Europe delivers a warning

Take Woods out of the field and what do you have? A fantastic performance from our boys and a warning to the Yanks

Martin Park
Mon, 19 Jun 2000

Imagine for a minute that Tiger Woods, for some reason decided not to play in the US Open this week. It would have looked like a European Tour event with a few American guests!

The leaderboard was stacked with Europe's finest golfers over the weekend and showed that we are ready to match, and spank, the Yanks at every opportunity in Major Championships from now on.

Sterling performances from Jimenez, Westwood, Harrington, Els and of course England's favourite golfing hero Nick Faldo outplayed the majority of the American might, only Woods salvaging any respect for the Ryder Cup winners.

It goes to show the quality in depth of the European Tour and that our venues, while they suffer from poor weather occasionally, create a better player, not just a fairways and greens type player such as is required in the USA.

Pebble Beach, predominately a links venue, gave rise to the ability of our boys to play in all conditions and still score well. None more so than plucky Irishman Padraig Harrington, who but for a poor run around the turn on Sunday at Pebble, may well have clinched second place alone.

“We’ve got good players in Europe," said Harrington who tied for fifth place.
"Three of the majors are in the states, and generally, they don’t suit the European style of playing. Not necessarily what we play on now, but the courses we were brought up on were always hard and fast. And this course was that. That's why we're up there."

Wind, fog and rain helped the European boys feel at home this week and the class of an all round golfer shone through as some of the best grinders out there from this side of the pond claimed six out of the top eight places.

In seventh place all on his own was one of the finest grinders the game has ever seen, Faldo, links specialist and one of the best manipulators of a golf ball when he hits top form.
"We’re sort of used to bumping around in the wind and scrambling around a lot,” said Faldo.

Even the Americans agree. CBS TV Commentator and qualifier for this weeks US Open Bobby Clampett said:
"'This is a shot-makers golf course. They have to play in more wind and that forces them to be better shot makers."

John Huston in fourth place also agreed:
"I think this is probably closer to the conditions that they're used to, especially yesterday, it was very difficult. I think that it showed just how good they are, when there are adverse conditions like that."

And if you were not convinced, why don’t you listen to a neutral too. Nick Price knows his way around difficult courses as his three Major victories show.
"You've got to give credit where credit is due." Said the 1994 Open Champion.

After all, it was a great week for the European players and bodes well for the next big one at St Andrews where, if the R&A turn on the wind machine, our boys will be vying for a British or European Champion once again. But it seems that only one man can stop them taking home a Claret Jug and Tiger Woods will be giving his all to take home the last piece of his Grand Slam jigsaw puzzle!



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