Thursday, July 17, 2008


Phil Mickelson of the USA, center far left, and spectators look for his missing ball during the first round of the British Open Golf championship, at the Royal Birkdale golf course, Southport, England, Thursday, July 17, 2008. (AP Photo/Jon Super) If you're reading this, the Open at Royal Birkdale is already underway! It snuck up on me this year because the media doesn't pay attention to golf if Tiger isn't playing. It's a shame, but that's the truth. (I wonder what he's doing right now: banging his wife on his yacht or in his house. Hey, don't bang her TOO hard, you have to be careful with that knee.)

However, what little buzz there's been has been about FIGJAM! and Los Pantelones Feos, by the US and European press respectively, and the possibility of them stepping up in Tiger's absence and winning this major. But when the pressure is on, that's the last time I see these guys playing well. They are incredibly talented but only really excel when the stakes are low, like some random California tournament or in Tiger-free fake-majors like the "Players".

Today's weather looks downright nasty: rainy, windy, chilly. In a word: English. (No wonder Amy Winehouse has turned to crystal meth, it's depressing.) So I wouldn't expect big scores this weekend, but good performances by solid, all-around players.

Here's the skinny on the 3rd major of the year, the 137th Open at Royal Birkdale.

Course: Royal Birkdale Golf Club
Location: Southport, in northwest England
Par/Yardage: 34-36-70
Yardage: 3417-3753-7173
Purse: $8.24 million.
Winner's share: $1,487,000.
Description: The Open comes to Royal Birkdale for the ninth time this July, and competitors will find a course that is 155 yards longer than the challenge presented to them in 1998, the last time the event was played here. The extra length is relatively inconsequential, however, compared to the tightened bunkering, newly-introduced mounds and, in the case of some holes, altered playing lines. The philosophy of the changes – which affect 16 of the 18 holes – is to reward strategic play and accurate shotmaking.

Hole by hole info (Hole/Par/Yards/Rank):
1 4 450 2
2 4 421 4
3 4 451 9
4 3 201 17
5 4 346 11
6 4 499 1
7 3 178 8
8 4 457 14
9 4 414 7
10 4 408 5
11 4 436 6
12 3 184 15
13 4 499 13
14 3 201 12
15 5 544 16
16 4 439 3
17 5 572 18
18 4 473 10



Sergio Garcia 10-1
Ernie Els 12-1
Lee Westwood, Phil Mickelson 16-1

MY PICKS: Adam Scott, Lee Westwood, Hitch Furyk.

MY MISSES: FIGJAM!, Los Pantelones Feos, The Kaiser.

Thursday 7/17: 7 AM - 3 PM (TNT)
Friday 7/18: 7 AM - 3 PM (TNT)
Saturday 7/19: 7 AM - 9 AM (TNT), 9 AM - 3 PM (ABC)
Sunday 7/20: 6 AM - 8 AM (TNT), 8 AM - 3 PM (ABC)

UPDATE: Unfortunately, ABC/TNT has taken a step backwards and will NOT BE BROADCASTING IN HD, and instead we get lovely SD upconverted crap. While it's certainly 'watchable' this is a MAJOR tournament, if I'm not mistaken, and therefore a major disappointment. I don't know if it's because England is behind on the technology (it's allegedly BBC's fault), but I'm guessing they cheaped out and just decided to use SD equipment over there. The kicker is that they don't say it's NOT in HD, they advertise it as being on "ABC and ABC HD". Seriously, fuck ABC/ESPN right in the pantalones, and BBC can take one up the trousers while we're at it. So if you haven't bought that HDTV yet (Rob, I'm looking at you), then there's no hurry. (At least I won't have to bust my ass looking for an HD screen at the bars this weekend.)

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