Brandel said that he was very surprised to see the benign weather conditions. The course is very soft by links standards although not by normal standards. He has been to the Open Championship a dozen times and he doubts that he has ever seen a round which was more open to low scores.
It is also a bit surprising to see Adam Scott open with a 64. This is the 7th Major he has played with the anchored putter and his improvement in the Majors began when he first used it during the 2011 Masters when he averaged less than 28 putts per round in a Major for just the second time on his way to a runner-up finish. Brandel has spoken to Tony Navarro who caddied for Scott in the 2011 Masters and Tony said that the anchored putter does not make Adam Scott a good putter. Instead, it makes Scott an average putter and that is all Scott needs to be to contend and/or win more often. The anchored putter has definitely made Scott better than he used to be on the greens and while he is not criticizing Scott for using the anchored putter, he does not think it looks right on him.
Further proof of the potential impact of the anchored putter is what Orville Moody was able to accomplish on the Champions Tour. The 1969 U.S. Open Champion was the worst putter in the world by the time he turned 50 and when he started using the longer putter, he began to win and was a completely different player. The anchored putter has kept players competitive and it has also made players like Adam Scott more competitive.
The Open Championship, interestingly, has been Lee Westwood’s worst Major for several confusing reasons. Westwood has tended to struggle on slow greens and he actually averages almost two more putts per round in the Open Championship than in any other tournament in his career. while you would think that his low ball flight and his familiarity with links golf would help him, those qualities are negated in many ways by his lack of luster and success around the greens. His short game has been his weakness for many years and that weakness is definitely exposed during The Open Championship. Westwood has a lot of great qualities to his game, but no player is good at everything and his weakness is chipping and that has been what has kept him from winning several Major Championships. A +3 start today puts him in a difficult position.
Tiger Woods seemed to start his Open Championship pretty stress-free and he has been very successful in keeping the ball in play. He is also putting well and is strong with his short game. When he watches Tiger Woods hit several fairways in a row, he sees that Tiger is a lot more one-dimensional with his game than he used to be. He is very reliant on hitting a fade off the tee and he now hits the draw so rarely that he is shocked when he actually attempts a right to left shot off the tee. He used to be a lot more diverse as a golfer and that has held him back. The lack of diversity can become very frustrating when you do not get the results that you want and Tiger is not getting the results he wants today.
Bubba Watson is also playing well and what is interesting about him is that he is sneaky old. He looks like someone in his 20’s but he is actually in his mid-30’s. Bubba has only recently started playing links golf and he was encouraged to do so by other players but he also enjoys that style of golf.