Apologies for the lack of posts today, but being that I always plan ahead of time, I had quite a few errands to run before heading to the airport. You know, like picking up my passport! It’s amazing how quickly you can get one of those renewed in NYC if you’re an American citizen. Anyway, hopefully we’ll be back to our regularly-scheduled programming tomorrow, but I may get lost in a pub.
Yep, I’m about to hop on a plane en route for the other side of the pond to cover the Open. WOOT! I’m excited. Really excited. It’s going to be a little different than St. Andrews, though. This is kind of random, but the Open in 2003 at Royal St. George’s is the only other one I’ve attended. I was studying in London that summer and took a day trip to Sandwich, so I guess RSG has a special place in my heart (even if it’s in the middle of nowhere).
Here are a few links and notes to keep you entertained.
*Lee Westwood and someone named Mark Tullo shot opening rounds of seven-under 65s to share the lead at the Scottish Open. Westy, don’t finish too strong this week — save your energy for the Open! After all, it’s safe to say he’s beyond ready to get that major monkey off his back. Some of Westwood’s thoughts via The Guardian:
“You can’t have many bad weeks and be No1 in the world,” said the world No2. “When I play well, I’m in contention; when I don’t play so well, it seems to be that I finish top-20. I said just after the US Open [where he was a distant third, 10 shots behind Rory McIlroy] that even my bad golf is very good now. What I need to do is make sure that my good golf is up to the same level, relative to the days when I play really well. Of course, I need to play really well more often.”
“I did some nice work on the range last week, getting my ball flight down a bit for the wind,” he said. “I like being competitive. I like to feel the aggression you need to make putts when you really have to, especially when you’re in contention. This is the position I want to be in a week from Sunday. The more pressure I’m under, the better I think.”
Still, too much talk of more important matters to come would have been seen as disrespectful to the tournament sponsor Barclays. “Today wasn’t so much about setting a course record, although that is always nice,” a diplomatic Westwood concluded. “This was all about getting into position and carrying that forward into the next few days and winning the Scottish Open.”
*World No. 1 Luke Donald is in good position, firing a five-under 65 and T6.
*Phil Mickelson shot one-over 73 at Castle Stuart and has quite a bit of work to do if he wants to make the cut. As we know, links golf isn’t Lefty’s strong point.
“Any time you play with the world number one and equal him around the course you’ve done OK but I should have done better,” the eight-times European number one told reporters.
“When I made eagle I thought I was on to something but then I bogeyed two of the easiest holes. To miss the ninth (his 18th) fairway was a disaster. The thing’s 110 yards wide. I had to hit my second shot backwards.
“I’m disappointed but then if I wasn’t disappointed, I’d give up. I’m here to do well — I’m here to win.”
*Shock! — low scores at the John Deere Classic. Kris Blanks shot an eight-under 63. US Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III posted a 64, along with Matt McQuillan and Steve Marino. Defending champ Steve Stricker carded a five-under 66 and is tied for 7th after the opening round.
“I watched my son play a fair amount of golf … I watched my daughter ride horses,” he said. “I went paddle boarding five mornings in a row as my workouts.
“I think it’s important to be mentally refreshed and physically strong. We’ve seen that with a lot of the top players lately, from Greg Norman to Tiger (Woods). If they’re in shape and they feel good, it gives them confidence.”
*David Toms withdrew due to a hip injury and Robert Garrigus pulled out because of back problems.
*First-round play of the US Women’s Open was suspended after a 3-1/2-hour rain delay. Only 25 players finished their rounds and 88 teed off in the 156-person field. Cristie Kerr and amateur Amy Anderson have set the pace at two-under 68. Via the AP:
Typical of the U.S. Open, rounds were averaging more than five hours, which is why some of the players were surprised the USGA didn’t wait a little longer before calling play for the day. They’ll need perfect weather the rest of the week to close out this tournament on Sunday. Kerr, who was scheduled to play her second round Friday afternoon, said she did the math and figured it’s unlikely she’ll even get it started by then.
“It’s golf,” Kerr said. “Especially at the U.S. Open, you have to have your patience game be your ‘A’ game.”
*Who’s Amy Anderson? More on Amy in this Golfweek report:
Interest grew among gallery members Thursday, and everything from “Can you believe she’s only 18?” to “Can you believe she lives in North Dakota?” circulated as Anderson made her way around the East Course.
“I like being the underdog,” she said. “It’s a position I’m really comfortable with. I mean, to me, I don’t expect to go out and win this or continue playing like this. I mean, I’m gonna try and work as hard as I can to do that, but I’m just going out there and having fun.”
*Michelle Wie is off to a slow start. She’s seven-over through 17 holes. Yikes.
Time to board. Feel free to leave comments and/or start a discussion below!
(AP Photo/Lynne Cameron/Chris Carlson)