The 147th Open at Carnoustie: Looking back and looking ahead

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.

PerryGolf guests tee off with the iconic Stevenson Lighthouse in the background at the Trump Turnberry Ailsa course, a member of The Open rota.

 

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.

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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.’

https://www.perrygolf.com/britishopen/british-open-golf-packages.php

Play four courses in The Open rota, including the Old Course at St. Andrews and Carnoustie, on this 6-night, 6-round Tour, available April – October 2019.

Or, look ahead and make plans to attend The 149th Open at Royal St. George’s, site of triumphs by Darren Clarke, Greg Norman and twice apiece by Walter Hagen and Harry Vardon.

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.

PerryGolf guests enjoy a welcome dinner onboard Azamara Journey as they cruise the British Isles and attend The Open at Carnoustie.

The Open field taking shape; PerryGolf takes you there in 2019 & 2020

The 147th Open at Carnoustie begins in 10 days. Final Qualifying was held last week at Notts (Hollinwell), Princes, St. Anne’s Old Links and Renaissance in the U.K., and continued last weekend on the PGA Tour where the top four finishers inside the top 12 at A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier who were not already exempt punched their ticket to Scotland. Kelly Kraft, Brandt Snedeker, Jason Kokrak and Austin Cook earned their way into the field.

Ballyliffin’s Glashedy Links – and its sister Old Course – are popular featured options when PerryGolf visits Ireland’s northern coast. Glashedy Links proved an admirable host for the European Tour’s qualifier for The Open – the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open. Ryan Fox, Zander Lombard and Andy Sullivan added their name to the tee sheet at Carnoustie through their strong play at Ballyliffin.

The final two spots in The Open are reserved for the champions of the Scottish Open and John Deere Classic – if those players are not already in The Open field.

PerryGolf is pleased to offer an array of Escorted Tours, Custom Tours and Cruises for golfers interested in tackling the majestic links of The Open rota and sites of Final Qualifying that are sprinkled throughout the British Isles. In addition we’ll guide you through the U.K. and Ireland’s multitude of other venerable layouts, including the familiar world renowned designs and the delightful hidden gems. Every package presents attractive options in course selection and trip duration, catered to fit the specific needs of each guest.

Royal County Down is consistently ranked top-5 in the world.

Anyone wanting to experience the action and excitement of The Open next year as it makes a historic return to Royal Portrush, join host  PerryGolf co-founder Colin Dalgleish on a 12-night, 5-round voyage from Edinburgh to Southampton, including rounds at Royal Birkdale, Ailsa Turnberry and Royal County Down. Attend the final round of The 148th Open and watch the game’s best golfers battle for the Claret Jug. (See all the details below).

https://www.perrygolf.com/golfcruising/the-open-at-royal-portrush-2019-golf-cruise-package.php

PerryGolf also delivers several other appealing options for golfers aiming to play Ireland’s best and enjoy the final round at Royal Portrush – here’s one example of such a Custom Tour: https://www.perrygolf.com/standard-quote.php/115139/The-148th-Open-plus-Dublin-Newcastle–Londonderry.html 

Those wanting to brush up on their history before next week’s championship by learning more about past champions of The Open will want to tune into “Chronicles of a Champion Golfer,” which is produced by the R&A. The first two seasons are available on Netflix, and elsewhere, while the third season is currently airing on Golf Channel. We watched the Nick Pride episode recently and found it compelling. Price, a gentleman of the game, discussed serving in the Rhodesian Air Force during wartime, the impact of losing his father at a young age and near misses at The Open before he prevailed in 1994 at Turnberry.

 

This is the eighth time Carnoustie has played host to The Open and the links considered the most difficult in the rota certainly has carved its place in the championship’s rich, storied history.

Padraig Harrington hoisted the Claret Jug at Carnoustie most recently, defeating Sergio Garcia in a playoff in 2007. The legendary Ben Hogan won The 82nd Open in 1953 in his only appearance in golf’s oldest championship. Hogan was also the last golfer to win the first three legs of the modern Grand Slam. He was unable to play the final tournament the PGA Championship, due to a scheduling conflict and the 36-hole-per-day match play format, as he came back from a horrific auto accident.

Yet, it’s quite possible that one particular championship at Carnoustie – The 128th Open – will live forever in infamy. It was a unforgettable moment in golf history, and one, unfortunately that will always be recalled for the man who squandered the Claret Jug and not the champion who eventually claimed it.

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Jean Van de Velde, a unheralded French pro, played flawless golf for 71 holes that week in 1999. He arrived at the tee of the daunting par-4 18th holding a three-shot lead, needing only a double bogey to secure the title. An errant tee shot was the first of a series of mistakes that ultimately created a three-way tie atop the leaderboard and a playoff won by Paul Lawrie of Scotland. (Here’s a good trivia question to ask while having a pint with your golfing pals: Who was the third participant in the playoff?).

This evening, Golf Channel debuts “Go Down Swinging,” which projects as an excellent documentary of the events 19 years ago. You can relive the agony of the final hole fiasco featuring commentary from the inestimable Peter Alliss, below. The answer to our trivia question is Justin Leonard.

How To Attend The 148th Open at Royal Portrush in 2019

The 148th Open at Royal Portrush in 2019 shall see a significant change in the distribution of tickets to the Championship when sold as part of a travel package. Whereas previously, an untold number of companies could include daily or weekly tickets as part of their “travel package”, effective in 2019, only authorized companies can do so. Read more “How To Attend The 148th Open at Royal Portrush in 2019”

3 Iconic Golf Courses in the British Isles

Royal Portrush Golf Club by Aiden Bradley
 

Surgeon General Warning, the following post is solely for the purpose of bar discussion after all other topics are exhausted.

Course rankings will forever be wonderful fodder for endless conversations about the relative merits of any given golf experience. Read more “3 Iconic Golf Courses in the British Isles”

How the 2019 Open Championship at Royal Portrush came to be

Royal Portrush, ranked No. 14 in the Golf.com World Top 100, welcomes the best golfers in the world for the 2019 Open Championship.

The Open Championship was last held in Northern Ireland in 1951 and the champion earned 300£ (or roughly $11,000 today). Max Faulkner surely cherished clutching the Claret Jug as he stood on the 18th green at Royal Portrush and the winner’s check was a welcome sight as well. However, when compared to the $1.8 million Jordan Spieth collected for winning last summer at Royal Birkdale, the paltry pay Faulkner received reflects the immense growth professional golf has enjoyed during the last 66 years.

As the purses and galleries increased, having sufficient room to erect the necessary infrastructure on and around the course became a requisite ingredient for any club wishing to play host to the Open Championship. Few doubted the quality of the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush – it’s routinely ranked in the top 20 in the World – and whether the golf holes provided a stern enough test to deserve a spot in the Open rota. But the tight quarters around the course seemed too cramped to welcome 200,000 spectators during tournament week and ensure they enjoyed a pleasant experience.

Bordered by Bushmills / Dunluce Road on one side and the North Atlantic Ocean on the other, it appeared Royal Portrush in County Antrim, Northern Ireland must remain content to live forever as a one-time Open Championship host and savor the fading memories from Faulkner’s magical week.

That was the situation until 2014 when leaders from the Royal & Ancient Golf Club along with noted golf course architects Tom Mackenzie and Martin Ebert formed a plan to renovate Dunluce Links, create the necessary room for the Open’s Spectator Village and make the golf course a demanding test for the modern professional without compromising legendary Harry S. Colt’s design from the 1930s. The legendary golf writer Bernard Darwin described Dunluce Links as such in 1951:

Mr. H.S. Colt, who

designed it in its present

form, has thereby built

himself a monument more

enduring than brass.

Upon receiving unanimous approval for the renovations from the Royal Portrush membership in 2015, the R&A awarded the club the 2019 Open Championship. On-course construction began that fall and was completed in the summer of 2017. Each step of the journey, Mackenzie and Ebert surely saw Colt’s vision and heard Darwin’s words, as they steered their crew to execute a renovation fit to carry the course through the Open and decades beyond.

With the R&A intending to use the former 17th and 18th holes on Dunluce Links as the Spectator Village, it was Mackenzie and Ebert’s task to create two new additions on the existing property. They added the 7th, a 572-yard par-5, and the 8th, a 435-yard par-4, which fit the terrain and routing as if they’ve been in place for decades. No. 16, the brutish 235-yard par-3 known as Calamity Corner, is one of the only bunkerless holes at Royal Portrush – not as if sand is needed to protect par. Open contenders will aim to avoid Bobby Locke’s Hollow which lines the left side, poised to collect a wild hook or pull.

In all, Dunluce Links has the fewest bunkers (70) of any course in the Open rota. By comparison, there are 150 at Muirfield and 210 at Royal Lytham & St. Anne’s.

Now, the refreshed and enhanced Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush, measuring more than 7,300 yards, sits along the shore waiting to test the world’s best in the summer of 2019. Once again, Mackenzie and Ebert have doctored a course in the Open rota and prepared it to face the extraordinary talent of the modern professional golfer.

Golf observers, club members and historians hope for a mystical week in July 2019 to extend a golden era for Irish golf as Dublin native Padraig Harrington, local favorite Graeme McDowell, longtime Royal Portrush member Darren Clarke and world No. 10 Rory McIlroy – who grew up in Holywood roughly 60 miles away – have claimed major titles in the last decade.

PerryGolf can take you to Royal Portrush. Join the Hogan Bracket on the 2018 Open Championship Cruise and you can test your game on the renovated links, pausing certainly to snap a photo on No. 13, a beautiful par-3, known as ‘Feather Bed.’

You can also attend the final round of the 148th Open Championship in 2019 and play other great links in the rota along the way, such as Royal Liverpool and Royal Birkdale, by joining PerryGolf on a 12-day cruise from Edinburgh to London aboard the luxurious Azamara Journey.