The way things are panning out, we could not have asked for much more from the first round of The Open.
There are a couple of elements we really want to avoid in the first round: the first is rain – of which we have not had a drop so far – and the second is Tiger Woods shooting 64 to lead by four and finish the contest before it has really begun. Tiger was strangely out of sorts today, but it would be
foolish to bet against Tiger shooting under par tomorrow with a vengeance.
Tom Watson taking the early clubhouse lead was fantastic; Lee Westwood had to contend with Tiger, Japanese teenager Ryo Ishikawa and about 200 photographers and he handled it immaculately; Paul Casey is showing again that he has become a genuine candidate to win a major; and solid, under-par starts from Graeme McDowell, Anthony Wall, David Howell and Ross Fisher have
kept British hopes in rude health.
But the story of the day is Watson’s – the 59-year-old who talks of having “hammer mitts” on the greens. With benign conditions the old-stagers like Watson aren’t supposed to be able to compete against the young guard, but the man who won the Claret Jug over these links 29 years ago made a mockery of golfing logic today. Watson said it was spiritual: “I think there was some spirituality out there today,” he said, with memories of 1977 vivid in his mind. “Just the serenity of it was pretty neat”.
A little bit on the slushy, sentimental side perhaps, but who cares?
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