Chaos at Carnoustie

This years British Open Championship took place at Carnoustie, Scotland and was as memorable for its collapses and mishaps than for its excellent and beautiful play. The stage was set for Tiger Woods to claim his third straight Clarett Jug but that wasn’t to be and it came down to two Europeans in Sergio Garcia and Padraig Harrington.

Garcia and Harrington came down the stretch at Carnoustie without the jingoistic fervor of the Ryder Cup in which they are teamates; but they certainly tried to outduel each other with their collapses. Garcia started the day 3 shots clear of the field at -9 while Harrington started the day 6 shots back. After Sergio blew several opportunities throughout the day, Harrington was quick to move up the leaderboard as the other players fouled up. Harrington was so solid he actually took the lead by one going into the 72nd hole.

Harrington proceeded to hit the ball into consecutive water hazards and eventually ended up double bogeying the hole and giving the lead back to Garcia. Both men were looking for their first major after very successful careers in both the US and in Europe. Garcia looked prime to capture the Open when he had a six footer on the 72nd hole to win.

He stood over the ball with his new belly putter and struck the ball solidly, seemingly on the correct line but it never fully turned as he putted it through the break and it lipped out. Garcia was devastated. He had missed his best chance to win the most important major to the Europeans players. He was going to a playoff and you just knew he had no chance in the playoff.

Harrington birdied the first hole of the playoff and rolled from there. Garcia had one last chance to force an extra hole on the 18th in the playoff but barely missed it. Harrington tapped in for the win and became the Irishman to win the Open in decades. You couldn’t help but be happy for him because he had nearly given the tournament away in regulation. His 18th was very reminiscient of the Jean Van de Velde collapse in 1999 on the same course at the same ‘Home’ hole.

I will remember this championship for the collapses. There were really two because both Harrington and Garcia both blew chances. However, it seems that Garcia has a little Phil Mickelson in him at the end of majors where he just can’t close them out. Mickelson eventually broke through and has won 3 majors in total. Garcia is only 27 but it may take him a while to get over this one. He blew a three stroke lead and lipped out the winning putt. Tough break for the kid but you have to be happy for a guy like Paddy.

I look forward to Tiger seizing control next year at Royal Birkdale, but hey, I am sure Sergio will be back with avengeance. But we’ll see if he can close it out next time.

Only a few weeks til the PGA Chapionship!

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  1. PaddyWagon says

    Slainte Paddy!

  2. What is jingoistic fervor?

  3. Nationalism or Patriotism they would’ve shared both being European and playing the Americans in the Ryder Cup

  4. The ghost of Van de Velde will haunt Carnoustie forever

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