No fairytale return for former Troon champions
There were to be no fairy tale returns to Royal Troon this week for the last three players to be crowned Champion Golfer of the Year on the hallowed Ayrshire links.
It seemed particularly appropriate to have Mark Calcavecchia, Justin Leonard and Todd Hamilton - in order, the winners of The Open in 1989, 1997 and 2004 – playing the first two rounds of The 145TH Open together. It was a shame, then, that none of the three made the halfway cut.
While the American trio probably enjoyed the chance to compare notes, recall tales of derring-do, and reflect on what, for each of them, was the best competitive week of their lives, there would also have been more than a tinge of disappointment.
It was Leonard who looked most likely to make it through to the weekend after a one under par first round of 70 left him only four strokes off second place. In today’s tougher conditions, however, he had a second round of 78 and finished the day on six over par and out of The Open.
Interestingly, Leonard’s playing partners finished on the same score. Calcavecchia had rounds of 73 and 75, while Hamilton had rounds of 75 and 73.
Other Champion Golfers of the Year from the distant past who have missed the cut are John Daly, Sandy Lyle and Ben Curtis, while David Duval pulled out before the start of the round due to injury.