I DVR'd the final round of the British Open and when I got around to watching it --with a break to watch the Angels sweep the Red Sox-- there was one shot that summed up the day at Royal Birkdale for me: Greg Norman teed off and he hit the ball so badly that the cameraperson assigned to track his ball off the tee flailed around like someone had just run in to them. Norman's shot ended up in tall grass, he fell apart shooting a seven-over and the 2008 British Open came to a merciful end with Padraig "Total Hottie" Harrington lifting the Claret Jug for the second consecutive year.
Much as I loved seeing one of my favorite lust objects, Harrington, do well, I really felt bad for Greg Norman. He 's a part-time golfer these days, was only playing the tournament as a warm-up for some Senior Tour events and when he found himself atop the leaderboard after the third round, the stat got trotted out: on six other occasions, he's lead after 54 holes and couldn't close the deal. It didn't start well for him on Sunday: he hit his tee shot on 1 in to one of those bunkers that have walls for sides, on his way to bogeying four out of the first six holes. Amazingly, he still had the lead after the 11th hole.
It's a measure of how no one was dominant, however, that Norman found himself bunched with Ian Poulter --wearing pale pink pants that played havoc with my television's color correction-- and a clutch of players including Jim Furyk, Henrik Stenson and geeky 6'5" English amateur Chris Wood in contention as late as the 17th hole. Fortunately, Padraig Harrington spared us all a sudden-death playoff and after a clutch birdie on 15 and an eagle on 17, he got to lift the Claret Jug once again. He also took the lead in the standings for the European Ryder Cup team, which plays the United States in September at Valhalla in Louisville.
So, all in all, a pretty forgettable 2008 British Open. Let's hope that the weather is a little less blustery and the play better at the PGA Championship at Oakland Hills in suburban Detroit in three weeks.