The 2015 Open will be remembered for the pure brutality of the Scottish summer weather. Whereas the early rain on Friday caused problems, it was the wind on Saturday, which turned out to be the real issue of the weekend.
The disruptions were so significant, that for the first time since 1988, the Open Championship rolled over to a Monday finish. Although there was wind and rain in abundance as St. Andrews, there was one thing missing and that was the world’s number one golfer. Rory McIlroy was forced to withdraw due to injury before the tournament started and this presented the new young star of golf, Jordan Spieth, with the opportunity to close in on the world number one spot.
However, it was another American, Dustin Johnson, who was setting the early pace, having carded a 65, 7 under par for the first round. Not to be out-done, Spieth was tucked two shots behind Johnson on 5 under, with a group of players, including Jason Day and Zach Johnson T2 on 6 under par.
Everything was set up for a great second round but rain delayed the start and this forced the second round in to Saturday. This proved to be costly for the likes of Johnson and Spieth, who started on Saturday morning, only to be called back to the club house due to high winds. Johnson dropped a shot and Spieth made two pars before the play was called to a halt. This led to some clear frustration, especially for Spieth, who let his feeling be known before he walked away. There was also the emotional send off of Tom Watson, which came as light was beginning to fade on the Old Course and also his Open playing career.
However, the Open Championship never fails to disappoint and a great final round on Monday was in store. Each player knew, that one mistake could end their hopes of lifting the Claret Jug. The thoughts of what might have been, must have been running through the head of Spieth as the opportunity of a third major title in a row all but disappeared at the eighth hole. Adam Scott must have been suffering from deja vu, when he held the lead at 15 under par, only for his tournament to fall apart in the last five holes.
Thoughts then turned to the possibility of an amateur winning the Open Championship, for this first time since 1930, as four amateurs nestled inside the top 10. With both Spieth and Day missing opportunities to tie for the lead and force a play-off, it was left to Zach Johnson, Marc Leishman and Louis Oosthuizen to contest the play-off, as the professional players passed the amateurs on the leaderboard.
Oosthuizen was in with a chance of winning The Open at St. Andrews for the second time in succession but his par and bogey on holes 2 and 17, put pay to his dream. However, there were no such problems for 2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson, who claimed two birdies in the first two holes of the play-off, to seal victory.
With the weather causing chaos and the absence of Rory McIlroy, many believed this would be an Open Championship designated to the back of the memory but they were wrong. Once the tournament reached the final stages, there was some great golf and a tremendous amount of drama and tension. It was an Open Championship which will certainly stay fresh in the memory of Zach Johnson.