Tiger, Lefty never a threat

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Ron Green Jr.
Monday, July 19, 2010
— When the British Open goes to St. Andrews, itís supposed to be where the great ones burnish their legends.

You know the story. Bobby Jones did it. Jack Nicklaus did it. Tiger Woods did it twice.

This time, Louis Oosthuizen did the burnishing, winning a wind-blown, thrill-free Open by a margin as wide as the Scottish sky.

Oosthuizen put his name on the Claret Jug for history to mispronounce. He won it on Friday with a brilliant 67 in the wind, then spent the weekend lapping the field.

If U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell was an unlikely champion, Louie Louie may qualify as a one-hit wonder, though itís too soon to know.

He turned in a performance no one was going to match, but you had to figure Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson would have found a way to finish within 13 strokes of the winner. They didnít.

Mickelson looked all week like a guy who wanted to get out of town and Tiger, after finding his putting stroke briefly on Thursday, lost it again.

Woodsí great putter shake-upóhe replaced his 11-year old Scotty Cameron with a new Nike model this weekólasted 54 holes before he went to his old flame. Still, no sparks.

There havenít been many sparks with Woods on the golf course this year. There have now been nine major championships played since Woods won his last one, the second-longest drought of his career. To be fair, heís only played in seven of the last nine majors due to his knee injury, but itís getting serious.

Heís been stuck on 14 majors for more than two years now, and what was supposed to be the summer when he closed in on Jack Nicklausí record 18 major wins hasnít gotten him any closer.

Of Woodsí 14 major championship wins, seven have come at Augusta, Pebble Beach and St. Andrews. Thatís why going 0-for-3 this year feels bigger than that.

Asked about his O-fer this year, Woods offered a topspin volley as his answer.

ďIíve won half of my majors not at those venues,Ē he said.

Thatís one way to look at it.

Thereís a risk of reading too much into one leaderboard, but letís do it anyway. Americans on the board were harder to find than grits over here.

They did a splendid job of staying out of the way, something thatís become a trend recently. Sean OíHair and Nick Watney tied for seventh to earn low Yank honors.

In case you havenít been counting, this was the ninth time in the past 12 PGA Tour events that someone born outside the land of the free and the home of the Braves won.

Itís gotten so bad for Uncle Samís guys that earlier in the week, Englandís Lee Westwood took the chance when given the microphone to congratulate PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem on finally having an American winner when Steve Stricker picked up the John Deere Classic trophy a week ago.

The commish had to act like he was amused.

He probably wonít like the television ratings, either.

ESPN finally got to air a major from start to finish and it got the C-Span Classic. There are only so many images folks are willing to watch of flagsticks wobbling in the wind and Martin Kaymer.

Even at the Old Course, it got old in a hurry.

One person who was chirping Sunday was European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie, whose powerhouse team is threatening to make the Americans bigger underdogs than the Washington Generals.

ďI can pick two teams here that can beat each other on any given day. Thatís the strength and depth of European golf, especially this year,Ē chirped Monty when the subject veered away from his own aging game.

Itís tough to argueóeven when itís Monty talking.

Ron Green Jr. writes for the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer.

Last updated: 2:20 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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