July 14, 2010

The Open's 150th Birthday: In October 1860, Willie Park beat the seven other entrants to win the Morocco Belt and become the first Open Champion. Monetary prizes weren't awarded until 1864, when Old Tom Morris won and collected six pounds for his trouble. This week, in St Andrews, the world's oldest championship will be contested for the 139th time in its 150 year history. There is a Past Champions Challenge today, but the real show gets underway on Thursday and the bookies still like Tiger, even if no one else does. On Sunday night, the winner of the Claret Jug will trouser a cheque for 850,000 pounds (around $1.3 million) and a replica of the Morocco Belt, although, if it's Tiger, Old Tom Morris's great great grandson says he shouldn't be allowed it, and nor should anyone else who behaves badly on the course.

posted by JJ to golf at 07:44 AM - 8 comments

Phil's odds seem very high, but so is his ball-flight, so they might be sensible given the high winds currently forecast. I'm tipping the Irish contingent of Padraig Harrington, Shane Lowry, Colm Moriarty, Darren Clarke, Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Gareth Maybin to feature strongly (as an island, we have won more than 30% of the majors since July 2007); likewise the Englishmen Chris Wood, Ross Fisher and Lee Westwood.

I suppose Tiger, having won the last two Opens that were held at St Andrews, can't be ruled out altogether. Given Spain's recent dominance of all things sporting (or at least tennis, football and cycling), Sergio might be able to ride a wave of national pride to a maiden major win, but I doubt it.

Who do you fancy to win? Who do you want to win? Is it weird watching a golf major finish at lunchtime?

posted by JJ at 07:59 AM on July 14

Any chance that belt could be fashioned to buckle below the waist? And lock with a key?

posted by yerfatma at 10:02 AM on July 14

Are you the Keymaster?

posted by JJ at 10:34 AM on July 14

Who would I like to see win...

Lee Trevino.

Failing that, someone who has enough sense not to wear electric lime green coordinates for the final round.

(Not that Trevino didn't sport a fashion mistake or two in his day. As did some of his fellow competitors).

posted by beaverboard at 07:57 PM on July 14

I was going to post yesterday about the weather, but decided to wait for it to change. Looks a wee bit nippy up there.

posted by etagloh at 04:20 AM on July 15

A note for expats in the US who miss the dulcet whatnots of Peter Alliss, or Americans who want some less idiotic commentary than the slop served up by ESPN: the BBC's live stream may be UK-only, but ESPN3 is streaming the BBC's Open coverage live and uninterrupted. I wonder how many people will choose it over their own?

posted by etagloh at 01:24 PM on July 15

Was the ESPN commentary bad? It was too early in the morning for me to be a proper critic.

posted by bperk at 01:27 PM on July 15

Well, I switched temporarily to the ESPN commentary, and Mike Tirico was on some kind of extended ramble with a Scot about baseball and the NFL, which wasn't really my cup of tea at silly o'clock in the morning. That's unfair to the actual course commentators, who are fine, but Alliss has been the voice of golf since I was a wee nipper, and it feels right for St Andrews to be accompanied by the gentle, slightly parochial tone that emanates from him and his co-commentators. Worth a listen if you've never had the chance before.

(They've changed the title to "International View": it's the BBC feed which goes out around the world, without the Beeb's local cut-ins.)

posted by etagloh at 02:52 AM on July 16

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