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Tiger and the Open Championship snoozefest

So, in a display that was impressive in its strategy, but made for [photopress:tigerelin.jpg,full,alignright]what I consider dull television, Tiger Woods outlasts Chris DiMarco to win the Open Championship. Oh yeah, and he hit one driver all week. That’s right — the guy who wins the Masters has two drivers in his bag and Tiger might as well not have bothered putting his Nike beast in. Speaking of which, Nike must be thrilled. How do you do a commercial for the Nike Sasquatch and Tiger while utilizing his British Open win? As I said, they must be thrilled.
So what did Tiger think? Well, when everyone felt he found another gear in the final round, he says he never considered the matter:

Q. Chris DiMarco talked about what he called your uncanny knack of turning it up, doing what you needed to do when somebody is chasing you. One, could you talk about that, and also could you talk about Chris’s knack of giving you the best fight all the time?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, as far as what Chris said, I don’t intend to do it on purpose; that’s not one of those things where I can turn on the switch. I believe in the way I play golf that you turn the switch on the first hole and you have it on the entire time. And you don’t try any harder on each and every shot. You have the same effort level, you give it everything you have on every shot.
And for some reason in my past I’ve seemed to pull things off at the end and I think that’s just due to I feel comfortable being there. I’ve been there enough times. I’ve had enough success that I feel comfortable being in that situation, and I kept telling myself today that basically only Ernie and I had won this Championship. We’re the only ones who have basically won majors on that board. Sergio hasn’t done it yet and I’m sure he will soon. Chris hasn’t done it and he’s come so close the last couple of years.
And I just think that there’s certain calmness that comes about being able to say with honesty that I’ve done this before. And I’m out there and that’s the calmness that I feel coming down the stretch.

Of course the media asked all the hard hitting questions at the press conference:

Q. In light of your emotions at the moment and what you’ve said regarding your late father, will your celebrations differ in any way or is there anything special you might do given the situation and the circumstances?
TIGER WOODS: This jug will be filled up, I’ll tell you that (laughter)
Q. With what?
TIGER WOODS: Beverage of my choice (laughter), and not just once.
Q. May I ask what the beverage of your choice is?
TIGER WOODS: No (laughter). Yes, you can; you just asked. Will I answer? No.

At least Tiger explained why he didn’t bother hitting his driver:
As I was playing the golf course, I would hit a couple of drives, and the driver would go 350, 370 yards. How can you control that out here? You can’t control that. The fairways become they’re hard enough to hit as it is, and you add driver and they go that far, now how hard is it to hit? So I just felt in the end if you stayed out of the bunkers this entire week and had just a decent week on the greens, I felt that I would be in contention on the back nine.
That said, how strong, really, is a golf course where the world’s best player can repeatedly hit the same club off the tee? Seems to me that’s great planning on Tiger’s part, and demonstrates a serious weakness on the part of Hoylake. That said, watching a true hard-and-fast links was fun. And I’m sure there were lots of viewers saying, “Why is it brown? Is it dead?”
In case you want all the details, Tiger’s press conference is here.
As for DiMarco, who had a gritty showing, the ink slingers asked him the tough questions as well.

Q. Chris, do you thrive on going up against Tiger?
CHRIS DiMARCO: No, I don’t want to go up against him, I don’t want to do that.
Q. It just seems like it really brings out the best in you.
CHRIS DiMARCO: If you can’t get up playing the best player in the world in a major, I don’t know what else there is. I mean, absolutely. It pumps me up. I know Tiger said one of the greatest things ever, I don’t know how many years ago he said it, that being in contention in a major or in any tournament is like a drug. And it is. It is our drug. It is so awesome to be playing well and performing well when everything is on the line. As a player it’s the best thing in the world. He does it the best in the world that’s why he’s No. 1 in the world.

Guess what? If you play the best player in the world and you are a short hitter, you’re not going to win very often. That’s what DiMarco is really saying.

Oh, and Peter Alliss can kiss my ass for that “Ink stained peasant,” comment he made about Ron Whitten during the broadcast. Who does he think he is, a member of the House of Lords? He’s a broadcaster, and there is some suggestion he might have the slightest bit of journalism in him. I guess not. And he works for the Golf Channel, so what can one expect?
Oh, and by the way, thank god for PVRs. So many damned commercials over the course of the final round, I thought I’d die of boredom. I used to like Tom Lehman’s voiceover for the “I Am A Golfer” spot. Now I just wish his Dad had never lost to him. Ugh.
Over the remainder of the week, I’ll post my review of Muskoka Bay and London Hunt. I’ll also be seeing Ambassador GC in Windsor and the revamped National with my friend and touring pro, Alan McLean. Lots of golf. Here’s hoping I hit them straight.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

5 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Wow, I guess that “ink-stained peasant” comment hit a little too close to home. I thought it quite amusing myself. Agreed that the Open wasn’t exactly exciting television – don’t know if it was Woods’s strategy so much as cooperative (or uncooperative, if you like) weather that made it so – and the comment about there being far too many “damned commercials” was bang on. But to imply that Woods should have used his driver because, by not doing so Nike won’t be able to make a commercial from the experience, is beyond asinine and says more about the author of the article than I expect he intended.

  • I would like to formally complain about Tiger Woods caddy – Steve Williams. He is a caddy – correct? Well, I would like him to act like one and not a player or celebrity.

    For instance, since the cameras are constantly on Tiger Woods, you always see him. I have witnessed and been amazed how other caddies wear their bibs from the start of the golf day to the finish. However, Mr. Steve Williams chooses to NOT wear his until he has to and takes it off asap (when Tiger makes his final putt). However, I noticed during this years British Open he took his bib off half way up the 72nd hole. What an embarrassment he is to golf. It must be either a) because he believes he is better than the other caddies, or b) that he is paid by a sponsor to promise to do this, or c) both.

    Therefore, I would like someone to make light of this and look into what the rules and regulation are for caddies. I believe that all the other caddies wear their bids from the beginning of the day until the end. I guarantee Mr. Bruce Edwards or others would ever have acted like this in previous or future golf tournaments.

    Please have this looked into and as a “golf fan” I believe this should be enforced.

  • I’m writing again to take back some of the things that I said in my earlier post. In re-reading Robert’s article, I see that I misinterpreted what he said regarding Woods and the Nike Sasquatch driver and completely missed the sarcasm. My apologies.

    (However, I still enjoyed the Alliss comment.)

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