Bril­liant fi­nale shows the sport at its best

The Scotsman - - Sport -

as well as con­tin­u­ing to make the ma­jors in par­tic­u­lar as fas­ci­nat­ing as ever for the older gen­er­a­tion.

In Spi­eth, the Open has another great cham­pion, not just in terms of the bril­liance he can pro­duce on the course, but also for the way he con­ducts him­self off it. Un­like some sport­ing su­per­stars – and that in­cludes Woods, I’m afraid – the Texan re­ally seems gen­uine and please don’t be fooled into think­ing it was games­man­ship on his part at the 13th hole in the fi­nal round as Spi­eth most cer­tainly isn’t that type.

That lengthy de­lay, cou­pled with Spi­eth’s sub­se­quent best-ever fin­ish in the event’s his­tory, will long be a talk­ing point as, of course, will Bran­den Grace’s feat in be­com­ing the first player to card a 62 in a men’s ma­jor with his stun­ning Satur­day ef­fort. As the South African was well on his way to that, I tweeted that what was in the off­ing should be “kept in per­spec­tive” due to the con­di­tions be­ing as easy as you will ever find on a links course and kicked up a so­cial me­dia storm in the process.

I have to hold my hands up and ad­mit, in­ex­cus­ably, that I had for­got­ten that no-one had beaten 63 in a ma­jor. There­fore, I apol­o­gise pro­fusely to all those I man­aged to up­set as golf­ing his­tory unfolded and doff my cap to Grace for go­ing one bet­ter than the score achieved in ma­jors by no fewer than 31 play­ers, in­clud­ing ten in the Open Cham­pi­onship alone.

I won­der if Martin Slum­bers also re­gret­ted some­thing from last week. It was out of char­ac­ter, af­ter all, for the R&A chief ex­ec­u­tive to be so vo­cif­er­ous as he de­scribed the BBC’S cov­er­age of the event as “tired and out­dated” as he at­tempted to heap praise on its new broad­cast part­ner, Sky Sports.

It’s doubt­ful that any­one would deny that, as an over­all pack­age and pro­duc­tion, the event has been taken to a new level, but its au­di­ence reach in this coun­try has dropped as a re­sult of it no longer be­ing on ter­res­trial tele­vi­sion. Now, the BBC has won the rights to broad­cast next month’s USPGA Cham­pi­onship at Quail Hol­low af­ter the PGA of Amer­ica’s ne­go­ti­a­tions with Sky Sports broke down and it will be fas­ci­nat­ing to see how the view­ing fig­ures for the two events com­pare.

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