Special to ESPN Golf Online
Sunday, July 23
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland -- Ernie Els is on his way to the Secondary Slam. That's second place in all four major championships.
|No more envy|
|It was two years ago when Mark O'Meara hoisted the Claret Jug, winning his second major championship of the year at the British Open after claiming The Masters. O'Meara defeated Brian Watts in a playoff that day. One shot behind was Tiger Woods. O'Meara and Woods flew back to the United States together, and O'Meara recalled just how much Woods envied the trophy. "He held it and he knew that he wanted it someday," O'Meara said. "I think he was happy for me that I'd won as a friend, but yet I think he realized in his mind that he wanted to see his name printed on that trophy very soon. "Certainly, this year after the way he played at the U.S. Open and then coming here to the Open Championship at St. Andrews, he knew it would be special. He knew he would be the heavy favorite, and sometimes that amount of pressure is just tremendous. But he plays with a lot of poise. He handles himself exceptionally well on the golf course and I'm proud of that."|
There is talk that American players could have their own British Open qualifier in the United States. Presently, those players who have not earned a spot in the Open Championship can attempt to qualify at one of four 36-hole events staged the Sunday and Monday before the tournament. "I'm very concerned that the players from 50 to 100 in the World Rankings are reluctant to come over for pre-qualifying," said Hugh Campbell, chairman of the Open Championship committee. "We are taking serious steps to have either a qualifying event in the States or use one of the regular U.S. tour events itself as a qualifier offering a certain number of places." If that happens, would the U.S. Open consider staging some sort of qualifying in Europe? Just wondering. Avoiding the sand
The conditions were benign all week, making the Old Course play quite easy for the best golfers in the world. But it did have one defense: the bunkers. "The bunkers are like silos," said five-time Open champion Tom Watson. "They're very vertical and I don't understand how the average player can get out of them. They are very, very tough and it is going to ruin a lot of rounds of golf if you get into these bunkers because of the severity of them. "But if you avoid the bunkers, obviously like Tiger is doing, you are going to succeed." Enough said
Some folks never learn. Taking a page from the Ben Wright, politically incorrect book, BBC golf commentator Peter Allis stunned viewers of last week's Loch Lomond event when he made audible "tom-tom-tom" noises when Notah Begay III hooked a drive into the rough. Begay is a Native American. "Those in executive positions should think hard about whether they want to employ a person who does this sort of thing," Begay said. "I've tried not to be too offended, but I'd certainly prefer it didn't happen. ... It was completely out order." Coming to America
Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez has decided to join several of his European counterparts by playing on the PGA Tour next year. The European Ryder Cup member who has been a top-five finisher the last two seasons on the Order of Merit hopes there is a rules change that allows players like him a chance to earn points in America. "I want to play both tours next year, and I think the money you earn wherever you are in the world should count," said Jimenez, who tied for second last month at the U.S. Open. Streaking to a finish
The unofficial streaker count for the week came to five, with the best being saved for last Sunday, at least in terms of elusiveness. Just before Woods made his stroll up the 18th fairway of the Old Course, a woman wearing only her eyeglasses somehow made it all the way from the Swilken Burn to the putting surface, where she circled the pin several times before being apprehended. "It's a shame," Woods said. "It's a special moment that I did not want interrupted. I did not really feel that great about it." Chip shots
Bob Harig, who covers golf for the St. Petersburg Times, writes a column every Tuesday for ESPN Golf Online.
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