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Moving on from Woods's absence

Iain Carter | 18:42 UK time, Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Being of a generally cheery disposition it's something of a change to be branded as one of "The Glums".

But that's how I've been branded after some of my comments on the absence of Tiger Woods from this year's Open.

Yet, I'm actually feeling quite chipper about the action to come. It is a shame that Woods isn't here, but not the end of the golfing world.

My point is that you want the best players at the biggest events. Woods is the best player in the world, in fact he's arguably the best to have ever picked up a club.

When the week is all about crowning the "Champion Golfer of the Year" then you would want him in the field.

But here's the fact that hasn't been aired much in this debate. Woods isn't actually the best player in the world at the moment. He can't be because he can't stand without the aid of crutches and he can't swing a club.

You or I would currently stand a chance of beating him.

Fitness is part and parcel of being a sportsman or woman and if you don't have it then you can't compete.

And so he's not here and we are left with the best current collection of players in the world, contesting the game's most prestigious title.

This is apart from, of course, the unfathomable but in-form Kenny Perry who finds Milwaukee in the third week of July a preferable destination.

It's Perry's choice, his loss and certainly not the Open's.

As for the Woods debate, it has been right in the build up to contextualise this Championship being played without the world number one.

Ernie Els said to Five Live last week that whoever wins will be asked whether they would have been able to do it with Woods in the field.

But as we get closer and closer to the big tee-off that is now of no concern to those who are here. They can only play the course and their fellow opponents and these are their only priorities.

Make no mistake, as each and every one of them tees off, the last man they'll be thinking about will be T. Woods Esq., of Isleworth Florida.

Birkdale for my money is the best course in England. We have the prospect of a genuinely open Open which is a refreshing prospect and offers the vehicle for new stars to emerge.

So, I say, bring it on.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Hi Iain
    Had a great day at Birkdale today watching the practice rounds and listened to the prog on 5Live on the way home. Very disappointed that, as with last night, the whole programme focused on the absence of T Woods. Every interview started with a question about Tiger's absence. He's not coming to Birkdale and 5Live NEED TO GET OVER IT! I'm getting really bored with the repetition of this story so please move on to all the really good stories that are out there this week. Why not talk about that new green on the 17th or Westwood's chances (he was playing well today) or about how the greens are a bit softer and more receptive than normal for this time of year etc. etc.?

  • Comment number 2.

    Wood has won the Open 3 times (twice at St Andrews with its wide open fairways and histrory) in 13 atempts. So it would be odds on that A N Other would win this week even if Wood was playing and in top form.



  • Comment number 3.

    Birkdale is without doubt the finest venue for the Open . Apart from it being a true test of golf, it is a wonderful viewing course for the spectators.

    The wet weather will certainly make it a bit easier to play, as the top Pros love receptive greens. Despite that I still dont think anyone will shoot lower than 6 under, and if the wind gets up they will do well to break par.

    I am really looking forward to spending Thursday and Friday there.

  • Comment number 4.

    anthonyagain - clearly you are not a bookie sport - TW in top form would be more likely to be odds on than the field. He is normally 2's at best pre tournament before the bookies know whether he is in top form or not. Agreed on his record, but remember a number of those years since 2000 he was rebuilding his swing (02-04) so he roughly makes it every other year when in form. Hoylake is not a wide open fairway type of course either.

    kenny perry is a disgrace. I have seen him put in some good performances at the Open, 2003 RSG comes to mind. What is he thinking? Its easy to blame the Yank aversion to travel and cold weather but that doesn't explain why he also opted out of the US Open in San Diego last month.

  • Comment number 5.

    When Ben Hogan was "The Man" and only visited The Open once, did they treat all the winners in those days as being second class citizens? Whoever is there and plays best is the champion.

  • Comment number 6.

    Come 5 o'clock on Sunday, I doubt whether the winner will care a jot about whether Woods is there or not. And neither, I suspect, will the vast majority of on-course spectators and millions watching on TV. THE Open is the greatest tournament in the world, and there will be thrills, spills, and excitement in spadefuls. The eventual winner will be whoever tames the conditions, gets the breaks at the right time, and sinks a putt or two.

    Hopefully we'll see a European winner (Westwood, Garcia, Jimenez anyone?) or Big Ernie.

    Personally, I can hardly wait.

  • Comment number 7.

    Birkdale is not as good as it was for spectators. I was there in 83 - when it was fabulous for the spectators, and I was there two days ago. I have to say that the lengthening of the holes has spoilt it a bit for the spectators.
    For example, apart from the par threes you can only get behind the players on three other tees in total - many tee shots the players are by themselves with no spectators around them, this cant be right - so there'll be no huge cheering from a great tee shot, mind neither will there be any 'you're the man....' shouts either.
    Apart from that gripe, the course is in fabulous shape, and if the wind blows as is forecast then its a hell of a test

  • Comment number 8.

    At the risk of prolonging the discussion, I do just have to whisper to myself that it is so refreshing to be able to watch a Major where equal coverage is given to all those in contention, rather than spending ten minutes watching Tiger make his way to the first tee and then follow him down each fairway, thereby missing any number of other players' shots and putts in real time.

    The man's obviously a genius, but TV companies need to remember that they are broadcasting a tournament, not a documentary.

  • Comment number 9.


    Got to agree with jackmeadows: we saw so many shots today (with Korean commentary, so far away!) from a host of players which simply would never have been covered if T Woods had been in the field. Some of the excellent chips and pitches required at such a wonderful links course, by a diverse group of players, were a delight to have witnessed.

  • Comment number 10.


    The 'Stinger' - did anyone else notice that both Garcia and Westwood employed that VERY low long iron drive on many holes, that shot that Tiger Woods perfected, and which hops hard on first contact with the fairway? The guy's not here, but his influence is...

  • Comment number 11.

    Ian, I don't know what your handicap is....mine is 6; the point I am trying to make is Tiger is now able to put weight on his leg as of this Tuesday....and you and I couldn't beat him even in his physically challenged state. His handicap at Isleworth is - (minus) 14.3. He might be the finest putter that ever lived......we don't stand a chance even if we played best ball against him.

 

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