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GOLF

British Open birdies and bogeys

A look at the good, the bad and the ugly on the final day of the British Open.

July 20, 2009|Chuck Culpepper

BIRDIE

He spent four days making the possible seem absurdly elastic. He supplied a thorough renovation of 59, an age long thought to teeter toward athletic decrepitude. He renewed a mutual fondness with the British golf fans of such depth that you could feel the premises deflate when it grew clear he wouldn't quite get there. He defined the British Open thoroughly 26 years after his eighth and most recent major title and came within an inch of matching Harry Vardon's 95-year-old record of six titles. And if Tom Watson imported some fresh nightmares with his aching near-miss, he also accrued some good thoughts. "The one memory?" he said. "I think coming up the 18th hole again. Those memories are hard to forget. Coming up in the amphitheater of the crowd and having the crowd cheering you on like they do for me here. As I said, the feeling is mutual. And that warmth makes you feel human."

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BOGEY

He drove it to the gnarly right rough. He tried to yank it out but it barely budged. He hit it across to the gnarly left rough. He found that lie unplayable. And when temporary leader Ross Fisher later spoke of his quadruple-bogey eight on No. 5, he sincerely uttered six of the more somber words in the language: "I had a great sixth shot."

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BIRDIE

Extraordinary sea views. A charming lighthouse. Crosswinds that helped make it "ideal for the test," according to champion Stewart Cink. Turnberry soared for the 138th Open, and as third-place finisher Chris Wood put it, "The golf course was just absolutely class."

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BOGEY

Looming at even par through 15 holes, the unbelievably promising Italian Matteo Manassero muffed a short par putt at No. 16 and angrily chucked his ball into the burn. It qualified as a profound loss of perspective given he stood at one over par on a Sunday of a British Open while still being 16 years old.

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BIRDIE

He's 21. He's blond and lanky. He has one of those fashionable haircuts in which the subject appears to have stood for 30 minutes in front of a circular fan.

And Chris Wood has two top-five finishes in his two British Opens, plus about $400,000 in prize money this time as a professional. "I've got a new flat, so I need to pay the rent for that, so I should be all right," he said. If not, that's one lousy lease.

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BOGEY

Did Tiger Woods really miss the cut?

-- Chuck Culpepper

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