After the Open – random thoughts

With the 2008 Open Championship now part of golf history, here are some random thoughts on where we stand for the 2008 Ryder Cup:

  • It’s not the same without Tiger. It’s difficult to know if Tiger would have been competing for the lead in windy Royal Birkdale but what is certain is that the tournament wasn’t quite as exciting as it might have been with Tiger in the field. Greg Norman’s surprise performance injected some real drama into the weekend but the reality is that TV viewing numbers, especially in the US, were down on last year.
  • Aside from the buzz and publicity that Tiger brings to any event, how crucial will his absence be for the American team’s prospects of winning back the trophy they last won in Brookline in 1999? Some likely US team members performed well at the Open. Jim Furyk once again displayed the range of golf skills that will make him a key man in Kentucky. But such is the gap in capability between Tiger and the 12th player on the team that it is easy to suggest that the US start with a handicap of at least one point.
  • Anthony Kim has emerged as a top player in 2008. Many would have predicted that he might struggle in the extreme Birkdale conditions but he seemed to thrive in such an atmosphere. A real gutsy competitor, he’s likely to be a major asset for the US team in Kentucky.
  • Padraig Harrington has proven once again that he is one of the game’s top players. He’s likely to compete in at least three of the foursome/fourball matches. If Nick Faldo is ok with playing his top players five times, then Padraig will be one of those. 
  • Looks like Luke Donald won’t be fit to play in this year’s matches. This is a blow to European hopes of retaining the trophy. Luke’s gritty competitive nature, coupled with his knowledge of the US circuit, would have added greatly to the European team.
  • Greg Norman showed last week that 50-somethings can play golf at the highest level. Kenny Perry is doing his best to be the role model for40-somethings. His successful season has ensured he will compete in the Ryder Cup in his home state of Kentucky.
  • Golf fans on both sides of the Atlantic are rooting for Rocco Mediate to make the US team. He stands just outside automatic qualification at the end of July and may yet need one of Captain Azinger’s picks to make it. Rocco’s demeanour in his epic US Open battle with Tiger has endeared him to millions of golf viewers everywhere.
  • Is Boo Weekley the most quirky name ever for a Ryder Cup participant? I guess that depends on what language you speak. Other contenders include Chip Beck, Frank Beard, Fred Funk & Johnny Revolta. 
  • When interviewed at the Open, Paul Azinger commented that he hoped the US team would at least make the event more competitive than it had been last time. Does he really believe that a close contest is their best hope? Do members of the US team believe that Europe are more likely to win?
  • Should the European team employ Ian Poulter’s stylist? Can good looking uniforms make a difference to a team’s chances. Evidence to the contrary can be found in the US team’s shirts on Sunday in Brookline ’99.


Leave a Reply

To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the security word shown in the picture. Click on the picture to hear an audio file of the word.
Anti-spam image