Scotland’s Old Course at St. Andrews hosts 2015 Open, the oldest golf championship
Written by Adam Schwartz
The drama-filled completion of the U.S. Open marks the halfway point of the golf “majors” season. The third major hops across the Atlantic to Fife, Scotland at St. Andrews, where the oldest championship in golf will be contested, simply known as the “Open.” This will be the 144th time the championship has been played (the U.S. Open has been contested 115 times) and the 29th time that the Old Course at St. Andrews has played host to this greatest global championship.
The “Open” has a special flair this year due to the recent successes of a few 20-somethings who currently hold all four of the major titles. Rory McIllroy (4-1) and Jordan Spieth (6-1) are already odds-on favorites to win at St. Andrews. Both players are just at the beginning of their careers, with Rory being 26 years old and Jordan turning 22 in late July. They are two different players in regards to stature and background. Rory was born in Northern Ireland, while Spieth was born in Dallas. Rory stands 5 feet 9 inches and weighs 160 pounds, while Jordan is just over 6 feet, weighing 185 pounds.
These two are currently at the head of the class in regards to winning majors, which has recently stirred a debate of the next best rivalry in golf. However, rivalries have not always been between two players but rather often among a group of players. There were Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Billy Casper, Lee Trevino, and Tom Watson, all of whom made themselves better players by competing against each other. I still hope that American golfers like Spieth can become leaders and inspirations for the next generation of great American golfers who can compete against him and each other in future championships.
The Open is obviously being contended by more than 2 players; approximately 150 players will be in attendance from regional and qualifying sites all over the world, including Austrailia, Thailand, South Africa, Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. This is what makes this tournament the “Open” of the world, hence the winner of the tournament will be known as the champion golfer of the world.
The conveyance of the Open championship contradicts what the U.S. Open tries to accomplish when setting up courses. The Royal and Ancient Club is the ruling body of the Open Championship. The R&A incorporates a select rotation of courses they choose from the British Isles, while the United States Golf Association (USGA) selects courses randomly—both old and new—in America. Another distinction that makes the Open Championship much more exciting to watch is that the setup of courses is fairly consistent with how the courses were originally designed generations ago, with Mother Nature being the final determinant of how players will play the course. With U.S. Open course setup, there is a deciding human factor incorporated by USGA officials on how difficult the course will be to play. Examples would be irrigation routines, green speeds, and course setup. Either way, these championships will yield the best player in the field as the champion.
Enjoy the 2015 Open Championship this July 16-19 at the birthplace of golf: the Old Course at St. Andrews.