The 2005 Open
The 2005 Open
BRAIN rather than brawn will be the quality most required to win future stagings of the Open after the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, the organisers of the championship, indicated a preference yesterday for increasing the strategic challenge posed by the great links around Britain rather than continually adding to their length.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE'S second place at the Open has put him into the 16-man field for the HSBC World Match Play Championship at Wentworth in September.
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CRAIGIELAW'S Zack Saltman will be aiming to add to the family silver this week in the BP Scottish Boys' Open Strokeplay championship which was getting underway at Monifieth today.
THE Open is poised to return to St Andrews in 2010, when the Royal and Ancient will celebrate the 150th anniversary of a championship which started at Prestwick in 1860 with Willie Park holding off a challenge from Old Tom Morris.
TIGER WOODS can expect to face the exact same Old Course when he tries to win at St Andrews for a third time - almost certainly in 2010.
FORMER US PGA champion Bob Tway today tipped Edinburgh's Lloyd Saltman to take the golfing world by storm.
WITH a gulp of cold water and a deep intake of breath, Lloyd Saltman prepared to hit the most important drive of his life.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE has set his sights on a return to golf's world top ten after drawing encouragement from his best-ever Open Championship finish - second to Tiger Woods here at the Old Course.
TIGER Woods hoisted his second Claret Jug in St Andrews yesterday thanks to a bewitching combination of power and accuracy which bludgeoned the competition and held off the main challenge posed by Colin Montgomerie, who faltered over the back nine but secured his highest ever finish at an Open and delivered his best effort in the majors since the 1997 US Open.
ANOTHER Open, another batch of memories to file away and another set of comparisons to be made. One of the images of the 2005 edition will be of people driving the greens at the ninth, 12th and 18th holes on the Old Course on a fairly consistent basis. As these holes measure 352 yards, 348 yards and 357 yards, respectively, it can be seen that there was a lot of power slopping about.
ALTHOUGH there were many doubters who wondered if Tiger Woods would ever recapture the unflinching form which set him apart from the rest of his generation in 2000, the world No 1 claimed his second major of 2005 yesterday and the tenth of his career by reprising the gold standard which only the immortals dream of attaining in St Andrews.
IN MAJOR championship golf, unlike the movies, there is no special Oscar. If Colin Montgomerie is ever to receive the ultimate accolade, it will not be through the agency of the sympathy vote during the twilight of a long and distinguished career.
THE magnitude of Lloyd Saltman's achievement at St Andrews yesterday may be gauged from the realisation that the last Silver Medal winner to break par at the Open was Tiger Woods at Lytham in 1996.
SANDY Lyle's best Open performance since Royal Birkdale in 1998 still left him nursing one grievance. The Scot finished in joint 32nd place after shooting a three-over-par score of 75 to leave him three under for the tournament but remained just short of ensuring his European Tour card for next year.
ONLY three Spaniards made the cut compared to six Scots, and while Colin Montgomerie was stirring home enthusiasm, Spain's dreams were shared between a young aggressor in Sergio Garcia and a seasoned, if slightly bruised, campaigner in Jose Maria Olazabal. In the end the matador charge did not materialise, but Olazabal at the very least can reflect on a job well done even if he did end the day in a slightly worse position than he had begun it.
Rough justice: The 'long stuff' at 17 can play havoc, as Angel Cabrera (main) discovered on Friday. Other players, including Bob Tway (top), Edoardo Molinari (third from top) and Jerry Kelly (bottom), suffered similar travails. David Duval (second top) found the 17th bunker just as testy. Photograph: Robert Perry
HAVING finished the first day just two behind Tiger Woods, he was being talked up by golfing greats. As he completed the second round he was smiling coyly, a bit-part character as probably the greatest of them all took his final bow amid scenes of untempered adulation. By the end of the third day, the smiles had gone and so too had all talk of him winning the 134th Open Championship. It had all gone pear-shaped for Luke Donald.
DESPITE a few mis-steps yesterday, all is still happening in the proper place and proper order. After old King Jack had his final leave of golf's capital city, the new monarch, albeit after a third round that was less than satisfactory, is making his latest stride towards the vacated throne. For Tiger Woods, St Andrews, home of the game he rules, is a palace all his own.
AS I WRITE these words, I obviously have no idea how this Open Championship at St Andrews is going to turn out. But what I do know is that no one in the field here this past week has had more fun than I have. Ever since I arrived at Lundin Links for the qualifying tournament - and over 40 members came out just to watch me practice - I have been having a blast.
EMOTIONS are rarely emblazoned on Retief Goosen's sleeve so he was never likely to crumble in tears as he blew his chances of winning the US Open earlier this summer. But there are plenty who believe the pain of that final-day collapse is likely to play a part in today's proceedings. They claim the memories will galvanise or paralyse him as he tries to overhaul Tiger Woods.