But the best major championship of the year? That one might be the one across the pond. The Masters is a tradition unlike any other, the U.S. Open is the toughest of all the tests, and the PGA Championship is glory's last shot, but the British Open, or Open Championship as most everyone else around the world calls it, is the one that might mean the most.
We dive in on why it's the best.
The winner is "the champion golfer of the year" -- Could you imagine a better title for a golfer? "Masters champion" is tough to beat, but Champion Golfer of the Year?! That is like being the president of pitches, the boss of bunkers, or the leader of lob wedges. No title beats "Champion Golfer of the Year," and to stand on that podium with the Claret Jug and hear that would give your goosebumps their own goosebumps.
Unlike a lot of majors in the United States, you can actually play most of the Open courses -- Do you want to play St. Andrews? Turnberry? Royal Troon, Carnoustie and all those English courses? All you really need is the scratch, a plane ticket and some good rain gear. Good luck trying to land a spot at Augusta, Winged Foot and Oakmont, but for a decent price all those Open courses are open to you, which is a pretty cool experience considering the history of this championship.
The Claret Jug -- There is no cooler trophy in golf and if you look past the green jacket, it's the coolest thing any golfer can have. The Claret Jug dates back to 1872 and has so many famous names on it even the Stanley Cup is jealous. The best quote about the Jug came from Mark Calcavecchia, who won the British in 1989 and said famously, "How's my name going to fit on that thing?"
All the shots you must have to compete -- If you're one of those guys that needs his 7-iron to fly 150 yards and stop, links golf is not for you, but if you enjoy being creative on a golf course, and pulling off some fun golf shots, this is the golf for you. Phil Mickelson talked during his Open press conference about his "hate-love" relationship with links golf, saying he initially hated it but loves it now because he "found" how to play the game this way. That's what it's about; going out, listening to your caddie, and trying golf shots you would never think to try while stateside.
The morning golf on TV -- Face it, nothing is better for a sports fan than waking up to live sports being on television. It's why the west coast is the best place to be during the NFL season, and why the Open, and a lot of the tennis Grand Slams, are so much fun. Waking up, flipping on the television and getting to see live golf is the best, and this is the one major that allows Americans to do that.
The fact that Mother Nature is always the favorite -- No matter who is the betting favorite for the week, it's Mother Nature's tournament to be had. If she wakes up, like the last time the Open was at the Muirfield, it could be game over for whoever lands the bad side of the draw, and that is always exciting heading into this week.
The final message on each leaderboard -- I love the "goodbye" message to the winner on those Open leaderboards each year, congratulating the champion while preparing us for the next venue.
Golf video from Yahoo! Sports:
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