Thursday, July 24, 2014

British Open Wrap-Up

This was the 17th major golf tournament that has been played since we started the Heath Post.  Here are the winners:

Rory McIlroy (NIR):  3
Martin Kaymer (GER):  2
Bubba Watson:  2
Jason Dufner
Phil Mickelson
Justin Rose (ENG)
Adam Scott (AUS)
Ernie Els (RSA)
Webb Simpson
Keegan Bradley
Darren Clarke (NIR)
Charl Schwartzel (RSA)
Louis Oosthuizen (RSA)

Americans:  6
Non-Americans:  11

We can derive two points from this list.  First, the Americans have not been able to replace Tiger and Phil, and are now back to playing second fiddle, much as they did between the decline of Tom Watson and the rise of Tiger Woods.  Second, Rory McIlroy is the best player in the world, and may be one of the greatest players who ever lived.

Only three people have won three majors by the time they were Rory McIlroy's age:  Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, and Rory McIlroy.  That's it.  That's the list.  McIlroy had a very disappointing 2013 (at least for him), in which he failed to win a tournament.  But he has now won twice in the last few weeks (he won the BMW PGA Championship over in Europe in May), and his game seems to be on a roll.  When he is at his best, no one in the world can beat him.  As long as he's healthy, it seems to me that he has to be considered the favorite in most major tournaments going forward.  Jordan Spieth has his work cut out for him.

Credit should be given to Rickie Fowler, who (for some reason) tends to play inspired golf around McIlroy.  Fowler shot 15 under par, which would normally be good enough to win a major, but couldn't quite keep pace with the blistering McIlroy.

It's disappointing that both the U.S. and British Opens were dominated by a single man.  But golf is always better when there is at least one major superstar for everyone else to challenge, and so I'm happy to see McIlroy back in the winners' circle.  It will be interesting to see how he does at Valhalla next month.

1.  R. McIlroy (NIR):  -17 (66+66+68+71=271)

T2.  R. Fowler:  -15 (69+69+68+67=273)
T2.  S. Garcia (ESP):  -15 (68+70+69+66=273)

4.  J. Furyk:  -13 (68+71+71+65=275)

T5.  M. Leishman (AUS):  -12 (69+72+70+65=276)
T5.  A. Scott (AUS):  -12 (68+73+69+66=276)

T7.  Eduardo Molinari (ITA):  -11 (68+73+68+68=277)
T7.  C. Schwartzel (RSA):  -11 (71+67+72+67=277)

T9.  V. Dubuisson (FRA):  -10 (74+66+68+70=278)
T9.  S. Lowry (IRE):  -10 (68+75+70+65=278)
T9.  G. McDowell (NIR):  -10 (74+69+68+67=278)

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