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Windy day offers plenty of bogey material at British Open

Gale-force winds at the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland, causes chaos for players.

July 16, 2010|By Jeff Shain

Reporting from St. Andrews, Scotland — Remember when everyone said early in the week that St. Andrews' greens were the slowest they could remember?

There was a reason for that. And it still wasn't enough to prevent the kind of chaos that ensued when gale-force winds blew in over the Old Course.

An unsightly backup was forming at No. 11, with groups waiting on the tee and in the fairway because the poor lads on the green couldn't stand over their putts without seeing the ball trickle away.

Stopping was necessary. But it couldn't prevent questions over whether play shouldn't have been halted sooner — or waited longer to start again. Then there was the haphazard manner in which players had to be rounded up again after being told to hold their positions.

If there was a game plan, the execution was bogey material.

Birdie: Seasoned veterans. The challenge of the fiftysomethings has started to become an annual tradition, and 2010 now has produced two candidates. Not only is Mark Calcavecchia standing alone in second, but Tom Lehman lurks just two strokes farther back.

Bogey: Rory McIlroy. Yes, it was brutally windblown at times. But after matching the major-championship scoring mark some 24 hours earlier, you'd think the mop-topped talent could at least shoot something in the 70s. Of those slated to make the cut, McIlroy is the only one with an 80.

Birdie: Tom Watson. There wasn't any carryover from last year's Turnberry magic — rounds of 73-75 assured he would miss the cut — but this generation's Old Tom still left memories when he kissed the Swilcan Bridge and nearly chipped in for eagle at No. 18.

Bogey: Tiger Woods. He wasn't battling for the lead. Nor was he grinding to make the cut. So why was Woods flipping his putter in anger and dropping a couple of F-bombs after his eagle try at No. 18 skimmed wide? Decorum has been on the minds of British media this week, and Woods gave them all the fodder necessary right in front of the R&A clubhouse.

Birdie: Ivor Robson. The lilting tones of the Open's official starter can be heard for the 36th consecutive year. Not scheduled to switch on his microphone until 6:30 a.m., Robson still shows up 90 minutes early to prepare his daily stock of pencils, tees and green-repair tools.

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