Each week we ask our panel of writers, PGA members and golf industry experts to weigh in with their views on the hot topics of the day.
Collin Morikawa won the 149th Open Championship on Sunday at Royal St. George’s Golf Club for his second major title in just eight starts. The 24-year-old overcame a 54-hole lead held by Louis Oosthuizen, then held off Jordan Spieth in the final to record the fifth win of his young career. What was most impressive to you about Morikawa’s victory?
Jim Deeks, Fairways Magazine (@jimdeeks): His absolutely clear focus. Nothing fazed him, and as a result, he didn’t panic or hit a bad shot. He also got lucky a few times when his ball avoided bunkers — which Dan Hicks and Paul Azinger rightly pointed out, “are like magnets”. But luck notwithstanding, nothing was going to deflect Collin during that round. It was a lesson to everyone to remain calm and carry on.
Craig Loughry, Golf Ontario (@craigloughry): Collin played very well obviously, but to get specific, he putted extremely well, he made every important putt he stepped up to. And he hit some great shots but making so many key putts (a few for par) was what stood out for me. He short sided himself several times and got away with it. That to me was what won the Open for him, that was most impressive. Turns out he’s not a bad speech giver either.
Michael Schurman, Master Professional / Hall of Fame Member, PGA of Canada: I’m tired of today’s tournament style of play. Balls flying in every direction, short irons hit to 50 ft of the hole followed by miraculous pitching and putting. Finally, someone drove the ball in the fairway on every hole and played iron shots to exactly pin high followed by some very solid putting. I know the game is doing whatever you can to get the lowest score. But I miss the Nicklaus, Faldo, Hogan, Snead style. The most impressive thing to me was that he played the golf course as it was designed. What a concept! I hope it catches on.
TJ Rule, Golf Away Tours (@GolfAwayTJ): The fact that this was his first Open! And only his second tourney on links turf, after playing the Scottish Open the week prior. That was an impressive performance. I suppose the benign weather helped a first timer, but you can’t take anything away from how well he played on a new style of golf course for him. He’s the real deal.
Hal Quinn, Freelance Writer, Vancouver: It was incredible that he only recorded two more birdies than Rory but finished 15 strokes ahead of him. Morikawa’s control of his full-swing clubs has always been impressive as an amateur and now a pro, but his putting earned him the Jug. That was fun to witness.
Peter Mumford, Fairways Magazine (@FairwaysMag): His poise, his focus, his precision. He reminds me of Tiger Woods the way he approaches every shot. After his victory, he was so poised and well-spoken, much like a young Jordan Spieth. Wait a minute, Spieth still is young. Nevertheless, I expect we’ll see a lot more of Collin Morikawa on the podium at majors.
Did Royal St. George’s deliver as a worthy Open Championship venue?
Deeks: Yes, I think so. Some people might say “c’mon, 15 under par?? That’s too low for a major.” But I’d say, “look, the players are just so good now, that no matter what you try to do to make the course severe, they’re going to beat the course up.” Of course, with links courses, about all you can do is set the pins in difficult places, but then it risks being punitive and unfair. And they didn’t do that, although Louis Oosthuizen suggested they were really tough on Saturday. Either way, I thought the course was a great test, and continues to belong in the rota. It was a great tournament.
Loughry: Listen, the wind didn’t blow, and they had record heat on the year. All things considered I think the course held up well. It provided a good story throughout the tourney. If that wind blew, by George I think a couple under would have won the jug.
Schurman: Not having played over there it is difficult to compare one course to another. I have walked St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Troon, Panmure, and Royal Aberdeen but for some reason, Royal St. George’s strikes me as being the closest to what golf was like 150 years ago. While the courses I’ve seen appear visually to be the same, Royal St. George’s has a certain ‘untouched’ quality the others have less of. I like it!
Rule: I know that the course is taking some heat for not being as exciting or memorable as other Open Rota venues, and I for one don’t remember all of the holes at the course, which I played in 2015. I normally remember all holes on courses I play, so perhaps it isn’t as memorable, but that being said, I think the course showed extremely well. The turf become firmer as the week progressed, the greens are undulating and were in perfect shape, and it was a challenge despite the sunny, calm weather. I can’t wait to revisit Royal St George’s someday soon!
Quinn: Did you say 80F, sunshine and no wind at an Open. I’m afraid you’ve lost it old boy. Olde St. George’s acquitted itself extremely well under climate changed conditions. The bunkers still came into play and were punitive; the rough humbled the bombers (see Rory’s 15 bogies and one double), and the greens even running at 9 and 10 were demanding. The course identified the champion golfer of the year; mission accomplished.
Mumford: RSG did its job and the R&A did too. The weather forgot to rear its ugly head so benign conditions led to lower scoring. The course was a solid challenge for the players with a bit of quirkiness thrown in to keep them on their toes. Very enjoyable.
During the course of the Open, we were subjected to pot shots and trash talk from the Bryson DeChambeau – Brooks Koepka feud, Koepka expressing his dislike for the host course, then a full-on meltdown by DeChambeau, where he blamed his driver and equipment company for his poor results. Have you had enough of this pair and their incessant jabbering, or do you find it colourful and entertaining?
Deeks: I’m in the former camp. You have one guy who’s very full of himself, and another guy who may be brilliant, but is very immature. I’ll let you figure out which is which. Either way, I can do without both of them.
Loughry: Yes, I’ve had enough of it. Just let your clubs do the talking, the bickering and complaining, enough already. I thought a few things were funny at first. Now, well I’m not a fan of either BK or BDC, so the less I hear from them the better. It was interesting to see the quietest 6th place finish out of BK this week though, not even a murmur about that in all the media I’ve consumed post event. I believe he was tied for low round of the day too.
Schurman: It’s bordering on WWF. The TOUR should fine Koepka for insubordination. DeChambeau might be the most intellectual player now but to bad mouth, his ‘team’ in public can’t possibly motivate them to support his quest. In fact, this is a reason no company should completely endorse any one player’s beliefs. How do they ‘dump’ him when their entire marketing, manufacturing, and sales are based on him. Tough to burn all those same-length irons in the fireplace.
Rule: It’s starting to get old already, mostly because neither of them is very likeable. Bryson saying his driver “sucks” was ridiculous and immature and I hope Cobra drops him. Neither one has the personality needed to deal with the amount of attention they are generating. Let’s move on.
Quinn: It is so juvenile it might be funny if there were even a hint of wit to it. The Cobra guy was right when he said Bryson was acting like a petulant 8-year-old when he said it was the driver not him missing the planet. Koepka is just coming off as a jerk and increasingly like a guy described by Texans as “all hat and no cattle.” This isn’t a rivalry, this was never good for golf as Brooks imagined, it is just childish and embarrassing.
Mumford: It is colourful, and it can be entertaining but it’s also meaningless drivel. One always has to remember that only a small part of the golf world is on Twitter. Yet the media constantly grabs the low hanging fruit as though that’s the most significant story of the day and tries to make way more of it than it deserves. Yes, Koepka should keep his mouth shut and Bryson should think before he goes ballistic. There were far more interesting and meaningful stories at the Open. They deserve the headlines more than this pair.