Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly had to make tough decisions this week. OK, so it wasn’t really that tough when you consider whether to play the British Open or a small-time tournament in Wisconsin. The only tough thing is the U.S. Bank Championship is the duo’s only home-state event. “I could not take a chance at missing a major,” said Kelly, a two-time runner-up in Milwaukee.
His first foray after becoming a father didn’t go so well. Knowing Tiger Woods like we all do, youfigure he has done extra preparation — especially considering the prestige of British Open. And when you throw in that he is the two-time defending champion and loves to play the mentally stimulating links-style courses the Open provides, Woods figures to be in prime condition for his fourth Open championship in eight years.
We say this all the time — especially during majors — but only because we really, really want to see it happen: Phil Mickelson needs to finally step up and challenge Tiger. Lefty showed a nice touch in an early arrival in Scotland, but he twice bogied No. 18 at Loch Lomond to lose a playoff in the Scottish Open. Maybe that will get him riled up just enough to finally create the rivalry we have all been waiting for.
Of course, there is always Colin Montgomerie. While listed as a 25-1 shot by bookmaker William Hill, he is a popular pick for two reasons: His win two weeks ago at the European Open and the fact that this Open is being played in his home country. Of course, we would like to pick Jean Van de Velde, but he is still searching the pond for his ball.
THIS WEEK’S TEE TIMES
EVENT: British Open
WHERE: Carnoustie, Scotland
COURSE: Carnoustie Golf Links, par 71
DEFENDING CHAMP: Tiger Woods
EVENT: U.S. Bank Champ-ionship
COURSE: Brown Deer Park Golf Course, par 70
DEFENDING CHAMP: Corey Pavin
EVENT: HSBC Women’s World Match Play Champ-ionship
WHERE: New Rochelle, N.Y.
COURSE: Wykagyl Country Club, par 71
DEFENDING CHAMP: Brittany Lincicome
EVENT: Senior British Open
WHEN: July 26-29
WHERE: East Lothian, Scotland
COURSE: Muirfield Golf Links, par 71
DEFENDING CHAMP: Loren Roberts
EVENT: Price Cutter Charity Championship
WHERE: Springfield, Mo.
COURSE: Highland Springs Country Club, par 72
DEFENDING CHAMP: Doug LaBelle II