This surely will be a strange four days of golf at the birthplace, the “Old Course”, at St. Andrew’s in Scotland, home of the British Open.
It will be strange because they are talking terrible weather, rains, 60mph winds, and brutal course conditions over the next 48-72-hours.
Strange too, for some of the biggest names likely won’t be anywhere near the top of the leaderboard, and the biggest name, is not even playing.
Fascinating to watch the continued growth of the Texas superstar Jordan Spieth, who has already won at Augusta-the Masters, and then in the US-Open. Interesting to watch Dustin Johnson, who has been so close to super stardom, but has not been able to close the deal and win the biggies.
But it has been weeks, months, and years of controversies surrounding the other big names we are so used to see heading up the 18th green on the final day in the Open.
Tiger Woods has not won a Grand Slam event since 2008. Injuries, ill conceived coaching changes, and his unchartered life have plunged him into the personal and profession abyss of his life. Woods teed off this morning ranked 241st in the world ratings. His calendar this year has included rounds of 80 and 85, missed cuts, withdrawls, and finishes in 65th and 68th place.
Phil Mickelson’s career has tailed off, maybe some age, maybe some injury. The smile is still there, the shot making has not. Grand Slams are a bit of a distant memory for him. However this betting scandal issue is still out there, and though he refuses to talk about it, one must imagine, allowing 2.7M of his personal funds to wind up in the accounts of a convicted gambler, is a bad thing for image.
There will be no Rory McIlroy sighting either, the aftermath of a young golfer doing something stupid, tearing ankle ligaments, playing in a pickup game of soccer in Ireland. Luckily for him it was not an Achillies tendon tear.
So they have teed off, with a wide open tourney, on wide open links spaces ahead of us Anyone can win this thing, now that the field no longer contains the talents of the hunters, Woods-Mickelson-McIlroy.
If the weather doesn’t get him, if the pressure doesn’t get him, Spieth has a chance go get his third major this year.
So much tradition, so tough a course, so much bad weather. This will be a wild four days ahead of us, played at golf’s birthplace.