- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 16, 2009

LEADER BOARD

Weather - down

Wednesday’s pluperfect weather (sunny and 70s) guarantees a nasty opener

Carping - up

“Cheatgate” spat between Sandy Lyle and Colin Montgomerie is quality sport

Threepeats - down

Even Harrington seems to know he hasn’t got a prayer

Rough - up

The primary defense of perhaps the easiest course in the Open rotation

20-somethings - up

Golf has never had a better or deeper group of young players

QUOTABLE

“It would be nice to be above dirt.”

- Tiger Woods on whether he could imagine contending at 53 like Greg Norman did last year at Birkdale

“I take one or two points off of her, but when she wants to win five or six or 10 in a row, she can do that easily, too. We still play every day as much as we can.”

- Greg Norman on his daily tennis matches with wife, Chris Evert

“I’m only going to be carrying one.”

- Sergio Garcia, quipping when asked how many drivers he would be using around Turnberry

BY THE NUMBERS

19 Scores of 65 or better posted in Turnberry’s three previous British Opens. Courtesy of its benign greens, the Ailsa Course always has been susceptible to low scores when the wind doesn’t protect it.

13 Years since a European player won three consecutive events. Seve Ballesteros strung three wins together in 1986 (Irish Open, Monte Carlo Open, French Open), and Germany’s Martin Kaymer is attempting to match that feat this week after collecting back-to-back wins at the French and Scottish opens.

2-13 Official odds of Tiger Woods finishing in the top 10 this week. Such laughably short odds would be a shocker had Woods not notched 18 consecutive top-10 finishes in stroke-play events dating to a tie for 12th at the 2007 British Open.

POSTCARD FROM TURNBERRY

How revered is Tiger Woods among the British media? James Lawton, the senior golf columnist for the Independent, refers to Woods in all of his copy as “The Tiger.” …

Six-time major champion Nick Faldo is listed on this week’s pairing sheet as “Sir Nick Faldo.” Knighted by the queen last month, Faldo might be the least chivalrous man who ever wielded a club. …

A favorite subplot this week is the sniping going on between Scotland’s two living golfing legends, Sandy Lyle and Colin Montgomerie. Still rankled by being passed over for Monty as 2010 Ryder Cup captain, Lyle reminded everyone who would listen at last week’s Scottish Open that Montgomerie cheated in the 2005 Jakarta Open, taking an obviously illegal drop after a delay.

The Monty camp was furious at the comment and its timing, prompting Lyle to read a halfhearted apology Tuesday. After reading his statement, Lyle then invalidated the gesture by adding: “It’s not like I’m fabricating [this]. It’s all been well-documented. It’s all on video.”

Lyle’s crocodile apology poured fuel on the flames for the British tabloids, and one Scottish writer lamented the fact that this week’s tournament could go down as “the big fat cheater’s Open.”

ROARING 20s

Many of the hottest players entering this week’s 138th British Open are among the game’s younger set. More than a third of the game’s top players (nine of the top 26) are in their 20s, giving golf arguably its deepest group of young talent:

Player (age), countryRankWins* Major top-10s

Sergio Garcia (29), Spain 5 13 15

Martin Kaymer (24), Germany 11 4 0

Camilo Villegas (27), Colombia 12 2 2

Sean O’Hair (27), U.S. 13 3 1

Anthony Kim (24), U.S. 15 2 1

Lucas Glover (29), U.S.19 2 1

Ross Fisher (28), England 21 2 1

Rory McIlroy (20), N. Ireland 22 1 1

Hunter Mahan (27), U.S. 26 1 3

• PGA and European tour victories

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