Lessons We Learned from the 150th Open Championship
Our massive congratulations go to the newly crowned 2022 Champion Golfer of the Year - Cameron Smith. What a round he put together on Sunday to claim the Claret Jug and his maiden major title - perhaps the first of many to come.
With the 2022 major season firmly in the rearview mirror, what lessons did we learn from the historic 150th Open Championship? Check out our takeaways below.
St Andrews without wind is 'too easy'
Before a single ball was hit last week, former champion Jordan Spieth expressed his concerns that the four days at St. Andrews would be "too easy" and likely end up as a test of wedge play and putting.
Without any wind of note, the Old Course didn't offer much of a test for the best golfers in the world. It was there for the taking all week long.
If the players kept it out of the fairway bunkers off the tee box, there wasn't a lot of other trouble to speak of. We even saw many tee shots aimed towards the rough to get better angles into tucked pin positions.
To say defenceless is perhaps a bit of an exaggeration. The course did play firm and fast, which is a challenge in itself - but we all know how much of a slog links golf can become in the wind.
That's not to say we didn't enjoy every bit of it. But when we're watching a major championship, it's always nice to see the players forced to suffer a little in pursuit of a solid score.
Tiger is done at the highest level
Many of the Hole19 Team are massive Tiger Woods fans, but there's little argument on the office floor that his major-winning days seem consigned to the history books.
The walk up 18 was highly emotional because it signified Tiger's final major appearance at St. Andrews. The tears flowed as playing partners Matt Fitzpatrick and Max Homa gave the great man space to take in the adulation coming from all sides of the 18th fairway and beyond.
With no events planned for the rest of this year, and no targets set for 2023 yet, it's now all about rest and recuperation. There is plenty of blood, sweat and tears ahead just to walk a full round on the course pain-free.
Could last week have been his final Open Championship or maybe even his final major championship of any kind? Tiger did allude to his intention to play future championships but obviously ruled out any return to St. Andrews, given the fact that its next spot on the rota isn't for another eight years.
We certainly hope to see him tee it up in majors to come, but only time will tell.
Fairytale endings are for Disney
After a year in golf when many column inches were devoted to the ongoing turmoil in the men's game, we seemed perfectly set for a storybook ending. Rory McIlroy held the joint lead heading into his final round of the most talked about Open Championship for many years - and at the home of golf too.
A McIlroy win was written in the stars, but Cam Smith refused to stay on script. He reeled off five birdies in a row to start his back nine. Rory could only muster pars.
When the Aussie made his short birdie putt on 18, he capped off a highly deserving maiden major win. Most golf fans would likely agree that Rory didn't necessarily lose it. Cam won it in fine style.
We're possibly a little more split on whether he needs a new haircut, though!
6 hour+ rounds aren't fun
On Thursday and Friday, the pace of play was pretty brutal. Rounds of over six hours were almost the norm. A mix of the Old Course's routing, a 156-player field, drivable par-4s and reachable par-5s meant plenty of waiting around for each of the threesomes.
Tiger Woods' group teed off on Thursday at 2.59 pm and was approaching the final green 6 hours later when the watching galleries had headed home, and the grandstand was all but empty.
It seemed to annoy the players more than the fans, but when the watching masses miss Tiger coming up 18 on the first day - that's not cool.
151st Open could look much different
Where will the game of golf be this time next year? Your guess is as good as ours.
With the ongoing dispute between the main Tours and the newly formed LIV Golf Series, it is impossible to know who will be playing where and how the politics around the major invitations will pan out.
As golf fans, we hope to see as many of the best golfers in the world as possible at the 151st Open Championship. With that said, there are likely many twists and turns yet to come over the next 12 months.
Either way, bring on Royal Liverpool next July!
If you enjoyed our lessons from the 150th Open at The Old Course, perhaps you’ll enjoy our lessons from Brookline, the host of this year’s US Open and the maiden Major of Matt Fitzpatrick, read that story here.