Things We Have Learned at the Open Championship So Far:
Royal Birkdale is a great course
Well, we sort of knew that going in, but it has been reaffirmed after the first two rounds. Not a bad thing has been mentioned regarding Royal Birkdale. Players have almost been unanimous in their sentiment that Birkdale is ‘tough, but fair’…about the best comment you can give a great layout. The bunkers seem perfectly placed on each hole…good shots are rewarded and poor shots are penalized. Scoring has been indicative of a challenging, but fair course. Six under leads after 36 holes and weather has only been an issue for part of the draw.
This is anybody’s championship to win
With the wind forecast to lay down (5-15 mph) on Saturday and maybe softer conditions from the rain, someone could shoot up the leaderboard with a 64/65. Anyone within 7-8 shots of the lead is definitely still in the championship.
But this is Speith’s championship to lose
I just don’t see Speith backing up. The second round 69 was better played than his first round. Somebody is going to have to come get him. His pitching and putting look very solid when he misses greens, his putting looks better than it has in a long time …not good news for the chasers.
‘You can’t win it on Thursday, but you can lose it’
Why do I keep thinking that with Rory McIlroy? I think the start on Thursday will be his undoing. He looked solid the last 27 holes and no reason to believe he continue the form we saw on Friday. He is the player that could fire up a 64 Saturday…he will need to doing something special to make up for the atrocious start.
Started as a club professional, made it to the tour with success, serial social media guy, struggled the past few years and now seems to have found some form. Oh, and he’s English. His being in contention is a welcome return and good for golf. Like him or hate him, he is a character and adds a little flavor to the event. Yes, if he would win, it would be the feel-good story of the year so far and take the UK citizen's minds off Brexit for a bit.
The annual Open Championship streaker has not made an appearance. However, the weekend and plenty of Tennets will probably bring the person out of hiding. Have no fear Mr. Streaker, the ‘Get in the Hole’ guy from the US had you covered the first two days.
As I sit here watching (yes, it's Fox so I have the sound down) Jordan Spieth walk up the 18th fairway to (finally) finish his 1st round at Oakmont, one has to wonder which takes longer,,,Spieth's preparation for a shot or pouring a bottle of Heinz 57 ketchup? Spieth reminds me of a baseball player growing up. Those who follow baseball will remember a player for the Cleveland Indians, Mike Hargrove. He took so long to get into the batters box for each pitch that he was nicknamed the 'Human Rain Delay.' Watching Jordan sometimes reminds me of Hargrove.
Yes...Spieth is a great player and has in some ways, unlimited ability and potential. But let's go while you are young! It seems he never has a shot that can't be discussed from twenty different perspectives with his caddie, including the most straight forward players. Tick-Tock, tick-tock! Of course, when the shot doesn't turn out like how the the calculus they both did to predict the shot, we get the commentary, astonishment and bemusement while they stand there and stare at where the ball ended up.
Of course, the most hilarious aspect of all of this is when the Rules Officials have the audacity to say, 'Excuse me, Jordan, your group is a hole and a half behind...you are on the clock'. Spieth acts as if they just insulted his mother. He seems to react as if 'I'm performing quantitative analysis and that takes time...so get off my back!' He actually seem to argue with a European Tour official earlier this year in Dubai when he was put on the clock and likewise at the Masters in April.
Now it didn't help Jordan at Oakmont that he is paired with the 'Mad Scientist' Bryson Dechambeau and Zach Johnson, who is no speed-demon either. But there is a trend, and Spieth is the common thread when it comes to slow play.
Yes Jordan, , you are playing for huge amounts of money, major championships and your livelihood...but do us all a favor, admit your shot preparation is slow, don't act incredulous when you get put on the clock and most of all...speed up!