ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — The R&A wished to maintain consideration on the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of The Open this week and off the continuing dispute between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf for the most effective gamers on the planet.
The R&A wasn’t precisely delicate in making an attempt to ensure that occurred. The R&A did not invite LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman, a two-time Open winner, to St. Andrews for the celebration. It additionally did not embrace a single LIV participant within the pre-tournament information convention schedule, nor the featured pairings for Thursday’s opening spherical.
That did not cease many LIV gamers from performing fairly properly on the Previous Course. Amongst them: Dustin Johnson (4-under 68), Lee Westwood (4-under 68), Talor Gooch (4-under 68), Ian Poulter (3-under 69), Bryson DeChambeau (3-under 69), and Scott Vincent (3-under 69).
— LIV Golf (@LIVGolfInv) July 14, 2022
Westwood, who’s trying to win his first main at age 49, stated he acquired a heat reception from followers in Scotland.
“I feel the media are stoking it up and doing as a lot as they will to help that,” Westwood stated of the rift between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour. “I feel most people simply needs to go on the market and see good golf regardless of the place it is being performed or who’s taking part in it.”
Westwood additionally was requested about Tiger Woods’ remark that gamers who jumped to LIV Golf had “turned their backs” on the PGA Tour.
“He is received a vested curiosity, hasn’t he?” Westwood stated. “The LIV gamers will discuss up LIV. The PGA Tour gamers that are not on the LIV tour will discuss the PGA Tour up and put down the LIV tour.”
A few of LIV Golf’s larger stars had a harder time getting across the Previous Course, together with Phil Mickelson (even-par 72), Patrick Reed (even-par 72), Brooks Koepka (1-over 73) and Sergio Garcia (3-over 75).
Poulter, from England, is a longtime European Ryder Cup fan favourite. There have been a few followers who booed him earlier than his opening tee shot, however Poulter insisted he did not hear them. He additionally stated one thing to a fan who shouted at him on No. 17.
“There’s at all times one American within the crowd,” Poulter stated.
Gooch, who caught some flak for evaluating the ambiance on the second LIV occasion at Pumpkin Ridge outdoors Portland, Oregon, to the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup, known as The Open his favourite event.
“It is not comparable as a result of that was staff golf [at LIV] and this isn’t staff golf,” Gooch informed ESPN, when requested to check the 2 occasions. “It is sort of apples and oranges there.”
Tiger’s fast turnaround
Tiger Woods, who struggled to a 6-over 78 within the first spherical, will not have a lot time to recuperate or relaxation earlier than Friday’s second spherical. His first spherical took 6 hours, 5 minutes to play; he did not stroll off the Previous Course till round 9 p.m. native time on Thursday evening.
Woods, 46, is scheduled to tee off on Friday at 4:58 a.m. ET (9:58 a.m. native time) with U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick and Max Homa.
On the Masters in April, Woods stated he wanted a few hours to get his physique going earlier than taking part in a spherical. Except for the accidents Woods suffered in a severe automobile wreck outdoors Los Angeles in February 2021, which he stated almost led to surgeons amputating his proper leg, he has been affected by neck and again accidents the previous a number of years.
The excellent news is Woods stated Thursday’s stroll was simpler than those he had within the first rounds of the Masters and the PGA Championship. The dangerous information is that it was a 6-hour stroll due to the very gradual tempo of play.
“We weren’t precisely velocity demons on the market both,” Woods stated. “The entire spherical took a very long time, and we have been getting waved up. And it was a protracted, gradual day.”
Defending the Previous Course
They have been taking part in golf on the hyperlinks at St. Andrews for the reason that early fifteenth century, however the “house of golf” would not arise very properly to trendy gamers and gear by way of size.
With the fairways agency from heat climate and no rain, balls have been rolling out like by no means earlier than. Tiger Woods had a 412-yard drive on the par-5 14th.
“It is the firmest I’ve ever seen, little question,” Gooch stated. “Anyone I’ve requested over the past 48 hours has agreed. It is the firmest golf course anyone has ever seen. It is superb.”
All week, gamers have famous that the fairways have been sooner than the greens. They stated that was nonetheless the case on Thursday.
“I have been placing very well this 12 months as an entire, however I observed the hyperlinks greens are normally a little bit bit slower than what we usually play,” Viktor Hovland stated. “I simply observed within the follow rounds I used to be simply barely getting the ball to the opening. So something inside 15 ft, I used to be actually making an attempt to hit it two, three ft previous the opening simply to offer it an opportunity to go in.”
There is a respectable probability of in a single day rain earlier than the second spherical.
“If there is no rain within the forecast, it’d get a contact firmer, particularly the greens,” stated Rory McIlroy, who shot 6-under 66 within the first spherical. I undoubtedly observed [Thursday] a number of the excessive factors within the greens have been getting a little bit burnt out and naked. “And I feel due to that, there are specific areas of sure greens that have been a little bit sooner than others. In order that’s one thing simply to regulate over the subsequent few days.”
Some work to do to stay round
The lower for The Open consists of the highest 70 scores and ties. After the primary spherical, 76 gamers had scores of even or higher — and 100 had scores of 1 over or higher.
In final 12 months’s Open at Royal St. George’s, the lower was 1 over. It was the identical at Royal Portrush in 2019.
Together with Koepka and Garcia, there are many notable gamers who have to make up floor, or a minimum of not go within the flawed path on Friday, to stay round for the weekend.
Amongst them: Jon Rahm (1 over), Will Zalatoris (1 over), Tony Finau (1 over), Harold Varner III (1 over), John Daly (1 over), Billy Horschel (1 over), Max Homa (1 over) and Gary Woodland (2 over).
“Simply get up and do it, you already know,” Homa stated. “Luckily, I’ve received some adrenaline being right here and taking part in with Tiger, so will probably be enjoyable. I imply, fairly cool drawback to have. I’ve received to get up early and play the Previous Course.”
Will any person take note of No. 1?
One other main, one other early run by world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler to get himself in competition for an additional victory. Scheffler carded a 4-under 68 and is tied for fifth. He has completed within the high 5 seven occasions in 13 rounds in majors, tied with McIlroy for probably the most by any participant this season. He has been within the high 10 in 15 of the previous 18 rounds at majors going again to 2021.
Scheffler gained the Masters, missed the lower on the PGA Championship and tied for second on the U.S. Open.
“I am simply making an attempt to maintain myself in place, keep away from the bunkers, and simply keep in place, actually,” Scheffler stated. “That is all I am making an attempt to do. There’s sure spots the place you may assault this golf course, and there is a number of spots the place you may’t. So simply making an attempt to handle expectations and actually simply making an attempt to execute and hit good photographs.”
And the person who gained 4 occasions in six begins this spring continues to be being requested if he is getting sufficient respect. He wasn’t included in a characteristic group within the first two rounds, though his pairing with Joaquin Niemann and Tyrrell Hatton wasn’t too dangerous.
“I do not actually take note of that sort of stuff,” Scheffler stated. “For me, I am simply displaying up and making an attempt to play good golf. I assumed I used to be in a featured pairing [Thursday]. The blokes I performed with are fairly strong golfers. I imply, it is y’all’s opinion. It is all notion. For me, I am simply out right here making an attempt to play good golf.”