Today is the first round of the British Open and, for once, Tiger-less nations seem to think their guys have more than the standard long-shot. A Times of London column (Could this be the year that a Briton raises the Claret Jug?) featured in the RCS Morning Edition exemplifies the international golf community's new optimism.
In recent years, the British have had a tough go at trying to win their own national golf championship. In fact, the last Brit to win the open was Nick Faldo, sixteen years ago. Thus this year, it seems, may be the last best hope to end the drought -- at least until Woods retires.
Other international media outlets feel similarly.
The Australian Associated Press is hopeful that native Geoff Ogilvy (the world's #3 player), will capture his second major (Birkdale happy hunting ground for Australia):
A PROUD history at Royal Birkdale, a strong contingent and no Tiger Woods.
Add to that a defending champion under an injury cloud and all factors point to the best chance in years of an Australian winning golf's oldest major when players tee off this afternoon.
Even Spain's Diario de Sevilla is "optimismo" about the chances for Miguel Ángel Jiménez or Sergio's first major "la victoria" (Jiménez y García, entre los candidatos a la victoria en el Open Británico):
La ausencia de Tiger Woods, el buen momento de Miguel Ángel Jiménez y la madurez de Sergio García, inivitan al optimismo en el torneo que comienza mañana.
Sí. Sergio. Sí.
Meanwhile, without Tiger in the field, Americans -- well, the ones who still choose to watch -- are either rooting for Phil Mickelson to win his first British Open or, perhaps more boldly, for John Daly, 1995 British Open champion, to make his tee time:
Earlier this season, Daly, who also won the 1991 PGA Championship as the ninth alternate, spent most of a rain delay during the first round of the PODS Championship in Palm Harbor, Florida, in a Hooters Inc. hospitality tent.
When play resumed, Daly had Jon Gruden, coach of the National Football League's Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as his caddie. He missed the cut after a second-round 80. Harmon then said Daly was more interested in alcohol than golf.
The following week, Daly was disqualified from the Arnold Palmer Invitational for missing his tee time for the event's Pro-Am tournament. Daly said he was given the wrong information by a tournament official.