Solid Zach had some form
He may have been an outsider this week, but as the 2007 Masters champion and a four-time Ryder Cup star, he is hardly a one-hit wonder. He has also, over the years, been assembling a solid Open record.
After missing the cut in his first three attempts, he has played in every round of the last nine championships. Consecutive top 10s in 2012, at Lytham, and then in 2013 at Muirfield, when he finished 6th, showed he had served his apprenticeship. Now he has a Claret Jug to his name.
Spieth isn’t a regular guy
The Grand Slam attempt may be over but to come within a shot of a place in the play-off was a phenomenal effort when placed in the context of his wins at the Masters and US Open. Some questioned his preparation, playing in Illinois the week before the Open, but there was no obvious struggle to acclimatise.
This was only Spieth’s third Open and it was the first time he has been in contention. It won’t be the last.
Nobody in the game is holing more putts from 10 to 20 feet when it matters and his consistency can perhaps best be described as Nicklaus-esque. When Rory McIlroy returns following his ankle injury we truly do have a rivalry of the ages on our hands. In the years to come you sense that McIlroy at his best might prove unbeatable – but that Spieth will be the more consistent of the two.
Jason’s Day is drawing near
This was the Australian’s ninth top 10 in just 20 Major appearances. And the sixth time he has finished in the top four. He has top 10s in all four Majors.
It must be coming soon, maybe even at Whistling Straits next month in the PGA.
Day’s first ever Major was here at St Andrews in 2010 so there would have been a neat symmetry had his putt at the last to earn a spot in the play-off not finished agonisingly short.
You might say that he is destined to become a hard-luck story. At 27, the chances are, surely, that he will put the record straight. You can’t play this well in so many Majors without winning one. Unless your name is Sergio Garcia…
"You can’t play this well in so many Majors without winning one. Unless your name is Sergio Garcia…"
Open nearly men Garcia and Scott fall short again
At one point around the turn in the final round Adam Scott had a share of the lead while Sergio Garcia was a shot back. Maybe this was one of their years? No. Roll on an hour or so and Garcia had made three straight fives on his way to T6th while Scott finished bogey, bogey, par, bogey, double to tumble into a share of 10th. That’s nine top 10s in the Open for the Spaniard – including all current venues bar Turnberry, Troon and Birkdale. As for the Australian, this was the fourth consecutive top 10 he has reeled off.
Close, closer, closest – but still no cigar for either man. At least Scott has a Green Jacket in his wardrobe.
All set for a US Major slam?
It was 1982 when Raymond Floyd won the PGA at Southern Hills to add to Craig Stadler’s Green Jacket, and Tom Watson’s pair of Opens at Pebble Beach and Troon. That remains the most recent occasion on which Americans claimed all four Majors in the same year.
Thanks to Spieth and Johnson, they have the chance to scratch that 33-year itch when we head for Whistling Straits, Wisconsin, in a few weeks’ time.
It will add another layer of plot to the season’s final Major.