Barney's News on The Open
This week's Open Championship at Royal Birkdale to me marks the height of the British Summer. One of my up and coming students, the current Bedfordshire amateur champion, Jack Hawksby gave me a nice start to The Open by winning one of the regional qualifiers at Sandy Lodge with a super 67.
This put him in the Final Qualifier joining some experienced players from the Challenge and European Tours.
Young Jack, (still a teenager) played at the superb Hollinwell in Nottingham and after a good opening round of 70 was in the hunt for one of the three spots available. Sadly he ran out of steam in the second round, but certainly a terrific experience and he acquitted himself well in a strong field. I mentioned to him that one of his fellow competitors Steve Webster has been on Tour longer than Jack has been alive!
So it is time for my favourite endeavour, that of picking the winner of the Claret Jug. There certainly are many players in strong form and I definitely like the look of Sergio Garcia who I feel like a few players before him, namely Padraig Harrington and Mark O'Meara once they finally won a Major they won another very quickly and both of them funnily enough won at Birkdale. Of course, Justin Rose will be a firm favourite having had that amazing Open there in 1998 as a fresh faced youth. However, after much thought I have decided to go for Tommy Fleetwood, who is as they now say "trending". Having won twice this season, he is on a roll and a great performance in the US Open showed he has Major Championship nerve. I think the stars are aligning for him and I will be up at Birkdale for a few days with Jennie (the current Mrs Puttick) to cheer him on in person, so fingers crossed. I thought you might find this piece I did on his swing for Golf Monthly last year interesting as I did talk about his major credentials back then!
Having been at several professional events this year, it is interesting watching them warm up prior to their round. I know it is a favourite hobby horse of mine, but a proper loosen up really sets you up for your game. Sadly sitting drinking cappuccino 5 minutes before starting, doesn't count :-). Certainly some stretches and a few shots in a net, if there is one handy and a couple of chip shots, some long and short putts as you may well be facing some of these quite early in your round! I can't promise this guarantees success, but you will improve your odds of succeeding and that is a good thing.
Enjoy your golf this month on and off the fairways!
All the best