By Robert Bicknell

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July 23, 2006

Monty and Nick are in for a long day at the Open…

Who says the R&A doesn’t have a sense of humour?

Ok, I did on more than a few occasions, but I’m gonna have to revise my opinion especially in light of the pairings for this year’s Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.

It takes a sadistic sense of humour to put two prima donnas like Tiger Woods and Nick Faldo together, especially since Faldo has been taking pot-shots at Woods from the broadcast booth. To say that Tiger is thin-skinned when it comes to his revamped golf swing would be a massive understatement, so expect those two to have a lot of fun together. Remember the last time someone wisecracked Woods…?

It was a year before Tiger let Fuzzy off the hook for the "fried chicken" comment..

While I used to take great delight in bashing Faldo in the old days for being a first-class prat, he matured into a genuinely nice guy and I’m always willing to give people a second chance. I’m hoping that playing with Tiger will rev-up Faldo’s tired, out-of-tune engine just one more time.

More evidence of the R&A’s humorous side surfaced by putting the ultra-sensitive Colin Montgomerie with John Daly.

For Monty, who gets rattled by butterflies in neighbouring meadows, this could be a match made in hell. Despite the fact that the British golfing public is as knowledgeable and polite as they come, you know there will be a few drunk lunatics following Daly around screaming "you da man".

Other than the physical resemblance, large and dumpy, they share a somewhat similar emotional resemblance as well…largely grumpy. Mrs Doubtfire meets Mr.Doubtfinish.

This year’s field is quite eclectic in terms of who has the best chances of winning. Tiger Woods is the defending champion, three-time champion Nick Faldo is there, as is Ernie Els who won at Muirfield in 2002.

Oh yeah, Phil is there too…

Mickelson claims to have prepared very well for this Open, so I gotta go with my gut instinct and say he doesn’t stand a prayer of winning. Look, all kidding aside, every time he’s that confident he screws up. Besides, Mickelson’s driving under pressure has been garbage lately and the way Royal Liverpool is set-up, he’s gonna suffer badly for his misses.

So, my prediction to win the Open is…Mrs. Doubtfire.

Yes, I honestly think the Colin Montgomerie has the best chance of winning The Open. He played a hell of a US Open and has some fire in his gut – which admittedly could be some Indian curry, but that’s neither here nor there. His record in the Ryder Cup is impeccable and he has something to prove, both to himself and the world.

Besides, the poor guy deserves to win a major, especially this one. If Monty can withstand the antics of Daly’s fans and not get dragged into turning the round into a long-drive contest, he might just be able to win the darned thing.

I also predict that David Duval is gonna break out of his shell in a spectacular way, or end up selling shoes. Sorry, but my crystal ball is cracked and difficult to read at times.

While perusing the entrants list, I glanced askew at the name of an Australian player who played his way into the Open via International Field Qualifying and, due to his name, he must be one very tough son-of-a-gun…Ben Bunny.

Ok, its too good to resist, so lets get these possible headlines out of the way early… "Bunny Hops Into Lead at Open", "Tiger Bugs Bunny"; "Faldo Makes Stew of Bunny in Playoff" and, of course, "The Rabbit Died".

Of course, due to the nature of the Open, Bunny just might surprise everyone and win the darn thing which would give Fleet Street’s headline writers a field day.

The last time the Open Championship was held at Royal Liverpool in 1967, it was won by Roberto de Vicenzo. Sadly, most people remember him, not for his Open win, but because he lost the Masters in 1968 to Bob Goalby by one stroke because he signed an incorrect scorecard and uttered the infamous line "What a stupid I am."

With that kind of history, you just KNOW this Open is gonna be special…


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