Well the 144th edition of the Open Championship has begun and the players are beginning to position themselves. The weather is overcast and the wind is freshening. According to Dustin Johnson, currently alone in the lead at 7 under par, commented that the inward half was playing more difficult with the wind against and from the left while the wind was helping and coming from the right on the outward half.
2015 Masters Champion and U.S. Open Champion Jordan Spieth, who played with Dustin and positioned at 5 under par confirmed Justin’s sentiment and said the birdies were to be made on the outward bound journey and important to just hang on while coming in. Both Dustin and Jordan admitted the tee shot was the critical element to playing the course today and to stay out of the fairway bunkers to get around successfully.
A links course, for those Americans who are not familiar with the traditional Scottish course, plays 12 holes out and away from the clubhouse, and then returns to the clubhouse on the inward 6 holes. The course at St. Andrews has 14 holes that share greens with only the 1st, 2nd, 17th, and 18th holes having their own green. There are numerous fairways that also serve a dual purpose for adjacent holes with some fairways stretching to 100 yards wide.
St. Andrews, the oldest golf course on the planet and the home of golf, is situated on the south east coast of Scotland near the Firth of Forth in the Kingdom of Fife. The Firth of Forth is an estuary of Scotland’s river Forth. This of course is also the domain of Shivas Irons, the legendary golfer and magical spirit of St. Andrews. Michael Murphy an American writer has written several books about the spiritual nature of golf and this enigmatic figure that is said to haunt the course.
Open Championship Notable Players
There are several notable golfers near the lead including Australian golfer Jason Day. Jason shot in the 60’s today for the first time in his career at an Open Championship. He came in with a 6 under 66. He also commented after his round that the course was playing very difficult on the way in especially 15, 16, and 17 where Jason mentioned that he hit a 3 iron on his approach to 17 illustrating the strength of the wind and the difficulty of the finishing holes.
Tiger shot a 76 for his opening round and hit only 10 of 18 greens. He admitted hitting several opening shots fat and also having a few bad breaks rolling into divots off the tee where he played conservatively. Tiger opened with a bogey on number 1 having hit his approach fat and into the ditch that fronts the green. The pin today on number one was tucked just over the water and a precise shot was required.
Other notable players close to the lead are Zach Johnson, Robert Streb, Retief Goosen, Jason Day, Danny Willett all carding 6 under 66’s. Amateur Jordan Niebrugge along with Kevin Na, Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen, and Jordan Spieth all came in with 5 under 67’s. Currently there are 7 players at 4 under including Luke Donald, Greg Owen, and David Howell. Scottish Open winner Rickie Fowler carded an even round of 72 and Phil Mickelson finished with a 2 under 70.
at Carnoustie in 1999, came in today at 6 under 66 and seems to be in form and feeling good. Paul of course has the dubious distinction of winning the Open when Frenchman Jean van de Velde, with a 3 stroke lead going into the 18th hole fell apart and took a triple bogey. Interestingly the Claret Jug had Jean’s name already engraved onto it before he finished the tournament. This anxiety filled finish by Van de Velde led to a playoff and ultimately a victory by Mr. Lawrie where he defeated Van de Velde and Justin Leonard.
was played in 1860 at the Prestwick Golf Club in Scotland and was restricted to professionals and attracted a field of 8 golfers. At the time Prestwick had twelve holes and the play consisted of 3 rounds in a single day. Willie Park Sr. won the first event and beat old Tom Morris, a legend of the game and winner of the Open Championship 4 times. The following year the championship was opened to amateurs where 8 of them joined an additional 10 professionals.
and certainly one of the most prestigious of all golfing events should prove to be and exciting and action packed week especially if the weather continues to blow in from the North Sea. The field is strong and contains players from around the world. Good luck to all the participants.