Open chiefs got it right

By Brian Keogh

Des Smyth believes the Sunday's Open finale has shown golf chiefs the way forward in the majors.

As he prepared to take on Muirfield in this week's Senior Open, the Champions Tour star insisted that major venues don't need to be tricked up to test the best.

Pleased as punch for Padraig Harrington, the Drogheda ace was almost as happy to see the course stand up for itself after the carnage of Augusta and Oakmont earlier this year.

Smyth said: "The golf course was brilliant really. It allowed people to play good golf and it punished them if they played a few bad shots. That is Carnoustie all over.

"These are great golf courses and they should let them stand up on their own instead of tricking them up the way they have."

Tied for fourth behind Tom Watson at Troon in 1982, Smyth was glued to his TV on Sunday as Harrington ended Ireland's 60 year wait for a Major winner.

He said: "I am so pleased for Padraig. It is fantastic. Things went wrong on the 18th but he made a great up and down and it still gave him an opportunity.

"I really fancied him when he got into the play-off because he played great golf all day. Ok, he made one of two bad swings up 18 but it was the only mistake he made all day."

Not wanting to get too greedy, Smyth is keeping his fingers crossed that Harrington can go on and win more majors.

He said: "I have no doubt that Padraig can kick on now. He got close at the Masters this year and in the US Open last year. I think it might give him the extra impetus to go on and win more majors.

"But I don't want to be looking for more. We have waited 60 years and it couldn't happen to a nice guy."

As for his own chances of lifting the Claret Jug for the Senior Open this week, Smyth is not so sure.

Beaten by Watson in a play-off for the title at Royal Aberdeen two years ago, his confidence is at a low ebb.

Smyth said: "I am struggling with my game all year and I am more hopeful that confident. I have played well at Muirfield in the past but it is all about the game you bring with you."