The Open Championship, referred to as the British Open by the brutish uninformed American sports fans, is the oldest and most unique major championship in golf. It's an event steeped in tradition, less propped up by Jim Nantz sentimentality but rather 141 prior editions played on a rota touring throughout the home of golf.
This year's tournament will be played at Muirfield, otherwise known as the home of The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers. The most unique major is also uniquely stuffy, with its own quirks and lots of unnecessary highfalutin bullshit. But one of the best parts about The Open is the field, populated with some amazing British and European names, many of which are totally off the radar for American golf fans. Golf is already the province of ridiculous names that just add to the negative stereotypes.
The United States will send representatives named Bud (Roll Tide), Bubba (Go Dawgs), and Boo (Roll Tide), but here are some suitable, and ridiculous, names perfect for the game's oldest major in Britain.
1. Rhys Pugh -- Pugh somehow found his way from Wales to Johnson City, Tenn. to attend university and play on the East Tennessee State Buccaneers golf team. Pontypridd High School in Wales is just not your typical feeder school to ETSU. Pugh is an accomplished amateur player and the doughy Welshman has the perfect name for the game's oldest and most unique tournament at Muirfield.
2. Garrick Porteous -- Go Vawls! Garrick, a native of Morpeth, England, played his college golf in Knoxville and will undoubtedly be glued to the TV late Wednesday night in Scotland watching the debut of Butch Jones at SEC Media Days. I can't imagine too many youngsters growing up in Morpeth envision matriculating to university in Knoxville, Tennessee. Porteous is still an amateur, earning late entry by becoming the first Englishman to win the Amateur Championship in over a decade.
3. Gregory Bourdy -- The Frenchman's official bio on the Open Championship's website begins, "A keen tennis, badminton, and squash player..." That'll do.
4. Lloyd Saltman -- The younger brother to Elliot of the great Scottish Saltman golfing family, Lloyd played his way into the field through local qualifying in Scotland. He has no chance of winning, but Mr. Saltman can find quarter here.
5. Sir Nick Faldo -- I laugh every time Jim Nantz introduces Faldo as "Sir Nick," but he's insistent on referring to his partner as such at the top of every CBS broadcast. It's an incredibly dopey convention, but Faldo, who was knighted in 2009, is officially listed as Sir Nick in the Open's program and list of competitors.
6. Gareth Maybin / Gareth Wright -- A common name in the United Kingdom, especially in Wales, Sir Gareth was a Knight of the Round Table, which is often cited as the origin of the name. These two will represent the UK this week at the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers.
7. Thorbjørn Olesen -- The Euro Tour is renowned for having some great Scandinavian names (and golfers). There's plenty to choose from this week -- Mikko Ilonen, Niclas Fasth, Jonas Blixt -- but Olesen remains one of the best names in golf. The Dane is a little more than your also-ran Euro Tour player, as he's a young bomber who will probably win on American soil more than once before his career is over.
8. Richard McEvoy -- That's a quality English surname. Let's go back to the Open Championship's website for McEvoy's official bio: "A talented all-round sportsman, he played county football, tennis, and badminton before concentrating on golf." Not too be confused with Roy McAvoy of Tin Cup notoriety.
9. Tyrrell Hatton -- Perhaps a nominee for the Reggie Cleveland All Stars, but uh, yeah, he looks especially British and quite ridiculous here. That hair is something else (Tyrell is apparently of no relation to boxer Ricky Hatton).
10. Brooks Koepka -- Brooks is a name that's a staple in the prep school and lacrosse all-name team set. Mr. Koepka is actually an American, a Florida native who played his college golf at FSU and now travels the world trying to crack through on tour full time. But Brooks is a perfectly fine and proper given name for the Royal & Ancient's most prestigious championship.
Bonus: Lee Westwood -- You just don't see too many Lees anymore.
So there you have it, the most arbitrary and whimsical British Open rankings of the week. Here's the full list of entrants, with much more fodder there beyond the 10 listed above.