British Open: Tiger 10 down, 8 to go

mulligan, 17 July 2005, Comments Off on British Open: Tiger 10 down, 8 to go
Categories: Uncategorized

Tiger Woods won Major No. 10 today at -14, shooting a pretty safe yet impressive -2, 70. For only 5 to 10 minutes, things got somewhat close, with Colin Montgomerie closing the gap to 1-stroke at -11. But Colin was undone again by the “loop,” suffering two quick bogeys on 11 and 13. Jose Maria Olazabal also stayed in contention for the front nine, but his driver had the hooks today and eventually ate him up. Tiger then sealed the deal with a birdie on 12. Game over. No one else made any charge to speak of. Final leaderboard.

Some parting chip shots from St. Andrews

1. Pairings make a difference. One of the biggest changes from yesterday’s raucous Ryder Cup-like environment today: Tiger was not paired with hometown hero Colin Montgomerie. Believe me, that changed everything in terms of the mood. It was very subdued in Tiger’s group, which I followed. No loud rooting against him, like yesterday on a couple occasions. Even when Monty made a semi-charge to get to -11, the cheers were noticeable but did not affect Tiger’s group. It was night and day from yesterday.

2. Biggest surprise: no charges. I was most surprised that no one of the big guns — Retief, Vijay, Sergio, Jose Maria Olazabal, Michael Campbell, John Daly — could mount a serious charge at Tiger. Monty was close, but he faded again (see above). The weather was cooler, but there was very little wind to speak of. I would’ve thought one of these world class players would’ve applied greater pressure today.

3. Tiger’s extra gear. I’ve followed Tiger basically since his amateur days. What sets him apart is his tremendous focus and then ability to execute “must make” shots when he needs to. Today, Tiger knew exactly where he stood and what he needed to do. For the fleeting moment that Monty got close, Tiger put it into another gear, leaving everybody else in his rearview mirror.

4. Tight lies. If you don’t like tight lies, well, you won’t like St. Andrews because every lie at St. Andrews is a tight lie. By the way, St. Andrews is a public course, so you can play it if you want.

5. Golf nirvana. This place and tournament are magical. My favorite used to be Pebble Beach, which makes more use of the ocean as a backdrop for the course. But the history and majesty of St. Andrews are unmatched. And the Scottish people are so hospitable, friendly, and golf knowledgeable that it’s the closest thing to golf nirvana on this planet. Cheers.


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