- Geoff Ogilvy, one of the favorites in the PGA British Open, talking about the absence of Tiger Woods due to his recovery from knee surgery for a torn ACL.
The 2008 British Open kicks off today at Royal Birkdale and most of the buzz is about who isn't there. Tiger Woods is sidelined for the remainder of the 2008 PGA Tour due to his recovery from surgery to repair a torn ACL and healing stress fractures in his left leg. He's won two of the past three British Opens and has four top-10 finishes in the past five years. He won the US Open a few weeks ago on a gimpy left leg.
There will be one remaining major after this weekend, the PGA Championship. Woods won it in 2006 and 2007 and finished tied for fourth in 2005.
So, in review, Tiger Woods came in second at this year's Masters, won this year's US Open, he has won three of the past four, and four of the past six British Opens and PGA Championships. The guy defines winning in sports, because he goes out for four rounds beginning with a field of over 125 golfers. So his absence opens winning the Claret Jug (the trophy for the British Open) to just about anyone on the Tour who owns a golf bag!
Phil Mickelson, recognized as the second best player behind Woods, refused to mention his name as he got his game face on for a run at his first British Open championship. When asked about Wood's absence, Mickelson is quoted as saying, "I am working hard to get my game ready for this week, and I've practiced hard. I've developed a good game plan for this event, and I am excited to compete against whoever is in the field." When asked if he could say anything in particular about Woods, Mickelson retorted, "Oh, I'm sure I could!" [Laughter]
But Mickelson could never bring himself mentioned Tiger's name!
Ernie Els, another top contender for the championship, was very frank, "I'm not overly disappointed that he's not here as a player. [There are 30 to 40] players... [that now] have a chance. I think he's so far ahead in the race, we've kind of sagged back a little bit."
And Jim Furyk had a more philosophical approach to a Tiger-less major championship, "It's just kind of a chicken attitude to walk up and say, 'Well, he's not here; now I've got a better opportunity.' In reality, that's probably true. But to look at it that way, I'd have a tough time waking up in the morning looking at myself in the mirror if that's the way I was thinking."
Read the entire ESPN.com article about how Tiger Woods is still stalking the field at the British Open here.
Read a similar article in the New York Times here.
plez sez: geoff ogilvy hit the nail on the head, the british open is up for grabs for one reason and one reason, only: Tiger Woods ain't there!
phil mickelson is still going to piss his pants if he sees a tall, slim Black guy in the crowd while trying to tee off or sink a crucial putt. ernie els is going to spend all weekend trying to steal that second place spot from mickelson... and jim furyk is probably having a hard time looking in the mirror this morning, because he knows that this year will be his best opportunity to win the British (Tiger will be back next year).
the british open and the pga championship will both be missing the greatest golfer to pull a driver out of the bag. and they'll be missing plezWorld as well, since i doubt whatever drama mickelson can generate will be enough to make me spend anytime watching the proceedings, i'll just catch up on the Internet each night.
like Barry Bond's 756th home run ball, the 2008 British Open Claret Jug needs one of these: