The Open Championship: The 11th Storyline at Royal Liverpool GC at Hoylake

Andrew Redington

For many years, they met in rooms at the Royal Hotel on Stanley Road to lay the foundation of the Hoylake, England Club. The beginnings for all things at Royal Liverpool began in 1869 three years before Hanover Co, VA native Charles Landon Carter Minor became the first President of the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College. The Top 10 stories have garnered the media headlines today and Brendon de Jonge becomes the 11th

Blacksburg, VA's and Zimbabwe's son, PGA Tour professional Brendon de Jonge will make his debut at the 143rd Open Championship on July 17-20 at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England. Having missed out several times in the past since turning professional 11 years ago, Brendon earned his invitation to the world's oldest Major after an impressive 2013 season. We've followed de Jonge earlier this year in his first two major championships of the season, performing commendably on both occasions at The Masters and last month's US Open at Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina. In his first ever appearance at The Masters, he finished T38. A month later at the US Open, de Jonge led Africa's charge, finishing T28 ahead of South African major champions Ernie Els, Oosthuizen and Retief Goosen.  Although he has yet to taste victory on the PGA Tour, de Jonge has had a decent year, making the cut in all, but four of 21 tournaments he has played, while finishing in the top 10 twice. BDJ enters the Championship hoping to emulate his childhood hero Nick Price by winning the famous Claret Jug in the 1994 Open Championship at Turnberry in Scotland.

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From Phil Mickelson's attempt to repeat as Open Champion to Tiger's return from back surgery, the storylines and headline grabbing attention are as varied as those two's relationship. Tom Watson and Nick Faldo are set to stripe it against the likes of Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed against the sea and susceptible winds and rains along the heavily bunkered Royal Liverpool that's been chided as The Royal Pains.  They typical banter of the "Youth Movement" versus the "Veterans" gives all of us such a yawn-induced stupor. Worthy storylines and analogies include the question of whether an Englishman will ever taste from the Jug this decade,  and if Kaymer will continue his major run or will Rory McIlroy complete the 3rd leg of his career Grand Slam....yea yea whatever, we wanna see who's committing to the Maroon and Orange damnit!

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Bear with me ye stewards of the Blue Ridge - our ONLY storyline this weekend is - Will Brendon enjoy his 34th birthday Friday by competing on the weekend at the greatest Championship in golf? Mr. Consistent has a string of 10 consecutive cuts keeping him in the top 10 of that stat, but no other numbers rank him among the thoroughbreds in the field this week. His ball striking continues to show improvement as does his Par 5 performance. These two stats combined with a consistently good putting performance could find BDJ in the top 10 for his first Open Championship with the 2 of the final 3 holes being reasonable birdie opportunities. Brendon begins play Thursday in the 33rd group at 12:33 p.m. local with Kevin Streelman and Brendon Todd a shade before breakfast for most of us. Just remember they're not open on a Tuesday...no Rafferty's, no Caisleán Cloiche come back on Thursday...

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