Give me brown grass, fescue and rain blowing sideways. Give me a random, no-name winner every couple of years. Give me wind that looks like it could blow Craig Stadler's moustache away. Give me the British Open.
That's right. I said it. I love the British Open. I love it more than the U.S. Open, Masters, and PGA Championship combined.
Now that wouldn't be a strange thing coming from a European. You know they love their European golf over there, although maybe not Nick Faldo after the Ryder Cup. But I'm an American. Born and raised in the country that holds three majors all by itself.
Don't get me wrong. I love me some other Majors. I'll never forget watching Phil Mickelson drain that putt on 18 to win the Green Jacket. I'll never forget his little jump too.
I'll always remember watching the entire playoff for the 2008 U.S. Open, watching Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate go back and forth for 18 grueling holes.
There are things that I will never forget about the other three Majors. From the burnt greens of the U.S Open, to the ace that David Toms made en route to winning the PGA, and all the azaleas in between.
But there is something special about the Open Championship. There is something perfect about it.
For one, I love golf that makes you think, makes you really play the game. Driver, wedge at the PGA Championship just doesn't do it for me. Hitting the driver 14 times at the Masters doesn't do it for me.
Driver, hit your ball so far left or right that you avoid the 10 inch rough right next to the fairway, at the U.S Open doesn't even do it for me. But 2-iron and then hit your putter for 135 feet...now that's golf!
Secondly, with maybe the exception of the PGA Championship (Shaun Micheel, anyone?), does any major produce a more varied crop of winners than the British Open? I think not.
Has anyone seen Open Champion Todd Hamilton recently? How about Paul Lawrie? Ian Baker-Finch, anyone? Heck, Jean Van de Velde almost was an Open Champion!
Greg Norman, the lovable loser at Augusta, was in the thick of the 2008 Open Championship. Norman, at 53, was holding the lead late against Padraig Harrington at the British Open. Where are you going to see that? Not at Bethpage Black. Not at Augusta. Not at Whistling Straits.
I love that the British Open rewards the imaginative shot-maker. Ones that can deal with the wind and rain and can play a variety of shots. Ones that can conquer the elements and realize that they aren't going to beat the course up, but rather that the course will humble them that day. Why do you think that Phil Mickelson can't play well there?
Lastly, I love it for the most American reason of all. Convenience!
I mean, what other major can you wake up in the morning/noon on a Saturday and Sunday and watch the leaders play their round while you eat your favorite bowl of cereal?
What other major can I sit in my pajamas and watch David Duval try to escape the Road Hole's pot bunker? Please, you can't tell me it gets better than that!
Well I know that as an American, I should prefer the majors that we have on our home soil. But I'm sorry, if I could watch only one major in any given year, the Open Championship would be on my television all four days.
Now, let's start taking bets on the random Open Champion for 2009 at Turnberry. I already got dibs on Steven Webster!
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