British Open Preview: Living In A World Without Tigers

This year, please welcome back Shane Bacon, golfing bon vivant from Dogs That Chase Cars, as he gives us a fantastic preview to this year's British Open. It can still be interesting without Tiger. Right?

In case you haven’t heard, the British Open won’t have Tiger Woods, which means 98 percent of anyone that even remotely cared about golf won’t anymore. It’s going to be like that threesome your wife finally agrees to only to have to pack up all the sex toys and excess lube because the other girl had to cancel. Yippee, missionary with the wife again, a trip to Jamba Juice is spicier.

For the people that care about golf with or without Woods, it might actually be interesting. The big question for a decade has been who will battle Mr. Woods, and since the only two people to come remotely close were a Fijian with a putting problem and a lefty with a weight problem, the talk has flamed out. Now, for the first time since ”Hello World” we have no idea who the favorite is.

Some extremely intelligent pundits have looked at Sergio Garcia, who battled hard in the British Open last year until he realized he was, well, Sergio Garcia and decided to putt like his real identity. Garcia eventually lost to one of the only sports characters I think could change from real life to cartoon and look the exact same, Padraig Harrington. El Nino won at the Players Championship this year and immediately thanked Tiger Woods for giving someone else a chance to win, which does show that he’s good at winning when Tiger is out of the equation. That or he’s just delusional. You know, whatever.

Some other people are favoring South African Ernie Els, maybe because they let their Apple laptop run out of battery and it started up with some date from 10 years ago. Els won this event in 2002, and that’s about the last thing you’ve heard about Ernie.

Others have even gone as far as to pick, wait for it, Phil Mickelson to win a British Open! I’d have a better chance against Robert “Tractor” Traylor in a, well, “man” contest before Lefty wins one of these things. He has one top-10 at the British ever and finished a cool 79th when the event was held at Royal Birkdale last time. Also, with Phil there are only three certainties you can bank on – slick hair, an In-N-Out burger stop and the fact that his wife will always be that couple’s diamond in the rough.

Also, you have to love Kenny Perry at Royal Birkdale. The guy is playing the best golf of anyone on tour and really seems to be in tune with his game right now. You know, you never bet against a guy that has won three of his last five tournaments. Oh boy, this guy could really light it up come Sunday. Could you imagine him adding a Claret Jug to his trophy collection? It would be a dream scenario for the 47-year-old.

This might be a cheap pick, but I think it’s another year for a random golfer. You can have your Garcias, Mickelsons and Ernies, I’ll grab Andres Romero, Lee Westwood and Nick Dougherty.

I know it isn’t going to be the same without Tiger in the field. This was a perfect storm for Team Tiger, as his good buddy Mark O’Meara won this event in 1998 with current swing coach Hank Haney working with him at the time. Woods would probably win this thing with some contrary approach to the golf course that nobody thought of, like hitting punch six-irons off the tee to a spot where he can hit another six iron or driving the ball in completely different fairways, because that’s what Tiger does (he’s smart).

For golfers, the British Open is the best scheduled event of the year. You wake up on Saturday and Sunday, check out all the coverage while in bed and still can knock out nine holes after it’s all wrapped up. It’s like Christmas morning without having to actual interact with family members.

So, enjoy the Tiger-less and Kenny-less British this weekend. If nothing else, it’s one more weekend closer to the start of college football.