Thursday, July 18, 2013

British Open, Day 1 Wrap-Up

The big story today was that the folks who run the British Open were afraid that conditions would be too easy, and so they put the holes at Muirfield in the most difficult locations.  There reports that some of the holes were on ridges -- Ian Poulter complained that the 18th hole needed "a windmill and a clown face."

In the morning, however, the pin placements didn't bother anyone too much, and scores were relatively low.  But in the afternoon, the course dried out and became extremely difficult.  That was bad news for Tiger Woods, who was playing in the afternoon.  And sure enough, after nine holes Tiger was one over par -- with the course getting more difficult all the time.  But then, Tiger put up nine holes worthy of the best golfer in the world.  Making save after save -- creating shots on the weird old course, holing a number of very difficult putts, and generally playing inspired golf -- Woods shot a three-under par 32 on the back nine.  That left him with a 2-under par 69 for the day, which was very good under the conditions.

Phil Mickelson also shot a 69, although he got his in the morning.  And the remarkable Jordan Spieth -- the 19-year-old who last week became the first teenager to win a PGA Tour event since 1931 -- put up a 69 of his own.  American golf fans will hope that those three remain in contention.

Of the folks ahead of Tiger and company, Ryder Cup regular Miguel Angel Jimenez is the only one who I can see lifting the big trophy -- although I have underestimated Zach Johnson before.  I would also keep an eye on Angel Cabrera, Francesco Molinari, Henrik Stenson (-1), and Adam Scott (Even).

Here's the leaderboard after day one:

1.  Z. Johnson-5 (66)

T2.  R. Cabrera-Bello (ESP):  -4 (67)
T2.  M. O'Meara-4 (67)

T4.  M.A. Jimenez (ESP):  -3 (68)
T4.  D. Johnson-3 (68)
T4.  B. Snedeker-3 (68)
T4.  T. Lehman-3 (68)
T4.  S. Kapur (IND):  -3 (68)

T9.  T. Hamilton-2 (69)
T9.  P. Mickelson-2 (69)
T9.  A. Cabrera (ARG):  -2 (69)
T9.  J. Spieth-2 (69)
T9.  T. Woods-2 (69)
T9.  F. Molinari (ITA):  -2 (69)


  1. Tiger has a couple of birdies and a bogey amid his first seven holes today, so he's 3-under and T3 for the tournament at the moment. Live video of him and Graeme McDowell is available here.

  2. "This course couldn't be set up better for his style of play at the moment," says the more play-by-playish Brit on "Tiger Woods must feel all of his Sundays have come at once."

    Not sure what that means, but it's positive--it came after an "absolutely perfect" drive on No. 8.

  3. Eye on Golf ‏@EyeOnGolf
    Tiger bogeys No. 8, goes back to -2. He's fading! #kidding
    5:41 AM - 19 Jul 1

  4. Graeme McDowell appears to wear his belt buckled on the back of his pants!

  5. Tiger pars No. 9 after a "rank bad" tee shot, but that's a missed opportunity on the course's shortest par-5 hole. So he's even for his front nine.

    I just want him and Lindsey Vonn to be happy.

  6. The Brits on broadcast do not cotton to Phil Mickelson's "moaning" about Muirfield. They keep making a distinction between this being "links golf" and "not target golf--you're not playing darts out there."

    "Phil didn't make himself any friends on this side of the pond," one says.

    1. Whatever, Brits. Yesterday they were putting holes on ridges. Today they had folks missing two- and three-foot putts all over the place. What do those things have to do with "links golf"?

    2. Earlier this morning, reading the Wall Street Journal poolside, I noted that Ernie Els of Johannesburg, South Africa, is also mad at the course. It appears to me that two things seem to be going on. One, you've got an unusually unruly "links golf" situation in play, in that the crazy warm and dry conditions combined with the wind have even the slightest misfires with woods and irons going way, way wrong; this alone wouldn't be a problem. But then you've got the putt-putt green stuff going that Ian Poulter of Hitchin, Hertfordshire, England, was talking about after the first round ("8th hole is a joke, 18th needs a windmill & clown face"), and that's the part that is driving so many guys over the top from frustrated to angry. You work so hard to endure the links stuff, and then you get on the green and give away a couple of strokes because the course folk tried to get cute. This is where DisneyWorld gets it right; you pay an arm and a leg to go and you have to actually go to Florida to get there--but, once you get there, the bathrooms are superclean, there is no tipping and everybody bends over backward to keep your kid from crying.

  7. Jason Sobel ‏@JasonSobelGC
    Lee Westwood is 6-under for the day and tied for the lead. He's swimming laps while everyone else is treading water.
    6:16 AM - 19 Jul 13

  8. Tiger and back-buckled McDowell have now moved out of's 7/8/9 telecast, but the Twitter desk is getting reports that Woods made a very long par save on 10.

  9. 1. Zach Johnson of Iowa City, Iowa, 5-under through 18 holes
    T2. Lee Westwood of Worksop, Nottinghamshire, England, 4-under through 31 holes
    T2. Rafael Cabrera-Bello of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Spain, 4-under through 18
    T4. Miguel Angel Jimenez of Malaga, Spain, 3-under through 18
    T4. Dustin Johnson of Columbia, S.C., 3-under through 18
    T4. Brandt Snedeker of Nashville, Tenn., 3-under through 18

    Westwood's 5-under round so far (he bogeyed No. 13) is by far today's best performance by a couple of shots. Ryan Moore of Tacoma, Wash., is one of three golfers who have played today's round in 3-under, and he's now 2-under for the tournament.

  10. Today's high temperature at Muirfield is forecasted to reach about 80 degrees Fahrenheit--"blisteringly hot," says a Brit.

  11. Another Brit say there is "no hitting divot-ball on this course; you have to hit ball-divot."

    The Internet Is Amazing™.

  12. I've switched to another video stream, and this program has a guy taking us through some the off-course exhibits and food areas. The best part was a huge area with dozens of picnic tables and giant, giant TV screens. They were serving hamburgers and fish and chips in red-checkered cardboard baskets and tall glasses of beer. It's fantastic that they serve beer in glass (so much better than beer in plastic) in the outdoor concessions area. Anyway, this area looks a lot like it might've been conceived and implemented by any southwestern Indiana Catholic parish summer-social committee, which makes me very happy.

  13. Woods, who bogeyed No. 11, is now 1-under for the tournament through 12 today. Only two golfers at the moment are under par in both the round and the tournament, and those are Westwood and Moore.

    1. Through 14 holes today, Westwood is 4-under for the day and 3-under/T3 for the tournament.

      Through 16 holes today, Moore is 2-under for the day and 1-under/T9 for the tournament.

  14. The chase of all that is that only Westwood, who has bogeyed two of his last three holes, has made any sort of charge so far today. Most of the top of the leaderboard hasn't yet started their second rounds; Jimenez is now out on the course, carding a par on No. 1.

  15. Tiger rolls in a birdie putt of some length--10 or 12 feet on No. 18--so he finishes his par round (tied for 14th best today at the moment) and is back to 2-under (tied for fifth for the tournament at the moment).

  16. To get back to the earlier point, only two golfers have played under par today and are under par for the tournament. Westwood finished 3-under today and is 2-under through two rounds. Henrik Stenson of Gothenburg, Sweden, finished 1-under today and is also 2-under through two rounds. So they're both part of the big T5 with Tiger.

  17. They're interviewing Tiger on ESPN, and he looks like a middle manager who knows he just barely kept his job after the latest round of layoffs at a new-energy startup.

  18. OK, that's it for me and Tiger. He's only T5, but I'm going to DisneyWorld!

  19. I want to point out that Angel Cabrera is currently in the lead, and that Miguel Angel Jimenez is currently in second.