It may well be Tuesday, but before the goings on at St. Andrews become just another minor footnote in the history of the European Tour, it’s worth having a brief look over the weekend’s most important storylines:
- The Dunhill Links Championship is one of the European Tour’s flagship events. Sprawled across three of the world’s top links (The Old Course at St. Andrews, Carnoustie and the new but tasteful Kingsbarns), with a prize-fund generous enough to attract the world’s golfing elite, it guarantees a weekend-long montage of surreal juxtaposition. Where else can you witness to a beret-clad, cigar-chomping Andy Garcia exiting the Road Hole Bunker, or the Molinaris looking on with dismay as Samuel L. Jackson finesses yet another snap hook over Carnoustie’s boundary fence? Well, you could say somewhere like the AT&T Championship, I suppose, but that would be an experience blighted by the presence of at least 100% more Rush Limbaugh.
- As the frenetic, celeb-hopping of the early coverage gave way to the more serious business of the tournament at hand, it slowly became clear that the winner would be drawn from amongst a trio of the tour’s most recent protagonists: Martin Kaymer (winner off the USPGA and the Dutch Open, not to mention the Ryder Cup– ole, ole, ole…), John Parry (super sensible rookie and winner of the Vivendi Trophy) and Danny Willett (former amateur star and current tour near-miss merchant). Parry ceded the stage to the other two with a double-bogey at the long fourteenth, leaving Kaymer with a one-stroke lead and The Old Course’s closing stretch to negotiate. Never appearing in anything less than total control, the German holed a forty-foot birdie effort from the left of the Road Hole, securing a two-stroke lead standing on the eighteenth tee. When that final tee-shot trickled its way onto the tarmac of Granny Clark’s Wynd (a path that, in true Old Course fashion is considered an integral part of the course), however, it seemed that victory was suddenly in doubt. What followed was the shot of the tournament (1:18), the collecti0n of a massive trophy and an equally massive cheque for over £500,000 (roughly the value of TARP I in American dollars).
- Kaymer, maybe anticipating some of the Monday headlines, was diplomatic when asked about the prospect of becoming world number one: ‘At the moment, for me, Lee Westwood is the number one golfer in the world… He plays unbelievable golf.’ Westwood had just spent his Sunday afternoon missing crucial putts, and crude though it may have been, one couldn’t help but be struck by the day’s contrast between the relaxed young German, strolling his way to yet another massive victory, and the Englishman for whom winning has never really come easily (certainly not since 2003).