I can see events over the next few days prompting me to edit this list perhaps, but for the moment, here’s my all-time Top Ten Open moments. It’s still too cold to go outside…
10) Following Greg Norman last year
For three days, Norman played out of his skin; controlling his ball with supreme accuracy as the viscous Southport swirl left its mark on some of the world’s best. Of course Norman faltered on the final day and Harrington stormed away, but still…
9) Justin Rose chips in at Birkdale
Mark O’Meara may have won the Open in ’98, but Rose’s performance produced the big headlines. At 17, the teenager bagged a fourth-place finish and wrapped it up beautifully, holing out from 70 yards…
8) David Duval’s winning speech
The American’s perceived surly image seemed a million miles away when he addressed the galleries at Royal Lytham & St Annes after his 2001 win. Nice words, ‘Double D’.
7) The Sands of Nakajima
One of my first viewing memories, and something every chopper can take heart from. All of four attempts to get out of the Road Hole bunker at St Andrews. There was no way back from there. Ouch!
6) Three-way play-off, 1989
A late surge from Greg Norman makes him much-fancied as he tees it up in a play-off with Wayne Grady and Mark Calcavecchia. But a rush of blood and a 320-yard flyer ends the Shark’s hopes as Calcavecchia accepts the Claret Jug at Royal Troon.
5) Harrington steals Sergio’s thunder
Finally, the mercurial Garcia seemed all but certain to break his Major duck. But leading by three at Carnoustie in the final round of the 2007 Championship, the Spaniard was hauled back and Harrington’s up-and-down at the 18th meant Garcia had to sink a fast-breaking ten-footer to win. He didn’t, and the wait continues…
4) Seve wins it on Monday
Not a bad way to finish school when you’re just 12 years old, coming home to watch the great final-round duel between Nick Price and Seve Ballesteros. Due to weather disruptions, the tournament was dragged through to Monday, where Seve won it on the last with a chip to within inches. Class.
3) Seve fist pumps, and then some more…
One of the most defining images in the game. Ballesteros holes from 20 feet for birdie at the last at St Andrews to win by one shot from Tom Watson. The mother of all fist pumpage! Cue millions worldwide attempting the same thing, but failing and looking rather stupid instead.
2) Faldo pars 18 on the spin to win
Opinion is divided, and understandably so, but Faldo was one of my sporting heroes and when Paul Azinger hit into the sand and then duffed out to 25 feet on the 18th at Muirfield, a first Major of six loomed for the Englishman. Of course the cheers when the American fired into the trap lacked sportsmanship, but who cares…
1) Harrington rips it with his 5-wood
I had followed Greg Norman and Harrington during the final round of last year’s Open at Birkdale, and if truth be told, I was gunning for the Aussie. But Harrington’s 5-wood into 17 remains the best shot I have ever seen, made better as I was standing all of 30 feet away. Two hundred and sixty yards, trap at the front of the green, trouble all to the left, the Irishman plants his ball three feet away to make eagle. In a word: gutsy.