Tiger Woods takes a detour at Turnberry

By Doug FergusonJuly 16, 2009, 4:00 pm
135th Open Championship TURNBERRY, Scotland ' For a course that was easy as it can be, Tiger Woods sure made it hard on himself.
 
Woods produced a pedestrian round Thursday in surprisingly calm conditions at Turnberry, making only three birdies and far more mistakes. He wound up with a 1-over 71, the first time since 2003 that he failed to break par in the opening round of the British Open.
Tiger Woods reacts to his second shot on the 9th hole during round one.
Tiger Woods reacts to his second shot on the 9th hole during round one. (Getty Images)
Realistically, I probably should have shot about 1- or 2-under par today, Woods said. But I made a few mistakes.
 
It was reminiscent of the opening round at Bethpage Black in the U.S. Open, when Woods battled to get back to even par until dropping four shots on the last four holes, and never quite recovering.
 
There were a few exceptions.
 
The first round at Bethpage took two days to complete because of rain. This took just under five hours in a mixture of sun and clouds, a fine summer day along the Ayrshire coast.
 
And unlike the U.S. Open, Woods was never too far from the leaders until it got away from him at the end.
 
He missed the 13th green, the ball stopped a yard in front of gorse bush, leaving Woods just enough room to pitch up the slope to 4 feet to save par and stay 1 under. His 2-iron on the 14th sailed right into rough so deep that he did well to hammer a sand wedge out to the fairway, advancing it some 80 yards. From there, his high wedge checked a few feet from the hole for another timely save.
 
With everyone around him making birdies, Woods was celebrating par.
 
But not for long.
 
He came up short on the par-5 15th, leaving himself an awkward angle over a slope. His chip was too strong, and he missed a 12-foot par putt. From the fairway on the 16th, he was aiming 10 feet left of the flag and hit it 10 feet to the right. It bounded down the shaved mound and into the burn, and he did well to make only a bogey.
 
Then came the par-5 17th, another tee shot to the right. Even with a good break ' his ball sat up nicely only trampled grass ' he popped up a 3-wood and cursed himself twice for the mistake. Again, the worlds No. 1 player had to rely on all his muscle to get out of the rough onto the green, some 70 feet away, to make par.
 
By the end of the day, he was the only player in his group who failed to break par.
 
Lee Westwood opened with three straight birdies, reached 4 under, and shot 68. Ryo Ishikawa, the 17-year-old from Japan, hit driver on just about every hole and finished strong for a 68.
 
Everywhere he looked, there was a leaderboard showing several morning scores under par, including Tom Watson at 65.
 
This golf course, certainly you could shoot a good round today, Woods said. You saw a lot of guys at basically 3-, 4-, 5-under par. And thats what you could do out there today.
 
Just not him.
 
The last time he failed to break par in the first round of the British Open was a 73 at Royal St. Georges in 2003, a tough and breezy English links where Woods eventually tied for fourth.
 
Not many saw this coming, except perhaps for Woods.
 
The misses I had were the same shots I was hitting on the range, he said. So I need to go work on that and get it squared away.
 
Woods rarely hit driver, and didnt find the fairway the three times he did. He stuck to his plan of laying back to avoid the bunkers. That didnt sound as though it would change.
 
Were playing to certain spots, how we think the golf course should be attacked and played, he said.
 
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    Poulter offers explanation in dispute with marshal

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:47 pm

    Ian Poulter took to Twitter to offer an explanation after the Englishman was accused of verbally abusing a volunteer during the third round of the Scottish Open.

    Poulter hooked his drive on the opening hole at Gullane Golf Club into a bush, where Quintin Jardine was working as a marshal. Poulter went on to find the ball, wedge out and make bogey, but the details of the moments leading up to his second shot differ depending on who you ask.

    Jardine wrote a letter to the tournament director that he also turned into a colorfully-titled blog post, accusing Poulter of berating him for not going into the bush "feet first" in search of the ball since Poulter would have received a free drop had his ball been stepped on by an official.


    Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


    "I stood and waited for the player. It turned out to be Mr. Poulter, who arrived in a shower of expletives and asked me where his ball was," Jardine wrote. "I told him and said that I had not ventured into the bush for fear of standing on it. I wasn't expecting thanks, but I wasn't expecting aggression, either."

    Jardine added that Poulter stayed to exchange heated words with the volunteer even after wedging his ball back into the fairway. After shooting a final-round 69 to finish in a tie for 30th, Poulter tweeted his side of the story to his more than 2.3 million followers:

    Poulter, 42, won earlier this year on the PGA Tour at the Houston Open and is exempt into The Open at Carnoustie, where he will make his 17th Open appearance. His record includes a runner-up at Royal Birkdale in 2008 and a T-3 finish at Muirfield in 2013.

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    Immelman misses Open bid via OWGR tiebreaker

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:25 pm

    A resurgent performance at the Scottish Open gave Trevor Immelman his first top-10 finish in more than four years, but it left him short of a return to The Open by the slimmest of margins.

    The former Masters champ turned back the clock this week at Gullane Golf Club, carding four straight rounds of 68 or better. That run included a 5-under 65 in the final round, which gave him a tie for third and left him five shots behind winner Brandon Stone. It was his first worldwide top-10 since a T-10 finish at the 2014 Farmers Insurance Open.

    There were three spots available into The Open for players not otherwise exempt, and for a brief moment it appeared Immelman, 38, might sneak the third and final invite.


    Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


    But with Stone and runner-up Eddie Pepperell both not qualified, that left the final spot to be decided between Immelman and Sweden's Jens Dantorp who, like Immelman, tied for third at 15 under.

    As has been the case with other stops along the Open Qualifying Series, the tiebreaker to determine invites is the players' standing in the Official World Golf Rankings entering the week. Dantorp is currently No. 322 in the world, but with Immelman ranked No. 1380 the Swede got the nod.

    This will mark Dantorp's first-ever major championship appearance. Immelman, who hasn't made the cut in a major since the 2013 Masters, was looking to return to The Open for 10th time and first since a missed cut at Royal Lytham six years ago. He will instead work the week at Carnoustie as part of Golf Channel and NBC's coverage of The Open.

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    Stone (60) wins Scottish Open, invite to Carnoustie

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:06 pm

    There's never a bad time to shoot a 60, but Brandon Stone certainly picked an opportune moment to do so.

    Facing a jammed leaderboard in the final round of the Scottish Open, Stone fired a 10-under 60 to leave a stacked field in his wake and win the biggest tournament of his career. His 20-under 260 total left him four shots clear of Eddie Pepperell and five shots in front of a group that tied for third.

    Stone had a mid-range birdie putt on No. 18 that would have given him the first 59 in European Tour history. But even after missing the putt on the left, Stone tapped in to close out a stellar round that included eight birdies, nine pars and an eagle. It's his third career European Tour title but first since the Alfred Dunhill Championship in December 2016.


    Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


    Stone started the day three shots behind overnight leader Jens Dantorp, but he made an early move with three birdies over his first five holes and five over his first 10. Stone added a birdie on the par-3 12th, then took command with a three-hole run from Nos. 14-16 that included two birdies and an eagle.

    The eye-popping score from the 25-year-old South African was even more surprising considering his lack of form entering the week. Stone is currently ranked No. 371 in the world and had missed four of his last seven worldwide cuts without finishing better than T-60.

    Stone was not yet qualified for The Open, and as a result of his performance at Gullane Golf Club he will tee it up next week at Carnoustie. Stone headlined a group of three Open qualifiers, as Pepperell and Dantorp (T-3) also earned invites by virtue of their performance this week. The final spot in the Open will go to the top finisher not otherwise qualified from the John Deere Classic.

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    Daly (knee) replaced by Bradley in Open field

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 12:13 pm

    Former champion John Daly has withdrawn from The Open because of a right knee injury and will be replaced in the field at Carnoustie by another major winner, Keegan Bradley.

    Daly, 52, defeated Costantino Rocca in a memorable playoff to win the claret jug at St. Andrews in 1995. His lingering knee pain led him to request a cart during last month's U.S. Senior Open, and when that request was denied he subsequently withdrew from the tournament.

    Daly then received treatment on the knee and played in a PGA Tour event last week at The Greenbrier without the use of a cart, missing the cut with rounds of 77-67. But on the eve of the season's third major, he posted to Twitter that his pain remains "unbearable" and that a second request for a cart was turned down:

    This will be just the second time since 2000 that Daly has missed The Open, having also sat out the 2013 event at Muirfield. He last made the cut in 2012, when he tied for 81st at Royal Lytham. He could still have a few more chances to improve upon that record, given that past Open champions remain fully exempt until age 60.

    Taking his place will be Bradley, who was first alternate based on his world ranking. Bradley missed the event last year but recorded three top-20 finishes in five appearances from 2012-16, including a T-18 finish two years ago at Royal Troon.

    The next three alternates, in order, are Spain's Adrian Otaegui and Americans Aaron Wise and J.B. Holmes.