Open Championship 2013 blog: intriguingly poised

As the second round of the Open Championship draws to close, we are left to reflect on another fascinating day that has left the race for the Claret Jug wide open.

Many will look at the leaderboard, see Tiger Woods’s name behind a pair of seasoned veterans and draw their own conclusions from that. Let me assure you, the world number one, whilst looking very good, will have to work as hard as he ever has done to break his five-year major hiatus.

As we head into the weekend, the leaderboard is peppered with quality and a range of different players with an eclectic mix of strong points. What makes this contest so intriguing is the diversity of players in contention. Almost every cross section of the professional golfing spectrum is represented.

Miguel Angel Jimenez, our current leader, sits one ahead of Angel Cabrera – both men with mild-mannered demeanours who use experience and tactical nous to get around a golf course,

The ball strikers are represented by Lee Westwood and Rafa Cabrera-Bello; the bombers by Henrik Stenson and Dustin Johnson; the short-game experts by Zach Johnson and the links-obsessed locals by Darren Clarke and Martin Laird. Oh, and Tiger Woods, who could be placed seamlessly into any of those categories but the latter.

But what does this prove? Well, that Muirfield is a fantastic venue and a brilliant test for everyone. It is fiendishly difficulty, as a seven-over-par half-way cut might suggest, but it presents opportunities for every type of golfer, whilst excluding those that aren’t completely on their games. That, to me, is the epitome of a perfect Open venue.

Who know’s what’ll happen tomorrow, and doubtless some will claim the course is simply too tough. Utter nonsense. The number of players under par, the current weather conditions and the fact this is a major championship should dispel any argument on the matter.

The tournament is wonderfully poised as we head into the weekend, and so many sub-plots are in place. Tiger is looking good, but unfortunately for him, he’s surrounded by a collection of class golfers and born winners who won’t fold easily.

One thing’s for sure: if Woods is holding the Claret Jug for the fourth time on Sunday evening, he would have earned it.