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Let’s Talk Golf: Memories from a major

The 2015 British Open at St. Andrews was one of the greatest showcases for this incredible game of golf that I have ever witnessed. It started with Tom Watson making his final appearance after compiling one of the best records in Open history (five victories).

I had the honor and privilege of playing with Tom Watson in 2006 when I qualified for the U.S. Senior Open at Prairie Dunes GC in Hutchinson, Kans. during a practice round. He is truly one of the greatest players of all time but perhaps even a greater role model for our younger generation of superstars. Watching him cross the Swilcan Bridge for the final time with his son on the bag brought tears to my eyes.

Then all the hype about Jordan Spieth winning three straight majors was even more compelling when he opened with a 67. He continued to be a major force throughout the week especially when he holed a 30 footer to tie for the lead with two holes to play. Spieth’s poise under pressure was admirable and although he failed to close the deal he demonstrated what a class act he is by sticking around to congratulate the winner afterwards. He showed us why the future of the game is in great hands.

Dustin Johnson looked like he was going to run away from the field after taking the 36-hole lead and left us wondering if this was going to be his breakthrough major victory and redemption for the U.S. Open.

Then we got to witness an amateur by the name of Paul Dunne take the lead into the final round, something that hasn’t been done since the Bobby Jones era. He became one of four amateurs to finish in the top 25, a feat that has never happened in the history of the Open.

Playing with Dunne, we watched Louis Oosthuizen's last hole to get into a playoff. Virginia Beach resident Marc Leishman nearly stole the show and stole our hearts with the story of his wife’s battle with cancer as he performed well enough to earn a spot in the playoff. Jason Day came within a shot of finally winning his first major after recovering from a bout with vertigo only a few weeks earlier. Adam Scott had a piece of the lead late into the back nine before his collapse and Sergio Garcia and Padraig Harrington created a buzz with some early round heroics.

Then comes Zach Johnson, who holes a dramatic 30 footer on the 72nd hole to gain a spot in the four-hole playoff. He makes back-to-back birdies on the first two holes of the playoff to eventually win the British Open for his second career major victory. He was gracious in his acceptance speech and quite possibly may secure a spot in the Hall of Fame with his phenomenal ability to perform under pressure time after time.

The storylines were endless and the Old Course at St. Andrews with it’s famed “Road Hole” and infamous weather conditions provided us with one of the most dramatic events in Major history. The Old Course where the game was born was the true winner of this British Open and I have to put it on my bucket list of places to play. Thanks to the R&A for putting on such a spectacular show, this was one for the memory books.

Mark Guttenberg is the PGA Director of Instruction for Raspberry Golf Schools at Bull Run Golf Club in Haymarket. A former PGA Tour player, Mark has been ranked the No. 1 instructor in Virginia by Golf Digest magazine. Contact Mark at 703-327-7288 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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