Friday, July 16, 2010

Leaderboard | Photos | Video | TV Schedule Alan Bastable and Farrell Evans live blogged the second round of the 2010 British Open at St. Andrews. 4:48 p.m. Play was just suspended but players can finish. Watson made the ceremonial wave at the the Swilcan Bridge at the 18th hole, signifying that this probably is his last Open at St.Andrews.  Woods narrowly missed his eagle but a birdie gives him a 1 over round of 73 and 4 over total to put him eight shots off the lead. 
So long from me until Sunday. Enjoy the golf and get all your golf news from 4:40 p.m. To Reader Troy Lovell; They have about 30 more minutes—max—to play before it's too dark. 4:36 p.m. It's hard to believe that it's almost 10 p.m. in St. Andrews and they are still playing golf. Reader Brian Sullivan says that Paul Lawrie once shot 66-82 but that's one less than the 17 stroke difference that Rory posted. 4:35 p.m. Tiger reached the 18th green and has a makeable eagle putt.

4:24 p.m. To Reader Nick: No, we can't get off Tiger's back. He's the best that's ever lived. He's at the 17th and he just hit a wonderful stinger that barely got off the ground. 4:14 p.m. Sean O'Hair just made the very rare birdie at the 17th. According to the TV guys it's been almost 10 hours since the last birdie there. 4:12 p.m. To Reader Jason on Tiger's putter: Tiger doesn't need a hot-faced putter because historically he's been a pure striker of putts. Plus he's playing with a pretty hot ball that comes off nicely. Based on what I can see he's not seeing the line that well which might have something to do with the wind and the slowness of the supersized greens. But to your point his change might be more about trying to make a fresh start with a putter that is very similar to his old one. 4:08 p.m. To Reader Doug: I'm sorry about pointing out the New-Old Tiger. I think it's refreshing that he still has that same competitive fire that propelled him to 14 majors—with or without the Buddhist bracelet.  4:04 p.m. Here is a nice insight from Reader Ralph: The 17th(the road hole) is especially brutal in todays right to left wind because you must start the tee shot so far right that you feel as if you are driving it through the hotel lobby. I think if I were playing it today I would try to hit two shorter shots and keep the ball in front of the green with maybe a chance to make four. Ralph, I think you're definitely right in trying a more defensive approach at making 4. We've seen what happens when players try to land the ball on that green. 3:58 p.m. Since Tiger came back from his hiatus for the Masters, we've been talking a lot about his golf swing, but his putting may be more troublesome. At the 15th he had his fourth three-putt of the day to drop to 3 under for the tournament. 3:48 p.m.  Tiger the Buddhist just let out  one of his famous GDs after he left a relatively simple downwind 130-yard wedge short into the green on 15. 3:45 p.m. McIlroy finished with an 80 setting a few records along the way: the highest score after tying the major championship record with a first round 63; and the 17 shots between his first and second round is the biggest spread for a first round leader in a major. 3:38 p.m. Tiger missed another good birdie chance at the par 5 14th. He must be disappointed because with two good drives that's a possible eagle. 3:35 p.m.  Ricky Barnes is the only full-time PGA Tour player presently in the top. Calc and Lehman play some on the Champions Tour. 3:28 p.m. To reader Brian Sullivan about McIlroy: He said that he had never played the Old Course in really tough conditions. So for me it's not surprising that he would have bad round.  3:25 p.m. So far today 60 players have come through the 17th hole and dropped a shot to par. 3:24 p.m. Jin Jeong, the British Am champion, is 5 under par. That's superb golf for anybody on this course, but for a teenage amateur that's amazing. 3:19 p.m. Tiger bogeyed the 13th tee to fall back to 4 under. His three bogeys today are as a result of three-putts. 3:15 p.m. Most of the afternoon tee times will have been on the golf course for seven hours once they are done. I wonder how this might impact them tomorrow. Oosty will have had a 24-hour break when he tees off tomorrow. 3:07 p.m. Tiger has hit a poor tee shot on the 13th. He had birdie there yesterday as a part of a streak of three straight birdies from 12 to 14. 2:59 p.m. McIlroy three-putted the 15th and is now 8 over for the day and 1 under for the tournament. 2:54 p.m.  Paddy Harrington hit it into the gorse at 12 and is struggling at 4 over par. It seems like eons ago that he won two Opens and a PGA.  2:47 p.m. Apparently Big John killed a potted plant on his way out of the scorer's tent after shooting a 76 and missing a little putt on 18 for birdie. Azinger called him a spoiled brat. 2:42 p.m. Stewart Cink, the '09 Open champion, is at 2 over and in need of a birdie or two to make the cut.  2:40 p.m. It's 7:40 p.m. local time in St. Andrews and the sun has disappeared behind the clouds. Now it's windy and cold but great light for our photographers. 2:37 p.m. The 7th and 11th are adjoining so Tiger's group had to wait for Michael Sim to hit his shot into the 7th hole. 2:35 p.m. When he finally gets to the green on the par 3 it takes what seems like another 20 minutes for them to hit their putts. 2:31 p.m. Tiger has been stuck at the 11th hole forever. It's the longest wait in major championship golf.  2:30 p.m. Nick Faldo may have just hit his last drive off the 18th tee. He walked across the Swilcan Bridge and didn't turn back for the ceremonial goodbye, so that means he could come back in 2015.  2:21 p.m. Daly shot a 4 over 76 to finish at 2 under par, 10 shots worse than his opening round score. The little six-footer he missed on the 18th for birdie typified his putting woes today. His ball striking was fine. I think by days end all the players coming off the golf course will have a similar story. 2:18 p.m. Here is some good insight  from Reader Aaron Katz, who has played the Old Course: Bad conditions favor Oosty? I'm going to guess that you've never played The Old Course in a 25 mph wind. I'm still a pretty decent golfer (played Division I college about 12 years ago), and I played The Old Course two years ago in the same wind these guys have today -- same force, and same direction. That wind ruins your mind, and it can ruin your swing. On Holes 1 through 7, you've got trouble right on every swing, and the wind is quartering into and from the left. Any mishit ball either baloons and finds trouble on the right or is a smother hook that runs for miles once it hits the ground (which results in substantially longer approach shots from ridiculously hard angles). If you're off your game or feeling the pressure, by the time you start making the loop (where you're getting a new wind direction on every hole between 8 and 12), you're swing is ruined and your confidence gone. 2:11 p.m.  Tiger left a good birdie opportunity short at the 10th hole.  2:09 p.m. The 17th is playing almost like a par 5 at 4.8. I wonder is it easier to putt it from the fairway. The drive over the hotel is the easy part. 2:06 p.m. For the second day in a row Big John hit his approach from the 17th fairway onto the road. Scared to threaten that bunker on the left, players are leaving the ball to the right where the land slopes in that direction. It's got to be the toughest approach in championship golf. 2:01 p.m. To Reader Bob Anderson: Bob, your point is well taken about my apparent wish that Oosty come back to the field. We'll see if he can hold it together on the weekend. Bad conditions favor him. All he has to do is birdie the holes that he should and not make any really big numbers.  1:57 p.m. Tiger birdied the 9th hole to get back to even par for the day. At 5 under with a couple of really good birdie chances at 14 and 18, he could end up conservatively at  7 under at the end of the day.   1:50 p.m. McIlroy four-putted the 11th hole and dropped to 3 under and 6 over for the day. Could something like this happen to the leader tomorrow? 1:43 p.m. Faldo, a three-time Open Champion, still has that smooth swing but he doesn't HIT it like these young guys do today. He always said that it was more about rhythm for him. He was the master clinician.  1:40 p.m. McIlroy had a putt on the par 3 11th that went up a swell with not enough speed and it came back down to his feet and he had to race to the second putt to mark it before it fell again.  1:32 p.m.  It does seem odd that play was halted for 66 minutes but the wind is still blowing at 30-35 mph on the course and the balls are still oscillating, but apparently not to the degree that players are refusing to play. What's fair to the players? 1:26 p.m.  John Daly birdied the Par 5 14th to get one back and is 3 under for the tournament and safely inside the cut. Adidas must be really happy that he's wearing their sweaters at no cost to them. He must like the fit. 1:20 p.m. To Reader Shoshana: I think if conditions are optimal for scoring, Tiger is the man to beat but I don't think he's firing on all cylinders to get on a hot streak in tough conditions. 1:18 p.m. To Reader Floyd: He asserts that the real lead is 6 under, suggesting that the South African might be a rabbit. 
It's hard to say. Oosthuizen might get perfect conditions when he tees off tomorrow. But I do like 7 under to be the winning score. 1:13 p.m. Tiger missed a good chance at the 7th hole. I don't think I have ever seen him miss so many short putts. 1:04 p.m. Tom Watson is a 3 over and few shots outside of the cut. He always hits the ball nicely but he needs to make some putts if he wants to hang around this weekend. 1:00 p.m. John Daly just lost another stroke at the 13th and falls to 2 under. For the last hour or so he's had a lot of 8 to 10 footers for par. I hope that he can hold it together and make the cut. 12:53 p.m. To reader Wes:  I'm getting live reports from the golf course.  12:51 p.m. I never thought I would see Nick Faldo playing ceremonial golf, but here he is playing his first competitive rounds in Lord knows when and he's going around for the fun of it at 6 over par.  12:47 p.m. Maybe I spoke to early about Tiger's form. On the 6th hole where longer players generally have 80 yards in to the green, he had 183 after a pulled and mishit tee ball. Maybe the new Tiger will never be the same perfect ball striker that he was in his prime.  12:43 p.m.  All that Tirico and Strange and the TV guys seem to be talking about and showing are missed putts. I'd like to see more shots from the tees and fairways. 12:39 p.m.  Tom Lehman, the '96 Open Champion, is at 5 under and 7 shots back of the leader. Like Calc, he's got the Over 50 thing going for him that worked well the last couple of years for Norman and Watson. 12:31 p.m.  McIlroy is on the bogey train after adding another one at the 8th.  12:26 p.m.  Tiger birdied the 5th hole to get a stroke back and to 4 under, 1 over for the day. 12:22 p.m. Tiger hit his approach on the par 5 5th underneath a cart that holds the mounting of a TV camera. He tried to kill it. On his third shot from a pretty good lie he he nearly chipped it in.  12:19 p.m. The 17th, the Road Hole is playing as a par and half so far: 4.60(thursday), 4.75 (today).  12:13 p.m. McIlroy drops another stroke at the 6th hole to fall to 6 under:  Daly had an 80-footer on the Par 11th that he left 15-feet short.  He three-putted to fall to 3 under for the tournament. The word OSCILLATING is officially the most used word of the championship telecast. 12:10 p.m. Tiger hit another great drive at the par 5 5th. Easily reachable for Tiger, this hole is one of the few birdie chances that he will have all day. 12:08 p.m. Nine groups have finished since Graeme McDowell  posted an under par round with a 68. 12:04 p.m. McIlroy is going in the wrong direction, perhaps. He's found the heavy fescue on the last few holes and will probably lose another shot after hitting his second shot from the fescue into a bunker. Last night some of us were talking about him running away with this tournament. 12:01 p.m.  It's really slow out there right now. There are a lot of long waits at the tees, especially at the 7th and 11th where the tee boxes collide. It doesn't help that the attention to wind—how it impacts shots both in the air and on the greens—turns a swift American round of golf into a British Ladies tea party. 11:55 a.m. McIlroy is 2 over today and 7 under for the tournament after a bogey at the 6th hole.  11:52 a.m. Tim Clark just holed a 60-footer for birdie at the 6th hole. He practically made a hockey swing to get it to the hole. 11:50 a.m. Daly is just short of 10th green with a short chip for his second shot after a 340-yard drive. 11:45 a.m.  According to Judy Rankin, Tiger has been wiping tears from his eyes. We know that he has allergies and doesn't wear glasses on the golf course. Might that impact how he sees putts? 11:43 a.m.  Without the bunkers and the greens, St. Andrews is a pitch and putt for the longest players. The wind is a necessary evil to protect the course. Daly has nearly driven the last two holes—9th and 10th. 11:34 a.m. The cut line is at even par right now, but it could go to 1 over which would bring players such as Steve Stricker, Scott Verplank, Luke Donald and Monty into the weekend.  11:30 a.m. Reader Brian Sullivan raises a good question:  Why doesn't the R&A send players out on both tees to lessen the variance in weather conditions for players?
Brian, I think the weather is too much a part of the fabric of the tournament for them to make this change. From week to week on the PGA Tour, players contend with the same issue, but it's mostly rain on parkland courses. 11:26 a.m.  . A few weeks ago when I talked to Calc he had an inkling that he might play well this week. Who would have thought that he would have been the leading American player at the halfway point? 11:18 a.m.  The Open at St. Andrews feels like a putting contest with the football field-sized greens. I'm surprised that Tiger changed putters the week of a major championship after playing with the same one for the last 11 years.  11:14 a.m. Curtis Strange just said that it's Louis's tournament to lose. I'm not so sure about that. When he tees off 24 hours from now the wind could be howling at 40 mph. But even par over the weekend for him might be enough. 11:12 a.m.  Tiger is driving the ball very well. At the par 4 third hole he hit his driver safely in the fairway. Yesterday his putting let him down.  11:04 a.m.  Good morning, the wind is having its way with the field as Tiger goes bogey-bogey to start the tournament with a guy named Louis Oosthuizen at 12 under and in the clubhouse. 11:00 a.m.  Well, it's time for me to blow out of here. I leave you in the gentle yet confident hands of Farrell Evans, who's blogging from Golf Magazine's New York headquarters. Over to you, Farrell 10:57 a.m.  McIlroy missed his par try. He drops back to 8-under. Oosty's lead is four.10:55 a.m.  Wow, on the same hole, McIlroy rammed his birdie try from 20 feet some 12 feet past the jar. "First bad shot I've see him in two days," a BBC commentator said. You have to wonder, though, if the wind was a factor. It's still like Twister out there ... without the bad acting and terrible plot. 10:51 a.m.  Tim Clark's in a pot bunker at the fourth. At least I think he is. I can't see him. Nice shot out of there -- he'll have seven feet for his par.10:45 a.m.  The BBC's Torrance doesn't think the wind has abated at all. Hang on to your hats and haggis, folks, this could be a wild, wild afternoon.10:43 a.m.  BREAKING NEWS: PLAY HAS RESUMED.10:42 a.m.  In a Press Tent post earlier today, Mike Walker quoted Michael Corcoran, author of Duel in the Sun: Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus in the Battle of Turnberry. Corcoran is a bit of an Open maven and has some strong thoughts about the Old Course. Here's the rest of his rant, raw and unedited:

One thing no one likes to say but is so obviously true is that the Old Course is easy, too easy, unless there's gale force winds. ALL of the courses on the rota, save Carnoustie and Muirfield, are easy without wind, but in average weather--even with normal 20 mph winds for the setting--the Old Course, beloved as it is, is just a pitch and putt with deep bunkers and one hard hole. People get all caught up in the romance of it, and the town is the ultimate setting for the Open, but the course itself isn't even the best course in town. It was more mysterious and challenging before the big changes in equipment, but for modern players using modern gear, the course offers no more challenge than your local muni. Everyday players who get a chance to play it are blinded by their lifelong desire to play it, and for a hacker it's still a tough round. But a solid single-digit handicapper can easily go around there in the 70s even on the first try if there isn't major wind, and if they don't hyperventilate from all the romance. They'll never stop playing the Open there, but it's the least challenging venue used for any of the majors by far. It's like a Man o' War battling a nuclear aircraft carrier. The Man o' War has all the spooky legends and "hold fast" crap going for it, then gets sunk in five minutes by superior technology. It's true they all play the same course, even if the weather changes during the day, so it's still fair, but the Old is the only course in championship golf where a player can be several clicks off his game and not only compete, but perhaps even win. That's why this week is Tiger's best chance this year. Not because he's awesome or will overcome tremendous adversity etc., but because the Old, barring a hurricane, is easy. Like he likes his women.
10:32 a.m.  that 10:24 a.m.  BREAKING NEWS: PLAY IS SCHEDULED TO RECOMMENCE IN 15 TO 20 MINUTES. 10:20 a.m.  10:11 a.m.  10:10 a.m.  10:04 a.m.  10:02 a.m.  9:53 a.m.  9:43 a.m.  9:39 a.m.  9:35 a.m.  BREAKING NEWS: PLAY HAS BEEN SUSPENDED DUE TO HIGH WINDS. 9:29 a.m.  9:20 a.m.  9:17 a.m.  9:11 a.m.  Sideshow Bob 9:06 a.m.  9:01 a.m.  8:58 a.m.  8:50 a.m.  Guardian 8:44 a.m.  8:42 a.m.  8:36 a.m.  8:34 a.m.  8:28 a.m.  8:24 a.m.  8:18 a.m.  Aaaaaaawkward 8:10 a.m.  8:06 a.m.  7:59 a.m. 7:53 a.m. Oosty 7:46 a.m. 7:40 a.m. The Villages 7:36 a.m. 7:32 a.m. 7:25 a.m.   7:17 a.m. 7:11 a.m. 7:05 a.m. 7:02 a.m. 7 a.m. (EST)

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