The big names get pounded at the first day of The Open at Royal Portrush. It seems that most of the favourites except for Brooks Koepka and Sergio Garcia struggled to keep it together. Shane Lowry was at the top of leaderboard for most of the day until afternoon player JB Holmes stepped up with a minus 5. The rest of the names at the top is a virtual list of known, but not ultra-popular, players who might have the staying power to win the Claret Jug.
Thanks for Darren Clarke for starting The Open with a birdie. Clarke played well over all and finished even par for the day. The highlights of the morning were topped by Emiliano Grillio’s hole-in-one on the 13th hole. There were many ‘other’ scores during the day, but none as damaging as the two for Rory McIlroy.
Of course the top of the list of favourites failing early was Rory McIlroy. He did not recover from his opening quadruple bogey and finished at the near bottom of the leaderboard with a plus 8. I am surprised to see him start so poorly, yet with all the pressure of playing in Northern Ireland it is not surprising. Then to finish with a triple bogey was very shocking. I do feel for him because I have been there and it is completely demoralizing. Rory will have to respond with a JB Holmes like round on Friday just to make the cut.
Other notables way down the leaderboard are Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott, Bryson Dechambeau, and Xander Schauffele. They all struggled at various points during their round and need to play very well on Friday, like Rory, just to make the cut. This not really all that surprising, but it seems to be news nonetheless.
On Friday, two things have to happen to correct the path many of the players are on. First, the players at the top need to be patient and focus on steady play. The cannot win The Open on Friday, but they sure can lose it. The players listed above need to press their game. They need to increase their risk/reward course management style in the hopes of shooting a low enough score to make the cut.
The Open has not disappointed; the course is fantastic, the weather was reasonable and the scores as expected. Friday is going to be great and I am looking forward to tuning in to the action.
Watching Sergio Garcia and Bryson DeChambeau demonstrate their displeasure and chew up some of the golf course. This, however, is not the emotional aspect of golf I was thinking about today. The emotional side of golf I was thinking about was one that elicits a memory that we cannot forget. When we talk about a specific event from our golf game, we generally have a feeling or emotional response to that event. And that is why we remember it so well.
I have never witnessed an albatross in person. I have watched Louis O make one on TV, but I have never seen this elusive shot live. Obviously I have never made an Albatross, but I have made 3 holes in one. Either feat is amazing, but to witness both or more importantly make both is something that rarely happens in golf…..or does it?
I play plenty of golf with my friends. In fact, most of my games are with the same group of three players and it never gets old. Friends for many years, workmates as well, it seems natural that we all meet at the course three or four times a week to chase a little white ball. We are close friends on and off the course. Yet, I wonder how far that friendship actually goes when it comes to golf.
Recently I asked the following question about giving up a sure hole in one and three quarters of the respondents would not pass it on:
I guess I am not surprised by the results because most players do not have the elusive ace, so keeping it for themselves seems reasonable. Then I started to wonder if I would give up this miracle shot to one of my friends. I know this sounds a bit selfish, but I would not pass it on in and here is why.
If I was the recipient of the give of a guaranteed hole in one I am not sure I would take it. This does sound a bit crazy, but I think it would lessen the experience. Shooting a hole in one is a fantastic experience, but knowing that I received one with zero chance of fail does not help the players have the entire experience of talking, recounting, or bragging about their intended shot.
Of course, when it comes to just about anything else, we are there for each other. There is no question that golf and friendship go hand in hand. I have said many times in the past that golf is a contact sport and that still holds true. Whether with friends or meeting new people, fostering and developing friendships is all part of playing golf.
Golf is a crazy game. If you have played this wonderful sport for any length of time, you will have experienced roller coaster action that sets your head in a tail spin. Alex Noren, at the 17 hole at Hero World Challenge, proved that professional golfers are subject to the same fate as amateurs. Continue reading →