St. Andrews regaining Open Championship

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December 08, 2009
David Brice, Golf International, Inc.
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Stewart Cink was overjoyed by his 2009 Open win now he will defend golf's most prestigious title.
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He didn't win but to many a gracious 59 year-old Tom Watson was the real 2010 Open champion.
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A much younger Tom Watson snatched victory from Jack Nicklaus on the final hole of the 1977 Open.
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Doomsday for Jean Van de Velde at Carnoustie's 1999 Open.
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It's this modest Claret Jug that every top golfer craves - together with the glory that accompanies it.
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Few would disagree that every British Open is special and never more special than when golf's event of the year is held in Scotland. Then, every five years or so, when the 600 year-old links course at St. Andrews hosts, as it does in 2010, the world's oldest golf tournament takes on a magnitude and importance that is quite literally, out of this world.

The town that symbolizes golf the world over is always the perfect host and never is Open Magic as much in evidence as when the fabled St. Andrews Old Course is the venue and the history, pageantry, tradition and thrills of The Open take on larger than life proportions. It's a once in a lifetime experience, which every golfer and golf fan owes themselves.

During the course of the week, no more than an estimated 100,000 spectators will have the privilege of personally witnessing the very best of the world's top players compete for the famous claret jug. With personal glory and national pride at stake, it's always the hardest fought battle, filled with uncommon levels of passion and emotion. These are the gladiators of golf, prepared to fight tooth and nail for perhaps the most coveted of all sports titles - outstanding golf drama along the way is all but guaranteed.

Who can forget the agony of defeat suffered by our own Tom Watson last year, as one of the greatest players ever, after a gallant fight that almost wrote golf history, saw the title slip from his grasp in the play-off against Stewart Cink at Turnberry. Ironically, this was the very same place where 32 years earlier, a young Tom Watson had snatched Open victory from Jack Nicklaus to win the 1977 Open by a single stroke on the final hole. This famous, "Duel in the Sun", produced one of the most electrifying golf tournaments ever.

In 1999 it was Carnoustie's turn to serve another tragic defeat, this time to an unknown Frenchman, Jean Van de Velde. With a three shot lead going into the 72nd hole and the claret jug all but won, he slipped unceremoniously and disastrously on the final hole of regulation play. Visions of Van de Velde, pant legs rolled up and standing in a burn, attempting to play an unplayable ball, still haunt the memories of those who were there, players and audience alike. A tragic comedy of errors may have brought Jean Van de Velde global notoriety, but it took The Open Championship from his grasp.

These are improbable events that only The Open seems able to produce. Television may afford a more convenient way to view the proceedings for some, but only those who are actually there can properly experience the true excitement, passion and feelings of the moment and you should be among them.

If you prefer to avoid the headache and frustration of trying to make your own arrangements, an all but impossible task at this late stage, you can still add the unique experience of the 2010 Open at St. Andrews to your book of golf memories. Look for a professionally planned trip, put together by an experienced company that specializes in golf travel. These are the companies that blocked the available, prime hotel space and booked starting times on the better golf courses, years ago. One of the best that has been organizing British Open trips very successfully for over 20 years is Golf International.

Offering a selection of different itineraries varying from 5 to 8 days in length, each of Golf International's 2010 Open tours provides tickets to the final two days of the event, plus golf on some of Scotland's most prized links courses, including 7-time Open host, Carnoustie. And while the golfers are testing their own golfing skills, non-players will be taken on chauffeured, sightseeing excursions to discover some of the beauty, history, culture and traditions of the Scotland of yester-year.

Explore Scotland's intriguing ancient capital city of Edinburgh, considered one of Europe's most handsome; visit charming small fishing villages untouched by time, and wonder at centuries old castles and churches that have withstood the ravages of some of Britain's bloodiest wars. Scotland contains a wealth of fascination, just waiting to be uncovered and Golf International's carefully planned sightseeing program for non-golfers provides a wonderful introduction to it all.

The choices of hotel accommodations range from top deluxe hotels to decidedly first class country house hotels, all very conveniently located, close to St. Andrews Old Course, enabling everyone to savor and really live the atmosphere, always unique to an Open held at golf's birthplace.

With no concerns of driving on the wrong side of the road, navigating unfathomable one-way street systems, getting lost on narrow, winding country roads, nor trying desperately to find parking, when none exists, Golf International's experienced driver/guides allow you to focus all of your attention on simply enjoying yourself to the fullest.

There is every reason to make the 2010 Open a part of your travel plans. It will be another five years before St. Andrews hosts again and with this being the 150th birthday celebration and the defending Open Champion, our own Stewart Cink, it's a wonderful opportunity to wave the flag and remind the rest of the world just what a power-house the USA is in the world of golf.

For more ideas and suggestions on how you can be a part of the historic, 2010 Open Championship at St. Andrews, click here.

©2009 David Brice / Golf International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Golf International -- Providers of quality golf travel arrangements since 1988.

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