When I arrived to St. Andrews on Monday, I immediately headed to the Road Hole (after checking in and getting situated at the media center, etc.). I’ve been reading and hearing about it nonstop for the past month, so obviously I couldn’t wait to scope it out in person. (By the way, St. Andrews and the Open are amazing — more later, stay tuned!) I happened to come across Zach Johnson, who was practicing chip shots from the path in between the green and the road. I saw him duff heaps, blade a few and hit some to a foot.
Zach and his posse were analyzing the different trouble spots if you miss the green right. “I’d rather be here [on the path] than right there [by the wall],” he said.
Three groups went through as Zach diligently practiced from the same spot for approximately 20 minutes.
Mike Weir was in one of them. He missed the green right and his ball was pin-high on the path. As Arnold Palmer was rolling up in a golf cart, Weir putted it to about a foot. Arnie came up and shook his hand. I wasn’t close enough to hear the conversation, but I was told by someone who was that Arnie explained to Weir that in 1960 British Open he bogeyed the Road Hole the first three days. But in the final round, he was in the same exact spot as Weir and made par. Arnie placed second that year. Kinda cool, no?
When Ryan Moore rolled up, he didn’t even bother practicing shots on the road or right of the green (and hasn’t). He dropped a ball in the famous Road Bunker and it rolled right into the cup. I think he’ll take that during the tournament.
More on the Road Hole later. It’s freezing in the media room because everyone is gone and our theory is that body heat keeps this place warm during the day.