Friday, July 11, 2008

Open Championship Preview: Brit Storylines

The British press will look inward after they realize they won't have Tiger to critique and it is awfully hard to rile up Kenny Perry. They'll look to a couple of storylines for the championship that focus on the natives:

  • Can Paddy Harrington defend successfully? (Probably not.)
  • Will Monty rise above recent mediocrity and finally win an Open? (Probably not.)
  • Justin Rose's return to Birkdale, 10 years after making a splash.
  • Rory McIlroy and what he has been up to in the past year.
Two of those stories are already being covered - particularly the bottom two.

In the Independent, there is a progress report on Rory McIlroy - not in the Open yet, but trying.

Just in case you forgot Rory, here's a quick recap:
[He was] the youngest player in the 156-strong field being the only player not to take a bogey in the first round. With that 68, McIlroy took to the big stage as naturally as the audience took to McIlroy.
And, he has done pretty well for himself this year on the Euro Tour:
McIlroy was to show how much he revelled in the spotlight over the next four days of the European Open. Paired with Colin Montgomerie on the Saturday, McIlroy outscored the eight-time Order of Merit winner and then, in atrocious conditions on the final day, held it together to record his second top-10 finish of the season. The cheque was a little over £40,000 and together with the £120,000 he had already compiled, it meant he has all but guaranteed his Tour card for next year.
Still, despite all of his success, he appears to be pretty mature for his young age.
McIlroy had Holywood [his hometown] to keep him based somewhere near reality. "It's just a small town where everyone knows everyone and that's been really good for me," he said. "Like after the Open they had a dinner for me at the golf club and everything, but otherwise it was just people passing in the street and saying, 'Well done'. That was it. It didn't go overboard."
And, he apparently is in with the trend of the Euro-Emirate relationship because he represents Jumeirah Group, the Dubai-based luxury hotel group.

Then there is a nice piece on Justin Rose by Jason Sobel at It recaps the 10 years since the last Open at Birkdale and the roller coaster that has been Justin Rose's career. It's a good read.

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