This Week on Golf Tours Around the World
We all know how big last week was for the PGA and the international field of top golfers. We know that it didn’t disappoint, and in fact, sated us so well that we, in a sense, turned off the channel, oblivious to all the other events taking place around the world, some of them very interesting if for no other reason than the venue.
The LPGA maintained its profile in the face of the men’s Open in Scotland, but even that didn’t tell the whole story of a very busy golf week, one which is continuing as obscure tournaments, to a greater or lesser degree, continue.
In Britain, one would think that the competitive temperature would be lowered, now that Phil and the gang have gone home. However, the old guys decided they hadn’t had enough, and are duking it out at Royal Lytham in Southport. For the record, Gene Sauer leads at three under with a first round 67. The event is held on a course of enormous repute and difficulty, and as you would expect, features some of the best scenery England has to offer.
Over in the states, Woody Austin has emerged from his first victory in 2007, with a triumph at the Sanderson Farms Playoff in Madison, Wisconsin. For his efforts, he pulled down a check of more than half a million, not bad at all for a player who has missed every single cut this year. This event is played at the Annandale Golf Club in Madison, Wisconsin. So, who knew, outside of the region, that this thing was going on? Check out the course – it’s quite beautiful, and the field was at least credible.
Ok, here’s one that might surprise. If I asked you to name a country that was holding its Open this week, what would your top three guesses be? How does this roll off the tongue – the Moscow Country Club? I’ll say it again – the Moscow Country Club. First of all, remember that Russia has a summer like almost everyone else, short as it might be, and there’s a lot of beautiful countryside to be found in the vast country. To my further surprise, I learned that this tournament wasn’t established yesterday. It’s been played since 1933, and became a professional tournament in 1994. I was there around that time, and didn’t have a clue that it existed. Incidentally, Simon Dyson leads with a 67. Apparently, the purse is sizeable enough to attract some pretty good folks.
Finally, Oakville, Ontario has a little thing going on this week called the Canadian Open. Sounds like a serious tournament, and it is. Every time I pull up a photo of any golf course in Ontario, it strikes me as special. Somebody up there knows how to build them. Brendan Steele is leading after a 65 in the first round. Golf through the summer and into the fall is special at that longitude, and dispels any notion that the autumn begins at the southern border.
It’s all a demonstrative sign that golf is globalizing at a faster rate than, perhaps, we thought. New tournaments are being born each year, and although some of them will not survive, others will grow into stellar calendar dates on several continents. Almost no one in the world is so isolated from the game these days that they know nothing of it. Cultures are adding it, almost as an experiment, and age-old golfing lands such as Canada are refining their events every year. We may be following the main event, but should be aware that “Opens” are happening almost everywhere.