Despite all the talk on the Golf Channel about players skipping the Olympics, we actually have a major being played this week! Crazy right? Poor British Open / Open Championship for getting semi overshadowed by a different event. That being said, it’s still a major, and the world’s eyes will be on Scotland this week, and for the most part, eyes that are thankful it’s sunny and warm where they are.
As always, music while you read.
What Makes a Course Royal?
Even after 25 years of being alive for British Opens, I guess I never thought of why some of the courses are prefaced with “Royal” in front of their title. And apparently there’s no real reason for this other than just the Royal family saying that something is cool enough to be Royal. Either way, Troon was granted Royal status in 1978, during its 100 year anniversary.
There don’t appear to be any Royal courses in the US, considering it wasn’t exactly a colony of the Brits back when golf courses started popping up in the early 1900s, but if there were, I’m sure the first would be Royal Lincoln Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. That course definitely has the Royal feel, don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.
Now I’m wondering if the Royal family can designate any location as “Royal”. Like could the Starbucks I’m writing this at be a Royal Starbs, or if the PokeStop around the corner from my apartment can be a Royal PokeStop.
At just 123 yards, the 8th hole at Royal Troon is dubbed the Postage Stamp, is one of the more famous holes in British Open golf, partially because it’s super short, and partially because it has a cool name. Look for the Postage Stamp hole to be featured heavily on television coverage. Also, if anyone out there wants to do some cool graffiti, I suggest spray painting the Queen’s face on the green to make it look like a real British postage stamp. Just don’t say you got the idea from GOTM.
Instead of me trying to describe it, how about I just let this nice Scottish man describe the hole while some sort of drone camera revolves around it.
Also, if you’re looking for some more videos about the difficulty of the hole, check out Rory making a 9 in a practice round. Those bunkers are really deep.
Last Time at Troon
Todd Hamilton beat Ernie Els in a 4 hole aggregate playoff to claim his only major title. Yup that Todd Hamilton.
For some reason, the British Open seems to bring out some odd winners. Hamilton won in 2004, just two years after Ben Curtis, everyone’s favorite NFL sponsored pro golfer, won in 2002. Two guys who never really did anything before or after that win. But hey, can’t take away their names on the Claret Jug.
Apparently it does make a difference where in the UK the Open is played. Being the semi-ignorant American that I am, I always figured that it didn’t matter if the Open was played in England or Scotland. But apparently it does!
Since I couldn’t find a good map indicating where Troon was, I whipped out the screenshot again and got that picture below. Quite far up north. I also looked up sunrise and sunset times for Troon and apparently it’s only from 04:57 to 21:50 (9:50 for those incompetent at math). I always thought that Scotland would have ridiculously late sunset times, but 9:50 isn’t too unreasonable.
Despite what we talk about in the US, a links golf course is not just a course with open, tree-less, fescue laiden property. Links golf courses are ones where the front nine goes out from the clubhouse, and the back nine comes back to the clubhouse. Boom.
Checkout the super janky screenshot I took from Troon’s club’s website that shows the routing. The holes go out along the water, and then come back to the clubhouse.
Also, if you’ve ever heard the terms “outward 9” and “inward 9”, links courses are where they originated since holes literally go outward and then inward.
Also of note with the routing here, is that the first 6 holes play down the prevailing wind and are decently short, while the incoming holes are into the wind and longer. So don’t be surprised when players start off 4 or 5 under through 6, only to finish the round over par.
Early Morning Coverage
While I’m sure the networks love it when majors are played on the west coast, offering prime time coverage (remember the 2008 US Open at Torrey? TDubs winning playing in the evening was cool to watch) as a golf fan, I don’t want to have to wait and tap my toes all day for coverage to start.
This year, with tee times starting at 6:35 in the morning over in Scotland, 1:30am-4pm EST on Thursday and Friday. Go to a bar on Thursday night, and, at least in the midwest, you can get an hour and a half of morning coverage before the bars close. Then again, if you’re at a bar til 2 am close, you might not be able to wake up to enjoy the coverage all morning long. Watching golf is a balance.
What’s even better about that is that when the coverage is done, and you’re undoubtably pumped for whoever won, and all motivated to practice a lot and play yourself, you’ve still got 5 hours or so of sunlight left in the US to tee it up. And we all know, evening golf is best golf.
Even though coverage is moving to NBC / Golf Channel, Mike Tirico, my fave sports announcer is moving to that family of networks just in time to anchor coverage. Well I guess Johnny Miller will really be anchoring coverage, but Mike Tirico will be anchoring coverage in our hearts.
PGA Tour is back!
After a not desired week off due to flooding, the PGA Tour is back with an off week event, this time the Barbasol Championship down on the RTJGT. Check out coverage after the Open is done since we know you won’t have had your fix of pro golf at that point.