The Open Championship lacked a bit in suspense, like the Masters and U.S. Open before it. Wire-to-wire wins are like that. And it was the most unlinksiest Open Championship in recent memory. (Can you ever remember seeing so many shots check and back up at an Open Championship as we did this year?) Still Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garcia made it interesting for a while on the back nine, but McIlroy’s third-round lead was too much to overcome. Rory’s two eagles on Saturday were the back breakers, giving him plenty of cushion to play with on Sunday.
Fowler appears to have taken over Jason Day’s mantle as the automatic pick for a top 10 finish in majors. He’s finished in the top five in all three majors of 2014. (Hmmm, should we pick him for the PGA Championship?) And Sergio Garcia is there again on a Sunday at the Open Championship, but this time he got there with a major charge that almost caught Rory. If he’d have been able to extricate himself from the bunker on 15, who knows.
But here’s what is for sure, Rory McIlroy is the third youngest to win three of the four majors, behind Nicklaus and Woods. Not bad company to keep. While Phil Mickelson filled the Claret Jug with a $40,000 bottle of red wine and shared it with friends, for Rory’s family it was apparently a fifth of Jagermeister. We know that Rory’s dad could have afforded something a little nicer. He just won a decade old bet that Rory would win the Open Championship before his 26th birthday.
Let’s hit the links.
Hole #1: Rory Rocks Liverpool
There was no freaky Friday for McIlroy this week. While Sunday was a little shaky at times, in the end, the lead he’d built in the first three days proved too much for Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler to overcome. [Link]
Hole #2: Ko Wins Again
Lydia Ko birdied the final hole to break out of a tie with So Yeon Ryu and win the Marathon Classic. The victory puts her over $1 million in career earnings. It was the 17-year-old’s second LPGA title since turning pro. She also won the Canadian Open twice as an amateur. [Link]
Hole #3: Ben Crane’s Wild Trip
When he became first alternate for the Open Championship on Tuesday, Crane caught the first flight for Hoylake. After 24 hours of travel he arrived at the course in time for Thursday’s opening round. Unfortunately for Crane, there were no last minute withdrawals and hence no spot in the field for him. So he played golf with his caddie at a nearby course instead. [Link]
Hole #4: Watson Beats Woods, et al.
The hand wringing over whether Tom Watson should have received an exemption into the 2014 and 2015 Open Championships seems a little pointless now. Not only did the 64-year-old make the cut, he finished at 1-over par, beating such notables as Tiger Woods, Luke Donald, and Martin Kaymer. He nearly shot his age on Sunday. [Link]
Hole #5: Mark Rypien Takes American Century Championship
Mark Rypien hadn’t won the star-studded American Century Championship since its inaugural edition. On his 24th try, he finally got his second victory. Annika Sorenstam and Jeremy Roenick finished T2, 11 points off the pace in the modified Stableford-scored event. [Link]
Hole #6: Mo to Save Family Home with Winnings
Mo Martin is using her earnings from the Ricoh Women’s British Open to make sure her late grandfather’s ranch stays in the family. [Link]
Hole #7: Hawk Levels Fan
Oh, that American Century Championship… Someone threw a beach party and a golf tournament broke out. Among the more interesting moments was the one when A.J. Hawk gave a fan an up close and personal NFL experience. [Link]
Hole #8: More Fun with Clubs and Airlines
Gary Woodland watched from his seat on a plane as his clubs were mistreated by a baggage handler. After a tight connection, he arrived in the U.K. but his clubs did not. If the pros can’t get where they’re going with their clubs in tow, can the rest of us hope for any better treatment. [Link]
Hole #9: Who Lives in a Pineapple Under the Sea?
John Daly knows. [Link]