Friday, July 17, 2009

More random musings from Turnberry ...• Hooray, the weather finally got nasty. This is what a British Open is supposed to feel like. On Thursday guys were sweating in short sleeves, and that's just not kosher. Aside from the aesthetic reasons, Turnberry simply needed more bite, and the testy conditions have already begun to separate the men (Goosen, Cabrera, Kaymer, Calc)  from the boys (Curtis, Senden, Mahan, Gay). I hope the weekend brings more wind and rain and punishment. At least outside the press room.• Steve Marino is not going to win the first British Open he ever shows up for but he's a very legit player. A couple of veterans have told me they think Marino is the best player on Tour who has not yet won a tournament. He has a lot of firepower off the tee and very soft hands and more imagination than most, which has been evident during his two stellar opening rounds. The best shot I've seen so far at this Open was his 5-iron at 17, from 227 yards out. Marino hit a big, high, slinging cut that rode a stiff left-to-right breeze, falling out of the sky 20 feet from the hole for the eagle that keyed his 68. Pretty macho.• Turnberry is sometimes called the Pebble Beach of Scotland because of the beautiful holes that hug the craggy coast but the similarities don't end there. Both courses are in a remote spot accessible only by a two-lane road. The drive into Turnberry is such a lovely way to start the day. It winds through green hills dotted with sheep and meadows exploding in wildflowers. The majestic ruins of two old castles are an evocative reminder of all of Scotland's ancient history. Just when you're getting antsy to arrive at the Open the road reaches the crest of a steep slope and then plunges downhill, revealing the course and coastline below. It's breath-taking, and sure beats the Long Island Expressway.• I'm officially off the Geoff Ogilvy bandwagon. Dude made exactly zero birdies Friday en route to a sporty 78. For the week he had more double bogeys (5) than birds (3). Good thing he stole that U.S. Open a few years ago because he's looking increasingly star-crossed in the majors. The only positive for Ogilvy is that he finished one stroke ahead of Ian Poulter, a popular pick to win coming in. (That means you, D. Hack.) After his strong runner-up finish at last year's Open I think Poulter got Andymurrayized, which is too say, overwhelmed by the crushing expectations of being Great Britain's best hope on the home soil.• One of the pleasures of being at the Open is getting to read the prose of the Euro golf writers. Ian Chadband in the The Telgraph had this to say about Woods's uneven first round: "He drove like a sizzled learner…He has that John McEnroe knack losing his rag -- the cry of 'Godamit!' after a shocking drive at the third had been replaced by something rather shorter and more Anglo-Saxon by the 13th." Can't wait to read what Chadband's brethren have to say on Saturday morning. As jingoistic as the press is over here, the loudest spontaneous eruption of the day was when T. Watson made his ocean-goer on the 16th hole. Just goes to show that more than country, all reporters love a good story.• After watching a couple hundred fans fail to find Tiger's ball in the weeds on the 10th hole I suddenly don't feel so bad at failing to locate a couple balls in the Royal Troon rough during a glorious twilight round last night. Every fairway over here should be framed in red stakes because once a ball buries in the long grass it's a lottery as to whether it ever gets found.• Fearless weekend prediction: Retief Goosen plays the best golf but, as has become a habit, lets it get away late on Sunday, handing the Claret Jug to... drumroll ...  Stewey Cink. Tweet, tweet.

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