5 things: How Ernie came back from the brink
Ernie's return, Tiger back to No 2 and long putters
1 Els back in business
2 Fans flock to Lytham
3 Tiger back to World No 2
4 Action imminent on long putters
5 Scott played the best golf
Els back from the brink
Last year Ernie Els had zero confidence
in his putting and seriously questioned his future at the top of the
game. As recently as April, despite a late surge, he failed to
qualify for the Masters for the first time since 1993.
It's fair to say he won't have to worry
about his place at Augusta next spring.
He took a great deal from his
performance at the US Open last month, when he finished ninth and
threatened to contend on the final day.
You cannot underestimate the importance
of momentum and Els arrived at Royal Lytham for his favourite
tournament at a course he had played well on before feeling good
about his game.
Before the final round he spoke of
having a good feeling about the outcome. Little did he know just how
Welcome back, Ernie. You thoroughly
deserve to have two Claret Jugs to your name.
There were more fans than last year
Received wisdom has it that Royal St
George's should be the best attended Open, what with it being the
only venue in the south east and within easy reach of London.
But there are many chimney pots within
an hour or so of Lytham and the north-west fans turned out in force –
so much so that the weekly attendance figure was actually marginally
higher than last year's. There were 37,500 on the course on the final
day and that took the overall figure to 181,300.
The total for Sandwich last year was
The busiest day was Friday, when almost
44,000 fans attended.
Tiger back to world No 2
It was not a happy final day for Tiger
Woods at Lytham but he did still finish (a distant) tied-third. That
was good enough to take him back up to world No 2, above Lee Westwood
and Rory McIlroy. It is highest position since early in 2011 and
shows that his game, broadly, is improving.
As for Westwood, he drops out of the
top three for the first time in over two years.
Ernie Els, meanwhile, has leapt up 25
places to world No 15. Adam Scott climbs up to 6th.
Els thoroughly deserves to have two Claret Jugs to his name.
Big names break ranks over long putters
As the third Major in the last four was
won by a player using a long putter, it is noticeable that some
players are now speaking out freely on the issue.
Padraig Harrington was one, and as a
multiple Major champion an one of the most thoughtful players on
tour, his views carry weight.
“If the standard of putting goes up,
it puts more pressure on the guys that aren't using one just to
compete,” he said. “So all of a sudden, it's hard for a normal
putter, is he doing the right thing, should he be using the long
putter? So it actually has a negative effect on others as much
as a positive effect on some.”
Expect an announcement from the game's
governing bodies, the R&A and USGA, sooner rather than later.
“The situation is that the R&A
and the USGA do have this subject firmly back on the radar,” said
Peter Dawson, chief executive of the R&A. “We appreciate that
there is much speculation about this and that we need to clarify the
position as soon as possible. And I think you're going to see us
saying something about it one way or the other in a few months rather
Scott played the best golf
It will come as little consolation, and
it makes no difference now, but there can be little doubt that Adam
Scott played the best golf throughout the week at Lytham.
His approach to the 15th was slightly
turned over but nothing more, finding an awkward spot in the bunker.
He played the 16th perfectly from tee to green, only to show his
first sign of weakness by hitting two poor putts.
At the 17th, having found the middle of
the fairway, he made a mental error more than anything else,
short-siding himself and missing left when, as playing partner Graeme
McDowell commented, “he had half of England right of that pin”.
At the last, you would have to question
the club selection off the tee but the shot itself was not exactly
Never mind, each of the last four holes
added up to bogeys and that, coupled with a quite exceptional closing
stretch from Els, and the Claret Jug had slipped away.