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2010 Open? St. Andrews has earned it
By BOB HARIG
Published July 19, 2005
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland - The wind blew, but not with the flagstick-bending ferocity expected in Scotland. There was rain, but it barely was a nuisance. Warm sunshine greeted players for most of last week at the Open Championship. And the Old Course stood up just fine.
Sure, Tiger Woods shot 14 under par for 72 holes, a number quite low by major-championship standards, especially when you consider that Michael Campbell won the U.S. Open last month at Pinehurst at par.
But we're talking about a golf course that has been hosting Open Championships since 1873. It has been around for some 600 years, with virtually the same layout. Yards have been added over the years, of course, but it remains the same place.
And it still gave players fits.
Woods was the only player to reach double digits under par, the only player among the contenders entering the final round to break par.
The course got tough as the greens became rock hard and the fairways ran and ran and ran. The ball traveled a long way, but controlling it was another story.
That is why St. Andrews will remain in the Open rotation. Royal & Ancient chief executive Peter Dawson all but assured that the Open will return in 2010.
"The world of golf likes to come to St. Andrews with reasonable frequency," he said. "And when the eyes of the world are on St. Andrews, it does the Open Championship a lot of good."
One reason St. Andrews has not been announced is because a venue for 2009 has not been chosen.
The Open goes to Royal Liverpool next year, followed by Carnoustie in 2007 and Royal Birkdale in 2008. Turnberry, which last hosted the Open in 1994, is expected to get the 2009 Open.
"We have nine venues that are active for us and the way it seems to work is the Open comes to St. Andrews about every five years and to each of the others every 10," Dawson said.
EQUIPMENT BREAKDOWN: On the eve of the Open Championship, Woods' driver broke. He cracked the face during practice.
His coach, Hank Haney , believes problems might have begun a week earlier when they were together playing golf in Ireland. Haney said that Woods was concerned about the hardness of the practice balls.
Sure enough, the face cracked and Woods was forced to go to a backup driver, a Nike Platinum with the same 460cc head.
"It was no big deal," Haney said. "He didn't let it bother him. He was swinging so good, he didn't think twice."
ANOTHER LESSON: England's Luke Donald had not made a cut in five previous Open Championships, so playing the weekend was a positive. But after getting to play with Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus in his farewell for two rounds, Donald stumbled with 77 on Saturday to fall out of contention. He added 70 on Sunday to finish at par 288, 14 back.
"I handled the first two days pretty well," said Donald, who tied for third at this year's Masters. "I still had a good chance (Saturday) to at least go out there thinking that if I posted a low score I might have a chance. But it was a real disappointment."
Donald said playing with Nicklaus and Watson could have taken its toll.
"It might have affected my energy levels a little bit," he said. "To be subjected to that much emotion, all the crowd's energy, might have taken it out of me a little bit.
"But I should be strong enough to not let that affect me."
GREAT SCOT: Most of the attention and adulation was for Scotland's Colin Montgomerie , who finished second to Woods, but two of his countrymen battled it out for low amateur honors.
Lloyd Saltman shot 283, 5 under par, to take the honor from Eric Ramsay by one stroke. Saltman birdied the last hole to secure the amateur medal.
"Winning the medal at the home of golf is a fantastic bonus for me," said Saltman, 19, who said he has no immediate plans to turn pro.
DALY'S BEST IN A DECADE: Before Woods won the last two Opens at St. Andrews, John Daly was the surprise winner in 1995. It was his second major championship to go along with his 1991 PGA victory.
But since winning at the Old Course 10 years ago, Daly had not fared so well. In fact, his tie for 15th on Sunday was his best finish since his victory.
AROUND GOLF: With his second-place finish, Montgomerie moved from 40th to 22nd in the Official World Golf Ranking. ... Fred Couples is 17th after finishing tied for third. ... Dana Quigley , who has not missed a Champions Tour event since 1997, will end his streak at this week's Senior British Open. Quigley had been threatening not to play because of a sore hip, changed his mind, then changed his mind again when travel problems cropped up. Quigley has played in 278 straight events for which he has been eligible and 264 in a row.