The highs and lows of an unforgettable 150th Open Championship

Tiger Woods left an indelible memory on St Andrews, but slow play and booing of the players didn’t sit well… the highs and lows of an unforgettable 150th Open Championship

  • St Andrews offered the perfect backdrop once again at the Open Championship
  • All-time great Tiger Woods left a long-lasting memory despite missing the cut
  • But booing the LIV defectors and slow playing left a sour taste at St Andrews
  • Rory McIlroy just missed out on his first major since 2014 to Cameron Smith

Sportsmail takes a look at the highs and lows of the 150th Open Championship…

Old Grey Town 

At the risk of sounding like the St Andrews Tourist Board, is there a nicer, more interesting town in Britain when the sun is shining? 

A world-class university, one of the great beaches to walk or run along, fascinating historic monuments, good pubs, spectacular sunsets and an amazing churchyard. Have I missed anything? Oh, the golf’s decent, too.

St Andrews delivered yet another memorable tournament at the 150th Open Championship

When you are watching the Dunhill pro-am each October you forget just how interesting a course it is during blessed summers when it is playing hard and fast.

But this was surely the Open that convinces the R&A to dial the ball back 10 per cent. 

We now know this is a venue that the game simply cannot afford to lose but it will not be able to cope in another five years or so without help.

Tiger Woods

Only the true greats leave indelible memories at an event where they miss the cut.

Tiger’s started on the Saturday before the Open began when he gave 100 or so punters an unexpected treat in joining them for a walk around the Old Course at twilight. 

As for Friday’s farewell, and the perfect symmetry with Rory walking the other way up the first, that will go down in St Andrews folklore.

Tiger Woods was greeted by a five-minute standing ovation at the 18th hole on Saturday

Rory McIlroy

He has always been one of the most popular golfers but it is off the scale now. 

For some reason that was never easy to fathom, he always had plenty of detractors too, but he seems to have convinced those people as well with his unequivocal stance against the Saudi forces of LIV. 

You might have to go back to Seve in his prime to find anything comparable at a St Andrews Open to the raucous fervour that accompanied Rory around the Old Course.

Rory McIlroy just missed out on his first Major since 2014 as Cameron Smith won the Open

Booing

I was lucky enough to have the best seat in the house for an hour on Friday on a balcony at the Rusacks Hotel overlooking the 18th. 

And there was no mistaking how loud the booing was for Phil Mickelson as he drove off the first. Sure, I understand the ire for the LIV lackeys — I feel it myself. But booing at the Home of Golf? That doesn’t sit well.

Phil Mickelson received a chorus of boos on the first day of the Open after joining the LIV tour

Slow Play

For once, this wasn’t the fault of the players. Six-hour rounds were a direct consequence of the ball flying too far and people having to wait because there were so many drivable par fours and two par fives easily reachable in two blows. 

On holes like the fifth, the wait on the tee for those fans following a particular group was more than 20 minutes…while nothing happened. 

Golf has to stop abusing its public like this.




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