The energy in the air transcended individual players or scores this past weekend as the 150th Open at St Andrew’s capped the men’s golf major season. The competition did nothing less than surpass expectations, with Cameron Smith clawing his way to victory after starting Sunday at a four-shot deficit. Cameron Young and Rory McIlroy followed closely behind, unable to outpace Smith as he fought his way past. For months, the golf world has been buzzing about this tournament, at this course, on this landmark anniversary year. And St Andrew’s delivered in every way.

Woods assesses the fairway of one on Thursday at the Old Course

Though the Home of Golf is unique in many aspects, one of the biggest features of the Old Course is its integration into the streets of the town. Most other champion courses are set away from city centers or neighbor’s porches. Some are so remote that mountains or deserts rim their edges.

At the Old Course, on the other side of the fence are sidewalks, porches, and patios. Locals set out with their dogs and smoke a cigar while they recline and watch the legends play. The spectators without tickets clammer together on garden walls for a better view of the 18th fairway. Fans cheered from windows and decks as well as grandstands when Tiger took the tee box at one, and again when he crossed the Swilcan Bridge for potentially the last time. For the past week, St Andrews was the world, and its club championship was the 150th Open.

“the ground is rock hard out there today,” golf essayist Jim Dodson said over a beer on Thursday as Rory McIlroy made his best effort from the rough of 15, only to have his ball bounce its way off of the green.

Dodson hit the nail on the head. Western courses like Troon or Dundonald have had regular rains rolling off the Atlantic coast, but to the east, St Andrews Links has been hardened by drought for weeks leading up to the 150th Open Championship. With the sun keeping the course a pleasant 70 degrees, the biggest environmental obstacles to players this weekend were the ground and characteristic coastal winds.

Still, key leaders fought for their position throughout the weekend, scoring so well that murmurs of course records dominated spectator conversation. Cameron Smith finished out on top with an overall 20 under par for the weekend, matching the record for lowest score to par in a major championship and snatching his first major win and the No. 2 world ranking.

“Those guys are great players. They weren’t going to give it to me. I had to take it,” Cameron Smith said after his win.

Smith flipped the script on the “business in the front party in the back” attitude that his mullet would suggest when he made 5 straight birdies to finish out Sunday’s back 9, leaving the likes of Rory McIlroy, Cameron Young, and Viktor Hovland in his wake.

Hovland, in particular, was one to watch this weekend, ending his season with the best major finish of his still emerging career. At the end of round 3, he shared the lead alongside McIlroy but finished Sunday in the crowd-pleasing #4 spot. McIlroy, finishing third, led for 54 holes and hit every green in regulation during his final round. Suffice to say, it was a tough loss.

Cameron Smith celebrated the win as much as he worked for it. “I’m definitely going to find out how many beers fit in this thing,” Smith said. “These last four or five holes aren’t easy around here, especially with the wind up off the left. I’m just really proud of how I knuckled down today and managed to get it done.”