Thirty years of pain beckoned as 1992 was the last time an Englishman tasted Open glory when Nick Faldo triumphed at Muirfield… with top performing home player Paul Casey getting 10 shots off winner Collin Morikawa
- Tommy Fleetwood, Danny Willett and Justin Rose Threatened Before They Dropped Out
- Paul Casey was the best placed Englishman, with Bob MacIntyre the best Brit
- The 24-year-old Scot finished in the top 10 – his second-best major finish
- Lee Westwood now holds the unwanted record of 88 majors without a win
There were seven Englishmen on the track in the afternoon sun, although they weren’t crazy enough to hang out too long.
With not a cloud in the sky, the mercury touching 30°C and a little breeze drifting in from the North Sea, it felt like a day to watch instead of golf, and at the end of a tough week domestic protagonists seemed to agree.
The Garden of England has not provided fertile ground for an English challenge as the long wait for a home champion continues.
Nick Faldo was the last English winner of The Open in 1992 at Muirfield after carding -12
Paul Casey was the highest placed Englishman at -5 – 10 shots behind winner Collin Morikawa
By the time this traveling circus arrives in St Andrews next summer for its 150th anniversary extravaganza, it will be 30 years since The Open spawned an English champion, a bleak milestone that may necessitate a call to Baddiel and Skinner.
Nick Faldo’s replica Claret Jug from Muirfield may be shiny, but it’s time for one of his compatriots to get within easy reach of the real thing.
Tommy Fleetwood, Danny Willett and Justin Rose all threatened to challenge and keep up with the leaders on the opening day with rounds of three under par, but none could hold the momentum.
On Sunday afternoon, it was left to Paul Casey and Andy Sullivan to battle for the unofficial title of domestic top dog, although both were defeated by Scotsman Bob MacIntyre, who matched his impressive six birdies on Saturday to finish seven under for The Championship.
MacIntyre couldn’t quite join the chasers, but the 24-year-old will still be overjoyed at his top 10 finish, his second-best finish in a major after tied for sixth at The Open in Portrush two years ago .
Casey lost his duel with outgoing champion Shane Lowry, who shot ahead of him to finish six under, but was still the best-placed Englishman, two strokes ahead of Sullivan.
Veteran Lee Westwood has gone 88 majors without tasting victory – a new record
Fleetwood and Willett finished two under, with Rose falling back to the equalizer after posting a score of three over, out in 42 strokes before storming home in just 31.
Lee Westwood finished with two left and set the unwelcome record of playing in the most majors without winning – 88.
This was his best year financially, winning over £3.6million – mostly in America after staying out of the UK during Covid. But it has come with an award.
“I’ve played as many tournaments at this point in the year as I’ve played in the past three or four seasons,” said the 48-year-old. “It’s just too much.”
Ian Poulter immersed himself in Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton’s crash after his lap
Ian Poulter shot an impressive 68 to finish three under, but seemed more interested in events elsewhere.
After finishing with a putt for par on 18th, the 45-year-old took his phone out of his caddy and it soon became apparent that he was watching clips of the British Grand Prix and the crash that left Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen were involved.
The dangers Formula 1 drivers expose themselves to on a daily basis make Championship golf look like a walk in the park, although even a pleasant Sunday stroll was hard work.