Once again, The Open delivered a compelling final round befitting golf’s oldest championship.
The 42-year-old Tiger Woods seized the lead – and the golf world’s attention – early in the back nine, adding fuel to an improbable comeback. Jordan Spieth fought valiantly to defend his title. Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy thrilled the locals with spirited charges on the closing holes. In all, at least a half-dozen golfers battled atop the leaderboard as the holes dwindled and the sun began to dip over historic Carnoustie, which bared its teeth via strong breezes and hole locations tucked in corners.
As the dust from another divot drifted across the hard baked links, Francesco Molinari earned the Claret Jug with a brilliant 69, capping a incredible weekend during which he never made a score worse than par. Molinari missed 12 greens in regulation in the final 36 holes and saved par every time. Known for consistent ballstriking it was this amazing scrambling that allowed him to become the first Italian golfer to claim a major championship. His victory extended a torrid run. Since missing the cut at The Players in May, he’s won three of six starts and finished runner-up twice to soar to No. 6 in the world and cement a spot on the European Ryder Cup team in September in France.
Molto bene, Francesco. Molto bene.
PerryGolf guests walked the fairways and followed the drama of The 147th Open on Sunday, enjoying a 12-day cruise that included golf at The Ailsa Course at Trump Turnberry, Prestwick and site of The 148th Open next July, Royal Portrush.
Equally spectacular is next year’s cruise through the British Isles and onward to The 148th Open on board the mid-sized luxury vessel, Azamara Journey.
The journey features golf at Royal County Down, consistently ranked top five in the world; Prestwick, site of The 1st Open and subsequent 11 championships; Royal Birkdale, where Palmer, Watson and Spieth each became Champion Golfer of the Year; K Club Ryder Cup Course, host of the 2006 matches.
Of course, PerryGolf offers multiple options for golfers interested in traveling to The Open as it returns to Northern Ireland for the first time since 1951. Choose from an array of tours and cruises catered to suit the specific needs of each guest, play golf on the most famous links in the world and experience hidden gems such as Carne and Ballyliffin, Glashedy Links – often referred to as the ‘Dornoch of Ireland.’
It’s uncanny how The Open manages to deliver a thrilling, often unpredictable final round each year. The combination of phenomenal links, the Royal & Ancient’s excellent setup and a touch of Mother Nature provides the ultimate challenge for the best golfers in the world and thrilling action for spectators in the gallery and viewers at home. Let PerryGolf put you in the former category next year in Northern Ireland for what will certainly be a historic championship.
The book is closed on another year of international professional golf. Once again, the world’s best golfers thrilled, inspired and amazed those of us who play the game for recreation and pleasure. Under immense pressure, they remained poised and produced incredible shots that dazzled galleries and television viewers, probably sending more than a few of us racing to the nearest driving range to try and replicate the feats we had just witnessed.
As 2017 winds to a close, it’s appropriate to reflect on some of our favorite golf shots and moments from the past 12 months. What makes our list unique is this: With assistance from PerryGolf and its experienced staff, you can walk many of these same fairways and greens next year on one of many Cruises, Escorted Tours or Custom Tours. Relish the opportunity to test your swing on holes which are forever etched in the history books due to phenomenal performances by the current crop of golf stars. Their talent transcends the game and makes them international ambassadors for the many virtues inherent to his wonderful game we love.
Jordan Spieth at Royal Birkdale
It wasn’t just that Spieth, 24, became the youngest American professional to win the Open Championship. Or that he played the final five holes in 5-under-par on Sunday after falling out of the lead for the first time all week. Or, after quite a lengthy delay and debate, he made an unbelievable bogey from the driving range on the 13th hole. It was all of those things and more – the near ace on 14, the 50-footer for Eagle on 15, the way Matt Kuchar answered Spieth’s birdies until the end – which made the 2017 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale an epic for the ages. Spieth claimed his third leg of the Grand Slam and 11th PGA Tour victory, making him the youngest player in history to accomplish such, showing indefatigable spirit and determination in his pursuit of the Claret Jug.
Best Player to Never Win a Major is an ambiguous description for a veteran professional golfer. On one side, it means a golfer has enjoyed a terrific career, winning regular events on major professional tours and routinely contending for golf’s four major trophies. On the flip side, a person considered ‘BPTNWAM’ can be perceived as afflicted with the inability to close the deal on Sunday afternoons. If you recall, a little more than a decade ago the American lefty Phil Mickelson wore this moniker like a scarlet letter. Five majors later, he’s considered one of the game’s all-time greats. Others, such as seven-time European Tour Order of Merit leader Colin Montgomerie, were never so fortunate and ended their career with a hole in their otherwise impeccable playing record.
Sergio Garcia started challenging for major championships in 1999 at the tender age of 19. And in many years since, he’d been thick in the hunt on Sunday but fallen short, typically slipping down the leaderboard when his putter went awry.
When he arrived at Augusta National in the first week of April 2017, Garcia had 12 top-5 finishes in majors and nearly 30 professional wins worldwide. When he departed on Sunday evening he had donned a Green Jacket, shed other labels and set a magical year in motion.
With the PGA Championship taking place at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, roughly four hours west the Southeastern North Carolina coast received a rare treat, serving as one-time host for the PGA Tour’s Wells Fargo Championship.
The tournament was played at Eagle Point Golf Club, a Tom Fazio layout in Wilmington, just down the road from PerryGolf headquarters. The course received glowing reviews from the pros throughout the week and delivered one of the more exciting finishes of the 2016-17 season.
Brian Harman, the diminutive lefthander from Georgia, thrilled a capacity crowd surrounding the 18th green by draining an improbable 28-foot birdie putt late Sunday afternoon to steal a one-shot victory over World No. 1 Dustin Johnson and streaking Pat Perez as rising star Jon Rahm watched from the fairway.
Harman’s second PGA Tour victory was worth $1.35 million and vaulted him to his best season as a professional. He finished runner-up to Brooks Koepka later in the summer at the U.S. Open and ended the season with seven top-10s, ranking 25th in the FedEx Cup standings.
Hatton blistered the storied links with a 24-under par total for 72 holes in a week during which records were made to be broken. For most of us mere mortals, the only way to shoot 61 at the Old Course is to end our round after 13 holes. Not for Ross Fisher, who toured all 18 in his 11-under round to set the new course record. Tommy Fleetwood also joined in the record-shattering fun, taking advantage of benign conditions to fire a brilliant course record 63 at the ultra-difficult Carnoustie.
Fleetwood claims the Race to Dubai
Speaking of Tommy Fleetwood, he captured the prestigious European Tour Race to Dubai, riding a pair of victories and top-five finishes at the WGC-Mexico event and U.S. Open to the lucrative prize.
Fleetwood claimed trophies at the French Open, played at Le Golf de National and the Abu Dhabi Championship en route to his best season as a professional.
The 26-year-old Englishman vaulted inside the top 20 of the Official World Golf Ranking and served notice that he’s likely to be a mainstay on major championship leaderboards and European Ryder Cup teams in the near future.
Last week the golf world witnessed a most memorable Masters Tournament, whereby the spotlight was without question on 21 year old, Jordan Spieth. Spieth was not alone in making the game look easy, but nonetheless he made it look the easiest. What an exciting week for golfers and non-golfers alike who witnessed this exceptional turn of events. Better still, was PerryGolf and many of our clients. How to win friends and influence people in the golf and travel industries? PerryGolf explains here… Read more “PerryGolf at The Masters with Wheels Up”