Friday, July 21, 2006


Ahoy-hoy, from Hoylake!

I just wanted to give a half-assed update on the first two rounds of the Open at Hoylake/Royal Liverpool (most of the sports media has correctly stopped using the "British" before the name, it only took them about 133 years). First, this is the ugliest looking course I've seen host a major tournament in quite a long time. Due to their recent "heat wave" (in England, that means any time the temperature is above 80° for more than 2 hours, apparently), everything except the greens look like burnt straw. I'm not even sad that it's not in HD, because it looks bad enough.

The players have absolutely devoured this course, as Round One featured 67 players under par (an Open record since they began following this stuff in the 1950s). But unfortunately for the rest of the field, Tiger Woods has awoken from his slumber. After scrambling for pars all day on Thursday (most notably on the 10th, where it took him two swings to extricate himself from a high walled bunker), he reached the 565-yard par 5 18th in two, and sank a 28-foot eagle putt to place him only one behind first round leader Graeme "Chapman" McDowell. I'm sure that putt and his consequent fist pump resonated throughout the clubhouse, as word of his resurgence spread like the bubonic plague. Apart from that hole, he was putting with confidence all day and hit 2 iron instead of driver on every tee (and the two times he didn't hit driver he missed the fairway), and made few mistakes, if any.

Highlights from Round 2:

· We've got TWO Americans near the top of the Open heap, and if we really want to chap their European butts (as Rob put it), we need one of our guys to win this thing. Chris DiMarco has suddenly caught fire, playing nearly flawless golf with 8 birdies and only one bogey on the day. He's playing with a heavy heart since his mother just died (this is not getting as much press as Tiger coping with losing his dad--huh, imagine that). And of course there's Tiger, who holed out from 205 yards on the 14th hole for an eagle (I missed seeing it this morning, since I was making coffee at the time), and hit a 50 foot birdie putt, cruising to -12 after 36 holes. Furyk (-5), FIGJAM (-4), Duval (-4) also played well, so hopefully this American resurgence will spill over into Ryder Cup play at the K Club in Ireland this September.

· The big guys are back. Ernie "The Kaiser" Els is now just one shot behind Tiggs after tearing Hoylake a new one, also shooting a 65 (the new course record, as of today). Also, the Goose was loose and rode his unparalleled short game to a 66. Garcia and Furyk are also in the hunt, albeit 7 back. Except for Furyk, I predicted these guys would struggle, but they haven't.

· During TNT's commentary, Ian Baker-Finch pointed out that the Liverpudlians have a potent local drink called "idiot broth", and it only takes about 3 of them to put you to sleep. That's impressive. (I later found out that Urban Dictionary defines it as "any type of drink with high alcohol content and low price that an alcoholic prefers to drink just to get drunk. Okay then.)

· The cut is at EVEN par (or LEVEL, as they say in Europe), and Monty (Python) and Veeger shockingly did not make it. And since I chose Padraig to win, naturally he missed it as well, as did Ian "Ministry of Silly Pants" Poulter. Man, my blognostications continue to be the kiss of death. My advice is to never listen to a sports analyst ever, and I hope you extended heeded that advice my sports-related rants.

Anyway, it should be an interesting weekend at the Open.

UPDATE: The cut line was raised to -1. That's amazing, considering no one at the U.S. Open could get below par after 72 holes.

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