Live British Open Championship coverage: Round 3
Connell Barrett, editor at large for GOLF Magazine, blogged the afternoon action at Turnberry for the third round of the British Open Championship. Michael Walker Jr. was our early morning blogger. Read the recap below. Leaderboard | More updates on Twitter | Join SI GOLFNation
2:28pm Golf.commies, it's been my honor watching this sensational day of golf along with you. Thanks for the comments and conversation. The Saturday live-blog ends here, but check out Golf.com for more coverage.
And of course, we'll be with you for every (historic?) moment tomorrow. Same golf time, same golf channel.
Enjoy Sunday at the British Open! 2:25pm Watson taps in, removes his cap, and salutes the crowd. For the first time in 22 years, the TV guys tell us, Tom Watson has the 54-hole lead in a major.
[Note to self: Hop on travelocity, buy an emergency ticket to Scotland. I want to be there!] 2:22pm Old Tom cozies his loooong birdie putt to 6 lovely, low-stress inches. I just applauded my TV. I'm applauding lag putts! 2:19pm You can hear and feel the excitement in Zinger's and Tirico's voices. Great stuff!
Watson launches an iron about 200 yards to the front of the 18th green. He needs one more good lag putt to assure himself of the sole 54-hole lead. 2:17pm But you can be sure TW's not thinking the way are, namely: WOW, THIS IS SO COOL. He's taking it one shot at a time.
He pulls a hybrid club on 18 and lashes it down the right side of the fairway. He seems immune to the hugeness of the moment (which is why he's won 5 of these things...) 2:13pm Watson makes a good putt for his attempted eagle on 17, but it doesn't fall. Like Nicklaus used to say: "I made it. It just didn't go in." A stress-free tap-in for birdie, thank you very much.
Watson heads to the 54th hole with a 1-shot lead.
Jack in '86 at Augusta. Tiger at Torrey. Now this. What a pleasure it is to watch this magical run unfold, no matter how it turns out. 2:09pm ABC's Mike Tirico said it well moments ago, re: Tom. "The novelty of this has warn off. This is historic stuff." 2:05pm I just giggled like a Catholic schoolgirl -- not that there's anything wrong with that! -- as Watson stuck his approach on 17 to 15 flippin' feet. He'll have that for eagle, and a 2-shot lead. Birdie seems in the bag, at least.
I mentioned earlier that I picked the wrong week to quit smoking. Writes Mike C.: Hell, I just might TAKE UP smoking, meth and glue if Watson wins this thing!!! Mike, admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery. I'll see you at the meetings. 2:02pm Fisher taps in for his par on 18, to finish 3-under and to keep a share of the lead.
You guys are on fire on the boards. I can't say it any better than Brian, who has this to share: You asked earlier if this would be the greatest. The answer is YES! Not because of the age, not because of Old Tom rises again, but because he did it when many great golfers, including TW didn't. In other words he is doing this on a VERY HARD course that has chewed up and spit out good golfers and sent them home. This isn't just another senior guy having a good game on the home course, he is have a GREAT game on a TOUGH course! 1:58pm Holy Brit! Watson drops his 25-footer for birdie on 16 -- it charged into the center of the cup -- to get back to 3-under, and to reclaim a share of the lead.
I think he's made more 20-plus footers this week than 5-footers. He should just lag everything to that distance.
Now, he can sink his teeth into the par-5 17th. 1:54pm Watson's approach on the treacherous par-4 16th finds the center of the green. He'll have a look at birdie. 1:50pm Goggin's clubhouse lead is now tops, at 3-under. Can Watson go par-birdie-par to get back into a share of the lead? 1:45pm After waiting an eternity, Watson hits his bunker shot to about 15 feet but can't make the par putt. The bogey knocks him back to 2-under. Marino ends up with triple and falls to 1-over. 1:40pm Here comes Goosen! He rolls in an eagle putt on 17 to get to 2-under for the Open. 1:38pm Marino pitches over the green. He'll have a long, tough up and down for a double-bogey. He's still away and will play his fourth before Watson plays his second from the back-left bunker. 1:35pm Watson is waiting, and waiting, and waiting. It's been about 10-15 minutes since he hit his tee shot on 15. Marino has elected to take a penalty and a drop. He appears to have a 3rd shot of some 50 yards. 1:32pm Marino, having found his ball, is trying to decide what kind of shot he can hit on 15. His lie is hairier than my aunt's upper lip. Decisions, decisions...
Fisher, meanwhile, makes birdie on 16 to get it to 2-under. 1:28pm A massive manhunt is underway for Marino's tee shot on 15. A sea of people are combing the rough. Ahh, they've just found his ball (along with Jimmy Hoffa, Amelia Earhart, and the Holy Grail.) 1:25pm Back to the phones. Larry wants to believe in miracles, but he can't see it happening. He writes: A British Open win at age 59 would indeed be the greatest golf achievement ever. But as much as I love Tom, I just can't see it happening. Like you, I'm amazed he's still atop the leaderboard. Which is why it WOULD be the greatest achievement ever! 1:23pm More drama from our golden oldie: He knocks his tee shot into the back bunker on the par-3 15th. 1:20pm Watson -- of course -- drops the 10-footer for par on 14. Holy Toledo! He stays in a tie for the lead.
What's going on, people? Are we living in the Matrix? Watson should be playing bingo or reading AARP Magazine, not co-leading the Open and dropping clutch par putts.
If I don't stop pinching myself, I'll be forced to sue myself for sexual harassment. 1:13pm Ouch. From short of the green, Watson power putted his 3rd shot well past the hole, on 14. He's poised for bogey, unless he jars another putt he has no business making. 1:11pm Hay now! Westwood fluffled a greenside pitch from the gunk and is gonna make bogey, to fall back into second place, at 2-under.
Meanwhile, Watson's fairway wood from the 14th fairway stopped well short of the green. He'll have to scramble for par to keep a share of the lead. Nervous time.
Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop drinking malt liquor all by myself before noon. 1:08pm Hey, let's go to the phones! J.F., you're on. And you're psyched by Watsonpalooza, '09. Can't express how awesome this is. Nothing would compare to a Watson win. 59 years old?! Watson's SIXTH open championship!? I might have to make my three little girls (ages 5, 2 and 2) watch the last nine holes on Sunday. 1:02pm Phew! Watson drops the 5-footer on 13, to save par and to stay in a 3-way tie for the lead. He needed that. I needed that.
Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit smoking. 12:59pm We have a clubhouse leader: Matt Goggin has carded a 69, for 3-under.
Meanwhile [gulp!], Old Tom has another 5-footer for par. I can't speak for Watson, but I know that I'm nervous for him. The butterflies in my stomach are chugging Pepto. 12:56pm More from Mahoney (twitter.com/paulmahoneygolf) Watson gets kicked out of the Open after next year. Should make for an interesting chat with the R&A should he win. 12:55pm Westwood is about to birdie 17 to join the leaders at 3-under. He'll have a 2-footer for birdie. 12:49pm A behind-the-scenes nugget from Friend of Golf.com Paul Mahoney, a UK-based golf journalist (twitter.com/paulmahoneygolf). Reporter, to McIlroy: Have you got a time frame for winning a major? McIlroy, +7: If I win one in the next 10 years, I'll still have one before I'm 30! (Smart arse!) 12:46pm Watson's par putt slides by the right side. He's at 3-under, tied with Matt Goggin. Marino bogeys 12 and slips into second place. 12:43pm Watson takes a putter off the green over a big mound and ridge, on 12 green. He leaves it about 5 feet for par. "Another knee-knocker," Azinger says.
That's the million-dollar question with Watson's game this week. Will he make enough of the short putts, or will it be "Terror: At 5 Feet"? 12:40pm Marino wedged out from the rough on 12. He'll have to sweat in order to save par on the par-4. From 186 yards, in the fairway, Watson pulls iron and his shot trickles off the left side of the punchbowl green, narrowly avoiding a bunker. Staying out of that crater was a break and it could save him a shot if he ends up getting up and down for par. 12:36pm Zinger aptly praises Marino, who's got it back to 3-under, for not hitting the panic button today after a miserable start.
That said, Marino pulls driver on 12 and tugs it onto the set of "Hee-Haw." He could be in some deep hay.
Watson's tee ball finds the short grass. I know I'm gonna jinx him, but he's swinging so well and playing with towering confidence. He looks comfortable, completely at ease in this spotlight. He appears poised to par his way in, and maybe add a birdie or two for good measure. I say he finishes his day where he started -- at 5-under. 12:30pm On 11 green, Watson had the perfect line on his 20-footer, but he needed a little more mustard. He leaves it short, and taps in for his par. He let one get away, but a par is never, ever, a bad thing on Saturday at the British. 12:26pm Sports Illustrated's Dick Friedman is watching from his La-Z-Boy in Joizey. In a Jerry Seinfeld kind of mood ("What's the deal with that?"), he opines: I am always curious when I see, in the background, the sailboats in the Firth. Are these people trying to watch the Open aboard ship? Are they oblivious to the golf? Or do they simply think this is the best way to circumnavigate the traffic jams? 12:24pm The Ageless One will have a 15-18-footer for birdie on 11, after striping yet another sweet iron. He remains 1 stroke ahead, but could well make it 2 in a few moments. 12:20pm Old Tom nearly drained yet another long-distance birdie, on no. 10. His long putting game is dialed in this week.
"Just keep making pars, Tom," Alliss says. I go back to one of my favorite Johnny Miller quotes. He was talking about the U.S. Open, but it's certainly is true for Turnberry this weekend: "In majors, pars wear little white hats." Well, tartan hats, this week. 12:14pm Let me take a break from my Tom Watson man-crush for a moment to raise a tumbler of Dewar's to Calc. If Old Tom doesn't win this thing, I hope Calc. does. I love his authentic, Everyman vibe. And that physique! The only "crunches" he does are of the Nestle variety.
He's just way cool. Two classic Calc tidbits, strange but true:
--He speaks in his own native tongue. Rough is "muff." Playing poorly is "slashing" it. He never chili-dips it, but he may "Hormel" one off the hosel.
--For an exhibition, he once turned up at a club in New Jersey without his sticks--or his clothes. Peter Jacobsen loaned him pants and a shirt, Hubert Green floated him socks and shoes, and he got a set of clubs from a fan. Calc. proceeded to shoot a course-record 62.
A friggin' golf savant, this guy.
OK, back to the action...
Calc. parks an L-wedge to 5 feet on the par-4 10th. He'll have a great look at birdie to get to 3-under, one shot behind Watson. 12:05pm Call it a 6-footer. Old Tom misses his par putt, scaring the right edge, to drop to 4-under. 12:02pm Pulling putter, Watson leaves his ball about 5 feet from the hole, a real tester for par. Marino misses his birdie putt. 11:59am Pitching from the right rough on no. 9, leader Watson wedges it over the green onto the back collar. He'll have a big swinging chip in order to get up and down. Marino, playing with Watson, hits a better approach into the green, leaving himself about 12-15 feet for birdie, which would put him in a tie for second, at 3-under. 11:54am I like what Friend of Blog Mike Corcoran wrote earlier today, about how mentally tough Watson is. Sure, he's all smiles and handshakes and warm fuzzies. But it's like there are two Watsons, agrees Golf Magazine contributing instructor A.J. Bonar. A.J. told me:
"With the greats, there's a separation. Take Tiger. He's funny and a good sportsman and has a great sense of humor. But on the course, he'd cut his mother's heart out to beat her. He's a cutthroat competitor. Watson's the same way. There's no conflict within him. He can compartmentalize those two sides. He smiles, shakes your hand, says good luck. That's on the outside. Inside, he wants to beat you to a bloody pulp." 11:48am Watson, leading by 2, taps in for a low-stress par on 8. If he only manages to give back 1 shot over the next two holes, Alliss says, TW will have done well. 11:46am Mike C. has a bone to pick with ABC (and he's even written it in modified haiku format...) Please tell ABC that a full field rundown on abottom screen crawl is a good thing Stopping the rundown at the letter K IS NOT!!!
What a bunch of marroons. 11:42am Peter Alliss aptly points out Watson's incredible swing rhythm. He looks as steady as a metronome. Seconds later, TW rips a fairway wood -- playing about 225 yards uphill on the par-4 8th -- to about 25 feet from the pin. Another nice look at birdie.
I don't think his 59-year-old nerves can hold up if he's constantly having to get up and down from pot bunkers. 11:38am On the heels of his birdie on 7, Watson pulls drive on the difficult par-4 8th and finds the fairway. 11:36am We have a long way to go, but what the hell... Question for the roundtable: Would a Tom Watson win -- at age 59, for his sixth British Open crown -- rank as the greatest single major victory in golf history?
I say yes. Jack was a youthful 46 when he won the '86 Masters. And Watson would be 11 years older than Julius Boros, who is currently the oldest-ever major winner. (He was 48 when he won the PGA.)
So talk to me, Golf.commies. Would a Watson win tomorrow top them all? 11:32am Birdie! Watson makes his 3-footer, to get it back to 5-under, the sole leader. Only 8 players are under par. 11:31am Watson's eagle putt lacked that oooomph. He left himself about 3 feet for birdie, but it is uphill, Tommy fans. 11:29am From the fairway on 7, the soon-to-be-60 Watson scoots a fairway wood to the front of the green on the par-5. He'll have a nice look at eagle -- call it 30-35 feet -- and looks likely to at least make birdie, to get it back to 5-under.
Seriously, who laced my latte? Is this really happening? Shouldn't he have faded by now? I keep waiting for Ashton Kutcher to turn up to tell us we've been punked. 11:24am Calc taps in for par on no. 7, to stay 1 behind Old Tom. With Goosen making a double on 7, the '89 Open Champ looks like Watson's biggest threat right now. 11:22am Still, there's no shame in playing the first six holes in 1-over, as Watson did. Now, he can try to feast on the par-5 7th. He stripes his drive down the center on 7. Ahead on that hole's green, co-leader Goosen just made a double-bogey 7, having taken an unplayable a few moments ago.
Old Tom is again the sole leader.
Someone fire the screenwriter--this story is not believable. 11:17am After twice saving par today from a Turnberry pot bunker -- which are more like moon craters -- Watson finally gives one back, missing his par putt on no. 6. His first bogey of the day. He drops down to 4-under, tied with Goosen for the lead. 11:14am
Thanks, Mike – fantastic work today. It was clutch, inspiring, emotional. In short, Watson-esque.
Are you like me? Did you hop out of bed today, just so excited about Old Tom? When his par-save putt dropped on no. 3 a few minutes back, I did the Snoopy Dance. So, I won’t even pretend to be objective today. But I will withhold from coughing, change-jangling, and "Noonan"-ing in other players’ backswings.
This is gonna be fun.
11:03 a.m. Steve Marino makes another bogey on 5, Watson makes par and stays in the lead at 5-under. Thanks for watching with me this morning. Golf Magazine's Connell Barrett is taking over from here. 11:00 a.m. Reader Dan is not going to be enjoying Golf.com's rerun of the 2006 British Open Live Blog later today: All I can say is THANK GOD the great and powerful tiger is on his way home! That was the most fun I had watching a round of golf. I cheered and laughed with every one of his boo-boos. Just a thought...maybe Hank shouldn't be wasting time with "Sir Charles" and concentrate more on his "meal ticket". Low blow. Tiger, it's the readers, it's not me, man. Don't freeze me out over this. 10:56 a.m. Hard not to be jealous of those fans at Turnberry, watching the action from a sand dune above the course. 10:54 a.m. Spain is in the house. Reader Dani writes: You want a tough competitor? If Jimenez is tomorrow in contention...we'll see what happens, nobody cleverer than him on course. I'm pulling for MAJ. To paraphrase an earlier comment, in terms of coolness, none of the guys out there are in Jeminez's class. 10:50 a.m. Real Man of Golf nomination from Sports Illustrated's Dick Friedman. How about Freddie Couples? Surprisingly, no nominations for Sergio Garcia, who's 3-over for the day and 2-over for the tournament. Not that you would have seen any of his shots after the first hole on the ABC broadcast. 10:48 a.m. Another bogey for Marino (2-under). It's not his fault, he needs better receivers. 10:42 a.m. More from Friend of the Blog Michael Corcoran, who's is a Tom Watson believer. There's nobody out there who's in Watson's class mentally. Goosen is closest and he's no Tom Watson. The guy was the toughest competitor who ever played golf. Watson was tougher than Woods. He didn't win as much, but that's because his competition was tougher. 10:37 a.m. Another par on three for Watson, alone in the lead at 5-under. Marino has dropped two and is back to 3-under. TV Critic asks: Where are the people? During the non-stop weepy replays of "the duel in the sun," the crowd were everywhere. Now, the blimp shots shows a sea of empty green seats and scant people along the fairways. I think I'm watching a Nationwide event. 10:35 a.m. Friend of the Blog Mike Corcoran, who wrote a book on the Watson-Nicklaus Duel in the Sun, says today's crisp pace of play will be a big advantage to Watson. He's able to walk right to the next tee and play and that's going to be a big help. His natural rhythm is faster than everyone else and if he's able to keep moving, he'll be in his optimal environment. Do I think he can win? Absolutely. I don't see anyone else making noise. 10:30 a.m. Ross Fisher makes a birdie on No. 3 and he's 4-under. As Cam Morfit noted, Fisher is an aggressive player and you can be aggressive here. 10:25 a.m. Jim Furyk saves bogey with about an 8-foot putt on the reachable par-5 seventh. He's back to even, but avoided a real disaster there. 10:22 a.m. Watson makes another par on 2. Marino makes bogey on No. 2 to go to 4-under with an interception, but Dolphins fans still believe in him. 10:17 a.m Calc makes bogey on No. 2, back to 3-under for tournament. 10:16 a.m. Brian writes: I have to think Bryce Molder is looking good at even par in the clubhouse. I agree. In fact, there's a Golf.com staffer researching X-Files jokes right now for tomorrow's Live Blog. 10:14 a.m. Golf Magazine's Cam Morfit is at Turnberry and he reports that England's Ross Fisher (3-under) has a set: Ross Fisher, or "Rossie" as they call him over here, is the first player I've seen who's aimed for the pin on the first hole. That thing is placed on a shelf over a menacing looking bunker, on the right side of the green with a right-to-left crosswind. Almost everyone is closer to where Calcavecchia hit it, way left. 10:12 a.m. The placid Goosen gets to 4-under with a birdie on No. 2. 10:10 a.m. Pars for our leaders at No. 1. Little pro Eddie Merrins says when tom Watson was in his prime, he was the world's best short putter. That meant he could go after long putts because he knew he'd make the 5-foot comeback putt to save par if he had to. 10:05 a.m. Hey ABC producers, the natives are getting restless.
Reader Mike: The masters is the best major due to the 56 minutes of golf for every hour Hard to argue. The Masters is definitely the best to watch on TV for many reasons, especially that we all know the course so well. Reader Mike (again): Im trying to watch the pairing of Westwwod/Cink and they are threw 2 holes and they havnt showed them once? ABCs coverage sucks, too much commentary and reflection of the past and the course. Lets see some golf! I'm sorry, are Cink and Westwood playing? Reader Aunt Maddie: TW-tiger who? could we please see some golf shots. Maddie, don't think Tiger won't remember that crack. Just ask Vijay's old caddie. Reader Kitibo: I think it is outrageous that US viewers cannot watch the BBC feed after the US coverage comes on. It is equally outrageous that we have to watch the BBC feed on ABC without HD At least if we were watching the real BBC feed, we'd be seeing some golf.
10:00 a.m. Reader Kitibo is not happy with the ABC coverage. He also has a Tiger question: Rick Reilly posing as a Travel Channel host, is this ABC reaching because of the Eldrick missed cut? Also on Eldrick, if his inconsistent play continues, do you see him deep sixing Hank? Regarding, Tiger and Hank, I can only say, "I have no idea." Something's clearly not right. 9:56 a.m. Our leaders Tom Watson and Steve Marino (5-under) are on the first tee. 9:50 a.m. Did you notice the lukewarm reaction Englishman Lee Westwood got on the first tee Friday when he played with Tiger Woods and Ryo Ishikawa? Friend of the Blog and Golf.com's UK bureau chief Paul Mahoney calls it the "Scottish roar." 9:48 a.m. Tom Watson is going to have favorable weather conditions today, according to @opengolf2009. The sun is out and it is warm here for the final game to tee off in 15 minutes. 9:46 a.m. It costs $350 to play Turnberry? Yikes! 9:40 a.m. Miguel-Angel Jiminez and Retief Goosen (both 3-under) are on the course. Experience matters in links golf. Except for the remarkable Steve Marino, the leaderboard is all experienced Americans and international players, who play a lot more links golf than their American counterparts. 9:35 a.m. Vijay Singh (3-under) is on the course. Boo Weekley is 1-under through 5. Daly is even after three-putting for par on 7, Furyk is 1-under through 3, Garcia misses a short putt on No. 1 and makes bogey, he's now par for the tournament. If you're a Sergio fan, you didn't want to hear that. 9:30 a.m.Just saw Cobra's Face Off With David Feherty Contest. You can spend a day hanging out the flatulent Feherty. I wonder what you get if you win. 9:27 a.m. John Daly (even) reaches the par-5 seventh in two. Hmmmmm. 9:24 a.m. TV Critic writes: ABC's opening is only more of the "golf-porn" that we have to suffer through during The Open. Now, the obsequies for the player formerly known as Tiger Woods. It's been twenty minutes and we have seen about two shots --- if everyone who made the cut has a chance to win, why are we not seeing ANY DAMN GOLF? You're right, it's embarrassing, especially since the BBC has been showing nothing but golf since the first tee shot this morning. Do they only have cameras on the driving range? Tiger withdrawal? I don't get it. Name players--Daly, Els, Cabrera, Furyk--are on the course right now and these guys are wondering if Steve Marino is going to be intimidated by a 59-year-old man. Get real! 9:22 a.m. Canuck from Ottawa, Canada asks: Are we watching the View or the British Open?....seems to be a talk show rather than a golf tournament Good point. I think Curtis Strange is the Barbara Walters of the ABC crew. 9:20 a.m. Reader Mike A. nominates Steve Stricker (a respectable 3-over in the clubhouse) as a Real Man of Golf. We like it. Steve Stricker has to be considered a real man of golf. Anyone who has the guts to be the comeback player of the year two years in a row and hits golf balls in the Wisconsin snow has some grit! 9:18 a.m. Still looks like a Pittsburgh Pirates game with the sparse crowds at Turnberry. The Guardian UK newspaper has the obvious explanation (recession) and a surprising one (traffic). "I notice it [the low crowds], very much so," said Justin Rose. "I was saying to someone out on the course that you would expect the stands to be pretty full by Friday lunchtime and they were a quarter full. It is a sign of the times maybe."Given an adult couple attending the Open for a day can expect little change out of £200 this will be a luxury many will simply choose to do without. Turnberry is also notoriously difficult to get to; even with new traffic measures in operation there were tales this morning of cars crawling 30 miles short of the course. 9:09 a.m. How is the wily Tom Watson getting ready for today's round? He's watching TV to see how the course is playing. One of the great things you can do is watch TV. The coverage here is wall-to-wall. 9:05 a.m. ABC is taking over the broadcast with an introduction to the course from someone called "Mother Nature." I'm not making this up. 9:00 a.m. Watson's firm belief he can win this tournament reminds me of a famous Ty Cobb story (courtesy of BaseballLibrary.com): Cobb was asked in the late 1950s how he would hit under "modern" conditions. Cobb answered, "Oh, I'd hit .310, .315." The interviewer was shocked. "But Mr. Cobb," he protested, "you hit over .400 three times! Why would you only hit .300 now?" Deadpan, Cobb replied, "Well, you have to remember. I'm 72 years old now." 8:55 a.m. Daly is safely on the green on the par-3 fourth. To put things in perspective today... Mike Schmidt, Dan Dierdorf, John Riggings, Bill Buckner. All these guys were born in 1949, the same year as British Open leader Tom Watson. 8:49 a.m. Angel Cabrera and Jim Furyk (both 1-under) are on the course--both in the fairway on No. 1. 8:45 a.m. Steve Stricker and Luke Donald are both in the clubhouse at 3-over. 8:40 a.m. JD holes his chip on No. 3 (!) after a bogey on No. 1. Back to even par. Our friends at @opengolf2009 say the weather is getting better: The sun is trying to break through here. Could be a nice afternoon. The wind doesn't look like dropping though! 8:36 a.m. Sergio Garcia is on the golf course. With Woods in Orlando and Harrington struggling, Garcia might be the guy to beat here. 8:33 a.m. TNT interviews 2-under Stewart Cink, aka the nicest guy in golf. Thankfully, he looked fine. I was worried after he posted this on Twitter this morning: Pretty sure I have swine flu. I thought if you like BBQ as much as I do, that your antibodies would be built up against it! 8:28 a.m. Bryce Molder shot 67 today. He's at even par for the tournament. 8:26 a.m. Kenichi Kuboya (3-under) on the driving range. Not sure if Chris Berman is on ABC's team later today, but if he is, get ready for, "Ku-boy-a, My Lord!" 8:24 a.m. I like Nick Faldo, but I thought "Sir Nick" on the bag was a bit much. If you're going to call yourself "Sir," you should have at one time defended the crown, preferably with a lance. It's like when economists go around calling themselves "doctor." 8:20 a.m.
No one under par is on the course yet. I thought Turnberry was supposed to be easy. 8:13 a.m. Little Pro Eddie Merrins took a look at the leaderboard last night. Merrins' thoughts: Watson can win, Vijay has the ability to win but can shoot himself in the foot, Furyk is a factor, and Sergio could be the guy to beat because he's such a great driver of the ball.
BTW, the Golf Channel's Jay Coffin caught a great exchange between Watson and playing partner Sergio on Friday. Sergio Garcia walked down the eighth fairway, put his arm on Tom Watson’s shoulder and said what any young man would say to someone who is 30 years his senior. “Come on old man, get it going,” Garcia jabbed. “Today I’m an old man playing like an old man,” was Watson’s retort. “Remember yesterday,” Garcia responded, “It’s time to get going.” 8:10 a.m. Reader Tlove asks: Why is Tiger Woods on the Man's Man List? Real men don't throw petulant temper tantrums after every poor shot, or because there is a speck of mud on the ball. Woods plays such a tough style of golf--when he's playing well--that it didn't feel right to leave him off the list. But the judges have noted your objection. 8:07 a.m. John Daly on the course. Hits his tee shot into the left fescue. Strange to see Long John on the first tee with an iron in his hand, but he likes this style of golf. JD reminds me of Dennis Rodman, another wild man with a questionable IQ in his personal life but a genius IQ in his sport. 8:05 a.m. Nick Dougherty (even) tees off on No. 1. Can we convene the Doughertys of the world and ask them to agree on how to pronounce their name? "Door-ety? "Dock-erty?" I give up. 8:04 a.m. Ernie misses the sand save, back to 1-over. 8:03 a.m. If a 59-year-old man wins one of golf's major championships, then I may have to stop arguing that golf is a sport. It's still the greatest game though, and Watson's run here is one reason why. 8:00 a.m. Ernie Els (even) hits a nice bunker shot to about 6 feet on No. 2. Great camerawork behind Ernie so you see the pot-bunker slope, the fescue above it and the flag blowing beyond it. Viva la Open Championship! 7:55 a.m. I asked Eddie Merrins, the legendary Bel-Air teaching pro, why it's so difficult for older players to win big tournaments. I thought he'd say lack of power or nerves. Nope. He says it's eyesight. "I think that's what happened to Jack Nicklaus," Merrins said. "Toward the end of the career, he needed his son to read putts. He couldn't see the breaks anymore." 7:51 a.m. Ernie Els makes birdie on No. 1 to get to even par. Strange to say, but Els winning British Open sounds almost as improbable as Watson. I'd like to see it. The Big Easy belongs on the Real Men of Golf list too. 7:43 a.m. Reader Kerri asks: Love your blog! Did you finish the Man's Man list? I want to share it with my husband! Yes, Kerri, the Real Men of Golf list is from the Thursday Live Blog. Here's the list so far (active players only): Real Men of Golf: Tom Watson, Jim Furyk, Padraig Harrington, Tiger Woods, Mike Weir, Angel Cabrera, Darren Clarke, Stewart Cink, Boo Weekley (he onced wrestled an orangutan), Mark Calcavecchia, Miguel-Angel Jiminez, Kenny Perry. The readers have disqualified Davis Love III and Camilo Villegas. Not that they had much of a chance, but Sandy Lyle and Colin Montgomerie have disqualified themselves forever with their spat this week. Real men don't have spats.Not a real man (yet)? Anthony Kim. He had to step away from his putt on the eighth hole Friday because he was giggling. Real men don't giggle.
More candidates? Please post them below. 7:40 a.m. Justin Rose and Ernie Els (both 1-over) just teed off on No. 1. After the tournament, Rose will attempt to return the ring of invisibility to Mordor while attempting to evade the Dark Lord Sauron.
Frodo 7:32 a.m. Shot of John Daly at the driving range--bright orange shirt, pants by Jackson Pollack, cigarette in mouth. God bless him! 7:30 a.m. I never like to complain about the TV broadcast in the Live Blog, mainly because the networks do a mostly excellent job. However, TNT just hasn't been showing much golf, just a lot of talking heads. Anyone up this early doesn't need a primer on Tom Watson; we watched all this stuff last night. It's like when you go to a golf course and the starter explains the 90-degree rule. "Yes, we've actually played golf before, thanks." 7:24 a.m. Golf.com editor Charlie Hanger got a lively discussion started with this question: Bigger story at British Open: Tiger Woods or Tom Watson? My answer: Tiger missing the cut is the bigger story. So far, the iconic image from this tournament is a dazed Tiger looking for his lost ball on 10 Friday like it was his lost greatness. Old guy leading a major after Friday isn't Man Bites Dog. Tiger missing the cut is. If Watson is still leading tomorrow...well, that would change everything. 7:19 a.m. Weather report from Turnberry via @opengolf2009 on Twitter. The wind is picking up more now. Think the afternoon games will have the course playing tougher. Too bad Harrington is struggling because his plan is coming together: I am hoping for just to sneak in on the cut line, to get out nice and early tomorrow morning, in beautiful sunshine, shoot a good score and then the weather to come in. We can always dream, can't we? 7:15 a.m. You may have heard that Tiger Woods missed the cut. Don't worry, Tiger fans. I'll be running lots of highlights from the 2006 Golf.com British Open Live Blog of Tiger's thrilling victory at Hoylake. j/k, j/k. 7:10 a.m. Padraig Harrington (6-over) is 3-over through 8. Bad sign: He's wearing a sweater. Normally, Harrington intimidates Open opponents by wearing short-sleeved shirts even in near blizzard conditions. 7:05 a.m. No one's tearing it up so far today, but our leaders won't be off for a few hours. Best of the lot so far: Oliver Wilson (even) is 2-under for the day through six; popular darkhorse pick Steve Stricker (2-over) is 1-under through 11. 7:00 a.m.Welcome back to the Golf.com British Open Live Blog Early A.M. Edition, where we answer the question: If one blogger posts in the forest, does anyone hear him?
Weather at Turnberry: Not as bad as yesterday. 59 degrees, breezy, chance of rain. In other words, a great day for British Open golf.