First, we have to bid farewell to Scotland, the Renaissance Club and the Scottish Open.
Suffice to say the event concluded with a choke-fest of major proportions.
The darn thing ended with Bernd Wiesberger, the Austrian Flash, tied with non-winner Benjamin Hebert of France, no relation to Jay and Lionel.
Wiesberger botched a regulation victory when he missed a five-footer for par at the 71st hole after a birdie at the 70th gave him a one-shot lead over the 62-shooting Frenchman.
Bernd was 23-under until he messed up what looked like a routine up-and-down at 18. He made bogey and opened the door for Benjie to get his first European Tour win.
And what a horrible playoff it turned out to be. Hebert looked like he’d put Wiesberger out of his misery instantly with a second shot into 18 (first playoff hole) that was five feet away from birdie and victory. Wiesberger made par and looked ready to shake Hebert’s hand until Benjie blew the five-footer.
More of the same the next go-round. Bernd Wiesberger lived up to his nickname — Burnt Cheeseburger — by making bogey. Benjie had a tad outside three feet for the win. Of course he missed that one as well.
Could someone stop the insanity?
Both players hit the green in regulation the third go-round. Wiesberger was 40 feet out and nestled his first putt to three feet. Benjie putted from about 30 feet and left himself four feet short.
Everyone knew what was coming. Of course Benjie missed yet another one and Wiesberger found a way to wobble his par putt in for the victory.
Probably left the Scottish fans shaking their heads, aghast at what they had witnessed.
While that fiasco was unfolding, there was more excitement over in Ireland.
Air Eldrick took off from Florida Saturday night and arrived on the Emerald Isle Sunday morning. In less than two hours, one Tiger Woods hauled his stiff, aching, trans-Atlantic body out to the course and joined up with Patrick Reed.
The two Americans took in Royal Portrush for the first time, Tiger paid special attention to all the areas around the greens and spent a lot of time practicing various chips, pitches, bumps and runs.
Keep in mind that Woods hasn’t played a competitive round of golf since June 16th at Pebble Beach.
That has left the golf world wondering if the owner of 15 major championships can be considered a serious factor this week when the Open Championship begins on Thursday.
One of the fish-wrappers over there asked former Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley to write a piece on favorites this week at Royal Portrush.
McGinley wrote this about Mr. Woods:
“I wouldn’t rush to put any money on Tiger Woods. I don’t understand what’s going on with the Masters champion. Since April, he has entered just one tournament outside the majors — the Memorial in late May. That is bizarre. There must be something physically amiss we don’t know about because even in the zenith of his career 20 years ago he couldn’t have expected to contend for the big championships with so few competitive rounds under his belt.”
Makes perfect sense. Woods, since winning the Masters, missed the cut at the PGA and didn’t factor at the U.S. Open.
Which brings us to the final major of the year.
Paul Azinger will be working for NBC and The Golf Channel and he’s not big on Woods either. In fact, Zinger doesn’t think Woods will win again — ever.
“I am not quite as high on Tiger as I was before he won the Masters because of the mountain-top experience,’’ Azinger said. “I’m never going to count Tiger out of the majors. He won the Masters. but it felt like it made him too content. It’s the most content I’ve ever seen him. Tiger has never looked satisfied.
“Don’t get me wrong, he’s happy in the moment, celebrating big shots,” Azinger explained. “But the next day, he’s moving on. This Masters, he’s not moving on yet. That was such a mountain-top experience, I think it’s going to be hard for Tiger to ever win anything again.”
Pretty drastic considering that, after all, Tiger Woods is still Tiger Woods.
And that makes him, as Gary Koch might say — better than most.