We didn't get an instant classic at The Open Championship, but we certainly have plenty to talk about. Time for our weekly rundown:
Louis Oosthuizen: Let's not overrate the Cinderella Factor here - he was 54th in the world before winning at St. Andrews. Calm player, big hitter, humble guy, could be another Retief Goosen story. This doesn't mean Louie Louie will necessarily win another major, but he's not going to go all Todd Hamilton on us. This guy can play.
Rickie Fowler: His tournament should have ended after a first-round 79, but he rallied for a miraculous 54-hole finish (67-71-67) and wound up tied for 14th. To put this in perspective, Fowler was two shots better than Oosthuizen over the final three days. Everyone knows about Fowler's ridiculous skill set and his speedy pace of play, but his biggest asset might be his ignorance to the fact that golf is, indeed, difficult for some people. He plays like he's fearless and bulletproof, and it shows.
Nick Watney: He's just 27th on the money list but has made 14-of-17 checks and is showing increased versatility in his game, the adaptability to win on different courses under different challenges. He's going to eventually be a regular contender in majors; he's still young enough to become a star.
Darren Clarke: A third-round 77 took him out of the mix, but for the most part he looked back in form, his joie de vivre intact. We missed you, big guy.
ESPN Coverage: It wasn't necessarily a grand slam - at times they did too much contextualizing at the expense of on-course action - but the gross amount of hours mean a lot, and for the most part the assembled team was strong. Mike Tirico makes it all go as host and traffic cop - sometimes we forget just how smooth, researched and calm he is - and anytime we get the chance to listen to Andy North for four days, we're going to learn something. Curtis Strange still has too many empty comments in the day, but Paul Azinger is slowly but surely evolving into the gig. Tom Weiskopf also broke off a few snappy lines; his personality seemed to fit the event perfectly.
Tiger Woods: The ball-striking was there most of the week and the will to win is always present. The putting has always been his ace in the hole - no one ever made more of those critical 8-15 footers, not even Jack - but give Woods time. All of 2010 is essentially his practice round anyway; when he gets a clear head sometime into 2011, he'll remind everyone that he's still the most talented, and hungry, player of all time. A golfer in his mid-30s is still in the midst of his peak, considering all the current advancements in fitness, diet and health.
Lee Westwood: You shouldn't hold contention against him, especially in a week where someone runs away and hides from the field. Westwood knows he has a major in him sometime in the next five years, it's just a matter of getting a week where a few breaks go his way.
Phil Mickelson: Playing across the pond just isn't his thing - he's still got one single Top 10 at The Open Championship for his career. Say this for Phil, though - he said all the right things in the interview room, he didn't blame the course or the weather for his mediocre play, and he certainly wants to be a factor here. But thus far, that hasn't been enough. Short memory here friends - Whistling Straits is a track made for Lefty, and he's the logical favorite at the PGA.
Jim Furyk: He'll always get high marks for his resolve and guts, but the design of golf in The UK will never be a tidy fit for what Furyk does best. It's amazing that he's found a way to record five Top 10s across the pond, but it wasn't that surprising when he missed the cut five straight times in this event in the middle of the 2000s. Furyk's not done winning majors, but it's probably going to come at a U.S. Open or a PGA.
Geoff Ogilvy: When does a bad start to a season simply become a lost season? Ogilvy's probably at that point now. The strange thing is that he's actually having a respectable year with his irons (41st in GIR) and the putter (54th in putting average), but a leaky year with the driver is taking its toll.