The 150th edition of the Open Championship, a.k.a. the British Open, returns to St. Andrews, Scotland for the 30th time July 14 – 17.
The undisputed “Home of Golf,” the Old Course at St. Andrews is the original links from which all other courses are derived. It’s been theorized that long ago, shepherds upturned their crooks and knocked rocks into rabbit holes on the hillocky seaside terrain to pass the time.
Golf was first played at St Andrews in the early 15th century. In 1457, King James II of Scotland banned golf because he claimed young men were playing too much and neglecting their archery practice. This ban was upheld until 1502, when King James IV became a golfer himself and lifted the ban. (By comparison, Palmilla Golf Club, the ‘Grande Dame of Los Cabos,’ opened in 1992).
Depending on the weather, which can be bonnie or blustery (sometimes both on the same day), the Old Course can be charming or ornery. When a brisk sea wind sweeps across the fairways, the game’s seminal links must be treated with respect to produce a good score.
Here’s what to watch for at the sport’s oldest and most venerable championship.photo credit - District MX
- The Venue. Rarely is it love at first sight at the Old Course. Scruffy around the edges, this rumpled rug of a links occupies a subtly undulating landscape on the shores of the North Sea. It lacks the kind of visual drama found at Cabo’s top courses, but it does begin and end in the heart of a medieval town. A few of the holes have massive shared fairways wider than the length of a football field. Seven huge double greens with different colored flags (one for the front 9, the other for the back 9) are a key feature. The course is sprinkled with 112 bunkers, many of them hidden from view. Several have names, like Hell and the Coffins. Even the world’s best players avoid these sandy pits, some the size of hot tubs, others big enough to bury a bus, at all costs.
- The Contenders. Much attention will be focused on Tiger Woods, who skipped the U.S. Open at Brookline to prepare himself for the season’s final major. If his surgically repaired leg holds up, it’s likely he’ll make the cut and possibly even contend for the title. After all, Woods triumphed at St. Andrews in 2000 and 2005. His physical prowess may be diminished, but the Old Course is a relatively flat links that’s easy to walk. A master strategist, Tiger knows how to safely tack his way around the ancient links. If his putter gets hot, he could be a factor come Sunday. Other notables in the field: Scottie Scheffler, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa, Rory McIlroy, Will Zalatoris, Cameron Smith, Hideki Matsuyama, Shane Lowry, and Matt Fitzpatrick.ç
- The Viewing Experience. The Open Championship will be broadcast on NBC. The Golf Channel will carry pre- and post-round highlights. Given the time difference between Los Cabos and Scotland (Cabo is seven hours behind British Summer Time), you may be ordering a breakfast burrito vs. a fish taco. But it’s worth rising early to watch this one-of-a-kind tournament, where the ball is played along the ground on firm mottled turf, and where the most creative players often excel.
Here’s our pick of the best sports bars in Los Cabos to watch the Open Championship over breakfast.
- Tanga Tanga. Situated on Blvd. Paseo de la Marina in downtown Cabo San Lucas next to Nik-San, the renowned sushi restaurant, this open-air sports bar and restaurant, a fixture for 24 years, is lively at all hours. Open for breakfast. The house specialty is crab cake. Sit at the bar or take a table, there are TV’s everywhere. Parking is available.
- Grand Solmar Land’s End. The Sports Bar at this Land’s End hotel in Cabo San Lucas, located off the lobby, is a best-kept secret. Nicely appointed with comfortable banquettes and a spacious bar, the Sports Bar offers a superb breakfast menu, with fresh juices, a selection of coffees and a good range of entrees, from custom omelettes to a delicious Chilaquiles Burrito
- Shooters Sports Bar & Grill. Located on the corner of Manuel Doblado and Blvd. Mijares in San Jose Centro Plaza, this popular open-air rooftop establishment has partially covered outdoor seating and 10 flat-screen TV’s. Opens at 9:00 a.m. Good selection of North American cuisine (Shooters is Canadian-owned) and Mexican favorites. Glance away from the golf and you’ll be treated to excellent views of the plaza, distant mountains and downtown square.photo credit - Sports Bar at Grand Solmar Land´s End