As I sat in the warm, dry media tent a couple of hours ago I began to feel a vague pang of guilt. The BBC kept showing shots of bedraggled spectators craning their necks against the wind and rain to try and catch a glimpse of play. I decided I had to go out and experience the conditions first hand.
I donned my waterproofs and prepared to brave the elements. As I knew it was going to be an unpleasant experience I decided to allow myself a little self-indulgence. Monty had just birdied the fourth to get back to level par so I decided to head out and catch up with my countryman. The pace of play is so slow when the weather is like this that Id caught up with the big man just in time to see him miss a three-foot par putt on the fifth green. Typical.
The galleries out there are impressive given the weather. They must breed them tough in these parts as I saw numerous people with no waterproofs. I even saw a couple of guys in shorts!
I used my press armband to duck under the ropes going up the treacherous sixth and positioned myself halfway up the fairway where the group of Phil Mickelson, Hideto Tanihara and Paul Casey were waiting to hit. With the wind and rain blowing right into their faces this is an incredibly tough par four. Measuring 499 yards, its pretty much unreachable in two today. Casey hit a low drawing 3-wood that finished in the greenside bunker, Mickelson pull hooked his right towards the thick rough on the sand hills.
When they were finally out of the way Montys group could drive. Mike Weir went first and pulled it right. Boo Weekley was next up and he fired one down the left of the fairway just beside where I was standing, Monty followed suit.
The fact Monty and Weekley were paired together has generated a bit of interest in the press. How would public school educated Monty deal with the huntin, shootin and fishin lovin Weekley? Well, I can confirm they were getting on like a house on fire. Despite the weather they laughed and joked all the way down the fairway and continued the banter when they reached their balls. They do say that opposites attract.
After about five minutes standing at his ball I could see Colin was starting to get a little impatient. His mood was not improved when he saw Mickelson trudging back down the fairway towards him. Hed been unable to find his ball in the thick stuff. He dropped and pushed one into the rough on the left. Monty continued to wait.
In fact, they had to wait a full 15 minutes to play their second shots with the wind and rain blowing hard in their faces. It made the shot Monty finally produced all the more impressive. He selected driver and fired of an incredible low draw. Yes, a driver. Yes, a draw. But, even that sublime shot couldnt reach the green so the big man was left with a tough pitch to get up and down for par. He studied the shot and sent a low wedge shot up the green. It landed, skipped on and checked by the cup from where he tapped in for par. I would honestly say it was one of the best pars Ive ever witnessed.