British Open better than US Open
Several years ago, my brother-in-law commented how much he was looking forward to the US Open. I replied that I was too, but that I was really stoked about the British Open ("The” Open), and that it was by far my favorite major.
He looked at me sceptically, as if I’d said something traitorous, or at least vaguely anti-American, and asked why.
Well, here’s why in my book, The Open ranks well above the US Open:
First, The Open is 35 years older than the US Open. And the courses that The Open is played on today were nearly all included in the original rota. Many of the classic US Open venues have been abandoned today, mainly because they are too short by today’s standards.
Second, wathcing The Open allows us Yanks the chance to see players other than the Fab Five or Big four (or whatever else you want to call them) play. You know, there are a lot of amazing golfers in the world, and not all of them play on the PGA Tour.
Third, The Royal & Ancient doesn’t trick up their Open courses like the USGA. Remember what the USGA did to Shinnecock last year in an utterly stupid ploy to “protect par?” It was appalling.
Fourth, The Open is often played on The Old Course at St. Andrews, including this year’s Open. Come on. Pebble Beach has 6 great holes and all, but it is empty as a supermodel’s head compared to the wisdom of The Old Course.
Fifth, underdogs win The Open more often. Maybe this is un-American, too, but I like to see underdogs win, just as long as the underdog isn’t a jerk (like Rory Sabbatini) and the favorite a nice guy (like Phil Mickelson). The quirkiness of the courses and the weather ensure that EVERYONE has a fighting chance, even Paul Lawrie and Todd Hamilton, not just Woods, Mickelson, Els, Singh, and Goosen.
Sixth, there is just somethign breath-taking about a links course. The US Open will never be played on a links course.
So enjoy the US Open as it kicks off today. I know I will…just not as much as The Open.
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Sidebar: Last year, I had the pleasure of a 2 week stay in Scotland, playing only links courses on the West & East coasts. Personally I found links golf more FUN than our game and changing weather is part of that. When it rains it's usually brief and there's no puddles, ever. Only the varying winds really affect the game. The ground is more of a factor than the weather. Every serious golfer should go at least once. Going back in 2007!
1) so anything older is always better? i guess that makes my brother better than me...while that is probably true, it has nothing to do w/ age
2) yeah, too bad us open never allows guys we never or seldom heard of to make it thru local qualifying and to compete, like jason gore or olin browne...and let's face it, a lot of people didn't know michael campbell either...good thing the british made him a household name (heavy sarcasm for those who don't pick up on it)
3) true, carnoustie wasn't a course taken to the edge by the r&a that got pushed over the edge by an unforseen radical change in weather...that only happens at the shinnecocks of the world (altho i have to say this is the best argument as it happens to the usga more often)
4) great reason for those who love st andrews, meaningless for those not overtaken by its charm...and let's face it, oakmont, winged foot, olympic, et al are classic designs world renonwned.
5) a favorite winning a tournament on a golf course set up to exact a toll on every possible trait involved in golf is a BAD thing? hmmm, the best golfer winning the tourney is bad...an underdogs have won the us open as they were the best for that week, but let's face it, on such an exacting test the better golfers will win more often...i think that's the point of a national championship...if the ncaa gave the 16 seeds of the world a chance to win more often over teh duke's of the world the tourney would lose some of its value
i have no problem w/ someone's opinion, but i think some more solid reasons for it could be presented...or you could take the low road like i would and say "it's my opinion and if you don't like eat go home and cry to mommy you doody head"
Most importantly the main skill that separates it is you need IMAGINATION and varied shot making to play the links well . America has fantasticlly well presented courses , tight fairways but they all too resemble a target golf approach . Wedges to pins etc . Over here you need the full reportoire of shots , bump and runs , full lob , long running irons etc etc . Basically the demands on your game are more extensive and therefore the courses reward those with more skill . Hundreds of Pros can play target golf , only a select few can play all the shots with real skill . Its like Roddick compared with Federer . Ones full of brute force the other is an ARTIST . The great Open Champions have mainly been ARTISTS . Look at Sevy in his hey day and Trevino to name two of the very best .
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