During the leadup to Sunday’s finale of The 150th Open, the media was storifying Rory McIlroy as the “savior of St Andrews” who would become “immortal” when he hoisted a second Claret Jug.
His victory was also going to be a big middle finger to the LIV Golf tour. The media won’t admit it, especially now that it failed spectacularly, but this is exactly what the entire week in Scotland was leading up to. It would be McIlroy’s Canadian Open victory smugness on steroids.
“This is a day I’ll remember for a long, long time. Two Open Championship wins, the same as somebody else.” – Rory around this time tomorrow
— claire rogers (@kclairerogers) July 16, 2022
It’s why the R&A treated 24-TIME TOUR WINNER Dustin Johnson (135 weeks at world No.1, third all time), “like garbage,” according to his brother and caddie, while 21-TIME TOUR WINNER McIlroy was celebrated as a conquering hero.
“It was going to be a Game of Thrones type victory celebration,” said one unnamed player who still has a semi allegiance to the tour.
On Sunday, the pre-planned coronation was actually playing out, with the anointed one, McIlroy, on the cusp of an historic victory for golf’s gatekeepers. But then a fearless Aussie named Cam Smith, mullet and all, took a page from his iconic compatriot, and attacked the back nine at the Old Course like a shark on fresh chum, fiercely yanking the Claret Jug right out of the Golden Boy’s hands.
I reached out to a source close to the Norman camp and asked about the LIV Golf CEO’s reaction.
“I’m told, he’s absolutely ecstatic with the results: a. that Cam won and b. how Cam won. Period. Unlike Rory after Canada, Greg took the high road. Look at his public statement: Rory is not mentioned at all (so don’t get cute!),” wrote the source via text.
Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi! 🇦🇺🏆 A spectacular final round mate. A triumph for you and for Australia as the first Australian to win in 29 years. You’re in good company 🙂 Enjoy every moment of your @TheOpen victory @CameronSmithPGA. #TheOpen #thatwinningfeeling pic.twitter.com/GIdvhLpPVa
— Greg Norman (@SharkGregNorman) July 17, 2022
The source added, “The golf gods came through, though.”