Odds And Ends – Royal Birkdale 2008

Hi everyone! We're slowly getting back to normal here after a pretty hectic July. We've got lots to get to over the next few days but I thought I'd use tonight to wrap up my trip to the Open Championship. 

I must preface this post by first noting that I was at the Open as a part of my honeymoon… I was not there for the website. We would have had a lot more coverage had it been a "website trip" but even SirShanksAlot needs a break sometimes! I was still able to make a few mental notes though…

– First off… the wind. The wind wouldn't stop blowing and the continuous gusts were pretty fierce. I've been to some pretty windy places and Royal Birkdale rivaled all of them. It wasn't terribly cold (I wore shorts on Saturday) but the wind was crazy. 

– The course was very good. The only other Open I've attended (and the only other PGA Tour event for that matter) was in 2001 at Royal Lytham & St.Annes and I think Royal Birkdale was a better test. The fairways were actually really flat but there were a lot of hills and mounds around the course. These gave spectators great vantage points and the flat fairways made the course a pretty easy walk. 

– We watched the leaders on the range on Saturday. David Duval looked really good… something I thought I'd never say again. He kind of blew up on Saturday but he looks to be making some good progress. Padraig Harrington is an amazing wind player. It almost looked like there wasn't a wind when he was hitting balls. It wasn't a huge surprise to see him win after watching him on the range. He'll never be accused of being flashy but he's incredibly solid. Jim Furyk was the other guy that really impressed me in the wind. The wind players really rose to the top in the end. It was not a coincidence that so many previous Open winners made it to the weekend.

– Heath Slocum looks like a little kid. We watched him on the range for a while and couldn't figure out who he was. Luckily they eventually put out his name card. He's listed at 5ft8in and 150lbs… and that might even be a bit generous.

– The tournament featured some really good amateurs. Chris Wood got a lot of the attention and it was very well deserved. I think he'll turn out to be a really good pro… as long as he doesn't get blown away in the wind. He's really tall and skinny. The guy I really liked was Thomas Sherreard who finished T19. I'm a big Darren Clarke fan and Sherreard reminded me a lot of him.

– We had a chance to follow Mike Weir on Saturday. The guy doesn't miss many fairways and is a very strong iron player. I think he'll win another Major soon.  Another guy to watch for in the coming Majors is Anthony Kim. He looked really good.

– Nice to see Ben Curtis sporting the Chargers hat on Saturday. He's got the NFL clothing deal so he rotated between the Chargers and Saints. The two teams play in London later this year.

– Speaking of clothing… Mrs. ShanksAlot made her picks for best dressed while we were at the putting green on Sunday. She liked what Zach Johnson, Mike Weir and Sergio Garcia were wearing and I'd have to agree.    

– I didn't really spend a lot of time looking at equipment but was able to catch a peak at Greg Norman's bag. MacGregor has him set up pretty well. His irons looked nice and his old school staff bag was pretty sweet. 

– Overall… the R&A put on a great show. The wind was pretty crazy but the crowds were lively and the atmosphere was fantastic. I highly recommend checking out an Open Championship if you have a chance! A big thanks again to the guys at Golf Scotland for all of their help. Check out their website for all sorts of golf holidays!

That's all for tonight. We'll be back tomorrow with lots of news and notes.  

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