What an Open Championship. The game’s oldest major championship returned to the home of golf, as it does every five years, and saw a great completion to an event that was nothing short of frustrating for participants, fans, and the R&A.
In the end, it was little ol’ Zach Johnson from Cedar Rapids, Iowa hoisting the Claret Jug to become just the sixth player to ever win at Augusta and St. Andrews. It was Johnson’s second major, and it came after defeating Louis Oosthuizen, the former Open Championship winner the last time the event was held at St. Andrews in 2010, and Marc Leishman in the four hole aggregate playoff.
Johnson found himself in the playoff after holing about a 35 foot swinger on the final hole of the tournament. He then went on to take care of business to claim the Open Championship.
Falling just out of the playoff was the fellow that nearly every American was probably rooting for, and that’s Jordan Spieth. He missed a long putt on the final hole by mere inches in hopes of winning his third major championship in a row and keeping his Grand Slam hopes alive. It was not to be for Spieth, but what was more impressive than it would have been had he won, was what he tweeted just shortly after the completion of the event.
In the tweet, Spieth said, “Wow.. Almost. Nothing quite like The Open at St. Andrews. We fought hard. Very proud of a role model and friend of mine, Zach Johnson.”
The tweet showed an unbelievable amount of maturity and class from the 21 year old. Yeah, the 21 year old! I mean are you kidding me? I’m 21 years old and think I’m cool because I get to write stories about sports, but this guy, he has just won the first two majors of the year then missed a chance at making it three in a row by inches, and that’s what he’s got? The amount of class displayed by Spieth was incredible, and is why he’s golf’s next big thing. The tweet itself was something that the game’s greatest gentleman, and in my opinion greatest player ever, Bobby Jones, may have done if he was playing in 2015.
Jones is the only player to have won all four majors in one year, and no one has done it since Jones’ tournament, The Masters, became a major. Spieth’s chance at history fell by the wayside on Monday in Scotland, but the way he fought, and the way he so gracefully accepted defeat, is something to be excited about. If anything, the way Spieth lost is validation to me that he has what it takes to be the best player in the world for a long time to come.
He will look to make it three out of four on the year at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin in Aug. The last time the PGA Championship was held there, also in 2010, Dustin Johnson missed a playoff for grounding his club in a bunker on the final hole on Sunday. That seemed to be the beginning of many major disappointments for Johnson, who shot a pair of 75s this past weekend to once again watch a major dwindle away.
Entering Whistling Straits, he’ll have a chance at redemption, and Spieth will try to make it three of four. Tiger Woods will try to make the cut, and Rory McIlroy hopes to be able to play (injury).
First, the PGA Tour stops at Glen Abbey for the RBC Canadian Open. The event begins Thursday, and is a venue that North Carolina State alum, Carl Peterson typically plays well in. He won there a few years back, firing a 60 in one of the rounds. He’ll be in the field this week, and look to make some noise at a place he has played so well at in the past.
Mad props to Zach Johnson, who was nothing short of stoic in his performance on Monday in the final round at St. Andrews. Nothing is trying to be taken away from him here. However, it was great to see camaraderie in the game at its highest level from its best player right now, in Spieth. When something so positive happens at that level, it trickles down throughout the game of golf. And that’s really what golf is all about.