close to the lead at the halfway point are guys with character and flair. Ian Poulter, Fredrik Jacobson, Stuart Appleby, Stephen Ames, and Adam Scott are in the mix. And who can overlook the presence of Jean van de Velde five shots behind Choi?

Sergio Gacia, Anthony Kim, Justin Rose, and Retief Goosen have held their own, and as we all know -- anything can happen on the weekend. So, we can't count out a surging Phil Mickelson or even Ernie Els, who made the cut on the number.

Jim Furyk is flying under the radar with a pair of 71s, leaving him three strokes off the lead. Can it get any more exciting or intriguing as this? Some would say yes; Woods would make it better. I say his presence would certainly change the dynamics of the championship, but the depth of the players at this level -- most of whom are underappreciated, especially the regulars on the European Tour -- is enormous.

Tiger is missed by many, but we will get along just fine until the Masters. These guys are good, but they're also interesting. Hopefully golf fans will take the time this weekend to discover it.


Post a Comment

<< Home