The Open Championship returns to Royal Birkdale for the first time since 1998. The face of golf has certainly changed since then. In the 1998 Open, Mark O’Meara bested upstart Brian Watts in a playoff to win the Open. That was O’Meara’s second major win of 1998, he also donned the green jacket at Augusta. The late 1990s were a great run for Mark. After this big win, O’Meara pretty much faded into relative obscurity on the PGA Tour. He would never attain this level of dominance again. Other golfers within a handful of strokes in 1998 were a young Tiger Woods, Jesper Parnevik, Jim Furyk, amateur phenom Justin Rose (who then quickly disappeared for a bit after turning pro), and Davis Love III.
Things have certainly changed since then. Tiger Woods has been quite a dominant force in Open Championships since 1998. Tiger has won three Claret Jugs since the Open was last held at Royal Birkdale. And, if he didn’t win them, he seriously contended for them. This will not be the case in 2008. Tiger will be watching The Open Championship from his plasma screen television while wishing the constant throbbing in his leg would go away. There is an old saying that goes like this; when the cat is away, the mice will play. Sure, that is pure cliché, but it is so true for 2008. Everyone is all of a sudden playing to win, rather than for second place or a top ten finish. The field actually has a chance, on a course that will be fair for those who can drive the ball into the fairway. Aside from the oddity they have as a clubhouse, this course is one of the best in the Open rotation. Royal Birkdale was formed in the late 1800’s, so it is chock full of golf history. Royal Birkdale’s cup runneth over; they have hosted the Curtis, Walker and Ryder Cup events in the past.
Golf legend Tom Watson won his last major at Royal Birkdale, the talkative Lee Trevino won here and Ian Baker Finch won his one and only major here. So, stay tuned for the next installment of Open Championship golf at Royal BirkdaleThis is the place that Seve Ballesteros made his big splash in golf when he finished second. The Royal Birkdale Golf Club hails this course on their website as “quite simply, the best of all the great golf courses to have staged The Open Championship.” Wow, that is a hard statement to swallow because there are so many great Open venues for the Open Championship. I myself am partial to St. Andrews, but Royal Birkdale will be a fair, yet formidable test for all involved. Their stacked sod, deep bunkering will certainly wreck havoc on many golfers’ game for those who hit errant shots.
Now is the time for Colin Montgomerie to finally win his Open. Royal Birkdale is the only course in the Open Championship rotation to never have crowned a champion from the United Kingdom. Montgomerie has really played well the past few years; I would like to see him string four complete (and low) rounds together for the 2008 Open. Tiger will be back next year with a vengeance and ‘ol Monty may never have as pure a chance as he does this year. I am also watching Ernie Els, he could definitely win at Royal Birkdale as well. His clock is also ticking and he needs to get his game together right now and secure another major victory. Can Phil keep his aggressive course management under control and properly utilize his incredible short game to beat the field? I think if he listens less to Dave Pelz and just plays smartly, he could be a serious contender as well. Can a resurgent Lee Westwood follow up his third place at Torrey Pines? Sergio Garcia is the odds on favorite at 8-1 odds to win. I wouldn’t bet on it, not with his putting. Will dark horse frontrunner Andres Romero be able to post a similar repeat performance of the 2007 Open? Stay tuned because in a little more than a week the 2008 installment of the Open Championship begins and we’ll all find out.
Max Homa’s winning WITB: 2023 Farmers Insurance Open
Driver: Titleist TSR3 (10 degrees, A1 SureFit setting)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei 1K Black 65 TX
3-wood: Titleist TSR3 (16.5 degrees, C1 SureFit setting)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue TR 8 X
7-wood: Titleist TSR2 (21 degrees, C1 SureFit setting)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD XC 9 TX
Irons: Titleist T100S (4), T100 (5), Titleist 620 MB (6-9)
Shafts: KBS Tour $-Taper 130 X
Wedges: Vokey Design SM9 (46-10F, 50-12F, 56-14F, 60-04L)
Shafts: KBS TOUR $-Taper 130 X (46), KBS Hi Rev 2.0 125 S (56-60)
Putter: Scotty Cameron T-5.5 prototype
Ball: 2023 Titleist Pro V1
Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet
More Max Homa WITBs
- Max Homa WITB 2022 (July)
- Max Homa’s winning WITB: 2022 Wells Fargo Championship
- Max Homa’s winning WITB: 2021 Fortinet Championship
- Max Homa’s winning WITB: 2021 Genesis Invitational
- Max Homa WITB 2021 (January)
- Max Homa WITB 2020
- Max Homa’s winning WITB: 2019 Wells Fargo Championship
- Max Homa WITB 2017
- Max Homa WITB 2013
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