Open Championship Final Round Thoughts 2012

I feel so torn about this outcome.

Congratulations to Ernie Els. The professional golf game is more interesting when Els is playing well. And that’s exactly what he’s done in his resurgence this year.

And condolences to Adam Scott. He’s a fine player and I am sure he has a major in his future.

This is Els’ fourth Major. He won the US Open in 1994 and 1997, and the Open Championship in 2002 and 2012.

Els has four Majors in the Tiger Woods era. Only Phil Mickelson has matched that feat.

Another testament to Els greatness as a player is the span of those majors. Here’s a ranking of the number of years from first to last (or most recent) majors:

Jack Nicklaus – 24
Gary Player – 19
Ernie Els – 18
Lee Trevino – 16
Tiger Woods – 11
Gene Sarazen – 10
Sam Snead – 9
Tom Watson – 8
Ben Hogan – 7
Arnold Palmer – 6

That’s consistency and longevity.

Els also has joined a very small group of players who have majors in three different decades.

I wonder if the Green Jackets regret not asking Els to the Masters this year. There certainly will be no such issue next year.

As good as Els is as a player, I have a feeling he’s equally a quality person. Here are his comments about the finish in the post-round television interview:

I really feel for him (Scott). I’m numb. Later on, I’ll sink in that I won this golf tournament. But right now I really feel for my buddy. He’s such a great guy. A great talent. So close to being a great superstar. Obviously that’s not the way he wanted do lose the tournament. I feel very fortunate, but I really feel bad for Adam today.

Els also opened “victory” speech praising/consoling Scott.

First of all, I feel for my buddy Adam Scott. Adam is a great player and a great friend of mine and I feel very fortunate. You’re going to win many of these. You have too much talent.

He then spent the rest of his speech praising the course, thanking the R&A and recognizing his team and its support.

As a parent of a kid with Aspergers (part of the Autism spectrum), I hope that this win boosts Els’ Autism efforts (his son has Autism).

It’s a bit of a non-sequitur, but other than Sam Snead, I can’t think of a swing as sweet as Els’.

The final round was quite exciting as a whole. There were many changes of momentum and at various points, an observer could have pointed to six different players who could win. For all of that, I don’t think anyone saw Els coming in as the winner.

As for the non-winners:

Tiger failed once again to win from behind. Indeed, in watching the tournament unfold, I marveled at his passivity. To use a football metaphor, its all well and good to run the ball for three quarters, but when you’re down by 14 heading into the fourth quarter, you’ve got to throw the ball. Tiger just kept running the ball, hoping apparently that the five guys ahead of him would all stumble and that no one would push ahead (as Els did).

I really liked Dan Jenkins comment:

I didn’t think I was a good enough person to have Tiger Woods and Stevie Williams lose on the same day.

Graeme McDowell disappointed. As his round began, I was contemplating his similarity to another major winner: Retief Goosen. Graeme has impressed me of late with his calm and cool demeanor, but that +5 today was simply a guy who blew up. McDowell shot +5 today, an embarassment matched only by Adam Scott and Zach Johnson among players in the top ten.

There were some interesting names in the pile at t9: Geoff Ogilvy, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Ian Poulter, Vijay Singh, Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Mark Calcavecchia. In fact, there were a lot of big names and talent   at the top.

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2 thoughts on “Open Championship Final Round Thoughts 2012”

  1. Congrats to all the t9 players for earning invites to next year’s Open.

    I was very annoyed by Tiger’s gameplan. As Hank Haney and Brandel Chamblee said, Tiger is “one-dimensional”, in the sense that he can only hit a fade with his driver. This is a huge weakness in his game. ….. Again, my opinion is that he’s simply not “playing” golf enough. Ernie pulled out driver on 18, bombed it, made a birdie. Tiger’s talent level always him to play conservatively and get top-5 finishes. Whoopty do! …. I’d be far more impressed / entertained to see him really trying to score big numbers. …. I can’t think that 1997 Tiger would be happy to see 2012 Tiger playing so conservatively. He’s still playing scared at the majors, IMO.

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    GolfBlogger, do you think that Tiger will win one of the next five majors?

    Reply
  2. It is hard not to feel good for Ernie, but even more than Rory last year at the Masters, this was just heartbreaking for Scott.

    Complete frustration with some of the coverage.  When Tiger went into the bunker against the wall (where he would take +3) – they kept on talking about him taking unplayable out of the bunker.  On what planet would that ever be allowed.  I can see wanting to take a drop in the bunker, and think perhaps Tiger and later Graeme should have—but the main problem was the announcers who went on and on about coming out of the bunker with an unplayable.  Rules are pretty clear on this, and also it would seem to be something that they might want to brush up on before they cover a tournament with those types of bunkers. 

    Also, the coverage of Snedeker on 18 showed he was putting for par, and made the putt, to come in -4, and solo third.  This was an error, he was putting for bogey.  By then, there were only 4 players on the course, I know they are singularly focused on Tiger, with just a little bit of time for Adam, but how did everyone in the chain miss where Brandt was?  And how come they never mentioned the correction on the air, they just showed the corrected leaderboard later.

    Notice how Adam gave interviews after.  Notice how Tiger didn’t?  Tiger isn’t winning at the PGA.  He can start focusing on the Masters next year, as should Phil.

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