All the elements present for this British Open

By Doug FergusonJuly 14, 2010, 9:50 pm

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – The locals are famous for saying that if it’s “nae rain and nae wind then it’s nae golf.”

There was rain. And there was wind.

There just wasn’t much golf being played Wednesday on the eve of the British Open.

Kenny Perry wanted to play one more practice round, and the miserable weather wasn’t about to stop him. It just made him think about how long he really wanted to be in the kind of elements St. Andrews hasn’t seen in 15 years for the British Open.

Three holes after he teed off, with raindrops on his glasses and water dripping off a black rainsuit that had turned slick and shiny, he cut across the Old Course to play two holes back toward the clubhouse. As he stepped onto the 17th tee, Perry noticed a man grinning at him from beneath an umbrella.

St. Andrews Logo
Cold, wet, and windy conditions have greeted the players at St. Andrews. (Getty Images)
“Are you enjoying our weather?” the man said in his thick brogue.

“What’s there to enjoy?” Perry replied.

Worse yet was leaving the 17th tee with Nick Watney, rain pelting them sideways and the sound of laughter above them. There was Ian Poulter, dressed in shorts and a shirt, taking pictures of them from the comfort of his third-floor room in the Old Course Hotel.

“Having fun down there, boys?” Poulter called out to them.

The fun doesn’t begin until Thursday, when the 139th version of golf’s oldest championship gets under way at St. Andrews, with weather that likely will as much of a factor as Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson or any of the players.

And it’s about time.

The last time the Open came to St. Andrews, there was only one round of a stiff breeze and Woods won by five shots at 14-under 274. Ten years ago on a sun-baked links, Woods set a major championship record at 19-under 269 for an eight-shot win in perfect weather. But there was nasty weather in 1995, when John Daly finished at 6-under 282 and won a playoff.

The Royal and Ancient, which runs this tournament, doesn’t get wrapped up in scores. It lets nature decide that.

“The forecast for the championship is changeable – blustery, showery conditions,” R&A chief executive Peter Dawson, barely able to contain a grin. “Pretty good for links golf.”

This is what Woods will face as he tries to make more history at the home of golf. No one has ever won the Open three times at St. Andrews, and this stage could be an important test for golf’s No. 1 player.

Woods has never gone this far into the calendar without winning. He has never gone more than seven tournaments to start a season without a victory, and the Open marks his seventh event. His preparations included playing Sunday in gusts that approached 50 mph, and the next two days in wind out of different directions.

He also endured a press conference in which about half of the questions were about his personal life. Among his chief critics has been Watson, who has said that Woods needs to “clean up his act.”

Given a chance to elaborate Wednesday, the five-time Open champion declined.

“I said what I needed to say about Tiger Woods,” Watson said. “The one thing that you should be writing about Tiger Woods right now is that he’s won the championship the last two times he’s played here, and that he’s probably the odds-on favorite to win it again.”

The challenge figures to be much greater, a result of Woods’ unpredictable form, the growing number of contenders – especially a European resurgence led by U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell, Justin Rose and Lee Westwood – and the weather.

Defending champion Stewart Cink played eight holes Wednesday on what felt like two courses.

“The opening nine, you’re headed straight downwind with a little off to the right, and it’s like a dream,” he said. Every shot you hit, no matter how bad you hit it, it’s a nice draw. We played four holes and decided to turn around, and as soon as we hit 14 tee box, it was the exact opposite. You couldn’t do anything except his a huge slice. It’s hard to describe how difficult it is.”

The only disappointment Wednesday was the hard rain and cold wind leading the R&A to cancel its “Champions Challenge,” a four-hole exhibition with past Open champions like Lee Trevino, Gary Player, Arnold Palmer and Ben Curtis.

“I was on the range this morning and it’s just brutal out there,” Nick Faldo said. “It wouldn’t have been entertaining for anybody.”

It wasn’t much fun for the marshals or the fans, wrapped in rain gear, walking back from the loop on the far end of the links toward the clubhouse as they searched for players, realizing most of them were doubling back after a couple of holes.

There wasn’t much to gain on a day like this.

“Obviously, we’ve had beautiful weather for two days,” Cink said. “And today, we have a wreck out there. And there’s not many golfers at all. But it’s a fair test.”

The forecast? There could be rain, there might be spells of sunshine, there likely will be wind – that could be last four days or four hours around these parts.

Rose is the freshest face of the English revival, having won two of his last three tournaments in America. He knows these links well, even though he didn’t qualify for the Open in 2000 or 2005. Rose already had in his mind the ideal day, which featured wind.

“It would be nice and sunny, 20 mph breeze across the golf course. I think that would have tested everybody but made it very, very enjoyable,” Rose said. “If we get a little bit of that, it would be nice. And if we get a little bit of the extreme stuff, then so be it. That’s definitely part of the Open Championship.”

 

Rose (62) sets blistering pace in Indonesia

By Associated PressDecember 14, 2017, 3:06 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Justin Rose shot a 10-under 62 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, starting on the back nine at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, had five birdies to go out in 31, then birdied four of five holes midway through his final nine and another birdie on his last hole in the $750,000 tournament.


Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


Gunn Charoenkul (64) was in second place and Kim Giwhan and Phachara Khongwatmai (both 65) were tied for third.

Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Ranked 51st in the world, the American is aiming for a strong finish in Jakarta to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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LaCava: Woods wouldn't talk after H.O.R.S.E. match

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 2:27 pm

The competitive streak within Tiger Woods knows no bounds - even on the basketball court, according to caddie Joe LaCava.

LaCava has been on Woods' bag since 2011, and he recently shared a story on "Inside the Ropes" on Sirius/XM PGA Tour Radio about a clash between the two men over a seemingly friendly game of H.O.R.S.E. Actually, it turned into nine straight games (and nine straight wins) for LaCava, who exploited a weakness in Woods' on-court strategy while leaning on a mid-length jumper of his own:

"The thing with him was if I missed a shot, which I missed plenty of shots, but if I missed the shot he'd go back down to the 3 (point line) because he liked to make the 3," LaCava said. "But it's harder obviously to make a 3, and I'd go right back to the baseline 12-footer, and he couldn't make it."

It's a short list of people who have beaten Woods nine times in any athletic pursuit, let alone in a row. But for LaCava, the fallout from his afternoon of on-court dominance was less than subtle.

"He did not talk to me the rest of the day," LaCava explained. "I didn't even get the old text, 'Dinner is ready,' because I stay across at the beach house. I didn't even get that text that night. I had to get take-out. He didn't announce he wasn't (talking), he just did it. I'm telling you, nine games in a row. Like I said, he's so competitive, even at something like that."

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 3, Tiger Woods

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 12:45 pm

After returning to competition at the Hero World Challenge in December 2016, Woods started the new year with an ambitious slate of tournament starts as he eyed his first full season since 2013. But he made it only three rounds, looking rusty en route to a missed cut at Torrey Pines before withdrawing abruptly in Dubai.

The “spasms” that led to that withdrawal turned out to be something far more serious, as Woods underwent his fourth and most invasive back surgery in April, a lumbar fusion. It brought with it an extensive rehabilitation, and at the Presidents Cup in September Woods humored the prospect that he might never again play competitive golf.

At Liberty National he also faced some scrutiny for an off-course incident from months prior. In May he was arrested for suspicion of DUI, an incident that produced a startling roadside video of an intoxicated Woods struggling to follow instructions from the arresting officer after driving erratically.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


While he was not drinking at the time, Woods was found to have a mix of several prescription medications in his system, including multiple painkillers. He checked himself into a private drug treatment program in July to address his dependency issues, and in October he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of reckless driving.

But the incident was barely a memory when Woods again made a return to competition in the Bahamas at the tournament he hosts. This time around he exceeded nearly every expectation, twice shooting 4-under 68 while tying for ninth among the 18-man field. Having re-tooled his swing following fusion surgery, Woods appeared relaxed, happy and healthy while briefly taking the lead during the tournament’s second round.

What lies ahead for Woods in 2018 remains uncertain, as the stop-and-start nature of this past season serves as a cautionary tale. But after a harrowing arrest and another serious surgery, he seems once again focused on his game, intent on chasing down a new crop of elite talent, some of whom are barely more than half his age.

Woods' initial comeback short-lived, leads to another back surgery

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Article: Woods (back spasm) withdraws from Dubai

Article: Players disappointed Woods withdraws from Dubai

Really, again: Tiger undergoes fourth back surgery

Begay on Tiger: Future is 'extremely uncertain'


Woods arrested for DUI, enters diversion program after getting "professional help"

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Photos: Tiger Woods' car during DUI arrest

Tiger Woods at his 2017 DUI court hearing.

Photos: Tiger Woods in court for DUI hearing

Article: Tiger gets 'professional help' for prescription meds

Tiger Woods at his 2017 DUI court hearing.

Article: Woods pleads in court guilty to reckless driving


Woods goes from unsure of his pro golf future to resuming full golf activities

Article: Doctor clears Woods for full golf activity six months after back surgery

Article: Tiger doesn't know what future holds

Article: Woods back to making full swings

Woods admits he might never return to competition

Making progress: Breaking down Tiger's driver swing


Woods returns to competition for first time since February at Hero World Challenge

Article: Hero comeback a success for healthy Woods

Article: Woods discusses his back: 'No issues at all, none'

Tiger Tracker: Woods finished T-9 in return to competition

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Tiger, if you were hurting, would you tell us? 'Yeah, I'd tell you'


Woods out and about in 2017

Article: Video, images of Tiger's round with Trump

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Article: Shirtless Tiger holds up a massive lobster

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 12:30 pm