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The Next Major the 2007 Open Championship Carnoustie Scotland

Author: Martin Dawson

The Next Major

The 2007 Open Championship

Carnoustie, Scotland

July 19th-22nd

Situated on the East coast of Scotland, “Carnasty” as it is sometimes irreverently called since it last hosted the Open, has the reputation of being one of the toughest courses on the Open Championship rota.

And standing by the first tee on a blustery, cold, damp, wind swept day, I suppose that I could partly understand the comment of my non-golfing wife when she said, “Who on earth would want to play a course like this?!”

“But can’t you sense the atmosphere, can’t you feel the incredible vibes coming up through the ground?” I enthused.

“No,” was the reply as another squall came in off the sea, and with that we went back to the car and continued on our way.

I guess that only a golfer would know and be able to appreciate the aura and respect that such wonderful old links inspire, but even I had to admit – but only to myself- that on that day I was not overly upset when I climbed back into the warmth and safety of the car!

At 7,421 yards, it is the longest course in the Open’s history and presents the greatest of challenges whilst remaining a fair and true test for those who would be champion.

This stretch of land by the mouth of The Firth of Tay was once plagued by crows and was first known as Craw’s Nestie before it became Carnoustie.

Although there is little in the way of recorded history relating to its origins, golf was played locally as early as the sixteenth century on the neighboring Barry Links and this is confirmed in parish records.

It was between 1839 and 1842 that Allan Robertson first laid out ten holes at Carnoustie. In 1857, Old Tom Morris extended these to eighteen and in 1926 James Braid was brought in to revamp the course. Five years later in 1931 it hosted its first Open Championship, won by the Scottish golfer Tommy Armour who had emigrated to America.

In 1937, Henry Cotton won when the entire United States Ryder Cup team competed, but perhaps the most memorable victory was that of the great Ben Hogan in 1953. On his one and only Open Championship appearance, Hogan accomplished what he had gone over to the UK to do and with a majestic 68 in his final round, he won by four shots – despite contracting flu the day before.

In 1968 and 1975, two other great golfers triumphed at Carnoustie and became Open Champions – Gary Player and then Tom Watson.

And then there was 1999. For those who witnessed the final closing holes of regulation play, there was the most incredible, unbelievable spectacle being unfolded before our eyes. A game that us lesser golfing mortals know and experience every time we play. But this was professional golf and the last hole of the Open Championship to boot!!

The 18th hole (Home) was then 487 yards (this year it has been lengthened to 519 yards) and the Barry Burn snakes around and crosses the fairway twice. In the 1975 Open, Johnny Miller drove into one of the fairway bunkers, failed to get out with his first shot and missed a play-off by one.

How nice it must be to have a shot in hand standing on the 18th tee – or better still, two shots in hand!

In 1999, the Frenchman Jean Van de Velde needed a par 4 to win by 3 shots and could even take a 6 and still win by one shot.

What happened over the next 20 minutes or so was (coarse) club golf at its best with poor Jean hitting a succession of poor shots and ending up standing in the Barry Burn having played three, with his trousers rolled up above his knees and with a huge grin on his face! Eventually, after ten long minutes and to the immense relief of everyone watching, he took a penalty drop but then chipped into a greenside bunker. How he ultimately managed to get down in two from the bunker, holing in the process a very miss-able putt to tie, I shall never know.

Paul Lawrie had finished over two hours earlier with a brilliant 67. An incredible round of golf which quite rightly had catapulted him up the leader board and ultimately into a play off with the American Justin Leonard and of course, Jean Van de Velde. The score was 290, six over par and the highest winning score in a major since the 7 over in the 1974 US Open – The Massacre at Winged Foot won by Hale Irwin.

Lawrie, the Scot from up the road in Aberdeen, deserved his Open, not just for his brilliant 67 final round, but the way he played the last 2 holes of the 4 hole play off, in birdie, birdie. That is superhuman ability and takes real nerves of steel.

In 1999, Carnoustie was set up to punish all who strayed off the straight and narrow and there were many famous names that were humbled.

For 2007, the R & A have promised that the Carnoustie fairways will not be so narrow and the rough not so long. I must say that having watched the Pros struggle round Oakmont Country Club in the recent US Open I, for one, prefer to see the guys making sub par rounds rather than the 74’s and even 80’s that were being handed in.

But even so, Carnoustie has the length and fantastic bunkers that have to be reckoned with, without the weather coming into play. Carnoustie takes no prisoners – especially when the wind blows in from the Firth of Tay.

The defending Champion is Tiger Woods and this year he has another fantastic record waiting to be equaled, if he can win on Sunday the 22nd July.

He would become the fourth three times in a row winner, equaling Tom Morris Jnr 1868 – 1870 (who added another in 1872 there being no Championship played in 1871), Jamie Anderson 1877 – 1879 and the Australian Peter Thomson who won in 1954-1956.

One thing is for sure; the 2007 Open Champion will be a great golfer and will have earned his title by the time he gets his hands on the Claret Jug.

Article by Martin Dawson


About the Author:

Having been a fanatical golfer since the age of 8,Martin has experienced the many highs and the even more lows that this wonderful game of golf has a habit of throwing at us.
But as we all know, it is a game that keeps us coming back for more despite the heartache and frustration it can produce!
Find out Martin’s answer to alleviate this by going to www.effortless-golf-swing.com

Article Source: ArticlesBase.com – The Next Major the 2007 Open Championship Carnoustie Scotland

Champion Cotton Stretch

Champion Cotton Stretch