The grades are in from the Open at Royal Liverpool
Rory McIlroy – A+
Dominant. Utterly and completely dominant. From start to finish, too. He’s three-quarters of the way to the career grand slam and even further along the line towards become of the game’s all-time greats. And he’s only 25. Twenty-five, for goodness sake! After the ups and downs of the last 18 months, it is truly brilliant to see the young Northern Irishman back where he belongs.
Sergio Garcia – A-
Another near miss for the Spaniard but, crucially, this time, there was no huffing or sulking. Just lots of birdies and kisses blown to the crowd. If he truly has finally found contentment, then surely – surely – he will finally win that elusive major.
Rickie Fowler – A-
If this guy doesn’t become America’s No.1 golfer for years to come, then I’ll eat one of his flat-billed caps. Supremely talented, he was just ‘good’ for too long. Now, he’s bang on track to becoming ‘great’.
Stephen Gallacher – A-
How crucial could that gritty four-under-par final round to get him minus-eight for the championship be in the context of his Ryder Cup ambitions? Big players deliver on the big stage – and Gallacher is becoming a genuinely big player.
Royal Liverpool Golf Club – B+
For sure, it’s not everybody’s cup of tea, and the internal out of bounds is peculiar to say the least. Even so, for my money, it is the pick of the English courses on the Open rota. Tight, tricky and with sensible greens that have not been unnecessarily messed with to manufacture drama, it more than deserves its place on the rota.
Dustin Johnson – C
It’s becoming a wee bit tedious writing about this guy’s major near-misses. It would be great to once – just once – write about him actually sealing the deal. His main problem at Royal Liverpool was his performance on the par-5s. For a man who hits the ball as far as he does, playing them in a combined 3-under-par simply isn’t good enough. Rory, by comparison, played them in 12-under. The difference between winning losing, some would say.
The R&A – B
Midway through Saturday, the men from St Andrews were being accused over over-caution for sending the players out early, in threeballs, and off two tees. Within 15 minutes of the leaders finishing, however, their decision was vindicated as the skies burst about Royal Liverpool, deluging the course. They lose marks, though, for continuing to overprice the event. £75 is just too much – and that’s just to get in the door. £6 for a burger? Do me a favour.
Tiger Woods – C+
Three-under for his first round, nine-over for his next three. Not the 14-time major winner’s best week. But this was only his second event in four months after a hardly-insignificant operation on his back. Playing four rounds is progress. Needs to sort out those ‘driver yips’, though.
Ladbrokes – F
When a young golf prodigy’s dad and his pals come to you looking to lay down serious cash on the young man winning the Open within the next ten years, don’t take the bet.
Peter Alliss – F-
You don’t know who Marc Leishman – tied fourth at the 2013 Masters – is? Really? Just as well you’re not paid to talk about golf for a liv… Oh, wait.
Morons in the crowd – Z
Alas, they have made it to this side of the Atlantic, with all their whooping , squealing and nonsense-shouting. Good on Rory picking one out on the 70th hole and having security remove him from the premises. One day, perhaps soon, one of these numpties is going to cost somebody a lot of money or, worse yet, a tournament.
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