Dispatches from Scotland, where the British Open is over and gone but where I remain, at least until Thursday:
Here's a question to ponder: If Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson had won the British Open in the way Louis Oosthuizen did - by seven shots in a performance that bleached the drama out of the event - how different would the perception be?
Because it was Oosthuizen, the tournament became a bore. Had Tiger done the same thing, we'd be talking (and I'd be writing) about it being one of the most dominating performances of his career. Granted, Tiger has 14 majors, Oosthuizen now has one.
It's too bad the tournament wasn't better from a spectator standpoint. It fell flat, even at the Old Course. Tournament officials felt it, everyone felt it.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The News & Observer
There were empty sections in the massive grandstands. Part of it was because of the generally foul weather. Another part was an attendance dip this year, though more than 200,000 fans were on site through the week.
The changes to the Road Hole - the extra length from a new tee - worked just fine. The hole remains one of the hardest pars in golf, and I don't think putting the tee back compromised anything.
Did Oosthuizen get a break with the weather?
Of course. But that's part of tournament golf and especially at the Open, where they still insist upon starting every player from the first tee. If they double-teed them as they do at every other event (starting on Nos.1 and 10 in morning and afternoon waves), it might have helped even out the conditions.
As it was, Oosthuizen seemed to catch a bad break playing midday Thursday when conditions began to worsen, but he got the best of it by far Friday morning before the winds came howling.
Conditions change. At Hilton Head Island, S.C., each April, the players who play early on Thursday and Friday almost always shoot lower scores because the wind picks up during the afternoon. Early players also get the best greens.
British Open officials say they don't intend to start double-teeing players, though it would be a nice move because it would make for a shorter day for everyone and make the conditions closer to equal.
Having heard so much about how great Kingsbarns Golf Club is, I got to see it Saturday and it is spectacular. It is about 5 miles down the coast from St. Andrews, Scotland, and it's among the best courses I've ever played.
The setting is stunning, and they did a terrific job of fitting a fair course into an extraordinary location.
It's so good that several PGA Tour players were there Saturday and Sunday while waiting to catch the charter back to the Canadian Open. Gary Player was there on Sunday, as were Mike Weir, Scott Verplank and Ryan Moore, among others. And Verplank played Kingsbarns after playing the final round of the British Open that morning.