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Darren Clarke wins the Open

July 18th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Darren Clarke went out and won this Open. There was no back up and no signs of choking in the final 18, something that could not be said of his closest pursuers.

Clarke, it has been said, is one of us, a common man who just so happens to play great golf. His win is wildly popular with the golfing world, and is a tonic of sorts for the loss of his wife Heather five years ago. She was first diagnosed with cancer in 2001, about the time his golf career began to go south after scoring sixth top tens in the majors from 1997-2001. After winning 10 times on the European Tour from 1993-2003, including a victory over Tiger Woods at his peak in 2000, Clarke went winless until 2008.

Now he is engaged to Alison Campbell, a former Miss Northern Ireland, he’s won twice this year, and at 42 he is on top of the world. Well done, Darren. Fill the Claret Jug with your favorite brew and party on!a

Irish Odds
One in every 3,500 people in the world lives in Northern Ireland, so what are the odds of three of people from this tiny nation winning three of the last six majors? One in x thousands?  Clarke’s win offers further proof that numbers don’t matter as does the hotbed theory of concentrations of greatness.

Second Does Matter
The British Open honors second place as Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson were presented with silver plates to the cheers of the crowd. They also earned 50 WGR points, more than most PGA Tour events award for a win.

Darren Clarke will shoot up from 111th to about 30th.  Mickelson will move up from eighth to fifth. Johnson should go from twelfth to sixth.

Mickelson Tale of Two Nines
Mickelson has now tortured us in both Opens. He played a perfect front nine of 30, only to come home in 38 to finish three back. He gave us such great hope, only to do what he does best – give away majors he should have won. This is his seventh in big four event.

Top 10 – (GIR)
1 – Darren Clarke’s seventh top 10 is also his first win. (51)
2t – Mickelson completes Career Second Slam. (50)
2t – Dustin Johnson’s fourth top 10 shows he on track for a major W. (47)
4th – Thomas Bjorn in a redemption of sorts for 2003. (41)
5th – Chad Campbell’s Hoganesque swing delivers. (43)
5th – Anthony Kim’s second top 5. (43)
5th – Rickie Fowler continues to grow. This is his first top 5. (44)
8th – Raphael Jacquelin from France scores first top 10 at age 37! (37)
9th – Sergio Garcia goes 7t and 9t in last two majors He’s back. (41)
9th – Simon Dyson’s second career top 10. (42)
9th – Davis Love III leads in GIR, is killed by horrendous putting. (54)

Final Round Scoring
The announcers verbiage and some well chosen views made you feel like this was a super tough day for scoring. Yes, it was tough to go low as Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia tied for the day’s best at 68. On the other hand, the top 21 averaged 71.29, and the entire field averaged 73.61, so Royal St. Georges wasn’t exactly the monster it was made out to be.

ESPN’s Blunder !!
Phil Mickelson faced a 15 feet putt for a 29 on the front nine, a putt that should have been shown live, or at least on a very very short time delay that would make us believe it was live. So what does ESPN do? They show us the leaderboard with Mickelson having completed 9 holes in five under as Mike Tirico telegraphed the result of yet another important shot.

Tags: PGA Tour · The Majors


2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 BD // Jul 18, 2011 at 7:56 am

    Hi Phil: Great coverage of the Championship, as usual. I was wondering how Clarke and Lucas Glover would do over the weekend in light of your statement that they were not going to win (which I guess was half right!).

    Something I noticed and thought you might find interesting: Notwithstanding the occasional Darren Clarke, Todd Hamilton, and Ben Curtis whose names adorn the Claret Jug, the Open Championship seems to have the most impressive roster of past champions of any major. Just scanning through the names, it seems like the “average” winner of the Open is a clear-cut Hall-of-Fame player. By this criterion, at least, it arguably should be considered the most important major, even though most American golf fans would probably rank it third after the Masters (which has the next most impressive collection of winners) and the U.S. Open (which actually seems to rival the PGA for LEAST impressive). Maybe this is the reason Mickelson said that, in order to be considered truly great, you have to win the Claret Jug.

  • 2 Phil // Jul 18, 2011 at 8:55 am

    BD – Thanks! As for the Clarke prediction, these make me want to refrain from making them, but then the next major comes along and I do it again, just like the guys on the GC and wherever. Yes, I think now, more than ever, a BO is a must, especially if a player already has won a major or two in the US because of the different skills that it takes, epc. in bad weather. Bobby Jones even went so far as to say that a great player had to win at St. Andrews!

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