Organizers of the Open Championship and the TV networks had to be feeling gloomy entering the week as it would be impossible to top the storylines and coverage that the U.S. Open delivered a few weeks back. Any tournament without the world's #1 player lacks some luster and there was more bad news on the way with defending champion Padraig Harrington looking like a possible scratch. As great as the U.S. Open finish was with an injured Tiger Woods delivering a remarkable finish and the great playoff with Rocco Mediate, that could be outdone by what is developing in Southport this weekend.
Back-to-back 70s have Greg Norman on top of the leaderboard at the moment as round two results are still pouring in. Norman, the charismatic and popular Australian is one of the few golfers who could create a Woods like frenzy of support and interest. Add that he is now 53, the two-time British Open Champion would create a remarkable weekend of coverage if he can stay in the mix to the end.
The brutal conditions at Royal Birkdale have made for some very high numbers with the projected cut at +9, and at even par with excellent putting Norman is right there. Australians have fared well at Opens held on this course with Ian Baker-Finch winning a memorable tournament here and Peter Thomson winning here twice so Norman has the pedigree and experience for success this weekend. Unfortunately many of our memories of Norman have also been clouded with great collapses but either way TNT and ABC should have a story to show us this weekend.