The 150th Open Championship played at the historic Old Course at St Andrew’s concluded this weekend. The lead-up to this year’s Championship had more hype than ever.
First, it is the 150th Open Championship. Amazing in its own right. Add that it is being played at “the home of golf”, the Old Course at St Andrew’s.
Tiger Woods is rehabbed and is playing.
Northern Ireland’s own Rory McIlroy is in some of his best forms in years.
Can Scottie Scheffler, who is number one in the official world golf rankings, continue his hot streak?
Justin Thomas is ready to go after claiming the PGA Championship title.
Even John Daly, who seems more popular than ever, is in attendance and ready to go. The 1995 British Open Championship winner who did it at the Old Course is ready to take on the field with his son in the bag.
So what could be better than all that?
Add LIV at the Open. Yes, the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Buzz continues to get louder and louder. Can we even call it a buzz anymore? It is more like constant noise amongst all the players and fans. With the tension growing every day.
Lead Up to The Open
Overshadowing some of the excitement of St. Andrew’s and the 150th Open was the LIV Golf Tour. The PGA tour had recently suspended all players that have join LIV Golf from playing in PGA Tour events. So would the LIV Golfers be able to play in The Open Championship? It was ruled that they could. The next question everyone was wondering was who from LIV Golf was going to play.
LIV Golf Players in The Open
There were 24 LIV Golf Players that entered The Open Championship this past week. Amongst the names were, Dustin Johnson, one of golf’s best, Phil Mickelson, a PGA Tour golf legend, and other big names such as Bryson DeChambeau, Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed and Taylor Gooch.
How Did They Do?
Overall, the short answer is good but not great. In terms of making the cut, 11 of the 24 LIV golfers made it to the weekend. Remember, LIV Golf tournaments don’t have cuts like the PGA tour.
But the weekend, and the 36 additional holes (on top of the 36 they played to make the cut) didn’t go as well. Maybe these LIV Golfers are getting used to the 54 hole style tournaments that LIV Golf has.
Dustin Johnson fared the best for LIV golfers finishing T6 at -13 and Bryson DeChambeau was also in the top 10 at T8 with -12.
The rest of the LIV Golfers (who made the cut) finished from 24th-79, with Patrick Reed T47 and Sergio Garcia T68.
Maybe the final 18 holes got to them.
Phil Mickelson Misses the Cut
Phil Mickelson was the biggest name from LIV who missed the cut. Other big names to join him in missing the cut were Louis Oosthuizen, Kevin Na, and Brooks Koepka.
So What, Tiger Missed the Cut too
Yes, Tiger Woods, who is a three time winner of the Open, including two at St. Andrew’s, missed the cut.
But it could quite possibly be the best missed cut ever.
Could a Tiger Woods missed cut be one of the more memorable things in his career?
Ironic? Yes, and certainly with all the LIV Golf hype and their no cut, 54 hole format.
What do we mean?
Tiger was fairly open on how he feels about the LIV golf tour compared to the PGA Tour. He said the no cut format gives no reason for players to practice and try to improve. They are guaranteed a paycheck no matter what.
So Tiger worked as hard as he could, rehabbing his leg and pushing himself so he could make the historic 150th Open at his favorite course in the world.
All the hard work rehabbing, the negative press, the doubters saying he is done forever and won’t win another major again.
Well, that pushed Tiger. And he made it back to the Old Course to be there for the 150th open.
And he missed the cut.
No shot at a 16th major title.
No fairy tale comeback.
Maybe the doubters were right.
The Walk Up 18
And then as Tiger walked up number 18, clearly not making the cut, something absolutely amazing happened.
The players he was playing with slowed their walk.
So did their caddies.
And Tiger was left alone walking up the 18th hole, at the home of golf, where Tiger’s major championship career began as an amateur in 1995 at the age of 19.
The crowd rose to their feet to stand and applaud the GOAT of Golf. All Tiger wants to do is win golf tournaments. He is tied for first with most PGA Tour wins, holds 15 major championships, the most prolific player to ever play the game, one of the most competitive players in any sport, came walking up the 18th hole alone.
But he was not alone. The entire game of golf was with him. All those who came before him, all the competitors along the way, all the haters, and all the biggest fans. They were all there for this historic moment.
And then it hit him. The emotions took over as he took of his hat and saluted the crowd. Realizing he may not be back for another Open Champion run at St. Andrew’s, his favorite course in the world, it hit him. He couldn’t hold back the tears.
Passing the Torch?
And then there was Rory McIlroy on the first tee, about to tee off. Tiger looks over and sees his good friend Rory, who then does a tip of the cap to Tiger.
The torch has been passed.
Tiger wrapping up his Open Championship with a missed cut, and Rory about the tee off in contention for the win.
The tip of the hat says so much. It says thank you for all you did for golf. Thank you for all the memories. Thank you for your determination.
And it also said, “I got you”. Rory, who is currently 3rd in the official world golf ranking, is determined to carry the torch and be the face of the PGA Tour, now more than ever with LIV Golf Invitational heating up.
The “cut” played a bigger role than ever in this year’s Open Championship. The controversial no cut system of LIV Golf was completely squashed by seeing the recognition the greatest golfer to ever play the game received as he was missing the cut.
It made the 150th Open Championship even more memorable.
The Battle For The Title
Rory entered the final round tied for the lead. He was truly ready to carry the torch and back up all his talk about the LIV golf tour with an Open Championship win. It was his time now.
Or was it?
Rory and Viktor Hovland entered the final round paired together, after a back and forth battle in the third round. Each player was answering the other by going shot for shot. It was great golf to watch.
They were 4 strokes ahead entering the final round. It was going to be a battle between them for the title.
But, the second to last pairing, the “Camerons”, had a different story. Cameron Smith and Cameron Young had been playing some great golf as well all weekend. Could they overcome a 4 shot deficit to win?
Cameron Smith, with his mullet and mustache, said yes. He absolutely went off on the back nine shooting 6 under on the final 9 to win the 150th Open Championship by one stroke over Cameron Young.
Rory would finish 3rd.
Hovland struggled in his final round shooting two over to finish tied for 4th.
The fourth and final round, the round that doesn’t exist in LIV Golf Invitational events, proved to be one of the best. The players gave it all they had and shot lights out when they needed to, for the battle of one of golf’s four major championships.
It wasn’t about the money.
It wasn’t about making the game loud and more entertaining.
It was about the Traditions of Golf.
The debate of LIV Golf and PGA Tour leading up to the Open was silenced by great play.
It was silenced by an iconic missed cut.
It was silenced by an amazing -8 fourth and final round, come from behind win.
It was silenced by the Traditions of Golf that overshadow all the discussions between LIV and the PGA.
All that stuff we have been hearing about how great LIV golf is was silenced.
For a moment at least.
The debate will go on. More players will leave the PGA Tour and will be joining LIV Golf. Controversy will continue. Greg Norman will continue his battle at CEO of LIV Golf.
So what do we do about it?
That is your decision to make. I appreciate the traditions of golf. Competition is good, but at what price? And if price is the only option, then what? Does the game deteriorate? Do we lose the traditions for paychecks? What happens to the official world rankings? Do we miss out on watching the greatest golfer of all time get saluted as he misses the cut? I certainly hope not.
For more info on LIV visit the LIV Golf Website