The Open Championship is golf’s most prestigious tournament, and I don’t believe anyone can have a legitimate opposition to such a statement.
Yes, the Masters is played at arguably the best course in the world and US Open might be preferred by the American contingent, but the Open Championship is the tournament most players dream of winning when they start out on a long and arduous career as a professional golfer.
And so it should be, for prestige is dictated by a number of factors: history, courses, tradition, reverence, atmosphere and spectacle, amongst others. Take a wide cross section of golfing fans, journalists and players and ask them to rank various tournaments in those categories. In my mind, there is only one winner.
That’s becuase there simply isn’t anything like the Open Championship. Links golf in the purest form of the game and a celebration of everything that makes this sport so great: testing yourself against the elements, the course, yourself; beautiful surroundings, knowledgeable galleries, sheer unpredictability. I could go on. The fact is the Open ticks every box from every perspective. It’s a week-long celebration of the game and a complete test of golfing aptitude.
How fitting, also, that Muirfield again has the honour of hosting this revered championship. The home of the oldest golf club in the world has time and again proved itself as one of the finest courses on the planet, and I’m expecting another scintillating contest this time around.
Without wishing to tempt fate, everything is in place. The world’s best two golfers desperately looking for major glory to reignite their respective careers; a mind-blowing array of world-class players, a magical combination of youth and experience, the UK’s best golf course and more sub-plots than you can shake a stick at.
Even if the excitement we’re all expecting fails to materialise, it’ll still be one of the best weeks in the global golfing calendar. Why? Because The Open Championship epitomises everything that’s good about the game. As I sit here in the media centre awaiting the arrival of Tiger Woods, the excitement is palpable. The Open Championship is a week like no other and a wonderful spectacle, regardless of what happens during the four days of play.
Fortunately, everything looks set for one of the most riveting Opens in recent history.