OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP BLOG
By Denis Kirwan
There have been 441 major championships over the course of the past 157 years and up until today nobody had ever shot a sub-63 round. Quite a few had come close. Phil Mickelson lipped out as recent as last year at Troon, so you would think Branden Grace’s nerves must have been shredded as he stood over a 2-foot putt to create history. Not a bit of it. He didn’t even know the significance of what he was about to do. He just knocked it in the hole and as he was embraced by his caddie, he was informed that he had just done something that nobody had done since Abraham Lincoln entered the White House. There had been 31 rounds of 63 by 29 different players in major championship history (Greg Norman and Vijay Singh had done it twice) but Grace now stands alone with his 62. With modern equipment and the distance these guys are hitting the ball, I suspect we will see a sub-60 round in a major championship over the next decade, but in the meantime Branden Grace can bask in his brilliant achievement.
Congratulations to young Alfie Plant who will win the silver medal as the leading amateur at the Open. The last two English winners of the silver medal were Chris Wood and Justin Rose. So, Plant will follow Wood and Rose. Believe it or not, Alfie Plant’s girlfriend is called Daisy Meadows and she may soon become Daisy Meadows Plant. Am I at Bloom or the Open Championship?
My colleague, Ray Scott, and I are reporting from the Open for the Irish local radio network this week while RTÉ’s Greg Allen is in the booth in front of us beavering away. This is my 12th consecutive year to cover the greatest tournament in world golf but Greg has covered 65 majors for the national broadcaster over the past quarter of a century. He is one of the most hardworking journalists around – on site from early morning until late at night. Greg is meticulous in his preparation and one of the best communicators the national broadcaster has on their books. He also not a bad golfer – he plays off a single figure handicap – and learned everything he knows from his partner Carol Kirwan, winner of this year’s Lady Captain’s prize at Castleknock.
Jordan Spieth is a very impressive young man and he can take the third leg of a career Grand Slam by winning the claret jug tomorrow. Only six players in history have won Golf’s Grand Slam. The young Texan will join them eventually. He is the only player to have all three rounds in the 60’s this week (two of them 65’s) and another one will get the job done tomorrow. He is a genius with the short stick. Swing for show. Putt for dough. He is absolutely lethal on the greens – just like Tom Mulryan! Spieth has a three-shot lead over Matt Kuchar and if they can produce a duel similar to the Stenson/Mickelson duel of last year at Troon, I think we’d all settle for that.