Golf

The Open Championship: Five things we learned

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Zach Johnson has won his maiden Open Championship at St Andrews and having not lead until the final day, we look back to see what happened across the past five days.

St Andrews Playability

As you would expect from a golf course founded in 1552 , the strategy is not about bombing a drive 350+ yards. If you do, you will be left with a short club in or even a putt, unlike a US Open where you may still have a wood or long iron into a par four.

However Links golf is not so much about the course, but about the weather. For example, during the rain and wind delayed second round, scoring averages were much worse then the other three rounds. Ten of the holes played on the second round averaged over par, compared to the third round which only saw four holes over par.

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This leaves the scoring open to everybody, as the shorter hitters such as Zach Johnson can still dial in their wedges for straight forward birdie putts.

Europe didn't dominate

Last week, I reported on how Tony Jacklin feared an American dominance over Europe thanks to Jordan Spieth and Co. He was right but even he must have thought we as a continent, could put up much more a fight than we did.

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Not a single European made the top five. Of the top 19, seven were European. Actually if I want to get very patriotic here, five of them were English. However, the remaining 12 players came from outside of the European Union, with seven coming from the USA.

It has always been believed that American's struggle on Links courses, due to their perilously long, target golf courses that they grow up on. However, 30 of the 80 players who made the cut, branded the stars and stripes flag next to their name. An impressive feat for a nation, who shouldn't excel on this type of course - allegedly.

Good week for Amateurs

Irishman Paul Dunne suffered heartbreak in the final round. However it's not all doom and gloom. One day, he will be sitting in a pub, possibly drinking a pint of guinness and he will be able to say to his fellow patrons, I lead the Open after round three.

However the more likely story is that he will be picked up by a sponsor with deep pockets and he will be able to play golf professionally very freely, without a fear of money.

It was a tall ask for the young Irishman, to go on and maintain momentum on the biggest stage. Even though he is one-year-older than Jordan Spieth, he will not have the experience the American has when it comes to dealing with the media for example.

Jordan Nielbrugge won the Silver Medal for the leading amateur. Sniederjans, Chesters and Langasque also made the cut. It shows that the stars on the future can all compete at the highest level of the game. The respective turns should keep an eye out for these boys in the not-so-distant future.

Spieth can't make history in 2015

The young American tried his best but a costly bogey on the notoriously difficult 17th left him one shot shy of the playoff places. If he had made it, the odds would have been in his favor, having won in a playoff at the John Deere Classic the week earlier.

He will probably be left hurting, over the troubles of the eighth hole, where a very uncharacteristic four putt left him scribbling 'double bogey' on his scorecard.
It proves the Texan, is in fact, human like the rest of us and Ben Hogan's record remains in tact as the last man to win the first three majors of the year. It also means that the Grand Slam will not be achieved for yet another year at least.

It may not be much of a consolation but it seems that the 21-year-old will surpass Rory McIlroy in the Official World Golf Rankings assuming the calculations were correct prior to the tournament.

Zach Johnson not a surprise winner

Well he hadn't lead until the final day but this man wasn't on the tip of everyones tongues at the start of the week. Johnson has eight top-tens this year, only Jordan Spieth has more. The American was 100-1 at the start of the week and with hindsight, its difficult to see why.

The former Masters Champion isn't renowned for his distance, but his accuracy and his putting. Funnily enough, St Andrews isn't renowned for its distance either. The punishing rough and undulating greens mean it played right into Johnson's wheelhouse.

The statistics speak for themselves. Come the end of the week, the newly crowned 'Champion Golfer of the Year', was third in driving accuracy, sixth in fewest putts, sixth in scramble saves and third in number of birdies.

It's hard to believe that not many people backed the current champion. Even when he was in the top 15 on the leaderboard, nobody wrote about him in the media. One thing is for sure, my friend's bet on him at two pound each way earned him a cool £254.

He may not be the most popular winner considering the weeks events. Many would have liked to have seen Paul Dunne take the gold and silver medals. Many would like to see the hope of a Grand Slam still alive. One things for sure, Zach Johnson, he is a deserved 'Champion Golfer of the Year'.

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Topics:
Golf
The Open

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