First tee nerves – Played into the prevailing wind during the opening round, Muirfield’s opener was the toughest hole on the course. But on Friday players were graced with a gentle downwind that gathered venom through the day.

That said, even with an iron in hand, far too many were caught out by its testing nature, falling foul of the subtle elbow as the fairway swings gently to the right. For many it set the tone for the following 17 holes. Wind with or wind against, there are few holes that can match its menace in Major Championships.

Rory McIlroy – Following Rory for five holes during his back nine on Friday proved sad viewing. Having already clocked into double digits over par, the world number two was left with little option to attack the course, going against the blueprint that suggests you would be better served by picking it off with patience.

Flaying driver after driver, Rory’s game plan had little effect. With every drive came the inevitable slump of the shoulders, or an eager stare as he followed the ball before looking for a response from his caddie, JP Fitzgerald. You can never write anybody off in this game, but something needs to spark, and it needs to spark quickly…

Nick Faldo – While McIlroy appeared to be playing with the weight of the world on his shoulders, three-time Open winner Nick Faldo was calmness personified as he strutted through his second round.

He may have carded a 78 to marginally beat his opening round effort of 79 – complete with a closing double bogey – but the chorus of applause that met the Englishman as he strode down 18 will be a timely reminder of how highly he is held by the UK’s golfing public.

Viewing spots – Muirfield may not be blessed with the towering sandhills of Royal Birkdale, or the sweeping coastline of Turnberry, but the East Lothian links looks in its prime this week. Spectator numbers were on the rise on Friday following a disappointing and slightly worrying turnout on Thursday, and the galleries have been spoilt for choice with a number of excellent viewing spots from where they can pick off the action over the sun-baked terrain.

Golf Monthly’s personal favourite has to be the grandstand behind the 13th green. Which affords excellent views of perhaps the course’s most testing putting surface. Behind you can see the players tee off at 12 as well as play their approaches on the same hole. It’s all capped off with the sun glistening across the Firth of Forth. We could go on, but we don’t want to make you feel too jealous…

Something for the weekend – With Tiger lurking ominously, Lee Westwood in the mix and Phil Mickelson continuing his form on Scottish soil, this Open is set up beautifully for the third and fourth rounds. My pick, well it still has to be Tiger. The tradition of the very best winning will certainly take some beating…