2008 British Open

The 137th edition of the Open Championship certainly lived up to it’s reputation as a gruelling challenge for one of the major titles of golf and the links course of Royal Birkdale provided conditions that may well be likened to the ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ sans Freddy Krueger.

Brutal Conditions at Birkdale

The unfortunate few who had to tee off on the first morning were greeted with weather conditions that could only be described as ‘brutal’ and par became a real achievement for the men who would normally conjure birdies at will. The 1985 Open champion, Sandy Lyle, found it all a bit too much and took up his clubs and walked after completing only 10 holes.
The casualties were thick and fast on that first day with even the skilled Phil Mickelson, one behind Tiger Woods on the OWGR, making a triple bogey on the 6th! The teeming rain and rampant wind quickly acknowledged those fighting few tagged as bad weather golfers and the aging, though incomparably fit Greg Norman will probably go down in history as one of the most accomplished poor weather combatants, and he was right up there with the best.

Any under Par Score Impressive

A good reflection of the torrid conditions was the fact that only three men out of a field of 156 carded an under par score for the first round – Robert Allenby, Graeme McDowell and Rocco Mediate – and the cut was made at 9 over par! Greg Norman, one of the eventual leaders, who finished in the top six, scored an even par for the day!
The second round was contested in slightly better circumstances but any under par score would claim the top of the leader board once again and this time it was Korea’s KJ Choi who became the only player to achieve this feat. He was closely followed by Greg Norman, who continued to astound both his fans and critics alike with his courageous attack for the Claret Jug.
Norman shot an even par 70 for the second day in a row and was the lone ranger in the number two spot. Eventual winner, Ireland’s Padraig Harrington made his move and finished tied 4th with seven other players with a round of 68 – +2 for the day!

Norman leads in the Third Round

Greg Norman was again the talk of the town in the third round – he carded an over par 72 that was good enough to make him the oldest player ever to hold the 54-hole lead but Padraig Harrington was right behind him, only two shots adrift and quickly finding form.

Harrington – King of the Links for a Second Consecutive Time!

  • Harrington kept his nerve and became the first British golfer in the history of the Open Championship to win at Royal Birkdale and one of a few celebrated pros who have won the title back-to-back! His triumph, by four strokes, smacked of a Tiger-like domination and his brilliant 3-foot eagle at the 17th would have pleased even the absent world number one.
  • 1st – Padraig Harrington – 74-68-72-69=283
  • 2ndIan Poulter – 72-71-75-69=287
  • T3 – Greg Norman – 70-70-72-77=289
  • T3 – Henrik Stenson – 76-72-70-71=289