2021 Open: Tuesday Wrap
Better-than-most pressers, tee times, weather, reads, Tweets, baggage, an early app review and another cool Royal St George's touch
It’s no coincidence that a major in the United Kingdom produces livelier press conferences.
Better questions from non-cheerleaders help, but I also don’t want to get the British, Scottish and Irish press thinking it’s all them. I believe players soak up some links golf and their golf soul tells them clichés won’t cut it in these parts.
If you were listening press conferences all morning on Golf Channel you saw some great and unedited stuff. It’s a credit to Comcast’s frugalness and inability to attract Blue Chip advertisers more than good producing. And please Mike Stone, don’t take this the wrong way, I loved hearing The Open Song in the run-up to this week. You’re a quadruple threat. But I don’t think those spots are going to pay Peacock bills.
Here goes with fun stuff from Rahm, Koepka and DeChambeau, plus Tee Times, Weather, Reads, Tweets, Baggage, App talk and one more Sandwich goodie. Also, a special Wednesday welcome to all subscribers. I moved up the weekly freebie because Thursday morning you are more likely watching than reading.
Rahm Addresses His Short Backswing And It’s Not The Answer We Expected
The U.S. Open champion fell to world No. 2 this week—don’t even try to understand the algo logic—but remains the huge betting favorite. He’s also quite a talker these days.
If you had “club foot” in the “Why Is Jon Rahm’s Backswing So Short” Pool, congrats!
I found it odd he dropped this little surprise with a jumbo order of disdain and a side of petulance directed toward those who’ve speculated on his limited backswing. Psst…Jon, golfers speculate on your backswing because they want to know if they should be doing the same thing. It’s a compliment driven by undeniable narcissism.
JON RAHM: I'm going to say I've been pro for five years. I've mentioned this before. This is the first time I'm getting this question because I'm tired of hearing that the reason why I have a short swing is that I have tight hips or other things.
If you know anything about golf, that is the stupidest thing to say. So for people that don't know, I was born with a club foot on my right leg, which means for anybody that's sensitive about that, my right leg up to the ankle was straight, my foot was 90 degrees turned inside and basically upside down.
So when I was born, they basically relocated, pretty much broke every bone in the ankle and I was casted within 20 minutes of being born from the knee down.
I think every week I had to go back to the hospital to get re-casted, so from knee down my leg didn't grow at the same rate. So I have very limited ankle mobility in my right leg. It's a centimeter and a half shorter, as well.
So what I mean by limitations is I didn't take a full swing because my right ankle doesn't have the mobility or stability to take it. So I learned at a very young age that I'm going to be more efficient at creating power and be consistent from a short swing.
If I take a full to parallel, yeah, it might create more speed, but I have no stability. My ankle just can't take it.
Now, also, and this is where I've learned doing many TPI tests, my wrists don't have much mobility this way, but I'm hyper mobile this way. That's why I also naturally turn to bow my wrist to create power in every single sport I do.
So that's why my swing, I bow my wrist and that's how I hit it. It's little things that I think a lot of people can learn. Let your body dictate how you can swing. Simple as that. That's why Dave has been such a great addition to me when I started going to TPI with the Spanish Golf Federation, because they can teach me how my body moves and what I can -- not what I can or cannot do, what I'm going to be more efficient at doing.
The main thing is my right foot. It's just that ankle does not move much.
And don’t we feel bad for thinking he just had stiff hips.
Koepka On Royal St George’s, The 2003 Open
I posted the latest Brooks-Bryson brospat notes (“fair game”) over at the blog, and will add Bryson’s rebuttal. But this newsletter is about the majors and Koepka offered a blunt assessment of Royal St George’s (after only playing nine holes).
“I don't know, it's not my favorite venue that we've played,” he said. “I think Portrush and St. Andrews are definitely the favorites. I haven't seen all 18. I'll see the back nine today. But a couple -- quite a few blind tee shots, kind of hitting to nothing. Fairways are quite undulating. I don't know, it's not my favorite of the rotation, put it that way.”
That should lock him in no lower than 16-1! Playing all the holes just once before Thursday and not really liking it? This is not what I wanted to see in the paddock.
At least he softened the insult to RSG with a nice story regarding a 2003 family visit. The family card always works!
“We got the opportunity -- I must have been -- I don't know what I was in, fifth, sixth grade, something like that -- just to come over here and play St. Andrews, Carnoustie, come watch I think the final round of The Open. Me, my mom and my little brother, we came over I think a couple days early from when the whole thing was going to start, and just got to play links golf. I thought it was so much fun. That's kind of when I fell in love with it.
“It was cool getting to -- I remember my brother at the time, he thought it was so cool. Tiger was playing on 13 and my brother had said something and Tiger said something back to him, and we thought it was the coolest thing at the time.
“It's kind of funny, I think with about three holes left, I remember Thomas took a few out of the bunker, and I think Ben was maybe a group or two behind him, but I ended up falling asleep right in the little pavilion to the right of 18 and didn't even see the finish.
“I remember getting yelled at by my mom, I didn't bring you over here to fall asleep kind of deal. But it was fun. We enjoyed the whole trip, and it was a cool family trip.”
Bryson On Yelling “Fore!” And 3-Wack Avoidance
Bryson DeChambeau’s presser proved livelier than most and maybe turned a tad chippier after John Huggan asked this about not yelling “Fore!”:
Q. I'm kind of curious, other the last few months we've watched you launch a few drives into a few crowds and you don't seem so shout fore. Just wondering why you don't?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: I do shout fore. I don't know what you're talking about. There are plenty of people on the tee box that do shout fore. You're brining up a very controversial thing, which is unfortunate, but 99 per cent of the time I do, and unfortunately people think I don't. But that's okay, they can say whatever they want.
Well okay then. They will.
Regarding golf, Bryson’s thoughts on where a player should leave approaches and how you handle putting is spot-on given RSG’s green size and contouring:
There's a couple low areas that you can get yourself into that you're hitting up 15 to 20 per cent slopes, and that can be quite treacherous and difficult trying to control speed. And then having 60-, 70-, 80-footers on certain holes, for us guys over in America, we play on speeds that are around 11s and these are a little bit under that, and it makes for a little bit of a challenge that we all have to adjust to.
If I can adjust well and do the right things and control speed this week, not three-putting is going to be a huge key to winning this week.
Bryson also said he thinks, “I'm a great person and a really good person to be around, a kind person to be around.” Fore!
Rory McIlroy: “The course was quite lush, quite green. We maybe weren't getting the bounces that we're accustomed to getting here at St. George's with the bumpy fairways. Honestly, I think the course plays a little better that way, so I was pleasantly surprised at -- I walked away from the golf course on Saturday and Sunday thinking, this is a much better golf course than I remember it being, and I think that's just because of the way it's playing right now.”
Adam Scott: “For me The Open now is, if we had to rank tournaments you'd love to win, that sits clearly at the top. I felt like I had a hand on the Jug once, and it was a good feeling while it lasted. I'd like to kind of have two on there. But if there is one event I'd like to win before my career is out, it would be The Open. I'm not really stacking the pressure on myself this week, but it would be a lovely story for an Aussie to follow in Greg's footsteps here.”
Tommy Fleetwood: “I think what the rain has brought is the rough is pretty thick. If you're going to -- from what I could tell, if you sort of know your lines off the tees and everything, the fairways, they're not like overly tight. You can get some -- obviously the way the bounces work, then it can easily be bouncing off the fairways, but they're not like massively tight. But if you do hit it off line, you're sort of going to be lucky to get a lie a lot of the times. Bad shots are probably going to be punished due to sort of long rough.”
6:35 am Bland, Sullivan and Armitage
9:03 am Els, Woodland and (a)Hammer
9:25 am Spieth, Dechambeau and Grace
9:58 am Lowry, Rahm, Oosthuizen
2:48 pm Mickelson, Hatton, Kisner
3:10 Thomas, Fleetwood, Scott
3:21 Rory, Reed and Cam Smith
Weather: Will Late-Early Enjoy An Edge?
Those going out later might see a benign Thursday evening and return to a cloudy, less-breezy morning. From the Met Office’s Open forecaster:
Taylormade graphic designer Dennis Kennedy was inspired by Royal St George’s starters hut for this year’s Open bag. He wins, 9&8. And I don’t even like brown. At all. (Yesterday’s newsletter has more on the huts.)
Callaway took its inspiration from Carnaby Street in London for reasons not clear as of this or, for that matter, any press time:
At least the headcovers look like keepers.
The Open App Seems Really, Really Good
Still reeling from the awful U.S. Open digital experience, I finally got around to downloading the R&A’s effort and it looks spectacular. Sure, the players haven’t hit a shot yet and if you’ve yet to sign up for the (free) One Club, you can’t get access to live feeds. But…
The interface is easy on the eye and the ease of navigation looks like an A+.
Picture-in-picture video is an option. This means you can bang out a brilliant Tweet or reply to a text while the feed plays. It also means the stream won’t end anytime you flinch, setting off a replay of the same ad you’ve seen 24 times.
TheOpen.com radio is available. I highly recommend this listening when driving, (A) to keep you from going off the road, (B) because they always do a superb job, and (C) it’s the one golf radio feed you can shut your eyes to and feel like you’re back in Churchill’s day, only using a desktop computer in your pocket to listen. What a world.
Goodies galore. Press conference video, hole flyovers, an interactive course map, exclusive videos, access to official films of past RSG Opens, etc., etc., etc.
A tablet-friendly version (in the Apple universe) that’s even prettier and looks ideal for watching an alternate feed.
Finally, Today In Cool Royal St George’s Stuff
Subscribers know I’ve reviewed and explained a few of the neat on-course stuff you’d find it turning up for a game at Royal St George’s. The club is definitely not ordering out of the Par Aide catalog.
Today, I share with you the first tee contraption similar to versions you’ll see at other UK clubs. What is that long, red thing sitting right of the old ammunition box?
According to club historian Christopher Cagney, the angled shoot is where balls are placed is for reserving your slot on the 1st tee. Until the pandemic, they didn’t do starting times at RSG (but they have two starters huts!). Cagney does not know who designed the contraption, “but I doubt if it is the only one.” Either way, it’s homemade and adds another swell touch to an important place in the game.
Hope you enjoyed this free Quadrilateral and if you’re new or only on the free side, I’ll be doing this daily for the benefactor set while totally over-analyzing the 2021 Open aftermath before moving on to the Ryder Cup because, (A) it’s a great evemnt and (B) it beats pretending The Playoffs© matter.