As I write this, the gales are buffeting against the media tent with such force that some hacks appear to be running for extra cover. It’s a bit of an uneasy situation, and with the forecast suggesting there will be no let-up as the day progresses, it’s anyone’s guess as to what will be a decent score at the end of play.
The wind is absolutely fierce, to the point where there are rumours circulating about postponements of play. I can’t see why that would happen. This is links golf at its toughest and nobody said winning at Royal Birkdale would be a walk in the park. Whoever lifts that Claret Jug on Sunday evening (or whenever play finishes) will have come through one of golf’s greatest tests. The elements have far more bearing on matters than the absence of a certain Tiger Woods.
Out on the course, scores are dropping at quite a rate; hitting the fairway is an absolute must because players are hacking from rough to rough with little control. We had a discussion at dinner last night that good putting would really play a crucial part throughout the weekend, noted in a recent blog from Paul OHagan. It’s an obvious point, but many in the field will not have experienced links conditions like this before and with greens being missed from the fairway, it will come down to whoever holes out with greater consistency.
For that the two men at the top of the leaderboard can take heart. KJ Chois putting has been hugely impressive while solid par putts have been a key ingredient to Greg Norman’s success over the last two days.
To keep you informed, we have just been passed a weather update that reads scattered and blustery showers throughout the day with north-westerly wind speeds peaking between 4 and 6pm (40mph with a 45-48 mph gust).
Norman and KJ tee off at 2.40pm, so they could have the worst of it. Another Norman – our man Luke – has just dipped out to brave the breeze, so look out for an update shortly. Let’s hope he doesn’t blow off out to sea!
From a very windy Royal Birkdale…