Thoughts on day one of the British Open
- What the heck is with the television coverage? I watched six hours, and saw recaps over and over, lots of talk of Tigers 1-over round, and too much Tom Watson (if thats possible). I was thrilled to watch Watsons fine round “ but I didnt need to see highlights 11 times. Thank God for PVRs.
- IMG produces the British Open telecast. While I love the golf courses, I always find it frustrating as hell to watch, especially since cameras so often fail to pick up tee shots. This happened time and again with the Furyk/Harrington/Ogilvy pairing. One of them would hit a tee shot or a shot out of the hay, and the camera would pan around, then go wide and viewers had no idea where the ball went. Since the tower announcers were also going off the screen, they had no idea where the ball went either. That made some painful viewing. Note: This has continued this morning. On the fifth hole, Steve Stricker hit an approach. The camera went left, then right, then wide and finally focused on the bunker. Are they into the hooch? Are they guessing?
- The Anthony Kim, Ive shot nine on a single hole and buggered up my neck, saga was fascinating. Having his neck worked on between shots? Still hitting a 350-yard drive a few holes later?
- Speaking of Kim, youve got to love Turnberrys bunkers and the havoc they can cause for a player. Loved Goosens shot out of one bunker with his knee resting on the side “ and still hitting it to two feet.
- Lets be clear “ Turnberry played just about as easy as it could. Anyone who didnt break par will have a tough time hanging around today as the wind is blowing. Witness Weirs 67-78 or Ben Curtis round of 80 today. Cut is projected at +2, but I bet itll be at least +4 by the end of the day. That likely means a long weekend for Weir, whose card is an absolute mess today.
- Gotta like the chances of Ross Fisher. Retief Goosen is the kind of steady player who could do well in the wind, and Jim Furyk seems like a sensible pick as well. Steve Stricker, who was expected to play the Canadian Open, but appears to be skipping out (despite stealing a seat on the charter a few years back), also would seem to have the steady game to survive the changing conditions.
- Sir Nick Faldo “ make me gag.
There’s almost no Canadian reporters at the British this year — the Globe didn’t send anyone, and CanWest, which usually sends Cam Cole, doesn’t appear to have enough cash to pay for a plane ticket for the National Post — so that leaves Dave Perkins of the Toronto Star as the sole Canadian reporter. Here’s what Weir and Ames — the Canadians in the field — had to say:
Weir, who stroked a 5-iron in to eight feet to finish with a tidy birdie, actually hit his driver only twice. He game-planned his way around the bunkers, fully confident in his ability to hit greens from a distance with his long irons and rescue clubs.
“You’ve got to give it some respect,” he said. “You start trying to hit drivers everywhere, these bunkers start getting in the way. I played short of most of them. I even hit some 3-irons off the tee, like at three, I hit 3-iron/3-iron just to avoid feeding it into that (fairway) bunker.”
Weir’s highlight was an eagle at the 538-yard, par-5 seventh hole. He hit a pair of 3-woods to within eight feet of the hole and centre-cut the putt. He gave back one of those strokes with a bogey at the next on what he called “my one bad bounce.”
“I hit a 4-iron that hit a sprinkler head and kicked over the green.”
Jimenez, with only one finish higher than 12th in 13 Opens, was his usual laid-back self, calling his no-bogey round “very solid from tee to green with a couple of putts at the right time.” One of those times was a cross-country monster of about 65 feet at the final hole.
Ames battled his swing from the opening tee shot, which leaked into a bogey.
“Came out with my old (mistake), going left,” Ames said. “After that it was just a matter of trying to find it again.”
He fought back with a birdie at the third, but hit a poor drive at No. 5 and found the bunker at the par-3 sixth for consecutive bogeys. Another wild drive at the 12th, leading to a penalty for an unplayable lie, was offset by routine two-putt birdies at the course’s two par-5 holes.
“I scored coming in, which was nice,” he said. “The scoring is low, but not that low. You still have to hit the ball well and keep it in play.”