In many ways, the Open Championship is my favorite golf tournament, and today was the perfect example of why. Almost without fail, mother nature is as much a part of any Open Championship story as the players and the course. In the wind and rain, players no longer can rely on the bomb and gouge that’s become the sole strategy on the PGA Tour. It generally results in a style of play that’s quite different from what we see nearly every other week.
The Open Championship also affords the opportunity to witness something we don’t often see on the PGA Tour: lost balls. Phil Mickelson lost one on the sixth, costing him stroke and distance. Spectators found two white orbs, neither of which were his. That triple bogey seven helped him to a nine over 79, and a tie for 123rd place.
Of the top ten players after the first day, only three—Adam Scott, Jim Furyk and Retief Goosen—are names you’d expect to see. I’m not counting Mike Weir; he’s been off his game for a long time.
The other six are unexpected, including four “old guys”: Rocco Mediate (age 45 ), Greg Norman (53), Bart Bryant (45), Robert Allenby (37). I don’t’ really think that any of them are going to be in contention on Sunday, but it was fun to watch.
David Duval is at +3 and tied for 27th—with John van de Velde. There’s got to be a joke in there somewhere.
Sergio Garcia—whom much of the golf media has anointed as the “favorite”—is tied for 15th, three off the pace.
Finally, I’m absolutely sick of the writers and television pundits talking about the absence of Tiger. Several have gone so far as to suggest that there should be an asterisk beside this year’s results. If that’s so, then there also should be an asterisk beside a hundred and ten other Open Championships. After all, Old Tom Morris never had to face Eldrick.