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AFTER staging a notable 133rd Open, Royal Troon was praised yesterday as one of the very best venues on the unofficial rota. The eighth championship held on the breezy Scottish links was given all but full marks yesterday by Royal and Ancient officials.
ALL around Colin Montgomerie there were mini-explosions of genius.
NEW Open golf champion Todd Hamilton, from the United States, has revealed how the seeds of his triumph at Royal Troon were sewn in the Lothians more than 12 years ago.
NOT every one was cheering on Monty at Royal Troon. Alex Harvey needed the steadiest hand yesterday but he was wielding an engravers scalpel not a putter.
TIGER WOODS left the Open without the trophy he wanted, but with words of praise for Royal Troon.
SCOTTISH golf fan to Japanese visitor: "And how are you enjoying the golf in our country?" The Japanese visitor thinks for a second. "Excellent," he says. "But why don’t you play golf in your summer?"
PHIL Mickelson was already looking forward to next year’s Open championship at St Andrews after narrowly missing out on the play-off at Royal Troon.
LET’S get this straight from the start. This was no crash of bottle and neither was it a failure of nerve. Hard though it was not to mourn the evaporation from the leaderboard of the name Montgomerie in the salty gusts of a late Ayrshire afternoon, the correct reaction is surely to busily detail what must, in the final analysis, be considered an achievement.
IF WOULD-BE challengers to Tiger Woods’s supremacy in golf are presently enjoying success that would have seemed highly improbable three years ago, it is because the great man’s shadow for that period has not been as long, or as sinister, as before.
IF ROYAL Troon is, more often than not, a happy hunting ground for American professionals, it’s also the most welcoming Open venue for Scottish amateurs.
LEE Westwood is hoping his best-ever finish in a major is just a sign of things to come. A 20-foot putt for par on the 17th and then a 40-footer at the last for a 67 gave Westwood fourth place in the Open at Royal Troon and proved the 31-year-old from Worksop is back as a world force two years after he slumped outside the game’s top 250.
FOR the second year running, the thoroughbreds of world golf gathered on the home straight at the Open and were beaten to the finishing line by an unfancied runner.
PROFESSIONAL sportsmen would bridle at the very idea of putting a limit on their dreams, but for those who tee up in an Open championship with about as much chance of winning as the local club secretary, progress is the most realistic and acceptable objective.
THE last day of an Open has an atmosphere all of its own. On a day such as yesterday, when the sky presented a dramatic canopy, with towering cliffs of cloud set against a background of brilliant blue, the sense of excitement and anticipation was almost tangible and there was a thrilling buzz as the crowds steadily built and thronged the stern links of the Royal Troon Golf Club.
AN AMERICAN colleague confessed sheepishly yesterday that a piece he’d filed to his newspaper about Todd Hamilton, the Open champion, earlier in the tournament mistakenly referred throughout to the golfer as ‘Scott’ Hamilton. Not a soul on his sports desk picked up on the gaffe.
IN NINE of the past 10 years, the winner of the Open Championship has been in fourth place or better after the third round.